Around the year 2000 playing MP3 files on your car stereo was not that common thing. This project aimed to build a full custom MP3 player to be fitted in a car.

The result looked like this in my 1995 Mazda 323F

Luckily the car had 2 separate slot for car stereo devices. The MP3 player was connected to the main stereo system as an auxiliary device.

The data storage could be a type 1 or 2 compact flash card. The most interesting thing - form the current technology point of view - is the possibility to use an IBM microdrive, which has the same form factor as the compact flash cards, but internally had a very sophisticated hard disk unit.

That time the maximal capacity wasn't more than 1 GB, if you didn't want to spend a fortune...

Some memories about the hardware specification:

The MP3 decoder is a STA013, one of the first fully integrated decoder chip available. And surprisingly it is still an active product! :-)

The controller of the device is a PIC18F452, already retired however.

It was a really interesting challenge to implement

- CF card interface

- FAT32 decoding, Directory browsing

- File reading, including some data buffering

- feeding the data to the decoder

- dealing with the buttons and LCD display