Lessons Learned
Information and Helpful Tips!

This information was collected from multiple sources including product manuals and testing at the BSDL. 

Bytheway Software Development Lab (BSDL)

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Helpful Hints for GL1800 Digital Music Player Thumb Drive, SD Card Populating  Software

More Helpful Hints for using the GL1800 Digital Music Player Software

Convert iTunes to MP3 for the BikeMP3 and J&M Goldwing GL1800 Music Players

The Music Player Secrets and Idiosyncrasies

  1. If the instructions say "At least one MP3 song must reside in the root/CD1 folder directory", then make sure there is at least one MP3 and not all WMA songs in that folder/root.

  2. Start with a cleaned SD or Thumb Drive. If it has any files on it that aren't where they are supposed to be, the digital music player gets confused!!!. This has been a leading cause of most problems, simply from lack of understanding on how to format music properly.

  3. Don't put more than 99 tracks (54 or 87 tracks for some models) on each CD volume. This is determined by the year of your GoldWing and possibly the music player firmware version.

  4. For most users, 990 tracks in WMA or MP3 will easily fit onto a 4GB memory device with room to spare. No need to waste money on larger USB or SD memory devices.

  5. The JMDM GL18 and Honda GoldWing go through a discovery mode during startup; i.e. turning on the ignition. During discovery mode the display on the GoldWing's CD picture spins like normal and the song track "minute:seconds" timer does not begin to increment with music playing until the JMDM GL18 and GoldWing have completed negotiations.   If the music never starts, it may be because the JMDM GL18, Honda GoldWing and your memory device failed to negotiate number of CD's and number of tracks per CD's. Here are some suggestions:

    1. If it worked before and you are trying a newly built memory device, most likely the memory device is corrupt and has been rejected. Reformat the USB Thumb Drive or SD chip to FAT32 and reload it from scratch using the software tool.

    2. Try another USB Thumb Drive (that worked before) to verify the new memory device is the cause.

    3. If this is your first try on a new install and you never were able to get the music player to work, contact the vendor and/or manufacturer.

    4. Don't replace the memory device while the GoldWing and device is powered, it won't automatically detect the change.  Memory device detection is only performed during the startup negotiation process.

  6. The JMDM GL18 device claims to accept up to 8 GByte USB Thumb Drive or SD chip. I was using a 16 GByte memory device for testing and everything appeared to work well for about half-dozen reloads of the memory device, but then the JMDM GL18 stopped working.  Appears that once the FAT32 tables exceeded the 8 GByte boundary the JMDM GL18 would fail to initialize. The work-around was to reformat the USB Thumb Drive or SD chip to FAT32 and reload it from scratch using the software tool.   My recommendation is to stick with the 4 GByte memory devices which should be more than adequate for 990 WMA and MP3 song tracks.

  7. The number of CD volumes and Tracks per CD varies between GoldWing year and features (Standard versus Nav/Airbag models.  This is due to firmware (software) differences between GoldWing year and model and there is no work-around.


The Music Player Recommended Maximum Number of Songs per Device

The number of CD volumes that your GoldWing model/year and music player will support is dependent on the year and options. The following table shows the recommended maximum number of CD volumes and tracks for each year.

GoldWing Year Options Max # CD volumes Max # song tracks Max Tracks
2001 thru 2005 Standard Premium Audio Package 6 54 324
2006 thru 2010 Premium Audio Package 10 99 990
2006 thru 2010 Premium Audio Package with GPS NAV 6 54 324

J&M Factory Recommendations


GoldWing Year Options Max # CD volumes Max # song tracks Max Tracks
2001 thru 2005 Standard Premium Audio Package 6 99 594
2006 thru 2010 Premium Audio Package 9 99 891
2006 thru 2010 Premium Audio Package with GPS NAV 9 99 891

BikeMP3 Factory Recommendations

  1. Note: With the J&M product, on 2005 and earlier GoldWings, pressing the A.SEL (RPT/RDM) button (or UM1 on foreign models) may cause a lockup or crash of the GoldWing audio system. This is a defect in the 2005 and earlier GoldWing radio software and the only recovery is to disconnect the battery or remove the fuse to reset the motorcycle radio. There are no known issues with 2006 and later Standard or Premier Audio Packages with the A.SEL (RPT/RDM) button while playing the JMDM GL18.

  2. Note: Overloading the USB SD memory device with more than the recommended number of CD volumes and song tracks per volume may cause problems with the Honda motorcycle radio to communicate with the JMDM GL18 and cause intermittent performance.

  3. Note: Placing song files other than WMA and MP3 formats on the USB thumb drive/ SD chip may cause intermittent performance.

  4. Note: Improper loading of files and creation of additional folders/directories on the USB/SD memory device may cause intermittent performance. The JMDM GL18 does not deal well with improperly populated USB/SD memory devices.

Carefully follow the instructions provided by J&M or purchase the companion software offered by WingStuff.

Software Tool Advantages and Features

  1. Use this software tool the way it was designed. It will put the software on your memory device in the format the music player expects to see it.

  2. You will need to determine number of CD volumes that your GoldWing model/year and music player will handle through experimentation. There is a test case Configuration file and WMA files included with this software distribution (look in the "C:\Program Files\GL_Audio\Data" directory.

  3. Software automatically populates and arranges mp3, wma songs to USB flash ( thumb) drives or SD cards and will work with any brand GL1800 Digital Music Players that require a USB Flash Drive or SD Card.

  4. Users of Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Vista may experience a problem reading music files stored in the "C:\Users" directory structure. For security reasons Microsoft created "virtualized directories" to make these operating systems compatible with the older WindowsXP and earlier operating systems. For example, the path appears to be "C:\Users\Public\Public Music" whereas the actual path accepted by this software is "C:\Users\Public\Music". The easiest work-around is to use the mouse Drag'n'Drop method between the Windows (File) Explorer and the motorcycle software tool.

  5. In some rare cases, the music folders and song tracks do not play in the order that you loaded them onto the memory device. I found that on super fast machines, the Windows operating system queues up the songs when writing and appears to reorder the song tracks when closing files (dependent on size of song). This is a "feature" of Windows and there is no work-around.

About Battery Health, Battery Voltage, CB Radio/RF and other Anomalies

  1. The A.SEL button (or UM1 on some models) may cause a lockup or crash of the GoldWing Audio System.

    Basically pressing the A.SEL button locks up (crashes) the GL1800 music system computer and requires a battery disconnect or fuse removal to reset in many cases. I think what is happening is the A.SEL (Rpt/ROM) must send a command to the Honda CDROM drive expecting a response. The response never returns because the DMC or JMDM doesn't support the command. The GL1800 audio control computer (made by Panasonic) simply waits forever for a response, and since it's connected to the GL1800 power system (keep-alive memory retention) it cannot service any other commands from any other buttons that are pressed. A complete power reset is the only recovery (disconnect battery or remove fuse).

  2. Low battery voltage, weak battery or poor battery connections will cause voltage variations that will confuse the music player.

  3. Voltage spikes caused by mega-watt air horns or other high-powered electrical add-on devices may confuse the music player.

  4. The GoldWing reverse drive qualifies as a large electrical load with numerous voltage spikes and noise on the electrical system.

  5. The music player does not like to see excessive Radio Frequency energy. If you are using the USB cable, do not place it near the base of your CB Radio Antenna. When you press the PTT, the music stops, only to be reset by cycling ignition on and off.

Copyright Bill Bytheway, K7TTY -- March 2012