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Trying to play mp3's without the 400 bugs and hurdles Tesla throws at you...

greenberger

Member
Oct 6, 2018
13
9
New York City
So I've had my M3 for 2 years now, and I love the car in pretty much every single way but one... playing music. I don't like Spotify or streaming; I have a good 40,000 (and growing) collection of great music I listen to. Over the years, I have experimented with / tried everything to get Tesla's horrible USB system to work: different drives, different formatting, different folder structure organization... nothing changes the fact that a good 80% of the time, the minute I open that car door, my Tesla will start re-indexing from scratch. When you have 40,000 songs, that takes a good half hour to go through. I have formatted my drive as Ext 4 on recommendations from people, but the truth is, Ext 4 or Fat 32, it really takes the same amount of time to scan through the drive- I've tested this several times.

I have a 256 gb USB Samsung thumbdrive- very fast, and then I have. 2TB Samsung SSD drive. Both constantly re-scan, both are slow regardless of how they're formatted, what USB port I plug them into, etc. I let iTunes organize them because it does a good job with folder structures and artists- but I've tried my own organization as well. No matter what, the car will re-scan most of the time.

Finally, I got tired of battling my Tesla, so I tried a new approach- connecting my 2 TB drive to my phone, and streaming via Bluetooth that way. It works, but then we get a different problem- the car won't read the embedded album art over Bluetooth for some reason, so I sometimes get artwork if the car finds a match from wherever the hell it likes to go search for artwork. Since a lot of my music is pretty obscure stuff, I often don't get any artwork. Minor pet peeve in the grand scheme of things maybe, but...

...are there any solutions to either issue? I've searched these forums. Some people claim their car rarely does a rescan- I can't figure out why. Tesla tells me there's nothing "faulty" with my USB ports- they do work after all- so they're no help. And even when I only had 12,000 or 15,000 songs on the drive, the re-scanning was constant. The only difference now is more songs, so even longer of a wait.

Any 100% tried-and-true workarounds?
 

greenberger

Member
Oct 6, 2018
13
9
New York City
tUSB.jpg
 

metamix

Member
Apr 4, 2020
19
19
Sande, Norway
Have you tried using exFAT? I have not used ext4 myself, but as exFAT is working perfectly for me I think it can be worth a try.

Also, does it rescan the drive also if you have woken the car up for example by turning on the AC in the app a minute before?

I have for the last 7 months had a 2 TB 2.5 inch Toshiba hard drive connected to my 2019-sep M3.
I have partitioned it into a 1.5 TB exFAT partition for music, and the rest as FAT32 for TeslaCam/Sentry.
I use Bliss for automanaging cover art and ID3-tags, plus manual inspection/correction with Mp3Tag.

I have about 600 GB of music files on the drive at the moment, some mp3 but mostly flac at 16/44, 24/48, 24/88 and 24/96.
In my case the car never rescans the drive unless I actually change the contents. I do not think I have as many tracks as 40000 on the drive though, so that may make a difference -- I just cherry-picked from my full collection.

My only big problem is that the drive takes so long to spin up that if the car is sleeping and I approach and open the door, it will give up and not show the USB drive and therefore forget where it was. So I have to select USB and select something to play. Luckily there is a workaround -- I can wake the car with the app a minute before, and everything is perfect.
I have ordered a 1 TB SSD to see if this reacts so fast that I eliminate the problem, though I really would like Tesla to allow more time for spinup in the software. I feel a hard drive is the best choice for continuous recording of TeslaCam, it will not be worn out by overwrites. I will leave it for TeslaCam while using the new SSD for music.
 
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Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,870
2,185
Silicon Valley, CA
I am actually really sick of my USB issues too. I don't even know what to do about it.

In my case, the USB drive randomly disappears, or skips during playback for up to 3 seconds. I was told that this was because the music and sentry files are on the same USB.

I though the USB was failing, but I tried another one and its exactly the same.
 

greenberger

Member
Oct 6, 2018
13
9
New York City
Have you tried using exFAT? I have not used ext4 myself, but as exFAT is working perfectly for me I think it can be worth a try.

Also, does it rescan the drive also if you have woken the car up for example by turning on the AC in the app a minute before?

Thanks for that reply. I now can't remember about exFAT, but I must have tried that at some point- perhaps it was unsupported at the time, and now I should give it another shot..? I will try that.

I haven't tried turning on the AC, actually. I did try fooling it by leaving it in Camping Mode and locking the doors, but that's a pretty wasteful workaround. I will try waking it up as you suggested- that might do the trick. Lord knows I've tried a hundred little tricks like that over the years, to no success (leaving it on pause, switching to the radio before leaving the car, leaving it in the middle of a route navigation before leaving the car... they all seemed to work for a round or two before proving to be failures.)
 

sduck

Mr. Duck
Nov 6, 2017
1,426
1,422
Nashville TN
First, ext4 should reindex much faster than fat32 or exfat. If it doesn't, you may not be using actual ext4, just something dressed up to look like it (I don't actually know what this would be). This is the only benefit that using ext4 actually gives you, although it may factor in to my success with getting the car to remembering where it is over power cycles.

I use a combo of a Crucial 256gb NAND SATA M.2 ssd drive - Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA M.2 Type 2280SS Internal SSD - CT250MX500SSD4 - and a Aluminum M.2 NGFF(B Key) to USB 3.1 Type-C M.2 SSD Enclosure Portable External Solid State Drive Enclosure (Doesn't Support NVME SSD) (Black) enclosure. Besides having a fast drive, you want a really good drive controller, which this case has. Formatted ext4, no partition, just one volume. I have another ssd (a sandisk extreme 250gb one) for sentry/dashcam duty. This music drive, with maybe 80-100 gb of music files on it, catalogs almost instantly when first plugged in, and stays catalogged. Once I start playing a track, the car always remembers where it is over any number of power cycles, even if paused (unless I switch audio sources of course).

Note that there may be any number of different usb controller chips used on the tesla end in different cars, any of which might give different results. I've heard of folks getting great results with just a thumb drive, although that doesn't work for me.
 

greenberger

Member
Oct 6, 2018
13
9
New York City
First, ext4 should reindex much faster than fat32 or exfat. If it doesn't, you may not be using actual ext4, just something dressed up to look like it (I don't actually know what this would be).

I'm on a mac, so I use extFS for Mac as my formatting / mounting software. It's a little bit of a pain (and limits the drive to only opening on that one machine) so when it seemed to add no benefit, I stopped using it- but I have tried going back to it a few times over the 2 years with no success (either in having it index faster, or having the car remember the indexing.) It was the most recommended software back when I did my research to use ext4.

As for speed, I don't really know how my drive compares to yours, but the SSD I use is a Samsung SSD T5, write speed Up to 10 Gb/s, going through a USB-C to USB-3 cable into the car... seems pretty darn fast to me!

Note that there may be any number of different usb controller chips used on the tesla end in different cars, any of which might give different results. I've heard of folks getting great results with just a thumb drive, although that doesn't work for me.

Well that might definitely be the case, which is frustrating since then I'd have no way to change that... or really any way to find out what I do have, other than I received delivery September 2018, if anyone has a clue about that.
 

sduck

Mr. Duck
Nov 6, 2017
1,426
1,422
Nashville TN
extFS for mac works well for me also - that's what I use. While one could easily set up a free VM for this, this app/extension works well. And while one can worry about the speed of our drives all day, what i think matters more is the latency of the controller chip, or rather chips, as the one in your drive has to interact with the one in the car (and the hub if you're using one); and some of these combinations work better than others. I tried a LOT of options before finding this combination of hardware that works (including the ones you've mentioned).
 

RandyS

Fan of Elon
Jul 8, 2012
701
904
San Diego
I had reindexing issues on my 2018 M3P early on, but just commented to my GF just recently that it has been working great for quite some time now. No reindexing, starts up where I left off when I get back in the car, etc. I have one 64 GB USB drive with mp3s that are ripped at 256, and it is almost full...
 

Ritz

Member
Mar 16, 2020
159
134
Virginia
Perhaps I'm just lucky, but I'm not having any issues with mp3's on my 6 month old Model 3 Performance. I'm using a Samsung T5 1TB USB-C drive. It's working just fine for MP3's and teslacam use. I only have about 7000 mp3's on it. The user interface for consuming USB music leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm not seeing the issues the original poster is experiencing. I'm wondering if that's a function of the storage device being largely empty.

Best,
 
Dec 26, 2019
128
77
Silicon Valley
Here are some experiments to try:
  • Remove any USB hub in the path.
  • Try another USB cable, in particular one that's rated for 5Gbps or more and 2.4A or more. (This matters for keeping Android Auto from disconnecting while navigating in a Leaf or a Bolt.)
  • When you try exFAT, try with a small batch of music files. If it works OK, then add a batch at a time.
  • Remove any extraneous files and folders that Mac and iTunes add like .DS_Store.
I think the main advantage of ext4 is data robustness to losing the power or data connection. This matters for sentry cam.

I had that playback skipping recently. It sounded like an LP!
 
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sduck

Mr. Duck
Nov 6, 2017
1,426
1,422
Nashville TN
  • Remove any extraneous files and folders that Mac and iTunes add like .DS_Store.
You don't have to worry about these, the file system ignores them anyway. Back when things weren't working much at all I used to remove these also, to see if it might help; but now that everything works, I just leave them, they aren't part of the problem.
 
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greenberger

Member
Oct 6, 2018
13
9
New York City
Here are some experiments to try:
  • Remove any USB hub in the path.
  • Try another USB cable, in particular one that's rated for 5Gbps or more and 2.4A or more. (This matters for keeping Android Auto from disconnecting while navigating in a Leaf or a Bolt.)
  • When you try exFAT, try with a small batch of music files. If it works OK, then add a batch at a time.
  • Remove any extraneous files and folders that Mac and iTunes add like .DS_Store.
I think the main advantage of ext4 is data robustness to losing the power or data connection. This matters for sentry cam.

I had that playback skipping recently. It sounded like an LP!

I haven't had a chance to try EX-FAT... this is my next (and last) resort. There's no USB hub, I've tried several cables, and not the cheap-o Amazon generic kind but legit 10G cables for Thunderbolt 3 drives, even. The re-indexing has been happening from the beginning, when I had like 4,000 files on a thumb drive. Currently I have a 256 GB Samsung (ultra fast) thumb drive with about 20K songs, plus the SSD drive listed above- both experience the issue regardless of formatting as either FAT or EXT4, so I'm hoping Ex-Fat plays nicer.

I have been waking the car up a minute before opening the door this past week with high hopes, but it's done nothing. Even when I wake it up, turn on climate even, when I get in the car, it's back to square one. Hoping EX-FAT solves it!
 
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Rottenapplr

Member
Apr 6, 2019
992
478
LOS ANGELES
I am actually really sick of my USB issues too. I don't even know what to do about it.

In my case, the USB drive randomly disappears, or skips during playback for up to 3 seconds. I was told that this was because the music and sentry files are on the same USB.

I though the USB was failing, but I tried another one and its exactly the same.
I gave up using usb for music. It’s too slow to find songs. I don’t like how we interface with artist we want to play their music. I just stream via Bluetooth. If want excellent sound i have headphones.
Tesla has really neglected this part of the car. I wish they would address usb music files it would go a long way for us who have thousands of music files.
 

Tres_Azul

Member
Oct 10, 2019
69
56
Arizona
USB playback is pretty stable for me nowadays, with very little messing about or reindexing, so definitely better than when I got it a year ago. (have to periodically empty the cam files tho)

Last 3 or 4 versions of Tesla software really helped with car correctly resuming playback on entry. Like others, I’m suspicious what roll wake-up timing plays in that overall, as it still seems a little variable latency-wise when waking/driving away quickly. (was one OS version where car could never resume correctly, but its been a long while.)

Agree that UI/UX leaves a LOT of room for improvement.

I’m running a single microSD with 2x partitions, via the smallest sandisk usb adapter you can buy.

The microSD is whatever fancy SanDisk “extreme duty” one they make for hi heat/dashcam use.

I used Win10 to do all the file system and file encoding changes, so pretty sure the file system on the partitions is exFAT.

I had redo it a bunch to get it to work at all, but its been almost a year since then, so don’t recall exactly which MP3 converter or encoding I used. Originally, more than half of my tracks weren’t seen at all and many that were seen would sketch out mid playback.

The fix was two-fold; Greatly reduce the number of folders, and homogenize the file type/encoding. In the end, I dumped all tracks for all albums into each artist folder, to eliminate most folders. Then, I used a batch script and some freeware cmd line utility to convert all the files to the same MP3 format, before copying them to music partition. Not sure exact depth/rate I used, but it was one of the highest rate/depth MP3 encoding the car would read successfully in my single file tests. (script took a roughly 90GB dir of mixed high quality file types, down to almost exactly 32GB of MP3s) By far, the thing that had the biggest impact on load/read stability/playback was removing all the individual album folders.

Since the car is so dang loud inside, I’m nearly unable to perceive the quality loss in the files on surface streets, and can’t tell at all doing freeway speeds.
 

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