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asteele

Instructions on how to manage music and playlists on a USB drive

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I spent a while trying to work out how this works, and thought I would share.

 

Your USB should have two directories

 

 

Music

Playlists

 

 

Within the Music directory, you can then have sub-directories which are of the artists name.

Within the artists name directory you can then have sub-directories of the album names.

Within those sub-directories you then have your media files.

 

 

The Playlists folder only needs to contain the small text based files which provide a "directory" of what to play and where on the USB the files are.

 

I have existing playlists on iTunes that I wanted to replicate.

Within iTunes I selected my first playlist and then clicked on [File], [Library], [Export Playlist] - and I then changed the file type from txt to M3U... before saving the playlist into the playlist folder on my USB.

 

You then need to edit the playlist file on the USB using a simple editor such as notepad.

You can see that each media file is prefixed with the location of where it exists on the PC running iTunes, which isn't valid for the USB.

Use "search and replace" function within notepad to remove (as an example) c:\itunes\media\music and replace it with ..\Music - and obviously have notepad do this for all instances.

 

 

Finally, you can right-click on the USB within Windows Explorer and give it the name that you want Sync3 to know it as, such as "USB" :)

 

I have about 35GB of content, which is 8,000 tracks. In my vehicle, Sync3 needs about 5 minutes to complete the indexing of the USB - after which it all worked great.

 

 

I tried to attach one of my playlists as an example, and past the contents of it here, but for some reason pasting into this window and attaching files isn't working for me. I am new to this forum, so maybe this is a deliberate restriction.

 

 

Anyway, hope this helps others... :)

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Thanks for your post. I had tried using a USB thumb drive with little or no success. I did not have the directory structure right, so Sync 3 could only fine one album. Now that I know about this, we can move to a USB drive if version 2.0 does not address the media player bugs.

 

Please come back and post how this works over time. Does Sync 3 "lose" the thumb drive and have to reindex? That is our main complaint. Sync 3 loses our media player, and then we have to wait 5 minutes for Indexing to finish.

 

Have you tried playing a "Genre" ?

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...another trip out to the car to play with SYNC3 today :)

 

Yes, I was able to play Genre through voice command(s)

 

"Play soundtrack"

"Play easy listening"

Play punk and alternative"

 

..all worked!

 

I was even able to say " D A B" - and it put me back onto digital radio too - neat!

 

I have not yet seen it "lose" the USB drive and need to re-index, but presume it would do this if I was to remove and reinsert the USB - but it looks like it remembers the name of the USB, so re-indexing of a known USB may be quicker.

I am making a guess at this.

 

I went and bought a new USB 3.0 64gb drive, which is designed to be tolerant of high temperatures, cost me just Aus$44 - so if you are having troubles, maybe try a different USB drive?

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Our "USB" drive is an iPod Classic media player, one of the latest versions. Sync 3 loses memory of this device about 25% of the "vehicle starts", and we do not unplug the media player between vehicle starts. So, if we got out running errands around town, with several stops, Sync 3 will lose the media player at least once during the trip.

 

We have 2 nearly identical media players, both work perfectly in our Sync 2 F250 and our Jeep with a Sony media player, both fail the same way in our Sync 3 car.

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asteele,

 

Thanks for sharing your info!

 

tjeeper46,

 

Have you performed a module reset on the system?

 

Cara

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Hi Cara, welcome back. Hope you had a great holiday.

 

I have performed resets on the Sync 3 infotainment system, yes. So has my Ford dealership, who have attempted to fix this software problem 5 times in the last 9 months. We also reset the media players once a week or so, when necessary to get the system working.

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tjeeper46,

 

Thank you and same to you! Do you know if your dealer reached out to their Tech Hotline for further troubleshooting?

 

Cara

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Hi Cara, welcome back. Hope you had a great holiday.

 

I have performed resets on the Sync 3 infotainment system, yes. So has my Ford dealership, who have attempted to fix this software problem 5 times in the last 9 months. We also reset the media players once a week or so, when necessary to get the system working.

I have "experience with an iPod Classic" on my 2016 Escape Titanium with Sync 3. First of all, if you have not yet, you might consider visiting the fordescape.org site. There are many threads there and some here as well. I have always observed less than perfect behavior with my iPod Classic on my Titanium. I also have a 2013 Escape with MFT and never had that problem. After many months of going to the dealer, visiting web sites like this, and contacting Ford help, I have come to the conclusion that the occasional disconnect on Sync 3 is the best that we can hope for. See some of UofMEngineer's posts on the fordescape.org board. The iPod Classic is already or nearly obsolete as declared by apple. I suspect that this is a programming issue but UofM is the closest to identifying that for me. The Ford phone support line and other Ford support areas really will not part with that kind of detail (I wish they would). That leaves me (us) to draw conclusions by inference.

 

Where I am now with my Classic is:

 

1. It loads the music and plays the music with an occasional lock up (2 X per month). Usually, the lockup is corrected by simply unplugging the device from the vehicle and reconnecting. Sometimes, however, I will need to to a complete reset (soft) of the iPod Classic.

 

2. I can select the playlists from the browse menu on the Sync 3 screen. In fact, a good idea would be to determine if your playlists are visible on the screen and attempt to play them by screen selection.

 

3. Sync 3 will recognize the "play all" command verbally but no other.

 

My other apple devices, iPhone 6, iPhone 5, iPod Nano perform as expected. I can play music from them using both the Sync 3 touch screen and voice commands. They also are stable.

 

I hope this helps!

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tjeeper46,

 

Thank you and same to you! Do you know if your dealer reached out to their Tech Hotline for further troubleshooting?

 

Cara

 

Yes, the dealer has called the Tech Hotline. The Hotline suggested replacement of the APIM, which has been done, with no change in behavior.

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Yes, the dealer has called the Tech Hotline. The Hotline suggested replacement of the APIM, which has been done, with no change in behavior.

I had the APIM replaced on my 2016 Escape Titanium as well. What sent me to the dealer was not the Classic issue per se but the fact that suddenly Sync 3 would not recognize any apple device for playing music as well as it would not recognize any connection via USB so I could use App Link. The new APIM corrected that. It made my Classic issues better but has not eliminated them as described previously.

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Yes, the dealer has called the Tech Hotline. The Hotline suggested replacement of the APIM, which has been done, with no change in behavior.

 

 

I had the APIM replaced on my 2016 Escape Titanium as well. What sent me to the dealer was not the Classic issue per se but the fact that suddenly Sync 3 would not recognize any apple device for playing music as well as it would not recognize any connection via USB so I could use App Link. The new APIM corrected that. It made my Classic issues better but has not eliminated them as described previously.

 

tjeeper46 and ralph7up,

 

The dealer should continue to work with their Tech Hotline since this is their highest point of contact. They're there to support the dealer to find a resolution when the issues haven't been eliminated. PM me if nothing moves forward.

 

Cara

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Cara, Nothing has moved forward since the APIM was replaced in September. My dealer has given up, saying that the only possible solution is a Sync software update. Asked if they know when, they did not know. I have called a few times since September, and requested my open service ticket be escalated. They promised a call back with status on the escalation and I never got a call. I am the squeaky wheel, which gets no grease.

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Cara, Nothing has moved forward since the APIM was replaced in September. My dealer has given up, saying that the only possible solution is a Sync software update. Asked if they know when, they did not know. I have called a few times since September, and requested my open service ticket be escalated. They promised a call back with status on the escalation and I never got a call. I am the squeaky wheel, which gets no grease.

 

Let's move forward in a PM. Check your inbox :)

 

Cara

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I am abandoning my old IPod Classic (It keeps freezing in SYNC 3) and I will be going with a USB flash drive.

I will be following the instructions and setting up the 2 main directories and sub directories for the Artists.

What do you do with Soundtrack Albums with multiple or various artists????

 

Also, when I was using the IPod classic, when it worked, not all album art was displayed even when I turned off the Grace data base. Do you have the same artwork problems with the USB drive?

 

Thanks for all help in this regard.

Edited by kwurman

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The MP3 ID information that can be assigned to every track is able to contain lots of information, so it knows who the artist is, the album the track is from, genre, year - and more... so even if the track is from a compilation of various artists, MP3 players can still identify who the artist is - and if you search for an artists, then it will find all the tracks across their own albums as well as compilations made up from various artists.

 

Where it gets harder and sometimes a bit messy is where there is more than one artist on a track, which seems to happen a lot these days. It all depends on how the MP3 tag information was created. I often see artist information displayed in the format "Dizzy Snake Ft. McHamBurglar" What can you do!

 

 

Album art is correctly displayed for MP3 tracks playing from my USB.

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Okay - As promised, my IPod classic is now gathering dust.

I purchased a 64gb Lexar USB flash drive from Staples for $14.99 (on sale this week).

I followed the excellent instructions of Asteele and set up the 2 folders on the flash drive (Music and Playlists). Under the music folder I have my sub-folders with the artist names (and one named "Sountracks"), and in these Sub-folders I copied the folders with my Albums. I have 8 folders (Albums) under The Kinks alone.

 

I use MP3Tag to properly tag all files with artwork, etc AND to re-name the mp3 files with track numbers in their names.

 

I rarely use playlists, but if I need a playlist (to play songs across different albums), no sweat - - just use the free program "Playlist Creator" ver. 3.6.2. It allowed me to create a playlist with songs on my flash drive from multiple album folders, and it saved an M3U file in my "Playlist" folder.

 

I tested it, and everything works fine with my Sync 3!

 

So, for $15 and an hour or so - say goodbye to the IPod. No need to use ITunes. Just use Windows Explorer to transfer the files to the flash drive, and the other free programs mentioned above to properly Tag files and create playlists (not so important - at least to me).

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I spoke to soon. I am having a problem with the Cover Art. All my mp3 files are tagged with cover art.

Apparently I am unable to turn off the Gracenote management (which replaces my cover art with generic cover art).

In the media player settings I have Cover Art Priority set to "Media Player" and Gracenote management set to off (to the left). Still Gracenote is replacing my Art, and in some cases with No art at all.

Any thoughts?

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I spoke to soon. I am having a problem with the Cover Art. All my mp3 files are tagged with cover art.

Apparently I am unable to turn off the Gracenote management (which replaces my cover art with generic cover art).

In the media player settings I have Cover Art Priority set to "Media Player" and Gracenote management set to off (to the left). Still Gracenote is replacing my Art, and in some cases with No art at all.

Any thoughts?

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Have the same issue with cover art using a USB with Sync 3 when it will play. I have tried multiple drives and had hardly any luck. Ford needs to address these issues with the media player. Mine works sometimes for a few songs then stops and switches itself to FM. It hangs a lot between songs. Sometimes up to five minutes between tracks. I was hoping Sync 3 would be better than My Ford Touch, but it is worse. My dealer is over 1.5 hours away, so very difficult to address with them. Hoping Ford will issue a update to fix/improve this problem. When checking with them they just read the manual to me. Would really like to get some actual support from them, not just reading the manual to me.

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Another method to create playlists for use on a USB in the car is to use the free "iTunesExport" app. which allows you to select your existing iTunes playlist. The software will then make M3U copies of your iTunes playlist in a folder and also copy your MP3 music files to a folder called "music" within that folder. The main folder can be made directly on the USB.

 

After the MP3 files are in the "music" folder you might want to use the free software "MP3Gain" to help equalize the volume on them. This should be done since the iTunes sound check is not used on the USB.

 

This method can be used to simulate an iPod on a USB stick.

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Does Sync actually acknowledge the MP3Gain information? MP3Gain does not actually modify the gain but only instructs complaint software of the gain level and it's up to the software to adjust it's volume to match the gain.

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I've used the MP3Gain software on 2 USB's and placed one in my 2014 Ford Taurus Limited with Sync 2 MFT, the other in my 2017 Ford Edge Titanium with Sync3. Both work ok and after about 30 minutes of songs the volume on all played sounds equal, even for 2 songs that started out quiet and then get louder, after the start passage they were about the same volume level as previous songs. I really don't know if Ford actually uses the MP3Gain information as I can't find any information about that from Ford.

 

Some of the songs did not contain the artist name when playing, I found out that by using iTunes and converting the ID3 Tags to v2.3 that it corrected a lot of them but not all.

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In using the USB on the 2017 Ford Edge Titanium with Sync3 I get the problem of sync wanting to re-index the USB about every 5th time the vehicle starts. Since it is a new USB and I only have 3,600 songs on it instead of the 8,000 that are on my iPod Classic the re-index is a lot quicker. Yes, the iPod Classic also needs to re-index after several restarts. I also have a problem with the classic that drains it's battery over night if it is connected to the lower USB, the upper one works fine.

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I can't get playlist to work, first I learned here that it is "Playlists" not "Playlist". When I fixed that now the playlist button is no longer in the list under browse. Tried voice to see if it works but that does not work either. When I had the folder named "Playlist" with no s at the end and hit the playlist button the unit would tell me the folder is empty, as soon as I fixed the folder name I lost the feature. I know others have seen it, any ideas what I have done different. Sync3 version is 2.2.

 

Thanks

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I can't get playlist to work, first I learned here that it is "Playlists" not "Playlist". When I fixed that now the playlist button is no longer in the list under browse. Tried voice to see if it works but that does not work either. When I had the folder named "Playlist" with no s at the end and hit the playlist button the unit would tell me the folder is empty, as soon as I fixed the folder name I lost the feature. I know others have seen it, any ideas what I have done different. Sync3 version is 2.2.

 

Thanks

I don't follow your "Playlists" or "Playlist" part. The USB should be formatted as FAT32 and no other files or folders should be on it except the following.

 

A folder labelled "Music" that contains your mp3 file's arrange in sub-folders that are by Artist name, within those are the Album folders and within those are the actual mp3.

 

At least one file (not folder) that is type "m3u" extension. The name of this should be a simple playlist name. (ex. CarTunes.m3u, or HardRock.m3u). The m3u file will contain a list of all the mp3 files that that playlist uses from the "Music" file. Here's a sample of one line from a "m3u" file

 

Music\Band Perry\The Band Perry\If I Die Young.mp3

 

The "\" should be the separators not "/". I use the free program called iTunesExport since all my music and playlists are kept in iTunes and it will create the "Music" folder and m3u files for me.

 

I've got a USB in both my 2017 Ford Edge Titanium with Sync3 and my 2014 Ford Taurus Limited with Sync2 MFT. They both work alright but require an indexing at first and then every once and awhile upon restart they will reindex? The more mp3 on the USB the longer the index takes.

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