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  • usb hub for 3 flash drives, with music, connected to MP3 player with 1 USB port

    Home » Forums » Tech Accessibility » usb hub for 3 flash drives, with music, connected to MP3 player with 1 USB port

    • This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 1 week, 1 day ago by anonymous.

    My sister has many disabilites.  I bought her a very simple MP3 player  The player has one USB port so that you can plug in one flash drive and play music or spoken word.

    On three flash drives I put audio files of her favorite music, audio books, and Christmas music.  But, again, the MP3 player only has 1 USB port.

    My sister is unable to disconnect one flash drive and connect another one.  I hoped to find a USB hub that I could connect the 3 flash drives to so that my sister could listen to content on any of the 3 flash drives.  The hub would need to have buttons so she could press one and listen to one flash drive.

    Just to make it more complicated, I suspect that any button that is pushed would need to turn off the connection between it and the MP3 player to the other two flash drives.  My sister is not capable of pressing one button to deselect a flash drive and then pressing another button to select a different flash drive.

    My sister is blind and mentally disabled.  Listening to music and recorded books is one of the few things that she can to to entertain herself.

    If you can think of any way, with all of these special needs, of connecting more than one audio source and that is very simple to switch between them I would be most grateful.

    Paul S.

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    • #2403491

      Ont thing to keep in mind while connecting multiple flash drives to a single USB port.
      Flash drives are powered from the USB port. If you connect multiple flash drives to one USB port, they can overpower/burn out the port. When you use a hub to connect the flash drives, be sure the hub is self powered (ie, it has an adapter that plugs in to a wall outlet). That way, it powers the flash drives (instead of the USB port doing so) and the transfer is only data.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2403593

        thank you for your help.

    • #2403502

      When you attach more than 1 flash drive via USB to a computer, you use Windows Explorer to select the drive you want to use. So, since the radio doesn’t have Windows, I don’t think connecting multiple USB drives via a powered USB hub would work. There would be no way to select the flash drive you want.

      You might want to consider buying a very large capacity USB stick and putting all the songs, audio books and Christmas music on it. I assume there is a way to skip something on the radio. (I was not able to download a brochure unless I supplied an email address.)

      You can fit roughly 312 songs on 1GB of storage 

      This was on Lifewire.

      I put my mp3 files on a micro sd card and on 2GB, I fit about 500 songs.

      Got coffee?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2403511

      I think maybe you bought this and its’s not what you wanted, but unfortunately I think without getting down and dirty with the electrons your going to find attaining the device needed is difficult, but not impossible though you might need to work on the presentation if you get it working but maybe buying one is nearer impossible?

      The problem here is each SD card presents as a serial block of data, and if you are going to change that block of data, for it to make any sense you need to have a way of resetting the controller in the radio, causing the initial reading the drive to gather the content information, and inherently start over. Combining several cards would require a device specifically interpreting each card and presenting a table for the data in all the cards correctly, and supplying the data from the right card when requested which is more of a bizarre mis-organised RAID 0 than an interface as such! Then there’s the issue with the user’s inability to activate the controls.

      I would hope though that you have considered just putting all the content on one large card (or perhaps have tried a standard USB memory stick?) as that would save any working on that aspect, freeing any efforts to generating an interface your sister can operate which you could maybe use elsewhere as well.

      If you are of an electronic inclination, read on, if not maybe reach out so someone locally who might be willing to help.

      Would it be helpful to operate the internal controls by the arduino touch sensor (which comes in quite a few mechanical incarnations)?.

      It’s not a sensor I’ve used, but the microcontroller kit devices, (which are basically electronic leggo if you need an old school analogy) don’t have to work with their design microcontroller, and  these systems are handy if you need to create a low investment small size electronic slave to monitor sensors and raise the alarm if something crazy happens (which is what mine was used for before I found a literally neater solution someone mass produced!).. but they can even BE a music player (though if the fidelity matches what you have, I would expect not, though again that is largely in the software and the parts you choose..) but from my simple projects I can say doing it that way is going to be a significant undertaking (though keep looking as someone on the forum here might just happen to have bought something suitable.. though I’m guessing she has recognition issues with voice driven items, but perhaps it might be worth trying voice control audio on something like an  IPhone 3 [which is now dated enough to be used for lesser tasks with the right contract to keep it functioning].

      Given the bits for the experiments come in lower than the radio by some way would suggest leaving that radio as it is (so if things go awry it survives), and for a basic home construction maybe you could try a simple affair with a cradle for the radio holding solenoid actuators which mechanically activate the buttons on the radio (use fulcrum levers to increase the pressure a little, and control the travel to avoid breaking the radio buttons) and see if a simple amplification of the sensor output will give you enough drive and control to press the radio buttons without having to resort to a microcontroller and coding (just remember, the sensors are generally 3.3 to 5V and solenoids 12V plus, and those must never meet – so you need a Driver Module which needs its own 5V supply (DONT use the radio USB for this voltage! This 5V must come from elsewhere, such as a regulator module run from the solenoid supply.) and see if it’s stable or “chatters” (noise?, needs more screening.. or a pull down resistor at the output?, the module can be in a steel box and the button be a way from a fibreboard cover and still react but less sensitively) or maybe in the extreme you need to build a digital interface and do some programming? that of course means you can get three functions from two sensors etc.. as the “both” can activate something other than a combination of each individually.

      Here’s a discussion on hooking a micro to control:

      and some discussions around the issues you might see as a result of the limits of the micros (I used a Uno – it drives a bit more current than some modern devices but it’s slower.. but also older and cheaper with a main chip the user can replace or solder into stripboard once the project is working.)

      Sounds like a job for the makers community.. if half or more of this makes no sense to you, ask around – guys which used to fix TVs and the like can probably help you if you haven’t a local electronics guy.. if your confident, browse a few projects and form some ideas.

      Remember to test the hell out of things on the bench before taking it near the end user and permissible exposed low voltage is 25V only so lorry drivers can handle 24V batteries while changing them – ensure everything is well insulated and secured mechanically.

      Maybe give the manufacturer some feedback on their product and see what their take on their user interface is – they might decide they need the next model to be touch operated (like most gadgets these days..) .. and they might thank you for suggesting it or even decide to make a USB touch remote with built in memory given the theme of the website their product is on?

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    • #2403526

      The player has one USB port so that you can plug in one flash drive and play music or spoken word.

      Perhaps contact the device’s support and ask what capacity USB stick can be used and whether it understands ‘folders’ (i.e. separate folders for different content).

      I can’t find any details on the device but I suspect you may have already tried this…

      Can your sister speak? As in ‘Alexa, play music’…; ‘Alexa, play <insert audiobook name>’…; ‘Alexa, play Xmas music’.

      (I’m not being facetious. Before I retired I was attached to a local authority specialist IT team [of just 2] tasked with coming up with bespoke solutions for employees with different abilities. I’m retired now but if I was still in work I would be exploring the field of voice-activated AI for differently-abled people… and pestering Mr Bezos to perhaps provide assistance for a niche market instead of spending millions floating around for a few minutes of weightlessness in sub-space… but that’s just me.)

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    • #2403521

      Something like this might work:

      Searching for “USB switcher” in Amazon or ebay finds other alternatives too

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2403625

      There’s a company called iogear that sells a bunch of switches of various types. A friend of mine has one that allows 2 computers to share a common usb device with one light touch of a button. I think you want the opposite: one computer switching between a few usb devices, but they might have what you need.

    • #2403631

      I found a 7 port USB hub that has on/off switches for each port. You can put in 3 or 4 sticks and mark in braille near the switch, what is on the stick. She can then turn on 1 switch and when she is tired with that stick, switch the port off. She can then turn another port on and listen to things on that stick.



      Got coffee?

      • #2403636

        From the OP’s first post here:

        My sister is not capable of pressing one button to deselect a flash drive and then pressing another button to select a different flash drive. My sister is blind and mentally disabled.

        (The quote above was already in bold and making it a quote seems to automatically italicize the quote)

        So, it sounds as if she may not be able to perform the suggested tasks, even with guidance in braille.  🙁

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Bob99.
        • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Bob99.
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