Is there a car stereo with a USB 2.0 port on the front, or how else can I arrange to plug in a drive of arbitrary size?
July 9, 2004 6:03 AM   Subscribe

MP3-playing car stereos are ubiquitous. So where are the car stereos with a USB 2.0 port on the front that allow you to jack in a drive of whatever size you want? Are there unsurmountable technical difficulties with this? Anybody know of any hacks along these lines?

I realize there's this but I have a problem paying $600 when I don't want to buy their hard drive, don't need the WiFi, and I don't get a USB port.

Just a simple head unit with USB 2.0, a decent display and maybe an AM/FM tuner for giggles. Is that too much to ask for under $200?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Technology (10 answers total)
Heck, why don't more stereos come with a simple line-in, so we can avoid using 80's technology like tape adapters and radio transmitters?

I think the answer to most questions about aftermarket car stereos is that the typical purchaser is more interested in "bling" than features.
posted by smackfu at 6:45 AM on July 9, 2004

I've always asked the same question, albeit about RCA cables. How hard would it be to have an RCA jack on a car stereo so you can hook up whatever device you want to it, as opposed to the ubiquitous casette-shaped adapter? I mean, really.
posted by blueshammer at 6:46 AM on July 9, 2004

Car manufacturers are starting to screw with the ability to change out the factory units. Subaru sells the 2005 Legacy/Outbacks with an integrated stereo that can't be replaced with an aftermarket unit if you so desire.

As for alternate inputs for existing stereos, you'll find some units have DIN plugs in that back originally intended for CD changers. These can be rigged to provide input for alternative devices like ipods and MP3 players.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:28 AM on July 9, 2004

Here is a list of auxillary input adapters for car stereos. Unfortunately it is relatively short. Pehaps you could buy a BMW and an iPod. You could also splice RCA inputs into the speaker wire of your car stereo; for instance the CD changer controls, or the wire coming from the antenna. I know for a fact that there are devices that will basically do this for you. Once installed, they over-ride a particular band on the radio, say 107.9FM, which no-one seems to broadcast on, anyway. So then if you want to use, say, your cell phone's hands free device, make a call and tune to 107.9, and the device will push the output of the phone through the car's speakers. Wouldn't begin to know where to find one, however, meaybe someone else has.

As far as USB inputs go, I have never seen nor heard of this, and I don't think its in very high demand. I bet you could get it done, if you were persistent enough, but for under $200? I seriously doubt it.

Also, steve, if it can go in, it can come out. Dash-integrated have been around for years, and they have been replaced for years.
posted by ChasFile at 9:26 AM on July 9, 2004

What tharlan said; every aftermarket stereo I ever installed myself (mainly Jensen) had RCA ports.
posted by yerfatma at 9:46 AM on July 9, 2004

I've been looking for a USB-ported head unit for my system for a while now, as well. It makes so much damned sense, yet nobody appears to be doing anything about it.

The only "solutions" I've seen thus far involve installing an entire computer in your car, which is utter overkill in my mind.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:05 AM on July 9, 2004

Oh, there's also Clarion's Joyride -- which supports a CompactFlash slot in the front. It's only $2,200.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:19 AM on July 9, 2004

Response by poster: Where's the free market? With hard drives at around $0.50-$0.60/GB, this product would rule. There's a lot of money being left on the table here.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:39 PM on July 9, 2004

my sony cd-mp3 receiver has rca-inputs on the back. A simple mini-to-rca adapter will put any iPod or similar mp3 player right in. they don't make it anymore, but I'd be willing to bet that any of their other xplod products still have this.
posted by Hackworth at 10:32 PM on July 9, 2004

Belkin's Tunecast II is a very nice little fully-frequency-agile (it even has 4 memory slots) FM stereo modulator for this sort of work. $40 list; about $25 on eBay.
posted by baylink at 7:05 PM on July 12, 2004

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