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Old 14th Feb 2013, 02:42   #1
talladega
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RaspberryPi Amp Box - UPDATE - up and running!

So I got myself a raspberry pi last year not knowing what I was going to do with it at the time. After a while I decided I wanted to build a music player for our bedroom so once I had the time I got the Pi hooked up and installed SqueezePlug and SqueezeLite on it (http://www.squeezeplug.de/). I installed Logitech Media Server on my WHS 2011 box, connected my Pi to a little amp and was able to stream all our music through the Pi.

So my goal in the end is to have one box that has/can do the following

1. Hold the RaspberryPi, Amp, DAC, and Power Supply
2. Connect to my network wirelessly to stream music from my server and internet radio
3. Be able to control it with a laptop or smartphone/tablet
4. Have multiple inputs on the amp to switch between the Pi, a front 3.5mm input, and an RCA Stereo input on the rear.
5. Line out (if possible) so I can connect this to another amp if I felt like it.
6. Power Supply all internal for the Amp/DAC/Pi/USB Hub so I can have one plain PC power cord to plug in



Here is the hardware I was thinking of using


Startech USB Hub
USB DAC
TA 2020 Amp - These seem to be liked over at DiyAudio
12V Power Supply
12V to 5V Converter
Speaker Posts
RCA Input/Outputs
2x Power Switches for the amp and raspberry pi
AC Power Socket with Switch
Input Selector Rotary Switch


Here is a very pathetic mspaint drawing of what I want to do.



I will desolder the power input from the amp board and solder wires to it from the 12v power supply with a switch inbetween that connection so I can turn on or off the amp by itself.
I will also remove the rca connections on the amp board and solder wires from the input switch to the amp.

The 5v power to the usb hub and raspberry pi will also have a power switch so I can turn those on and off by themselves as well. (incase I need to reboot the raspberry pi)


Now I am pretty sure this should all function the way I'm wanting it to. However, is this the best and cheapest way to do it? Is there going to be noise problems with all these devices in one box? Is there something that I will need to do a certain way to make this work?
It's a lot of money to spend so I need to make sure I cover all my bases here and do it right.

Any input would be very helpful
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 12:19   #2
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Shielding, shielding, shielding! That's the most necessary and cruicial part of such a box, especially the PSU and the amp needs to be shielded, as they tend to interfere with each other and the WiFi.

Or you could buy a nice nuForce Icon 2 and make a box for the Pi that looks exactly the same.

I've recently purchased a Scythe Kamabay Amp and it's a very good amp for the money. You could use that and integrate it into a case for the Pi. This would do away with the PSU and the shielding-problems.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 13:55   #3
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How and what do I use for shielding?
And does my plan even look realistic/possible?
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 14:57   #4
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Nice little project there, will be watching with interest
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 15:19   #5
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How and what do I use for shielding?
And does my plan even look realistic/possible?
Looks quiet possible to me.

For the shielding you need metalcages, like a faraday cage. Simply read up on electromagnetic shielding and go from there.
Make sure that the amp, DAC and PI are shielded against the electromagnetic field of the PSU. The amp also needs shielding against the WiFi.

Basically you simply build faraday cages around the Pi, the DAC and the amp. And make sure that everything is properly grounded.

EDIT: The mini-amps like the TA2020 one you linked above, or the ones I linked usually have external powerbricks, which makes additional shielding against other components unnecessary, as the enclosure works as shielding allready.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 18:38   #6
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So you're saying that if I use an external power brick for the amp instead of that internal one I linked to, I don't have to worry about EMI?

If thats the case, then can I take the 12V power from that power brick and also run it into that 12v to 5v step down to power the Pi and USB Hub?
So basically the design would look the exact same except the 12V power supply would be external.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 20:06   #7
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You still need to shield the amp from the WiFi, if you use a USB-Dongle without external antenna
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 00:17   #8
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Is there a way I can test that to see if it will be needed or not? I have a little Lepai TA2020 Amp sitting out outside of its casing. I guess I could power on the raspberry pi right next to it and see if it does anything?

What would happen from interference? Background noise in the speakers?


I wonder if all of these problems would be eliminated if I made one case for the Pi/usb hub/dac , and one case for the amp/input selector? I would still need external Power Supplies for each to not have any interference, right?
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 00:50   #9
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Yeah, white noise is usually to be heard, when components are not shielded good enough. Bad/cheap powersupplies have the same effect.

White noise is aswell a problem with some onboard audio-chips, but a USB-DAC cancelles that problem.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 01:11   #10
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Oh I see. So the only thing that would be affected here is the amp because the Pi uses a DAC?

I guess then if running the Pi next to the amp give no noise, then I can have all devices in one box and just use external power? Then I'll build a fancy enclosure for the PSU!
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 01:27   #11
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I played a bit in SketchUp after aquiring the measurements of all the parts...



Three enclosures of the same footprint, stackable atop of each other. The box for the AMP/DAC can be a little bit less high tho.
Footprint would be 150x90mm and the both bigger ones would be 50mm high and the AMP/DAC could be only 30mm.

There would be enough room in the AMP/DAC box for the input-selector and all the jacks and knobs.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 04:55   #12
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you are a mind reader. lol
that was exactly my plan when I first started thinking about doing this!

So with this I could have a regular PC power cord going to the PSU box, then a short power cord going from the PSU box to the Pi box, and another to the AMP.

This would be nice as I could use them as individual piece if I chose to.

Do you think wifi signal would be strong enough using one internally, or would an external antenna be needed?
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 08:13   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talladega View Post
you are a mind reader. lol
that was exactly my plan when I first started thinking about doing this!

So with this I could have a regular PC power cord going to the PSU box, then a short power cord going from the PSU box to the Pi box, and another to the AMP.

This would be nice as I could use them as individual piece if I chose to.

Do you think wifi signal would be strong enough using one internally, or would an external antenna be needed?
Depends on if you will 'faraday cage' it (is that a verb? to faraday cage? to cage faraday?) If it's a non-conductive material, your range would be a bit diminished, but not gone if the signal is strong enough, if it is, your range would be gone, and you'd need an external antenna.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 12:01   #14
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you are a mind reader. lol
that was exactly my plan when I first started thinking about doing this!

So with this I could have a regular PC power cord going to the PSU box, then a short power cord going from the PSU box to the Pi box, and another to the AMP.

This would be nice as I could use them as individual piece if I chose to.

Do you think wifi signal would be strong enough using one internally, or would an external antenna be needed?
Just place an USB-jack in the case, so that you can plug the WiFi-dongle in from the outside. Would be a good idea anyways to have the USB-plugs on the outside of the case, for easier access.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 13:34   #15
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Just place an USB-jack in the case, so that you can plug the WiFi-dongle in from the outside. Would be a good idea anyways to have the USB-plugs on the outside of the case, for easier access.
Yeah, that would probably be best.
Now can I make these cases out of wood or do they have to be metal to prevent EMI?
Reason I ask is the cheapest no crap boxes I can find will be $50 for 3. Thats alot just for a box.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 13:46   #16
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Seeing that the PSU you linked is basically shielded allready by it's own housing, additional shielding is probably not needed, but you could use some thin sheet of copper and make a very basic shielding.
However, you might still want to think about building the boxes out of metal, just to make the boxes nicer and more "professional" looking. There's a company for that and they even have their own free software for you to model the thingy -> http://www.protocase.com/

You can get an instant quote for the pricing there aswell -> http://www.protocase.com/price/instant_quote_ushape.php. A U-shaped satin black painted box from 0.06" 16 gauge metal shouldn't be that expensive.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 14:34   #17
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For the shielding you need metalcages, like a faraday cage. Simply read up on electromagnetic shielding and go from there.
Make sure that the amp, DAC and PI are shielded against the electromagnetic field of the PSU. The amp also needs shielding against the WiFi.
MuMetal all the way . A 1:1 isolation transformer between the PSU and the amplifier board could be nice to avoid ground loop.

Last edited by GuilleAcoustic; 15th Feb 2013 at 14:42.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 15:30   #18
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MuMetal all the way . A 1:1 isolation transformer between the PSU and the amplifier board could be nice to avoid ground loop.
Yeah, sure, if you have sources for MuMetal around the corner
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 15:39   #19
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Yeah, sure, if you have sources for MuMetal around the corner
Weber-Metaux ... but it is in paris. It is available in sheet of 0.5 or 1mm thickness.

http://www.weber-metaux.com/2008/Arc...t/PRODUITS.htm

You can buy some mumetal sheet on ebay too :

http://stores.ebay.fr/NooElec/Autre-...&_sid=32165772
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 15:45   #20
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Ah, OK.

Anyways. I made a fast sketch of how to build a very nice looking box. All you need is some 1mm aluminum and then something like 3-5mm acryl.



Easy to build, and very good looking. All the holes needed are very easy to drill in 1mm aluminum aswell.

If you know someone, who can cut and bend the aluminum for you it's even easier to do, allthough 1mm aluminum is easy to bend even without a bending break.
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