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rio car dot org FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Category: Main -> Upgrade, customization, and third-party software questions
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·  How do I upgrade my player's hard disk? 
·  How are the songs stored on a two-drive player? 
·  Can I make my own visuals for the player? 

·  How do I put custom logos or kernels into the player?
 (Entry last updated on June 28th, 2007)

Use my Empeg Logo Editor, available in the Windows Utilities section of the Downloads Page here at this site. It will import, export, edit, and install custom boot-up logos into the player's flash RAM. It also has a Kernel Flash Utilitity that will install custom kernels into the player's flash RAM. (If you are running Linux/Unix, click here.)


The kernel is the part of the Linux operating system that handles all of the basic input and output. On the car player, the kernel is stored in flash RAM at address 10000. The kernel is a separate component from the player software, and unlike the player software, is open-source. As a result, it's possible to create hacked versions of the kernel and install them into the player's flash RAM.

Kernels must be pre-compiled for the correct version and model of player. For instance, if you are running version 2.0 of the player software, make sure to get a 2.0 kernel. Also make sure that the kernel is compiled properly for a Mk1 player or a Mk2 player, depending on what you own.

A collection of various kernel hacks can be found at the Downloads Page on this site, or check here for the popular "Hijack" kernel. For information on hacking and compiling your own kernels, visit the Developer Info section of this site.

Note: Sending a hacked kernel to the player is not the same thing as an upgrade. An upgrade is a complete replacement of the kernel and the player software together. Hacked kernels only replace the kernel. So it's important to make sure your kernel is compatible with whatever player software you're currenty running.
Note: If your player stops working after installing a custom kernel, the file might have been probably during the download. Try grabbing the file again with a download manager program to make sure it downloaded correctly. Also make sure the file is the correct one for your player.

Custom Logos:

The player can optionally display a custom logo on the screen during boot time. It will display the company logo first, then your custom logo, then it will launch the player software. The custom logo is stored in flash RAM at address A000 on the player.

Logos are 128 pixels wide by 32 pixels high, and are made up of only four colors: Black, white, and two shades of gray. Continuous-tone photographic images must be posterized and/or dithered before they will display on the player. Note that the two gray shades are not the same as the two standard shades of gray you find in the Windows default palette. You must create a custom palette and use it exclusively when making your logo. The palette values for the four colors are 0 (black), 80 (dark gray), 96 (light gray), and 255 (white). Use the Empeg Logo Editor to preview how the gray shades will look on your player.

Visit the Boot Logos section of this site to see examples of custom logos you can put on your player. If you are using Internet Explorer, you can right-click on one of those logos, select "copy" from the menu, and paste it directly into the Empeg Logo Editor.

When you install a custom logo onto the player, it will be displayed briefly after the main company logo appears. The main company logo will be either an empeg logo or a Rio logo, depending on your model of player. With version 2.0 and later of the player software, the Rio/empeg company logos are animated.

You can change which company logo appears whenever you like. For instance, if you are running version 2.0 and want to change your Rio player to show the empeg's "waving Tux" animation, select the "Boot with the empeg personality" menu option in the Empeg Logo Editor software and then either send or delete a logo from the player.

·  How do I change the animated company logo? 
·  What is the file format for the boot logo files? 
·  Is it dangerous to put a custom kernel or a custom logo onto the player? 
·  Where can I find source code for writing to the player's flash RAM? 
·  What controls the combination of company logos and custom logos at boot up? 
·  How do I edit the 'config.ini' file on the player? 
·  Can I customize the alternate-row coloring in Emplode? 
·  How do I create a set of 'favorite' visuals? 
·  How do I use Hyperterminal to connect to the player's shell prompt? 
·  Where can I find help on Linux commands? 
·  How do I send and receive files from the player? 
·  What is the file structure for the song and playlist files on the player? 
·  Can the player make MP3s from the radio, aux, or microphone inputs? 
·  How do I get this Displayserver thing working? 
·  Can I use Ghost or Drive Image with the disks? 
·  Can I add extra RAM to my player? 
·  Can the player's buttons be made to light up in the dark? 
·  Will we ever get voice recognition for the player? 
·  Can I install a cooling fan into the player? 
·  Can I add a digital output to the player? 
·  Can I use my player as a GPS navigation system? 
·  Can the player scroll lyrics in synch with the music? 
·  Can I customize the way the track information is displayed on the screen? 
·  Can I use a Palm organizer to control the player? 
·  Can I make a home docking station for my player? 
·  How do I upgrade my software? 

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