Friday, September 30, 2016

Prepping a USB stick to play music files in a Camry

A while back little bro adopted a new Toyota Camry.

One of the features it comes with is the ability to play music off a USB stick..

So he grabbed a very nice Lexar brand USB 3.0 64 GB USB stick while at a local office-supply store and copied his music files to it.

Unfortunately it didn’t play. His old USB 2.0 1 GB stick worked fine in the vehicle.

He thought it might be a bad stick (or that the sound system didn’t support USB 3.0) and was getting ready to return it to the store but I asked him a few questions.

First he confirmed it was NTFS formatted. That’s pretty common on many newer USB 3.0 sticks I’ve seen lately. I suggested he might want to try formatting at FAT32.

Note: Per the 2017 Toyota Camry Owners Manual (page 272) this requirement was later confirmed: file system format needed to be FAT 16/32. Other important points are that the USB device can only have 8 levels of folder heirachy, a maximum of 3000 folders, a maximum of 9999 files, and a maximum of 255 files per folder.  Files must be in MP3, WMA, or AAC format.

The next problem was that his Windows 10 system would only offer to format the device in exFAT.

So I had him go CMDo and run DISKPART.

  • DISKPART>list disk
  • DISKPART>select disk # <—picked # that represented USB stick on his system
  • DISKPART>clean
  • DISKPART>create partition primary
  • DISKPART>active
  • DISKPART>assign letter = E
  • DISKPART>format fs=fat32
  • DISKPART>exit

Only that netted him an error during the formatting process that the volume was too big.

Then I remembered a GUI utility from Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd that I used a long time ago.

It is free and can format FAT32 volumes beyond the normal 32 GB size limit that is sometimes encountered. It never let me down in the past.

He downloaded the tool, ran it as an admin, selected his USB drive, kept the defaut allocation unit size, and did a quick format on the 64 GB USB device. Done.

He tested and the USB stick (and media files) were now recognized with no issues by the sound system.

Mischief managed.

This seems to be a common issue many Toyota owners run into with newer/larger USB sticks so I thought I would drop a post for posterity.


Claus Valca

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