Media Options

So you have two options to play your MP3 files. The most obvious is burning them on inexpensive CD-R media, which will cost only cents. The disadvantage of using regular CDs is the 650 MB capacity per disc and the lower life-span compared to memory cards. Depending on the quality of the media you use you will see the top of your CD peeling off after a couple of years, especially if you leave the CD inside your car. You also can’t delete or rename files on CDs, unless you use CD-RWs (the system is compatible with this kind of media). By the way, Honda’s CD player recognize multiple-session CDs, so you can add more files later if your CD isn’t full. Another disadvantage of CDs is that you need to use a program to write files to them, and the writing process delays a little bit.

The second option is to use a memory card. The advantage of using memory cards is that you will have a higher capacity (you can easily find 16 GB Compact Flash cards around) and won’t use the CD player behind the LCD screen, so you can still install a CD there even with the memory card installed on the audio system. When installed on PCs memory cards are recognized as regular disk drives, so you can easily add, rename or move files around. Another advantage is that if you have a media player that is based on a memory card, you can use the memory card from your player, not requiring you to copy all files to a new memory card.

The disadvantage of using memory cards is obviously the cost. While blank CDs cost only cents the cheapest 4 GB Compact Flash card costs around USD 15 at – which is a great price, by the way; you won’t find 4 GB in retail stores like Best Buy for less than USD 60. If you have a media player that uses a memory card to store files you can use it and save some money.

You will also need a PC Card (a.k.a. PCMCIA) adapter, which will allow you to install your memory card in the slot available on the car, another USD 9.00 cost. The problem of using a PC Card slot is not only the extra cost of the adapter, but the fact that laptops nowadays don’t use this kind of slot anymore (PCMCIA slots were replaced by a new kind of slot called Express Card). So it is just a matter of time for these adapters completely vanish from the market. We can’t understand why car makers simply don’t put a Compact Flash slot on their audio systems instead of putting an obsolete slot that also generates an extra cost to the consumers – this problem affects the whole industry and not only Honda.

Honda Navi MP3Figure 3: PC Card adapter and Compact Flash card.

This adapter uses by default Compact Flash memory cards and we recommend you to stick with Compact Flash. If, however, your media player uses a different kind of memory card (SD or MMC, for example), you will need to buy an adapter to convert the CF slot present on the PC Card adapter described on the above paragraph (and shown in Figure 3) to the kind of memory card you have. Another cost, unfortunately.

And you will need an adapter to install the memory card to your PC, so you can copy files to it. Some desktops and laptops have already a built-in memory card reader (see Figure 4); if this is your case no extra adapter will be necessary. This adapter also won’t be necessary if you have a laptop with PCMCIA slot. If your computer doesn’t have a memory card reader, you will need to buy an adapter to install your memory card to any available USB port. One interesting option is an internal multiple card reader or even a floppy disk drive with built-in memory card reader (portrayed in Figure 4).

Honda Navi MP3Figure 4: Desktop with multiple card reader.

We were very detailed on the above explanations because the User’s Manual doesn’t explain anything about the required adapters and how to use them.

Honda Navi system can only recognize up to 999 files. While this number seems to be high in fact it isn’t, especially with 16 GB Compact Flash cards around.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.