A update of my saga with the ND infotainment system may help others suffering.
After months of problems with the satnav on my ND which varied from random crashes when driving, not starting up for miles and trashing the SD card I now seem to be making progress - with reservations.
After I had the first SD card crash I took an image of the second one supplied and copied the image to a new card so I had a spare. I needed it as while on holiday both the original and the copy trashed themselves within the first few days. Fortunately I had my laptop so I logged in to my home computer and downloaded the image and recopied the card (took about three hours to download with slow internet in my Croatia hotel). That one held out for the remainder of the holiday but still crashed the satnav regularly.
On my return the car went into the dealer and the infotainment software was updated but they did not have a new SD card so I could not be sure the satnav was fixed. As I did not have a “genuine” SD cad I made another home copy but the only card available at the time was 16Gb. I was not sure if the 8Gb image would copy onto a bigger card but it seemed to work and the satnav operated better than it ever had before. Quick to start up and and no crashes. A new problem now was the USB was not working properly. On my iPod Classic, iPod Touch and iPhone 7 it would play and go next/last track but not possible to choose playlist, album or track with the menus option greyed out on the Mazda screen. I later discovered that if I left an iDevice selected for around 10 minutes the system found the menus OK. Bluetooth worked flawlessly but that was no help with my iPod Classic which has the largest memory so is the favourite device. Volume is better through USB as well.
Car went back to dealer, mainly to look at USB problem but also to get new genuine SD card. New SD card supplied and the satnav has been perfect since and much quicker to start up than it used to be but no fix for the USB and although the dealer tried to sell the delay as a “feature” to ensure everything else worked OK before selecting USB, when I picked up the car they suddenly found the iPod had started working straight away but still long delay with iPhone and iPod Touch.
Satnav has now been perfect for around two months and when I updated the mapping on the genuine card by plugging into my Mac I found, what is I think maybe, an important change. The original two cards supplied were 8 Gb cards and I noted that they were very close to being full. My copies were also 8 Gb, which crashed and the one 16Gb which didn’t. The new card supplied is a 16 Gbyte but the files are still a little less than 8. I know computers do not like working on storage devices that are very short of memory and I now wonder if that was at least part of the problem. Maybe the original cards were getting short of wiggle room for temp files needed for operation.
The iPod normally loads up straight away but not always and my iPhone still takes half way to work before it will work on USB. (originally used an iPhone 7 Plus and now an iPhone X and problem is the same).
Incidentally. Just copying the files to a new card does not work but if you take a disk image from the card and then restore that disk image on to a new card it does.Technically this is a breach of copyright but the card will only work in the same car was the original card otherwise I would not publicise this option. Sorry but you cant make you Christmas money by flogging card copies on eBay. The copy card also works OK with the Toolbox which recognises it as genuine and it can be updated.
I had similar problems with the crashing etc - after the last update I have the same delay issue with the iPhone over USB, so I use Bluetooth instead.
I found that by corrupting the Gracenote database (power off the unit while doing an update), USB stick operation is much faster (and it doesn’t mess up album art/track names).
Sorry to bump an old thread but it didn’t seem worth starting a new one either.
Just a note that I “disabled” my Gracenotes database today. I’d noticed a few songs where I had carefully ensured correct tags were displaying wrong information.
For example, a song by the band “Hollywood Beyond” (an 80s British pop/disco band) was having the artist displayed as “Hollywood Rose” (an 80s American Hard Rock band). All other tags were as I set them (including my own custom album art).
Confused, I took my USB out, checked the tags in the MP3 on my computer, ran the file through some checks to make sure that there weren’t any additional tags hidden in the file that might be confusing the issue. The file passed all tests and both the artist and album artist tags were reading “Hollywood Beyond”. I put the USB back into the car and… “Hollywood Rose”. I then copied the file to another USB and plugged it in to the car. This time the artist was listed as “Hollywood Edge”! I’m not even aware of a band called Hollywood Edge. All I can find is a sound effects publisher with that name.
Anyway, I’d seen people complaining that the Gracenotes database could override tags so I decided to “disable” it. There are plenty of links that explain how to do this. For example…
but the short version is, start the database update process, restart the system to interrupt the update and the database will no longer be installed/valid. The Gracenotes database is “safe” in as much as you can not brick your system by updating it (which, apparently, is why Mazda still allows users to do it - and provides the files and instructions on their site) and if you don’t like the result, you can just go through the update procedure again and reinstall the database.
I did it, and it worked. My tags are now correct and the above example reads “Hollywood Beyond” when it plays (from either USB).
My guess is that “Hollywood Beyond”, being not much more than a one hit wonder in the 80s wasn’t in the database so Gracenotes just assumed it was a different band with a similar name and, perhaps, the other files around it gave it a slightly different context on the two USBs leading to the two different names. Either way, both were wrong.
In my opinion, there is no way that Gracenotes should be overriding correctly set tags (and I’m obviously not alone in this). If a tag is blank then, sure, have a database try and fill in the blanks but, even then, I really think there should be an easily configurable “do you want to use Gracenotes” option in the settings. If a tag is present, however, surely it should default to the file being correct rather than a crowd-sourced database where half of the entries seem to be for themed compilation albums and greatest hits collections. For people like me who actually take time and effort to make sure tags are correct, having them overridden is bad enough, having them overridden with incorrect information is really annoying. I have seen lots of complaints about this online but nothing has changed across quite a few firmware versions so I guess Mazda are just sticking with things as they are.
Actually, while I’m on, I was wondering if anyone can help with any of these queries. I’ve posted this on the Scottish forum and read extensively on miata.net and the Mazda 3 forum, but I have not found a solution. I suspect there isn’t one, but no harm in asking.
On my USB stick, I have a whole bunch of MP3 files in folders with 20 files per folder. I deliberately did this to divide a large number of files up into conveniently sized groups. When I say a large number, the folder structure is like this:
The root directory has 26 folders named a00 to z00
Each 00 folder has 5 sub folders (e.g. a01, a02, a03, a04 and a05)
Each folder has 20 MP3 files, 2600 files in total. For the most part, I just leave this thing cycling over and over.
With nearly every ICE system I have used in recent years, I can just slap the USB into the port and the files in the folders will play continuously. However, they have all also have a system that allows me to skip from one folder to the next with one button-press. e.g. a 4 way joystick (similar to the one in my ND) on a Pioneer system used left/right to skip tracks and up/down to skip folders. So, if I was playing any file in folder c00/c01 and I pressed joystick-down, it would skip to the first file in c00/c02 or if I hit joystick-up it would skip to the first file in b00/b05.
I can’t seem to find similar functionality with MZD Connect.
Why do I want this? If I take the USB out, alter it and put it back in, I might want to start playback at a particular point in the folder list. That’s one of the main reasons for the folder structure: an easy ability to skip about 20 songs at a time or to navigate to a particular point in the file list and then continue playing from that point - and keep doing so for all 2600 songs on repeat (OK, it takes weeks to get through them, but that’s not the point).
I can’t find an easy way to do this with the MZD Connect system. Yes, I can hit a button to skip to the next track and if that happens to be the last track in a folder, it will go to the next folder but that isn’t as powerful as I want because I then have to skip each of the next 20 tracks before I get to the next folder. I can also use menus to go to particular folders but when I do, that seems to take me in to that folder without an easy way to skip to the next one. The repeat functionality, for example, now just operates on files within that folder. I think it effectively generates a virtual playlist of the files in that folder and only uses them until a different selection is made from the menus? The whole thing seems to be playlist driven, genres, artists, etc but I just want one folder to play after the other and with it to be easy for me to pick a particular folder and carry on from that point.
I can, of course, navigate to the root menu of the USB and have every file on the USB listed. That creates a huge list. That’s fine in as much as I do want the whole list to play. However, if I happened to be listening to a song in folder r00/r04 before I took the USB out to modify it and then plug it back in again, getting back to the files in folder r00/r04 will take ages. I can either navigate to that folder and then be trapped in it (as described above) or scroll through hundreds of files in the main list until I get to something in r00/r04.
Moreover, every other system I have ever used that allows you to look at the playlist automatically focuses on the tune currently being played. i.e. if I was playing song 1300 out of 2600 and went to the screen that allows me to look at the playlist, song 1300 would be highlighted and at the top of the screen (with the next few songs on the list in view below it). Not so with MZD connect. When calling up the playlist, it always just starts displaying at the top of the list (track #1) and I have to scroll through hundreds of tracks to see the currently playing one.
So, I guess my questions are:
Is there any way to get MZD Connect to skip from one folder to the next at the press of a button, effectively treating each folder as a virtual CD in a CD changer but otherwise just play one folder after the other if I don’t press said skip button?
Either that, or a quick way to navigate to any particular point in a huge list of tunes?
Is there a way to look at the current playlist of songs and have MZD Connect automatically focus on the track currently playing in its playlist view?
As I said, I expect the answer is no, but no harm in asking. Thanks for reading.
In case it’s important, my system is using firmware version EU_59.00.502A