This describes all of the new/changed features from MCAS version 4.1 to 5.0.
You can download a copy of MCAS v5.0 BETA
in the Download section to try it out!
DVD SUPPORT ADDED
MCAS now supports playing DVD movies on your car computer! All you need is
a Pentium 75Mhz machine, a DVD decoder card, and a video LCD screen, then
your passenger is ready to watch movies. Included are instructions for
setting this up and support programs that configures your keypad to
control the DVD player.
MP3 BUG FIXED
MCAS would sometimes crash or skip songs when playing MP3 files created by
Music Match and other MP3 encoders. The MPXPLAY engine used in MCAS has
been upgraded to a more recent version, which corrects these problems.
MCAS could also crash while reading MP3 files containing tags with
double-quotes or empty tag fields with null characters in them. This has
been corrected as well.
"NAVIGATION MODE" FIXED
When using Navigation mode to browse songs according to artist or album,
MCAS treated "Billy Joel" and "billy joel" as separate artists when really
they're the same person. Now this mode is case-insensitive, so it treats
these minor differences as the same artist/album. MCAS now also trims
extra leading and trailing spaces from this information to make grouping
When using Navigation mode to choose a song for Memory mode, MCAS would
sometimes play songs from a previous playmode instead of the chosen song.
This has been fixed.
Navigation mode now returns to the main menu when a missing/invalid
playlist is encountered, instead of attempting to use it (causing a system
"NAVIGATION MODE" ENHANCED
MCAS now allows the entire playlist to be sorted, making it easier to find
a particular song anywhere in the collection. You can also "group" this
sorted playlist so that MCAS plays all of the songs in alphabetical order.
Once you display a list of songs by artist, album, or playlist, you can
now "tag" individual songs to build a custom playlist.
The MCAS Memory mode remembers which song you were playing in the original
playlist, allowing you to resume playback even if you turn off your car
computer. Now tagged, grouped, and randomized playlists can be "resumed"
as well. For instance, if you randomized the playlist by artist, MCAS will
continue playing that mode until you choose otherwise.
"PLAY FROM CD" BUG FIXED
Occasionally MCAS would not properly recognize different types of CDs. The
CD detection routines have been totally reworked, so now MCAS properly
distinguishes MCAS Ready! CDs, MP3 CDs, audio CDs, data CDs, and DVD
When creating "MCAS Ready!" CDs, you no longer need to label the CD as
"MCAS". Occasionally MCAS would crash when playing CDs with just MP3
files on them. This has been fixed as well.
MCAS would not always properly recognize CD-RW discs or discs with
multiple sessions; it would either crash or only read the first session on
a multi-session CD. All of these problems have been fixed.
As with the "Play Audio CD" and "Play MP3 CD" modes, MCAS now reverts to
the previously used collection after playing an MCAS Ready! CD. Previous
versions reverted to the MAIN collection, which was not as convenient.
PLAYLIST MIXING ENHANCED
When creating a PLAYLIST.M3U file containing the order of songs you want
in a collection, you could include songs from other existing collections.
But if the playlist repeats the same song in different parts of the
playlist, MCAS would infinitely loop between these songs and not play the
rest of the playlist. This has been fixed.
"DATETIME" FEATURE FIXED
Setting the car computer's CMOS date & time via the MCAS DateTime feature
would sometimes crash MCAS. This has been fixed. It is now easier to abort
this feature by pressing [.] at any time.
"CHECKER" UTILITY ENHANCED
This utility validates playlist integrity, converts older playlists to the
MCAS v4.0+ standard, and updates MP3 tags based on information in the
PLAYLIST.TXT file. Now this utility automatically repairs invalid tags
embedded in MP3 files, such as abnormally short, long, or duplicate tag
entries. Minor incompatibilities with running it on different versions of
Windows has been resolved as well.
WINDOWS PLAYER ENHANCED
The portable Windows player that it used on MCAS Ready! CDs has been
replaced with a different one, fixing a number of bugs and adding new
features. It also automatically overwrites older versions of previously
SUPPORT FOR ALTERNATE LCD
MCAS now includes preliminary support for various sizes of LCD displays
(in addition to the "default" 20x4 display). By simply changing one line
in AUTOEXEC.BAT, MCAS will adapt much of its LCD output to the new
display. A beta version of the 40x4 LCD wiring diagram is included as
NEW "EXIT TO DOS" FEATURE
The Util menu now includes an option to "Exit to DOS" which also activates
the CD-ROM drive. This is useful when manually adding MP3 files and
configuration changes to MCAS. The Util menu now supports multiple pages
to display all of the utilities available. :)
"AUTO HEAL" FEATURE ADDED
MCAS now automatically recreates the MAIN, CD, and AUTORES system folders
in the MUSIC folder if these are accidentally deleted by the user. This
way MCAS avoids crashing when it cannot find these folders.
NEW "CONVLCD" UTILITY
This simple utility allows you to enhance your LCD text files by replacing
"^" symbols with solid graphic characters compatible with LCD displays.
Read the MCAS documentation to learn more about this.
"CLOCK" BUG FIXED
The "jumbo clock" feature in MCAS would not display correctly on
processors faster than 75MHz. The LCD output would appear to "jitter" on
the display. With gracious support from the original CLOCK author,
this feature has been corrected to support faster processors.
"RESET ALL COLLECTIONS"
This feature in the MCAS "Utils" menu wouldn't properly reset collections
with nested subdirectories. The playlist information could have been
buried inside subfolders in the collections and MCAS would not find them.
This has been fixed.