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  • CARPC as Thumb Drive for Head Unit

    I picked up a cheap head unit that has an SD Card Reader, USB Thumb Drive Reader and an AUX Input.
    I want to be able to connect my CarPC to the USB Input and have the head unit read files from a specific directory.
    I only found one thread similar to this so far and have also googled this. All my finds turn up with Head Units with Ipod control. My head unit does not have Ipod control just simple USB Thumb drive reader.
    Essentially I want to be able to use my carpc as a thumb drive.

    Q: Why not just use a thumb drive?
    A: I want to use one pc to serve up the media files to devices that can use them. Smart Phones, Head Units, Network Connected Video Devices. This same PC will be used for Vehicle Montoring and other features as well. So I dont want a ton of programs playing music files or video files, just want devices to connect to the PC so that the files can be shared with multiple devices at one time.

    Q: Why not use bluetooth?
    A: Possibility but I dont want a blue tooth program running in the background, ie bluesoliel (they seem to be pretty resource heavy)

    Q: Why not setup a web server in the car?
    A: Part of the plan but still need to be able to use this with head units as well.

    how can i do this?
    New Age Garmin - Skin for RR
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  • #2
    It is possible that you could use a PC to PC USB transfer cable to set up a "virtual thumb drive". I'd say that running this kind of software, if you could even get it to work, would be as CPU intensive as just running a music front end.
    You are never done installing a CarPC.

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    • #3
      PC to PC transfer cable not really what I want. Need to connect PC to head unit so head unit can use MP3 files for playback.
      New Age Garmin - Skin for RR
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      • #4
        Whats the point of the carPC then?! Just use an laptop drive....or an ipod....one wire and your done.

        The simple answer is no you can't use one host to access another-usb doesn't work that way.
        The long answer is that you could use a usb crossover cable, custom hardware to intercept the file I/O requests and redirect them to network access requests and then custom software on the PC to handle the I/O.....but do you really want to do all of that for a half-assed setup?
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        • #5
          I think I did read somewhere that the USB port on the headunit can control an ipod that you can hack the ipod cable with the help of specific hardware and software to do something like what you describe. But attempting this may use the same amount of processing power than just playing it from the pc as you are still transferring and translating the music files as data.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
            QUESTION: Whats the point of the carPC then?! Just use an laptop drive....or an ipod....one wire and your done.
            Originally posted by ME View Post
            ANSWER: So that I can use the carpc as a central storage device that can share files with many devices at once. I am wanting to have 2 head units. One in front and one in back. Maybe even a third. I also want to be able to share video files with connected devices. Wifi or network capabilities would solve this, but still want the ability to share mp3's with multiple devices that are not network capable, IE Head units.
            Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
            The simple answer is no you can't use one host to access another-usb doesn't work that way.
            Technically the CarPC would be used as a Clone Thumb Drive

            Im sure this can be done, just wondering if anyone has done it yet.

            This is not an attempt at half arsing anything, just trying to find another capability
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            • #7
              Originally posted by ThunderStick View Post
              Technically the CarPC would be used as a Clone Thumb Drive

              Im sure this can be done, just wondering if anyone has done it yet.

              This is not an attempt at half arsing anything, just trying to find another capability
              I guess I didn't explain it well enough....heres try #2:

              USB is a tiered-star topology with a host at the top and lots of devices underneath it. A usb host is a piece of hardware not a software configuration that can be changed. Computers are equipped with USB host hardware, head units are equipped with usb host hardware, neither are capable of being a device. What your trying to do is like trying to plug two male sockets together-it just doesn't work.

              Your best bet would be to find a usb drive that allows multiple host connections. Some harddrives (NAS units) allow connection of more then one and some will allow a simultaneous usb and eSata connetion. For the most part though, stop trying to use a headunit as a carPC! THEY'RE NOT THE SAME!!!!!
              openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
              - Always Recruiting Developers -
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              • #8
                Originally posted by ThunderStick View Post
                PC to PC transfer cable not really what I want. Need to connect PC to head unit so head unit can use MP3 files for playback.
                Are you even reading the posts? A USB PC to PC cable like what I described is the only, marginally possible way to acheive what you are trying to do. Just like justchat_1 has said twice now, what you are doing is possible MAYBE with a bunch of hacking, and custom hardware, AND custom software. Just to get the results that ONE carpc can already give you.
                You are never done installing a CarPC.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Spikemonkey View Post
                  Are you even reading the posts? A USB PC to PC cable like what I described is the only, marginally possible way to acheive what you are trying to do. Just like justchat_1 has said twice now, what you are doing is possible MAYBE with a bunch of hacking, and custom hardware, AND custom software. Just to get the results that ONE carpc can already give you.
                  Wow simple question turned to the dark side allready, at least were keeping pace with the common mp3car.com forum culture. I guess the USB gospel is now set in stone, there is no way to share files via USB cables becuase one person answered with a NO.

                  You maybe just a monkey so let me clear things up for you, I understood what justchat_1 was saying. Just prying and picking anyone else's brain that may read this. There are a lot of bright people on this forum and and I always seek a second and third opinion since one persons definite answer maybe proven otherwise by someone else.
                  Like you said using a USB PC to PC cable allows file transfers between two computers, that would be two hosts connected via USB. So to clear up the illusion that you can't connect to host devices together may not be as factual as percieved. Yes using a standard cable you might not be able to do this, but with some provisions it may be possible.
                  I dont believe in the word CAN'T, which is why I have allways asked questions on this forum. The belief is that you can if you try and trying never hurts (unless your trying to rob honey from a bee nest, that's a whole other story).
                  New Age Garmin - Skin for RR
                  New Age Slider - RR SKin In Progress
                  "It's called CODE because I don't want you to know"

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                  • #10
                    I wonder if it is possible to make a usb host chip emulate a slave chip? probably not in windows if at all.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by malcom2073 View Post
                      I wonder if it is possible to make a usb host chip emulate a slave chip? probably not in windows if at all.
                      The way you can change a device descriptor in some ftdi chips..... the problem is that host hardware is physically different. Host's use a 15KOhm pulldown per data line, devices use a 1.5KOhm pullup.

                      All a PC to PC device does is act like a device for each half of the connection. There is still the major issue of protocols. I told you in my first post that a crossover cable could be used (aka a pc-pc cable) but I can guarantee you that the software doesn't exist to make this work. You would need very specially made driver and userlevel software and additionally to specialized hardware if you want to use more then one headunit.
                      malcom2073 has a point about this not being a windows thing, it would need to be designed in linux using a VFS.

                      edit:
                      on second thought-some PNDs are now shipping with dual function chips...its certainly not something a PC would have but the chips could probably be used to create custom hardware.
                      openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
                      - Always Recruiting Developers -
                      Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ThunderStick View Post
                        Wow simple question turned to the dark side allready, at least were keeping pace with the common mp3car.com forum culture. I guess the USB gospel is now set in stone, there is no way to share files via USB cables becuase one person answered with a NO.

                        You maybe just a monkey so let me clear things up for you, I understood what justchat_1 was saying. Just prying and picking anyone else's brain that may read this. There are a lot of bright people on this forum and and I always seek a second and third opinion since one persons definite answer maybe proven otherwise by someone else.
                        Like you said using a USB PC to PC cable allows file transfers between two computers, that would be two hosts connected via USB. So to clear up the illusion that you can't connect to host devices together may not be as factual as percieved. Yes using a standard cable you might not be able to do this, but with some provisions it may be possible.
                        I dont believe in the word CAN'T, which is why I have allways asked questions on this forum. The belief is that you can if you try and trying never hurts (unless your trying to rob honey from a bee nest, that's a whole other story).
                        It just seems like you are picking and choosing which parts of the replies to read. No one has said it CAN'T be done. All that is being said, is that there is a slim chance it can and would work to your satisfaction. Also, that when it was all said and done, you would be using the same amount (if not more) of processing power to emulate a virtual usb drive, as it would take to run a standalone music player or front end.

                        I am going to leave it at this, and not respond anymore to this thread. If you want a system to play music off a drive connected to your head unit, just plug a drive into your headunit.
                        You are never done installing a CarPC.

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                        • #13
                          check out http://www.car2pc.com/

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                          • #14
                            i actually do this all the time in jrmediacenter... what i mean is, in that program, you can setup any folder you wish to be seen as a portable media device. that means the audio program sees that folder as a usb drive and can access it just as if it was an ipod. thats just that program though... and i do agree that it might be that you need specific virtualization software your exact usb host in your pc. that, or like said, you need a usb card that is designed for slave and host (if they make them?)

                            ill ask some people on another forum that would know better, ill get back to this

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                            • #15
                              after some discussion, as mentioned its just not practical. its not technically a hard thing to do, there just isnt any hardware that you can buy right out that will do it.

                              the best solution i have found would be to use an external usb drive on a switch- that way you can flip and and forth from the pc to the headunit. also, this would mean while the switch is on the pc you can have that automatically sync up the files to the computer. that way you get both computer and headunit to read the same files, and you get a mirrored backup as well.

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