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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:42 am 
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that thing is coming along nicely!

I have a couple questions, mainly about the receiver ventilation.

it looks like that side fan on the yamaha is blowing in? I wonder if it should suck out out and you should block some of the fan side vents and top vents and cut new ones in the left side end cover to get a cross flow from one side to the other. with no vents in the other end side and the mobo tray blocking most of the top vents it looks like most of the blown in air will exit over the transformer and blow right up into the drive cages. Some air may not hit heat sinks on the other side of the receiver covered by the mobo tray as there is no real exit on that side.

maybe a fan on each end in a push pull configuration, with the exit side nearest a back panel exhaust?

also are the feet off the receiver? are there any vents on the bottom?

I wonder if it would be worth it to cut an opening under the receiver so air can get under it, maybe put a couple fans under the receiver blowing up into it?

sorry if this has been addressed already or Im looking at the pics wrong. I just know my harman kardon AV receiver get pretty hot when its cranked up there.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:17 am 
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CharBroiled;

Yeah the AV reciever is still one thing I'm working on Cooling wise and I could really use your guys' input on it as I've got a modder's block, so to say :-P

I was planning on doing a push-pull thing by passing air laterally across the reciever's heatsink (which is in front). How ever I ran into a problem:

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The wiring is actually so tight, that the pins on the PCB's are bent to make the connection. You can kinda make out one of the headers on teh right. I have almost no wiggle room with moving those wires.

So, I put the fan on the right side, make it blow into the AV in a feeble attempt to try and get fresh air inside the box.

I have and extra 120mm fan to go along with the one on the side of the AV. 120mm is over sized, I know, but I can purchase an 80mm if needed in 2 weeks after payday.

Here's some shots of the AV so you all can better see the proportions:

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If you need any more specific shots, let me know, I'd be happy to get them.

Notes:
-There's almost no vertical space on top of the receiver to place anything. The first inch of the front of teh reciver sits under the PCB of the original radio of the Entertainment Center.
-Same thing with the space under the drive cage.
-The feet are still on and there are vents on the bottom. I was planing on using the space under the AV to hide cabling. There is about 1/2" of clearence (a little less actually).

I really like the idea of pulling air out and across the AV heatsink. I don't think a Fan would fit underneath teh AV, but I could get around that by builing the fan into the bottom of the A/V.

I hope the pics help - any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:40 am 
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those pics help a lot. looks like the top area where the receivers heatsinks are is fairly open, even with the mobo tray and the entertainment centers PCB above it.

the vents on the bottom and top of the receiver (under and above the heatsink fins) look like they line up nice, if you could mount some intake fans in cutouts in the entertainment centers bottom that line up with the receivers bottom vents I think there would be enough airflow up through the bottom vents (and out through the top vents) to keep it happy.

might need like 3 80's to cover the width of the receiver (3 may be overkill but it would give more even airflow to the heatsink) but they could be low rpm fans. they would also be drawing in fresh air from the underside of the entertainment center which would help with cooling overall.

seeing how the receivers vents I think you should also keep that 80 side fan in to blow right on the transformer too, in addition to underside fans.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:49 pm 
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Thanks for the input!

Instead of working outside today, I decided to be lazy in teh name of science! I quickly hooked the AV up and played Crusader (I heart Dos) for a few hours. I then listened to music and watched some TV to try and tax the AV as much as I could.

After a total of about 4-5 hours, I took a baby thermometer and stuck it under the mobo tray and recorded the temps.

At the front of the tray, the temp was about 106F
On the side of the tray (middle of the AV), the temp was 110F
Between the Tray and Mobo (same location), th temp was 110F

-----

I think that having the side fan blow out might be the way to go as the Mbo tray is just trapping air in teh AV. Also, I'm gonna start measuring to put a fan underneath the AV too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:50 pm 
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Happy Columus day!
(and Happy Thanksgiving for our Northern Neighbors!)

My vacation is winding down, and so is the weather, so i'm making use of the beautiful weather yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Hopefully the Rain will hold off Wednessday.

Per your suggestions, I started my work re-doing the bottom air intake fans

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I widened the original air intake holes and cleaned them up. I also added a thrid air intake.

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The three fans will be moving 60CFM of air directly onto the bottom and side vents of the AV. No to mention another 20CFM coming from the top firectly onto the Mobo. All the Air will exit via a 100CFM 250mm fan in the rear.

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DOH!
And then I had a problem. This was one wire before I started. In fact it was one of the wires heading to the Left sub of the original 1960's radio. I'm kinda surprised it was such a clean cut considiering that I knicked it with a jigsaw.

I'll fix it next week when I get a chance to buy some electrical tape.

The fans were spackled into place and left to dry, while I watched/listened to football :-)

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While listening to Sunday Night Football (more on that later). I worked on The placement of the Router. The back of teh router has to be exposed so the antenna can make it out.

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Linksys likes to make things hard. There's no mouting holes for screws. I initally decided to make my own holes, but after ripping the decorative casing off (literally), I found that there's not enough clearence between any of the layers of casing and electronics for a screw.

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So Plan B. I built a harness out of some of the scrap plywood and angle to hold the Router in place. I'm really glad I also have a switch, as almost all the router's ethernet ports are blocked by the harness.

I also attached the surge protector. Probably the easiest thing I did all day :-)

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I then cut the back panel in two, and then added the hinges.

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After som fussing and fitting and dropping the panels on my bare feet a few times, I got everything lined up and secured.

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The last thing of the evening was to stain the back panel. It doesn't really match the veneer ( a little too bright I think), but its better than white plywood.

--

A fairly major/minor design change has come up. I mentioned listening to Sunday Night Football. Time Warner decided starting October, to drop NBC in my area. Coupled with the fact that they cost $70/month for Digital and the STB only ouputs in analog (no HD at all, "Digital" down converted to analog), I decided to Kick Time Warner to the curb.

There are few options for TV here: Time Warner, Dish, and Antenna. The tower for all the local stations is only 4 miles away and I can get HD/DTV for free (and NBC!) with the antenna. - So I'm going with Antenna for a while. I can get the cable shows I watch online for the most part.

This means that my capture device, a Happauge 350 won't work (analog) in a few months. I'm currently looking at an HDHomeRun. It has a scalbility advantage (networked based) and it can handle digital signals from over the air. I'll keep the 350 for now, in case the fam decides to try cable/dish again, but I'm not totally sure if that part has a use anymore - kinda sad for a part that's never seen action :-(

--
Take Care!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:19 pm 
Klamath
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Dont linksys routers have removable antennas.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:37 pm 
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Yes!

Well they did... My father's WRT-54G does. I actually bought new antennas for my router and ended up giving them to my Father (10% increase in signal!).

My unit, the WRT-600N doesn't (nor do any of the newer units). The antenna's look like they ought to be removable/upgradable, but no. I fully dissasembled the unit when I first got it with the intent to upgrade the Antenna (I even bought new antenna!).

Turns out the "antenna" is just hollow plastic housing a wire that leads straight to the radio board. Same thing with the central "Waffle". Just a pair of wires. I tried to take a picture of it, but none of them really came out, my appoligies.

In my Opinion, the whole contrstruction of the router feels... cheap. The plastic housing is snapped to together. To get inside the unit, you have to literally pry it off. Once you get the outer shell out, you can acess four screws on the inner shell, but that doesn't help as the PCB has thermal paste and foam (yes some sort of spongy foam thing) attaching it to the inner shell, so yo have to pry it off again. When I took it apart, I really thought I was gonna snap it in half....which would make me angry.

The newer WRT's have all internal anntennas, so I'm guessing that mine has the same PCB/electronics design, just a slightly different housing as compared to the newer units (Mine is a probably a transitional unit to the new design)

---

On a Side note, MPC posted a fun How-to for adding a fan to your entertainment center. The Temp controlled fan idea is great!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:09 am 
8086
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Hello

Hope you all had a good weekend - My vacation has ended, so I only have a very small update.

Today is my final mock up day. I'm going to attach everything in is place and hope it fits. The only thing that won't be included is the wiring as I'm still cutting and crimping (and slicing my fingers).

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First I added my DSL modem and the IR repeater block.

Then came teh DVD drive:

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The drive was blue from when I had a blue computer, I just sanded off the old auto paint andgave this one a healty dose of "Metallic"

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While the front bezel of the drive was drying, I ran into a small hiccup with my old Pioneer slot load DVD drive. It doesn't fit. I'm not sure how, but the acrylic is slightly wapred to the tune of 1/16 of an inch to small!

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A small bit of work with the dremel and some solvent to un glue some of the loctite let me wdege the drive in. I then resealed the acrylic to the wood with more loctite.

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Its a tight fit, but it looks ok I think.

Next, I added bracets to the AV. This sucker will be bolted in from the bottom using carriage bolts (so it is possible to remove it for future maintainence)

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A few few swipes from the drill and boom, the sucker was finally in there!

Here are some close ups of teh final fitting:

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I also added the PSU mounting bracket to make sure it fit:

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All that's left are some finishing touches (3 1/2 bay covers for exmaple), and to wire the thing. Then she'll be ready to go. I have most of the Cat5e Crimped and spliced along with the telephone cord and half of the internal speaker wire. I accidently destroyed both of my Sub-woofer cables, so I'm just gonna go out buy 2 more and a RCA-F connector, instead of doing it myself.

Ps - I also tested the fans. There are 6 intake/exhaust fans not counting the ones attached to the AV and CPU heatsinks. All I can say is.... its nice. Not very loud (quieter than my PC) and the air flow seems ok.

Take Care!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:16 pm 
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Fantastic job, I love it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:50 pm 
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whelderwheels613 wrote:
Fantastic job, I love it.


I agree - very well played project!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:06 pm 
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Thank you so much! I'm really glad you guys like it.

Here's a mini Halloween update!

For the last week or so, I've been splicing and crimping wire on my couch while watching TV before work. Its been going fairly well. The CATTV (Rg-6/F) Cables are the only ones that give me problems. Seems the wire slips out of the connecter way to easily after crimping.

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Here's wher I stand wiring wise. I taped labels to the ends of non-unique cables (like the speaker wire). It is one huge rats nest. I'm in the process of sleeving/tubing the wires so it looks a little more clean.

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All the wall warts for the various devices are hidden under the left Subwoofer. Its kinda a black blob in the picure right now. I'm gonna try to come up with a way to stack the warts on top of eachother tonight, that way I can anchor them to the radio somehow instead of just having them lay there in a pile.

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"And here's some assorted lengths of wire!" (Bonus points if you get that reference) This is my actually To Do box of wire that still needs to be crimped, cut/added, etc. Its mainly the Cabling for the IR repeater, HDMI cable, the Subwoofer cable and all the tubing to try and organize it.

I know there's no way I can stealth all of the wire. I'm not Voodoo. My goal is much more modest, just try to make it look a little cleaner:

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Tonight, as its my night off, I'm gonna rearrange my living room. It doesn't sound modtastic, but I I need my PC near the Entertainment center for setup (KVM switch) and I'd rather move the entertainment center now, rather than bolt the 40lbs of AV and HTPC into it and then try and move it. Also, I can let my fingers heal (Never Strip wires using a Bearclaw - duh!)

I'm hoping to have everything ready for some preliminary testing next week (Crosses fingers).

Happy Halloween!


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 Post subject: Futurerama
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:29 pm 
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The wire comment is the Professor from Futurerama.

Woot Bonus points are the best.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:05 pm 
8086
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YaY!
best cartoon ever!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:33 pm 
8086
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Good morning;

Final wiring and testing of the components was the goal of the past week and I have to say I am very pleased with the results.


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I've always been a home depot guy, growing up it was the only major store in my county. I'm starting to lean towards Lowe's, especially for cheap specialty parts like these 90 degree F connectors.

By combining little connectors like this with healthy amounts of tubing, I can keep the wiring as "simple" as possible.

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An intersting note, you'll notice the sub cable (Black) is a coaxial TV cable. Oddly, the faceplate is an RCA connector on the ouside and an F (Cable) connector on the inside. A RCA-F connector and a 90 degree angle at the AV's end allows for the sub to get hooked up with out the adapter bumping into the back panel, although it is a very tight fit:

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Because I cut most of the wire to be as short as possible, I had to slowly slide in the A/V and PSU into place while making the connections. As you can see its slow going.

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Its also very cluttered as I have to stop to guide the extra cable as I slide everything into place, Below is the space between the sub and AV just behind the PSU.

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Tubing cleans up a lot of the mess. Below is the other side of the A/V.

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And finally the HTPC and back of the AV:

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Interesting story. I bought the AV used off of Ebay for this project. Turns out the HDMI input (silver cable) port is loose. When I first turned on the TV to test the connection, everything was Blue!! When I pushed the cable to your right, everything went back to normal. The space is so tight between the connectors on the AV and the back panel the pressure simply keeps it in place (so far...)

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Here it is right beofre I closed her up. I bound the Ethernet cable in tubing on the right. The loose cabling at the bottom is actually the control cables for the IR block. On the far left, the blob is the USBUIRT. I bought a cheap cable from RadioShack and wired the UIRT directly into the IR Block.

My office PC is sitting ontop of the center acting as a controller while I configure and test the components (router, modem, etc).

After setting it up, I carried my PC back to the office and carried the Entertainment center to its place.

Its running Linux right now (free!) and I'm using VNC to remotely administer from my office PC while I fine tune the system as my mouse/keyboard isn't exactly made for command line usage:

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Construction wise - its pretty much done. There are a few final touches still needed, hence why its not pushed all the way against the wall. I need to setup the USBUIRT and confirm its working with the IR block. I also need to test the video capture component and program the remote.

Heat wise, the box works quite well. I did a 12 hour burn in and the Bios temps were CPU/System 57F/95F and held constant the entire time. The "Stick my hand in it" test also fared well.

Once I get the system setup and going, I'll post screen shots and, hopefully, some less fuzzy shots of the components, etc.

Take care!


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 Post subject: PROGRAMMING!!!!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 3:20 pm
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Good evening

I hope you all are doing well and ejoying the holidays. I don't have as much of an update for but a little more of a commentary, sorry. I will have results for you soon. I promise.

For the last month, I've been working on the software side of the Entertainment center. Being cheap, and loving a good challange, I've been toying with Linux. Its been several (almost 5?, wow) years since I've last used Linux and I have to say that despite being etremely rusty, its slowly comming back to me.

I'm impressed with the progress the OS has made over the years. Linux is, by far, the easiest installation of any OS I've ever used (including Windows). In 20 minutes, I had Samba and VNC installed and was remotely adminitering the Center from the Office PC, with functioning tv capture and tv out.

Unfortunately, Step 2 is where Linux still needs some love - Configuration/Troubleshooting. Windows still has the advantage of "easy" GUI utilities developed by hardware vendors to configure and optimize one's hardware. Linux is still playing catch up, but has the advantage of an exceptionally powerful terminal and command line utilites, just not very user friendly.

And that's where I am right now. Step 2. I've been having trouble with my audio devices, mainly a lack of sound. I traced the problem to poor PulseAudio integration with Ubuntu, and have fixed it (kinda), but am still not getting proper Audio playback in certian cases. I have a few theories, but my knowledge of Linux and multimedia is super scarce, so it has been slow going.

Atleast they got Xorg to the point where it configures itself, which is awesome. Hopefully, ALSA/Pulse is next on thier list for such goodness :-)

Peace!


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 Post subject: Finale - YaY
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 7:56 pm 
8086
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Necromancy +1 !!

Things have been super busy, particularly on the home/work front - but finally the Entertainment center is finished!

Most of the work on the center has been fine tuning and trouble shooting. Unfortunately I had to abandon linux due to some ati/openGL problems. I spent weeks trying to get Alsa and Pulse working, and frankly, I just couldn't justify spending weeks and weeks on every troubleshoot. My Linux multimedia knowledge just wasn't strong enough.

So, courtesy of some Xmas gifts, I installed a fresh copy of XP. The TV application is Beyond TV (BTV)- I'm sad I had to pay for it (as opposed to say Myth), but the features and integration are well worth it.

VLC is my DVD player. Using FFDshow Tryouts in addition, It has almost no problems with DVD's or any other media it can grab from the family laptops and PCs

I'm using Medioessentially as a master UI. It's a rather depracated use for what is a Media center Suite - but while Medio is a jack of all trades (PVR - streaming content from the net - ala hulu, etc), its a master of none. The various plugins are rough and rather slow - configuring them can be pretty confusing as well. The UI is tight and super customizable (and easy to do so!)- so I essentially us it as the Main UI Launching BTV and VLC when I want to watch tv or a movie. That way I always have a 10' interface :-)

Last is Event Ghost. It is a macro program where it takes events (say- recieving a signal from a remote control via the USB-uirt) and runs a simple macro. From simulating keystrokes (ie Channel up on my remote is the "up" button on teh keyboard), to sending sending RC commands via the a loopback adaper to VLC, to making sure the various programs shutdown when I turn off the TV, it is the brain of the operation. There are tons of plugins and commands, its really limited by your imagination.


Here's some final glamour shots!

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The small black rectangle on the right side of the center is the IR reciever. I had a lot of frustration with it intially as it didn't work. Then I discovered my cat had chewed through the cable - on the side that is 24+ gauge. A few gell clips later and all was well.

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Yeah, that's a squeeze box, found a duet super cheap on ebay - and I have some future ideas to use it with a file server rig (openfiler perhaps?)

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And in action - That's live TV - beautifully smooth

Also, the 1960's radio still works wonders! The radio is what inspired my to buid this machine - so i'm happy I didn't kill it in the process - otherwise, it would be a hollow victory

----

Well it was fun - I really enjoyed writing this for you all - Sorry it took almost a year to finish the silly thing. Over all I'm really happy with my little project.

I really have to thank everyone on this board and MPC's ROTM column in their mag. A lot of my ideas came from looking at your works and learning from your mistakes/sucesses. So with that in mind here's a few things I learned that I hope might help you all out in the future:

-Planing Rocks!
-- I had about 10 sheets detailing how this project was going to go down. Everything from a sheet called "What do I want it to do?" to parts lists to measurements. In the end, while my result didn't look exactly like what I originally put on paper, sitting down and planning it out forced me to really think about every aspect of the project. I avoided a lot of pitfalls by pausing and writing out my ideas.

-Work with your strengths!
-- I like FOSS projects. Linux, Myth, etc. That said, I'll use linux in my file server, or in a notebook. But in the end, having experience with every MS OS since 1984 was the deciding factor for me going with XP. I just know the OS better when it comes to multimedia.

-Plans Change!
--Like the above example - not everything you expect will come. Remember the HDD/DVD drive cage I built for this thing? Turns out with the A/V sitting under it, it is impossible to add/remove a Hdd with out disassembling the entire center! - Whoops

-Where the parts and stuff came from:
-Home Depot
--Great for hardware/equipment deals. Need a power conditioner? $200 at best buy - $80 at Home Depot
-Lowes
--Nice home electronics section with a huge selection. 90 degree F connectors, Crimping supplies, every jack and converter possible.
-Data pro
--Custom Faceplates and connecting cables. A tad expensive - but very easy to order what you need
-Less Emf
--Thier website looks like its from the 90's, but it was the friendliest and cheapest place to buy good sheilding to protect my Harddrives from the stereo speakers
-Of course New Egg goes with out saying.
---------------

And becuase no Pc'er every has a totally finished rig here's my plans for the future:

-Ok - watching live TV and trying to access shared folders on the Entertainment Center doesn't work - kills playback. So, Time to look into a simple, separate file server (Saw a positive mention of Open Filer in Father in Law's Linux Journal). I know the Squeeze box is linux compatible. I can set BTV to archive any processed and compressed shows to the Server so I can stream them anywhere. I wonder if there is a good *Nix media server out there (that would work with an MVP or a console - If I ever buy one). If I can find a micro itx with a bunch of sata ports I'd be set. Hell they even use dc-dc power supplies - I could run it off a spare line from the Main PS perhaps ;-)

- I built the system to be 7.1 surround compatible - I should really buy 2 more speakers and add them in

- I keep seeing Boxee mentioned on the MPC site - Looks like a video stream aggregator - the one in Meedio sucks - Might have to give it a try.

- My pvr 350 died durring testing - so I got an 1800. It has a dual Ntsc/Atsc/Qam tuner with Mpeg2 decoder on board - I'll have to play with OTA ATSC more - $10 antennea is all I need (actually, I'm so close to our region's tower that the card picks up OTA signals on its own - weird)

-Sometimes, my wife or I will be surfing the internet or working on our pc/laptop and find something really cool we have to show the other. It would be amazing if there was a way we could just push a "Send to Entertainment center" button and esentially stream what's going on our computer to the TV via the entertainment center (like some art or photo's we are working on). Like Pulse's Sound server only with video. Telling Medio to open up program X and listen to port X would be all that was required - hence we could stay in the 10' interface. I wonder if they make something like that?

-Automate the PC - Perhaps, I can start with Event ghost and work from there. Auto download updates (OS, BTV, VLS, EG, etc), apply them and restart the computer at night when its not recording. Perhaps have the computer hibernate/suspend/whatev until it needs to record (and wake on keyboard/usb so the Remote control wakes the Center). All these programs do this on their own, but there's no crosstalk - no coordination..

-----------

Well that is all for me - I had a ton of fun - and I learned a lot. That was prolly my last big project until We get a house - then its full house upgrade (We've wanted to live "off" the grid as much as possible for years now), solar, water collection/purification, Z-waze, Cat5e, MVP for the bedroom, the list goes on - hehe, I can't wait :-)

Take Care!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 5:53 am 
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Glad to see you finely finished it, very good work mate. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:05 am 
Monkey Federation (Top 10)*
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This has been a fun project to follow!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 1:20 pm 
8086
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 3:20 pm
Posts: 52
Thanks!

It was really fun to build!

also to the list - get the 1/8" jack on the usb-uirt and the Niles block to play nice. Right now, I can't send any ir commands from the PC. It is not necesary for now, but it would be good safety to send an "off" signal to the AV when the computer shuts down. Also it'll prep things if I ever get a cable box.

Interestingly enough, I just got my may issue of MPC - and what do ya know! A TV and Movie PC!. Its a really interesting take on the home entertainment PC (their "no more cable/ota" stance, i mean). It seems rather indicative of the future with the cable companies trying to compete with the 'net with "On-Demand" streaming services. I think the cable compainies are a step ahead of the PC, but looking at teh article - its a very small step :-)


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