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I will be connecting a 320GB Seagate USB-powered hard drive to my Kenwood head unit. 16GB thumb drive just doesn't cut it any more. (Ironically, 320GB hard drive costs about the same as most 64 and 32GB USB thumb drives). The connector cable is in the back of stereo. What the best area to place the hard drive? I see several possibilities..

1. Right behind and below the head unit there is tons of space. Wrap the hard drive in a foam to prevent vibrations/ratting, and it's good to go..

2. In the glove box... in this case I need to somehow run an extension USB cable into it through the center console. Is this a good idea?

3. In the dash box?
 

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HDDs are very sensitive to the slightest vibrations. and will not last long in a car. best bet is to construct some sort solid device to accommodate it. if you can make something that is 5.25" you can use these
Scythe Anti-Vibration HDD Stabilizer 2
and mount it somewhere behind the CP. and still use some extra foam tightly around it get it snug in your frame/bracket. i think that would work out well.

or you can go with a solid state drive and you can just throw that thing in the floor board and not have to worry about it lol.
 

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For this you'll need a notebook hard disk....

and a usb enclosure because of the vibration and jarring the unit is going to take.

Best hard drive for this would be a Seagate Model ST9500420ASG since it has it's own G force sensors and you'll need to mount it in a case like this. Micro Center - Vantec NexStar TX 2.5" SATA to USB 2.0 Hard Drive Enclosure NST-210S2-BK

A solid state drive would be better but you'll be in for serious sticker shock when you look at the price of those.
 

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I will be connecting a 320GB Seagate USB-powered hard drive to my Kenwood head unit. 16GB thumb drive just doesn't cut it any more. (Ironically, 320GB hard drive costs about the same as most 64 and 32GB USB thumb drives). The connector cable is in the back of stereo. What the best area to place the hard drive? I see several possibilities..

1. Right behind and below the head unit there is tons of space. Wrap the hard drive in a foam to prevent vibrations/ratting, and it's good to go..

2. In the glove box... in this case I need to somehow run an extension USB cable into it through the center console. Is this a good idea?

3. In the dash box?
go with a solid state drive (ssd)
 

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Also, make sure it's installed in a well-ventilated area. Vibration will be the main concern but overheating can become an issue as well.
 

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I would opt for the thumb drives. A solid state device is the only thing thats gonna work well in a car. The amount of shock a drive can take while in operation is quite limited, and cars will routinely see a lot more than that. Even with anti vibration attempts taken, every pothole and railroad crossing becomes a death trap. Furthermore, hard drives need ventilation for cooling. Wrapped in foam, the drives will overheat. Go with solid state, the thumb drives are solid state.
 

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I would opt for the thumb drives. A solid state device is the only thing thats gonna work well in a car. The amount of shock a drive can take while in operation is quite limited, and cars will routinely see a lot more than that. Even with anti vibration attempts taken, every pothole and railroad crossing becomes a death trap. Furthermore, hard drives need ventilation for cooling. Wrapped in foam, the drives will overheat. Go with solid state, the thumb drives are solid state.
Some cars come loaded with mechanical HDDs from the factory, so it is possible. My cousins chrysler has an 80gb hard in the head unit.

That said, they are designed to be more rugged than a standard drive and can handle the bumps and shocks of daily driving.
 

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A hard drive or a solid state drive? I would seriously doubt they would but a hard drive in there. They cannot be made that robust. Even laptop drives, which have inertial sensors are not rugged enough to be used in a vehicle. My guess is that your cousins head unit likely contains an 80 gb solid state drive.
 

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Yes, they do use actual hard disk drives. My parents have one and when you turn the key to ACC you can hear the unmistakable whine of a HDD spinning up and the head moving around. The drives use a special file system with heavy error correction. The radios might even implement sudden motion sensors to park the heads when going over a large bump. The radio does also have a fan that cycles on and off to keep things cool.

Pictures: Radio / Console Removal Instructions - DodgeForum.com

The hard drive is a Samsung HM031HC 30GB. And you only get about 11GB of music storage space after the OS and Nav data.

But I agree running a regular old HDD formatted in FAT or NTFS would cause problems over time. $70 for a 64GB flash drive should be enough space with moderate bitrate MP3s.

With a HDD you also have to worry about power. A USB port on a radio probably doesn't provide enough power to run one. You would have to get some kind of automotive hard drive power adapter.
 

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Ok, even if that its true, that does not address the reliability of such a set up. I'll bet it does have all sorts of sensors to prevent damage to the drive. If you are trying to make your own system, its better to take all the guesswork and just go with flash media. You can fit a lot of music on a 64 gb drive. The largest iPods are 160 gb, and they are known to have the internal HD fail. Its just hard to make a hard drive withstand vibrations.
 

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Ok, even if that its true, that does not address the reliability of such a set up. I'll bet it does have all sorts of sensors to prevent damage to the drive. If you are trying to make your own system, its better to take all the guesswork and just go with flash media.
The way most of the OEMs address the problem is with smart caching, predicting what songs you might play base on habits or playlist and load them into memory. This keeps the arm locked into it's default position for a majority of the time so that in the result of bumps or rough roads it doesn't cause the head to crash. Access time is around 8ms for most mechanical HDDs, so in periods of smooth driving it can load some more quickly without risking a head crash, then snap back to it's default position. Same thing for the maps, since it already knows what area you're in and where you could go it just pre-loads the images for those areas and spins down the hard drive. This improves the reliability and lifetime of the drives.
 
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