1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Project C3PO - My Linux jukebox

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by papeniglio, 8 Apr 2004.

  1. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here is my first project log on these forums.... I wrote this log during my work, but I decided to start to post it only when I really had something to show you; so I hope you like it and I wait all your comments (positive and negative).

    Actually the project started on November 2003, when I sold my rather new Athlon PC to a friend of mine; when he payed me, he was so kind to give me his old Pc for free, so I ended with a nice Compaq Presario picking some dust under my desk. The PC was still functional, so I decided to put together a small linux box acting as my home gateway and as a MP3/CD player. The new PC should run with no monitor, no keyboard/mouse and the audio player should be IR controlled...

    So I dismantled the Compaq and recovered the following parts:

    MOTHERBOARD

    [​IMG]

    It's a mATX motherboard based on the VIA MVP4 chipset; the CPU is an AMD K6-II @ 475MHz, so plenty of power for MP3 playing! It has an integrated 2x AGP Trident video card and integrated ESS Maestro 3 sound chip.


    POWER SUPPLY

    [​IMG]

    A small 145W ATX PSU; plenty of power for my setup.


    NETWORK CARDS

    [​IMG]

    The "Realtek clone" NIC was in the old Compaq; I found another "true Realtek" NIC in my forgotten-hardware-bin with a very reduced size: perfect for this box!


    And here is the new house for all those parts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    an old and blown Philips CD player thrown away by my parents. I took the remote control too...

    [​IMG]

    I started opening the player and found a quite "empty" box with a bunch of chips and a lot of plastic nerves to reinforce it.

    [​IMG]

    The electronics were assembled with a nice "clip" system and it was very easy to remove everything:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, there's a lot of work to do.... and I don't have a dremel!!!
     
  2. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    While I'm waiting to cut all the unneeded plastic, I managed to get some hardware in order to complete the PC configuration:

    HARD DISK

    [​IMG]

    It's a 5.2GB Toshiba laptop drive with the IDE adapter installed; I got it for free when I installed a larger disk on the laptop of my wife's cousin.


    DVD DRIVE

    [​IMG]

    A slim DVD-ROM with the IDE adapter installed. The drive was salvaged from a broken IBM notebook; it's been really hard to find the IDE adapter: I had to purchase it on a UK site because I wasn't able to find it in Italy!!! It cost me a LOT in shipping fee: 12,00 Euros the adapter PLUS 11,00 Euros the shipping!!!!


    As I wanted to work on the software while modding the case, I thought about a way to keep all the parts together without having to use another case. After some thinking, I ended with these:

    [​IMG]

    I use those "brackets" at work for some wall-mounted stuff; they can be screwed together and have a lot of 3mm holes and slots, and motherboard standoffs fit perfectly! So I ended with this nice setup:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Very compact and rock solid! With this setup, I was able to start working on the linux system and software.


    The search for a suitable linux distribution was quite long and tough: I had in mind a highly customized system with the only necessary code compiled into the kernel, no graphical stuff and a text-based MP3 player. I read the Linux From Scratch documentation and approached the Gentoo distribution, but it was too time consuming.... Finally, I found the Core Linux distribution: it comes with precompiled base utilities and developement tools and you have to compile only the kernel. I made a little hack to this distribution: the kernel tree in the distro is the 2.4.18; I replaced it with 2.4.22 and applied the low-latency patch before compiling the customized kernel. I configured and compiled all the necessary modules, compiled and configured iptables, telnetd, ftpd and the ALSA sound driver; when I rebooted the box, the system was ready (login prompt) after less than 10 seconds!!!! And the NATting worked at the first shot: I can use my 2 Mb/s internet connection from any of my home PCs.
    Actually the system takes about 12 seconds to get ready when you cold-boot it (the POST is very long and boring!) but I'm very satisfied with it.
     
  3. ajack

    ajack rox

    Joined:
    17 Apr 2003
    Posts:
    2,695
    Likes Received:
    2
    Looks nice! :rock:
     
  4. Timdog

    Timdog What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    7 Sep 2003
    Posts:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like this idea for a mod.

    1. Are you going to install another PCI soundcard or use the onboard one?

    2. How do you plan on getting rid of all that plastic?
     
  5. Noah

    Noah What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    8 Feb 2004
    Posts:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice mod!

    Here is an idea: Like on Zap's Ammo case, I think this would really replicate whatever it was if you had custom connectors rather than the motherboard connectors.
     
  6. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

    Joined:
    5 Feb 2004
    Posts:
    6,364
    Likes Received:
    125
    This is quite closely what i taught to do too. An MP3-machine... Tiny one with 43,5cm case.

    Looks nice anyway!
     
  7. FourDee

    FourDee What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    6 Mar 2004
    Posts:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yay
    I have one of those laptop hdd right here an i was wondering how to make one of those adapters. Is it like a normal ide hdd?
     
  8. johnwilliams474

    johnwilliams474 Banned

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2003
    Posts:
    685
    Likes Received:
    0
    so how is it going to work are you going to control it from another computer or is it for sreaming audio
     
  9. kill_me_quick

    kill_me_quick Big and Blue

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    941
    Likes Received:
    1
    So i think that it is going to be remote controlled?
     
  10. Sheldog23

    Sheldog23 What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    11 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very cool. Am interested in how exacty you will be using this too. I noticed you have a DVD drive. Do you plan on having this as a part of your entertainment center hooked up to your reciever and TV.
     
  11. BadKarma

    BadKarma What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    4 Feb 2004
    Posts:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
  12. johnwilliams474

    johnwilliams474 Banned

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2003
    Posts:
    685
    Likes Received:
    0
    what i ment is how are you going to configure it it great detail
     
  13. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey, thank you all for your comments!! I'll try to answer to your questions..



    No additional soundcard; the onboard one is enough for nice MP3 playing; as I've said, I have no dremel, so I'll use my little handsaw to get rid of the plastic.



    The motherboard connectors will be inside the case; the only connectors on the back of the box will be two RCA Audio, two RJ45 plugs and the power socket.



    Yes, the hdd is a standard IDE drive; the adapter transform the 44-pin connector on the hdd into a standard 40-pin IDE connector plus the molex for the power



    The PC will be controlled by the Philips remote; I'll use SAMBA to share a folder for MP3 storage; I'm getting information about various jukebox programs and I haven't yet chosen one. Anyway, no streaming.



    I used the DVD-ROM for two reasons:
    - it was free :naughty:
    - I've stored my MP3 collections on some DVDs, so I can play music directly from them.


    BadKarma thanks for the hint; I'll take a look at it...
     
  14. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    The cutting process will take a longer time, because I can mod only during night hours (from 11:00 pm on) when my two babies and my wife go to bed... Obviously, I cannot saw the plastic box if I don't want to wake everyone, so I'll wait the weekend for the "hard work"!!!

    In the meantime I worked on this:

    LCD DISPLAY

    [​IMG]

    It's a parallel 20x4 LCD module with blue backlight; I bought it from Modwarehouse last year and originally it was for another PC, but I thought it was perfect for this project... Moreover, it fits perfectly to the front panel of the Philips box.

    Some cables, a D25 connector and a little soldering work, and I gave life to this beautiful display:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the protective film, but I will peel it off only when the LCD will be installed into the box.

    I compiled and configured the LCDproc daemon and run the basic client to take those shots. mpg123 was playing a song and, as you can see, there's a lot of free resources: less than 5 MB of RAM were used for the kernel + all the modules (ALSA, iptables) + all the daemons (dhcpd, kbd, telnetd, ftpd, LCDprocd) + mpg123.


    I'm also working on the infrared circuitry: I plan to use the original IR sensor (a SHARP device) but I cannot find the datasheet; it's a phased-out device, so I downloaded the new device datasheet and I will see if the pinout is the same.
     
  15. my58vw

    my58vw Plexi Expert

    Joined:
    22 Sep 2003
    Posts:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    1
    Why C3PO? Just wondering.. I had visions of star wars before seeing an HTPC
     
  16. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    As you can see from my sig, I'm really addicted to Star Wars saga; this PC is named C3PO for many reasons:

    - C3PO is a protocol droid; he can handle communications between different people <-> the PC acts as an internet gateway for my home network!

    - C3PO is handmade by Anakin <-> the PC is hand made by me using recycled parts!

    - C3PO can speak different languages <-> the PC will play MP3s, OGGs, Audio CDs!

    That's all! Every PC in my rig takes the name of the most suitable Star Wars character. :hip:
     
  17. ben184

    ben184 What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    10 Nov 2003
    Posts:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    papeniglio-

    This project is way over my head (software-wise)...

    But it sounds great! It's the type of thing everybody on this forum probably wants to be able to do: use old PC parts (which everyone has laying around) and free, highly customizable software to create a trouble free, easy to use media box.

    How did you learn Linux? Does it involve something you do for a living? I've been trying to "figure out" Linux on-and-off for about a year (as a hobby really).

    I would really like to see this project finished. It's the kind of project that I could really get into, and hopefully learn Linux at the same time.
     
  18. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    I started using linux on my old 486 DX when I was a student; at that time, Slackware was the only "solid" distribution, but it was very tricky to set it up: no graphical setup, no plug&play and if you were able to run X11 at a high resolution you were at a good point!! I used Linux and its free compilers (GCC and G77) to make a microwave simulation program for my graduation. In my previous job I managed a linux server for our intranet site; anyway, all I know about linux was learned from the wonderful documentation you can find on internet and from some experimenting.

    Me too hopes to bring this project to a success :hehe:
     
  19. papeniglio

    papeniglio Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just before I go to sleep, here is a little update....

    IR REMOTE

    As I hoped, the pinout of the old IR sensor was the same of the new one, so I was able to set up the circuit for the receiver:

    [​IMG]

    I compiled and configured LIRC and .... TADAAA!! It works!!!! The receiver was too sensitive if placed on the desk and sometimes it got fake keypresses, but when I placed it behind the smoked front panel all the noise disappeared and I was able to configure the daemon to decode all the remote keys.

    I think linux is the best modder's system: you can really mod it if you have a little programming experience! I'm planning some little mods for the LCDprocd source code in order to display some additional messages on the LCD; as the box will run with no VGA display, I'd like to add these features for two particular system events:

    - I want the LCD to display a welcome message when the system has finished the boot sequence and before the jukebox application takes the control;

    - when I issue a shutdown command, the system halts but doesn't power-off the computer; when LCDprocd is halted, it leaves a "Thank you for using LCDproc" on the LCD; I'd like to change this message to something like "Now it's possible to turn off the computer" (Win98ish, isn't it?). :blush:

    For the jukebox application, I'm testing IRMP3: it's a daemon which inputs commands from LIRCd and outputs messages to LCDprocd, it supports mpg123 or other media players and allows the execution of external programs when you press a remote key.

    [chocolate-egg-mode]
    That's all for this week: I'm taking a little vacation for Easter time, but I'll be back on next week... :dremel:
    [/chocolate-egg-mode]
     
  20. DjFuzz

    DjFuzz What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    9 Apr 2004
    Posts:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Would you give us a list with the software you use on your computer? I'm very interested in linux because it starts really fast on old computers :D (Intel pentium 200Mhz). Is the software free to download and if so where could i download the software? Would like to configure my 200Mhz as an linux computer :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page