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rio car dot org FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)



Category: Main -> Software and player operation questions
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·  Why do the visuals disappear every time I put it in the car? 
·  I just got my new player and I have many gigs of MP3s to install. Is there anything I need to keep in mind? 
·  Why can't I add more than one song at a time? 
·  What does the flashing LED on the faceplate mean? 
·  Do I have to put the player into standby mode before I pull the plug? 
·  Can I copy MP3 files back onto my PC from the player? 
·  Is there anything I should keep in mind when I grab files from the player? 

·  Can I back up the player's playlists and music files?
 (Entry last updated on March 13th, 2008)

Yes, but it's a pain in the ass.

Most people don't bother with doing this, as it's much easier to just leave your MP3s on the PC's hard disk. If you keep your MP3s organized on your PC's hard disk in the same way they're organized on the player (as described here), it's pretty easy to rebuild your player if its hard disk needs to be replaced.

If you really want to go to the trouble of a file-by-file backup of the player, you can do it via FTP. There are a few different methods.

Initial Preparation.

  • Make sure your computer is running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or later, and is using the NTFS file system (FAT file system does not allow big files). Mac and Linux users, you can also do similar procedures at your shell prompt, but my instructions here are windows-specific.


  • Make sure your computer has enough free hard disk space for a complete backup. For instance, if your player has a 30-gigabyte disk drive you need more than 30 gigabytes free on your computer.


  • Make sure you own a Mk2 or Mk2a player. Since the Mk1 doesn't have an ethernet port and therefore can't use FTP, you are out of luck if you own a Mk1. In that case, just keep your MP3s organized on your PC as described here.


  • Install the player software version 2.0 final as described here. Make sure to install the developer version.


  • Install an FTP server on the player. The easiest way to do this is by installing the Hijack kernel using the instructions here.


  • Make sure you've got a working ethernet connection to the player. If you're having trouble getting ethernet working, click here.


  • Make sure you know your player's IP address.


  • This procedure makes the empeg's disk drive run constantly for a very long period of time. Make sure your player is well-ventilated when you do this. If you have it in a docking station, make sure the docking station has a fan. If you have the player sitting loose on your desk, check every once in a while to make sure it isn't getting too hot by peeking at the Hijack temperature warning screen.

Backup Method 1: Complete disk image backup.

(Please note: This method has not been fully tested. If you try this, please report success or failure. Thanks.)

This method is the simplest and easiest to do. The result is one large image file representing the empeg's hard disk. But it has drawbacks: It takes the longest time, since it's also backing up the empty disk space on the player. Also, the restore operation only works properly if it's being restored to a hard disk that is the same size as the one when the backup was made, so you can't restore to a larger hard disk. Finally, there is no way to "resume" a backup or restore operation if something goes wrong halfway through.

To make a backup of the player:

  • Pause the player, or put it in standby mode.


  • Create a folder on your PC to store the backups. Name it whatever you want.


  • Open a command prompt (DOS prompt) on your computer. Use the CD command to change to the folder you created.


  • Type FTP (Enter) to start the command-line FTP client.


  • You should see an ftp> prompt.


  • Type open (empeg's IP address) (Enter).


  • When it prompts for the user name, press Enter. It should say Login okay.


  • Type binary (Enter).


  • Type GET /dev/hda empeg_drive_0.bak (Enter).


  • Wait a very long time. The larger the hard disk, the longer the wait. Expect at least 10 hours for a 30-gigabyte hard disk.


  • Type GET /dev/hdb empeg_drive_1.bak (Enter) if you have a second hard disk. Wait again.


  • Type quit (Enter).

You should now have one or two very large disk image files as backups.

To restore the full image backup(s) to the player:

  • Repair/rebuild/replace the player as necessary to get it working again. If replacing a bad hard disk, refer to the Disk Upgrade Guide for details on how to use the builder image to partition and format the hard disk(s). With this method, the replacement hard disk(s) must be the same size as the original.


  • Get 2.0 developer and Hijack onto the new/repaired/rebuilt player as described above.


  • Using a Hyperterminal connection to the player, exit the player software to the shell prompt as described here. Close Hyperterminal with the player still sitting at its shell prompt.


  • Open the DOS command prompt on your PC, and use the CD command to change to the folder with your backups.


  • Type FTP (Enter) to start the command-line FTP client.


  • Type open (empeg's IP address) (Enter).


  • When it prompts for the user name, press Enter. It should say Login okay.


  • Type binary (Enter).


  • Type PUT empeg_drive_0.bak /dev/hda (Enter), and wait a long time.


  • Type PUT empeg_drive_1.bak /dev/hdb (Enter) if you have a second hard disk. Wait again.


  • Type quit (Enter).


  • Reboot the player.


  • If you restored the data to a different player, you might also need to re-enter the information stored in flash RAM, such as your fader and balance settings, your dimmer settings, etc.

Backup Method 2: File by file backup with Dynamic Data Partition image file.

(Please note: This method has not been fully tested. If you try this, please report success or failure. Thanks.)

This method is more complicated. The result is a large number of loose files representing most of the song data on the player, plus the configuration file and a file for the dynamic data partition. The loose MP3 files will be the player's internal FID names. This method has the advantage of taking less time because it's not backing up blank space. Also, the restore operation can be done on any size hard disk. Finally, if something goes wrong with the restore operation halfway through, you might be able to resume the operation, depending on the features of your FTP client software.

To make a file-by-file backup of the player:

  • Choose and install a piece of graphical FTP client software for your PC. There are many free ones available on the internet. Examples of such programs are CuteFTP or WS_FTP.


  • Pause the player, or put it in standby mode.


  • Create a folder on your PC to store the backups. Name it whatever you want.


  • Using the FTP client on your PC, copy the following files from the player to your desired backup location:

    All files in /drive0/fids/
    All files in /drive1/fids/ (if you have two disk drives in the player)
    /drive0/var/config.ini
    (Note: You should probably make sure that these are sorted into separate sub folders underneath your backup folder, to make the restore operation easier)

    Make sure to use binary mode on your FTP client software when you do this.


  • When it's done (several hours), close the FTP client software.


  • Open a command prompt (DOS prompt) on your computer. Use the CD command to change to the folder you created.


  • Type FTP (Enter) to start the command-line FTP client.


  • You should see an ftp> prompt.


  • Type open (empeg's IP address) (Enter).


  • When it prompts for the user name, press Enter. It should say Login okay.


  • Type binary (Enter).


  • Type GET /dev/hda3 empeg_dynamic_data.bak (Enter). The dynamic data partition isn't very big, so you shouldn't need to wait very long.


  • Type quit (Enter).

To restore the file by file backup to the player:

  • Repair/rebuild/replace the player as necessary to get it working again. If replacing a bad hard disk, refer to the Disk Upgrade Guide for details on how to use the builder image to partition and format the hard disk(s).


  • Get 2.0 developer and Hijack onto the new/repaired/rebuilt player as described above.


  • Using a Hyperterminal connection to the player, exit the player software to the shell prompt as described here. Close Hyperterminal with the player still sitting at its shell prompt.


  • Set the disk drives to read-write using Hijack as detailed here.


  • Using your graphical FTP client software, wipe out everything in /drive0/fids/ and /drive1/fids/ (if anything is there).


  • Put your FTP client software into Binary mode. Copy all the backed-up files onto the player, back to their original locations. (Except empeg_dynamic_data.bak, which we'll deal with below.)


  • If you backed up a two-drive player, it's possible to restore everything onto a one-drive player if there's enough space. Just put the files that came from the old drive1/fids into the new player's drive0/fids folder.


  • Delete the following files from the player if they exist:

    /drive0/var/database
    /drive0/var/playlists
    /drive0/var/tags


  • Put the player's hard disks back into read-only mode (don't forget this!).


  • Close your graphical FTP client software.


  • Open the DOS command prompt on your PC, and use the CD command to change to the folder with your backups.


  • Type FTP (Enter) to start the command-line FTP client.


  • Type open (empeg's IP address) (Enter).


  • When it prompts for the user name, press Enter. It should say Login okay.


  • Type binary (Enter).


  • Type PUT empeg_dynamic_data.bak /dev/hda3 (Enter).


  • When that's done, type quit (Enter).


  • Reboot the player. Then connect once with Emplode and do a synch, which will force the player to rebuild its database files.


  • If you restored the data to a different player, you might also need to re-enter the information stored in flash RAM, such as your fader and balance settings, your dimmer settings, etc.

Other Backup Methods:

Although not strictly a backup/restore operation, there are ways to use the Linux rSync software to keep two players in synch. Click here to see some of Roger's guides on this topic.

Also, recent releases of Jemplode, combined with the riobackup.jar and riorid.jar command-line utilities, allow you to back up and restore the playlist data by itself. You can download all of the songs from the empeg onto your hard disk, then download the playlist data using riobackup.jar. Please click here for more details.


·  What is the best way to organize and listen to my music? 
·  How can I keep my PC and my car player in perfect synch? 
·  How do I upgrade the firmware on the player, and will it erase my music files? 
·  Is it bad for the player if it gets too hot or too cold? 
·  Do I have to use the remote, or can I do everything from the front panel? 
·  What do all the buttons do? 
·  What's this I hear about a 'Stun/Kill' button on the remote control? 
·  What is a parametric EQ, and what does the 'Q' parameter do? 
·  Where can I download a list of EQ presets? 
·  How do I know what the hard disk is doing? 
·  Does disk space get wasted if I make a second copy of a song in a different playlist? 
·  What about editing/renaming multiple copies of the same song? 
·  How can I be sure that I've deleted all copies of a given song? 
·  How do I make albums play in the correct order? 
·  How do the Tweak Order functions work? 
·  How does the 'Ignore as Child' option work? 
·  What in the world is a 'Wendy Filter'? 
·  How do the Bookmarks work? 
·  Can I delete songs from the player's front panel? 
·  How can I tell which tracks I have marked with the 'Mark' key? 
·  What search terms can I use in the Advanced Search box in Emplode? 
·  What is this 'Soup View' I hear other people talking about? 
·  What do the little letters mean on the Info:Track screen? 
·  When I move the player between the car and the house, what does it do differently? 
·  Are there any 'Easter Eggs' in the player? 
·  What do the various symbols mean on the 'Aux Info' screen? 
·  Can I reset the number of plays and other statistics? 
·  Why does it play clusters of artists or albums? 
·  How do I cancel out of a synch? 
·  How do I skip to the next album or the next playlist? 
·  What is a FID? 
·  What happens during a synch, and what do the stage numbers mean? 
·  Can I use a USB-to-serial converter dongle with the player? 
·  What are some other good tricks for using the player? 


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