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Is There A Usb Control (+handsfree) Solution For '02 Gs300


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Sorry, I am aware that similar posts already exist in this forum, but none cover the topic from a layperson's point of view. I cannot and will not do any work on the car myself, any installation beyond plugging in a 12V power lead is completely beyond my capabilities ...

I own a 2002 Lexus GS 300 which has an integrated Satnav-Audio headunit. I wish to add handsfree calling functionality (low priority) and play MP3 files off a USB stick or SD card (high priority). I would like to be able to navigate through several layers of folders on my USB stick and select specific tracks within those folders. I do not have an iPod, but would reluctantly buy one if I had no other choice.

Is there a solution which would allow me to do both (handsfree + MP3s) or do I need to address both issues separately?

I have read good things about the Parrot MKi9200 but was told by my local car audio fitters that this device is not suitable for my particular car due to installation issues. A more detailed explanation was given but I am unable to reproduce it as it was too technical. This incompatibility has also been suggested here in the forum but contradicted by some contributors. Never really got clarified.

The problem with most iPod/USB controllers that feed into the car's headunit is that the '02 GS300 headunit does not support CD text. Ergo very limited browsing functionality will be available with any of these devices. I understand they basically emulate an external CD changer, and hence I merely get sequential browsing through the USB stick (i.e. step-through, track 01-02-03-04-..., no titles or other metadata), as I would get from any conventional CD. This is not good enough.

I have looked at the Denison Gateway 300, but due to the limitations of the headunit it only allows step-through title selection on USB sticks. Products like XCarLink and Grom seem even more restrictive, as they limit USB MP3 playback to 10 folders (but apparently only 6 in the '02 GS300) with 99 files each, no further sub-folders possible and no further browsing capabilities (again only step-through). The VAIS VML (MultiMediaLinQ) seems to have similar limitations with USB sticks although I am not sure about this one.

The Dice RDS Modulator is another option but I would have to buy an iPod which was not my intention.

I have tried a cassette adapter and two different FM transmitters, but none of these deliver acceptable audio quality.

Any further ideas, as well as feedback from people using any of the systems mentioned above would be appreciated. Please keep it to useage/compatibility aspects.

Cheers!

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  • 2 weeks later...
I have looked at the Denison Gateway 300, but due to the limitations of the headunit it only allows step-through title selection on USB sticks. Products like XCarLink and Grom seem even more restrictive, as they limit USB MP3 playback to 10 folders (but apparently only 6 in the '02 GS300) with 99 files each, no further sub-folders possible and no further browsing capabilities (again only step-through). The VAIS VML (MultiMediaLinQ) seems to have similar limitations with USB sticks although I am not sure about this one.
I'm not sure where you found all those limitations on GROM USB unit ?

There is a way to browse by subfolders (via SCAN feature). Also no limitations on subfolders or number of files. Please check FAQ for more options GROM-USB has.

http://gromaudio.com/support/usb-faq.html

http://gromaudio.com/support/usb-config.html

Hope this helps :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not sure where you found all those limitations on GROM USB unit ?

http://gromaudio.com/store/usb_adapters/grom-usb2-toy.html,

section "main characteristics":

Converted USB disk into virtual CD changer

--- 2002 Lexus GS300 Head Unit (HU) supports CD changers with max. 6 CDs

The GROM device emulates a CD changer, therefore it is restricted by the limitations of the HU.

Browse your music files via car stereo buttons

--- 2002 Lexus GS300 HU has 6 touchscreen buttons to change CD 1 thru 6 (but no disc up-down buttons), plus 1 up-down button to change TRACKs on a CD.

Navigates through directories and map them to the disk buttons on your car stereo

--- 2002 Lexus GS300 HU CD changer supports max. 6 CDs, ergo GROM can map max. 6 directories on USB drive.

Also no limitations on subfolders or number of files.

GROM USB User manual §3.5

- Only 6 disks are supported on most car stereos.

- Up to 99 disks are supported on stereos with DISK UP and DISK DOWN buttons.

--- 2002 Lexus GS300 HU supports max. 6 disks.

GROM USB User manual §3.4

- As soon as you connect the GROM USB adapter to a USB portable data medium, the GROM will enumerate root directories, translating them into virtual disks. Their number depends on the number of discs supported by the specific car stereo.

- It is recommended that you have as many directories as possible on a root level as subdirectories will not be recognized by the car stereo.

--- 2002 Lexus GS300 HU supports max. 6 CDs, therefore the amount of root directories that the GROM device can map to the HU of the 2002 Lexus GS300 is 6 (SIX)!

--- My USB stick has 17 root directories (music genre), most of which then have further subfolders (music sub-genre), then some music files (miscellaneous artists) and some further subdirectories (specific artists) with music files.

Root:folder=<music genre>

___L1:folder=<music subgenre>

______L2:file=<artistname - trackname>

______L2:folder=<artistname>

_________L3:file=<trackname> (i.e. file names are song titles only)

I usually select a L2-level subfolder to play the files contained therein. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE WITH THE GROM USB DEVICE.

In my case I would only be able to play tracks from 6 of my 17 directories. Also for each directory come "virtual disc"/playlist I would end up with a flat list of (1000s of) files/tracks in alphanumerical order. This would give me an entirely random/chaotic playlist, since the majority of my filenames are tracknames only (no artistname in filename), and GROM flattens my existing structure into 1 playlist, in my case at the <music genre> level.

GROM USB User manual §3.4

- On your USB portable data medium, create one directory (folder) for each disc your radio supports (i.e., Disc 1, Disc 2); save all of your music into these directories.

- All MP3, WMA, iTunes, and OGG tracks will be enumerated and found once you select the appropriate disk.

- The GROM itself will enumerate subdirectories and turn them into a flat list of tracks.

Also no limitations on subfolders or number of files.

http://gromaudio.com/support/usb-faq.html

section "How many files per directory ?":

We have tested with ~1000 files in a directory. So technically no limits but be aware that it might take longer to switch between files and proper ordering may not be possible.

----This information is generic and vague, and not related to any specifc HU.

Red Book specification limits the number of tracks on an audio CD to 99.

The 2002 Lexus GS300 HU supports only standard audio CDs with max. 99 tracks each. (CD-text is also not supported.)

---- Neither on its website nor in its product documentation does GROM specifically confirm that its USB device will definitely allow playlists of more than 99 tracks on all HUs/car models, nor does their Compatibility list (under http://gromaudio.com/store/usb_adapters/grom-usb2-toy.html) or "Application Guide" (under http://gromaudio.com/grom_application_guide.pdf) specify a maximum number of files/tracks per playlist for each compatible HU/car model.

GROM USB User manual §3.5

- The following operations are supported by the GROM USB:

o Change virtual disk/playlist

--- but only 6 for the 2002 Lexus GS300

o Change tracks forward and backward

--- via the 2002 Lexus GS300 HU's track up-down button

o Change +/- 10 tracks in SCAN mode

There is a way to browse by subfolders (via SCAN feature).

--- Yes, this is "browsing" in its narrowest sense, i.e. random hopping. The user will not know for certain which track lies 10 tracks ahead of / behind the current one. He might find what he is looking for, but odds are he won't. This certainly is NOT a tool enabling the user to look for a particular track that he would like to listen to.

o Display track # and track title where available

--- track TITLE display not available on the 2002 Lexus GS300 (HU does not support CD-text).

o Display current track playing time

o Random and Repeat functionalities

o Restore last positions for up to 4 USB sticks

o Restore last playlist positions in up to 20 virtual disks

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I have done further research and now find the Parrot RKi-8400 to be a particularly appealing product. It offers exactly the functionality that I am after. Also, it is (more or less) in keeping with the styling/design of the car, as opposed to other products offering similar functionality (like an Alpine, for example).

Does anyone know if it is possible to install this device on a 2002 Lexus GS300? If so, where would be the best position for it? I don't think it would make sense to put it in the glovebox, as you could not see the info on the the device's display in this case.

As mentioned before I do not possess any technical knowledge as far as installing car audio devices.

In my naivety I was hoping that it is possible to separate the radio/cassette part of the GS300's head unit from the navi part, with the intention of replacing the radio with the Parrot RKi-8400.

Can this be done?

post-31289-1261496116.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...
--- 2002 Lexus GS300 HU has 6 touchscreen buttons to change CD 1 thru 6 (but no disc up-down buttons), plus 1 up-down button to change TRACKs on a CD.

Correct. You can use steering wheel controls to navigate to higher folders. Just press > button and wait for 1-2 seconds.

--- 2002 Lexus GS300 HU supports max. 6 CDs, therefore the amount of root directories that the GROM device can map to the HU of the 2002 Lexus GS300 is 6 (SIX)!

See above.

I usually select a L2-level subfolder to play the files contained therein. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE WITH THE GROM USB DEVICE.

We suggest having different sticks with manageable number of files. You can change them on fly and all positions will be restored.

----This information is generic and vague, and not related to any specifc HU.

Red Book specification limits the number of tracks on an audio CD to 99.

The 2002 Lexus GS300 HU supports only standard audio CDs with max. 99 tracks each. (CD-text is also not supported.)

---- Neither on its website nor in its product documentation does GROM specifically confirm that its USB device will definitely allow playlists of more than 99 tracks on all HUs/car models, nor does their Compatibility list ...

As explained in FAQ your stereo will be able to display tracks up to 99. All tracks >99 will be truncated in digits. Say track 13456 will be displayed as 56.

Also SCAN feature has option for folder browsing and not only +-10. Check our FAQ.

Hope it helps.

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