USB Audio on a Boombox
Getting USB audio working on a Sony ZS-RS60BT

In an earlier post, I got USB audio working on my used, manual, 2013 Honda Civic EX. Today I’ll do the same for a Sony ZS-RS60BT boombox.

Here it is in all its used glory after a little cleaning.


I decided I should get a small portable boombox to practice my dope dance moves. I currently still suck because I think I spend more time computering than out on the floor. In any case, in a stroke of luck, I happened upon a used boombox that was getting discarded due to a broken CD player. Nobody seemed either able or interested in getting USB audio working, so I took it home and gave it a go!

Initial attempts:

Some initial attempts at formatting the USB key ended up with this:

The device printing a NO DEV message.

Others got it showing a marquee message of “NOT SUPPORT”.



Hmmm, I guess we have to go really old school here.


The code inside this thing must be really old. So after some digging, I found out the magic incantation. The device expects a drive with a single partition, labelled in a magic way.

My usb drive was /dev/sdb. You can find this out by watching dmesg --follow when you put it in…

# dmesg --follow
[143018.765853] usb 2-1: new SuperSpeed Gen 1 USB device number 5 using xhci_hcd
[143018.783603] usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=090c, idProduct=1000, bcdDevice=11.00
[143018.783606] usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[143018.783607] usb 2-1: Product: USB Flash Disk
[143018.783608] usb 2-1: Manufacturer: General
[143018.783609] usb 2-1: SerialNumber: 0123456789001234
[143018.789512] usb-storage 2-1:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
[143018.791203] usb-storage 2-1:1.0: Quirks match for vid 090c pid 1000: 400
[143018.791371] scsi host2: usb-storage 2-1:1.0
[143020.047718] scsi 2:0:0:0: Direct-Access     General  USB Flash Disk   1100 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
[143020.048078] sd 2:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg1 type 0
[143020.048561] sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] 31457280 512-byte logical blocks: (16.1 GB/15.0 GiB)
[143020.048980] sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[143020.048983] sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 43 00 00 00
[143020.049433] sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[143020.060954]  sdb:
[143020.063291] sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk

…or by being clever and looking through lsblk.

# lsblk
NAME                                          MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINT
sdb                                             8:16   1    15G  0 disk  


I popped open fdisk next. You can use p to print the current state. You can type m for the menu. You’ll want to use n to make a new partition, then use all the defaults. After that you’ll need to change the partition type with t. The code we want is W95 FAT32 which is represented by a b. Select that and then exit with w to write everything to disk. My logs of this are included:

[email protected]:~$ sudo fdisk /dev/sdb

Welcome to fdisk (util-linux 2.35.2).
Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
Be careful before using the write command.

Command (m for help): p
Disk /dev/sdb: 15 GiB, 16106127360 bytes, 31457280 sectors
Disk model: USB Flash Disk  
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x390298e3

Command (m for help): n
Partition type
   p   primary (0 primary, 0 extended, 4 free)
   e   extended (container for logical partitions)
Select (default p): p
Partition number (1-4, default 1): 1
First sector (2048-31457279, default 2048): 
Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (2048-31457279, default 31457279): 

Created a new partition 1 of type 'Linux' and of size 15 GiB.
Partition #1 contains a vfat signature.

Do you want to remove the signature? [Y]es/[N]o: Y

The signature will be removed by a write command.

Command (m for help): t
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list all codes): L

 0  Empty           24  NEC DOS         81  Minix / old Lin bf  Solaris        
 1  FAT12           27  Hidden NTFS Win 82  Linux swap / So c1  DRDOS/sec (FAT-
 2  XENIX root      39  Plan 9          83  Linux           c4  DRDOS/sec (FAT-
 3  XENIX usr       3c  PartitionMagic  84  OS/2 hidden or  c6  DRDOS/sec (FAT-
 4  FAT16 <32M      40  Venix 80286     85  Linux extended  c7  Syrinx         
 5  Extended        41  PPC PReP Boot   86  NTFS volume set da  Non-FS data    
 6  FAT16           42  SFS             87  NTFS volume set db  CP/M / CTOS / .
 7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT 4d  QNX4.x          88  Linux plaintext de  Dell Utility   
 8  AIX             4e  QNX4.x 2nd part 8e  Linux LVM       df  BootIt         
 9  AIX bootable    4f  QNX4.x 3rd part 93  Amoeba          e1  DOS access     
 a  OS/2 Boot Manag 50  OnTrack DM      94  Amoeba BBT      e3  DOS R/O        
 b  W95 FAT32       51  OnTrack DM6 Aux 9f  BSD/OS          e4  SpeedStor      
 c  W95 FAT32 (LBA) 52  CP/M            a0  IBM Thinkpad hi ea  Linux extended 
 e  W95 FAT16 (LBA) 53  OnTrack DM6 Aux a5  FreeBSD         eb  BeOS fs        
 f  W95 Ext’d (LBA) 54  OnTrackDM6      a6  OpenBSD         ee  GPT            
10  OPUS            55  EZ-Drive        a7  NeXTSTEP        ef  EFI (FAT-12/16/
11  Hidden FAT12    56  Golden Bow      a8  Darwin UFS      f0  Linux/PA-RISC b
12  Compaq diagnost 5c  Priam Edisk     a9  NetBSD          f1  SpeedStor      
14  Hidden FAT16 <3 61  SpeedStor       ab  Darwin boot     f4  SpeedStor      
16  Hidden FAT16    63  GNU HURD or Sys af  HFS / HFS+      f2  DOS secondary  
17  Hidden HPFS/NTF 64  Novell Netware  b7  BSDI fs         fb  VMware VMFS    
18  AST SmartSleep  65  Novell Netware  b8  BSDI swap       fc  VMware VMKCORE 
1b  Hidden W95 FAT3 70  DiskSecure Mult bb  Boot Wizard hid fd  Linux raid auto
1c  Hidden W95 FAT3 75  PC/IX           bc  Acronis FAT32 L fe  LANstep        
1e  Hidden W95 FAT1 80  Old Minix       be  Solaris boot    ff  BBT            
Hex code (type L to list all codes): b
Changed type of partition 'Linux' to 'W95 FAT32'.

Command (m for help): p
Disk /dev/sdb: 15 GiB, 16106127360 bytes, 31457280 sectors
Disk model: USB Flash Disk  
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x390298e3

Device     Boot Start      End  Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sdb1        2048 31457279 31455232  15G  b W95 FAT32

Filesystem/RAID signature on partition 1 will be wiped.

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered.
Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.


Finally, let’s build a filesystem.

# mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n BREAKBEATS /dev/sdb1
mkfs.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)

Make sure that your label is all UPPERCASE if you decide to use one. After this I mounted the partition, and copied over some non-copyrighted mp3’s to it. It will even read into nested folders.

You might want to consider using fatsort -n /dev/sdb1 if you want to get things playing in their desired filesystem order. I explained this in my earlier car audio article. For this use-case, I didn’t bother to because all my break beats are random tracks that don’t have a particular album order anyways!

It shows the title on insertion!

Battery life:

When plugged-in or running off of batteries, there is a small amount of phantom draw, so I take out one battery when it’s not in use. (The 6x1.5V C cell’s are in series, so you can remove any of them to disconnect the circuit.)


As a bonus, it even comes with a storage drawer for your AUX cable and extra USB drives!

Store some stuff here if you don't care about breaking the CD player!

And here’s one last thing to make you all jealous… My machine’s volume can go up to eleven.

Up to eleven!

If anyone in the Montreal area wants to break/pop with me, please say hi.

Happy Hacking,


You can follow James on Twitter for more frequent updates and other random thoughts.
You can support James on GitHub if you'd like to help sustain this kind of content.
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January 11, 2021
1322 words

boombox fat fedora fdisk gnu linux mkfs planetfedora sony usb vfat



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