Canít connect your iPod to your Ford SYNC car? Reboot!

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Old 16-Jan-2011
Canít connect your iPod to your Ford SYNC car? Reboot!

Thereís is an old saying: if something is wrong with your Microsoft computer, simply reboot. A few days ago I came to learn that this advice applies to some vehicles as well. I recently purchased a 2008 Ford Fusion and among its many features was SYNC by Microsoft. This is the in-car system that allows you to connect flash drives and music players to a USB port in the vehicle. Once connected music can be accessed by voice command. For example, if you want music from a particular artist you would say, ďUSB play artist MetallicaĒ and all the Metallica music on the device you have plugged in will come up on the carís speakers. The voice commands work the same with accessing specific tracks or genres.
Needless to say, I though this was a pretty cool feature and hooked up my iPod touch to my car to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, after a day and a half the car could no longer see the iPod touch connected to the USB port. In fact, the car could no longer see anything connected to the USB port. My biggest fear was hardware failure. Luckily, I discovered I was not alone my troubles.
Doing a quick search on the Ford SYNC support site I discovered there were a number of people with an issue where they would hook up their iPod touch or iPhone and have the same problem. From what I could gather from posts online, Microsoft and Apple are pointing fingers at each other regarding why the connection to SYNC occasionally causes problems. Knowing there wasnít going to be a quick fix on either side of the fence soon I looked for a workaround.
The workaround, as you guessed it, was to reboot the SYNC computer. Unlike my PC, the SYNC computer doesnít have a reboot or power button and simply turning off the vehicle doesnít power it down. The solution was to actually pull the fuse for the SYNC computer. It was the #13 fuse in fact. Sure enough, once rebooted the USB port came right back up.
Iím sticking to a flash drive from now on when it comes to connecting music to my car. The latest news regarding a problem with firmware 3.1 or higher affecting all iPods which connect to SYNC reinforces that decision. The functionality with a flash drive is the exact same as connecting my iPod and I donít have to worry about continuing to reboot my car.
I guess the Microsoft mantra of rebooting holds true even in vehicles. We should consider ourselves lucky that Microsoft doesnít make software for commercial airliners. Iíd hate to be involved in an emergency landing simply because a hardware driver failed.

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