HDMI Switch for Pi

I have a monitor that is connected to another pc and a pi, up until now I have had to swap cables when I wanted to use the pi/pc and it was getting tedious.

As I read that some don’t play nicely with the pi, I was assuming that it might be tricky to find one that works – however this duronic hdmi switch works perfectly (even the auto switching) with the pc and pi. The only issue is the blindly bright blue LED – seen below covered with a square of post it.Connected as follows:

PC-DVI--------------HDMI-[switch in]
Pi-HDMI-------------HDMI-[switch in]
[switch out]-HDMI---------DVI-[monitor]

Journey to go paperless and the Quest for a good scanner

In an attempt to digitise as much paper and other records to reduce clutter and make it easier to search for things I decided to get a sheet fed scanner and make a start.

First stop was to find a scanner, i decided I needed the following:

  • Ability to scan on the machine without the need for a PC
  • Colour scanner – that’s obvious right
  • ADF (auto document feeder) so I can load it up with paper and leave it to scan away, I do not want to feed in every single sheet manually
  • Ethernet or wifi connectivity
  • scan to jpg or pdf
  • ability to get working with linux without too much hassle
  • Scanning resolution of 600dpi
  • Less than £150

So my short (long) list:

  • dixie – portable and scans without a PC but its single sheet feed only
  • Fujuiti – look good but too costly for home use
  • epson – as above

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PC Cooling Upgrading

So the garage pc was a little noisy so I decided to take a look to see why and try to reduce the noise a little. I was hoping to be able to use the stock cooler from my newer AMD chip which has previously been upgraded (Link). Case open and here it is, its a very old athlon pc but it runs the latest version of xubuntu fine. The CPU cooler looks clogged with dust.

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CPU Cooler Upgrade

See server build post here, as I thought I had encountered hardware issues, I swapped out the stock cooler with something a bit better. The Arctic Alpine 64GT rev.2 is a cheap (less than £10) upgrade and the larger fan should in theory be a little quieter and the bigger heatsink so be more efficient.

Here is the motherboard with stock cooler

The new Cooler

Cooler much bigger than the original

To fit, I just removed the old one, cleaned the CPU with isopropyl alcohol to remove the old thermal paste and clipped the cooler in. It arrived pre-applied with thermal paste.

Motherboard installed in the case

Job done, seems quieter and a temps are better.

Server Build

I wanted a server for a while to take care of streaming music, streaming films, backup documents, photo storage, print server and anything else I need. I avoided the cheaper generally low powered NAS’s (I have a raspberry Pi that could do that) and decided to essentially build another pc to perform these tasks. It would be more powerful and offer more functionality. It will however cost more to run and take up more space. But I was happy with that.

Kit List

  • AMD APU A6-6400K (second hand)
  • MSI motherboard A88XM-E35 – FM2 socket
  • 4GB Generic RAM – now upgraded to corsair 1600mhz 4GB
  • 500gb Hitachi HDD – now upgraded to 120GB PNY Optima SSD
  • Silverstone SST-PS08W (with USB 3.0) case
  • 1tb data hard drive (see post here)
  • OS – Ubuntu 14.04.1LTS
  • BeQuiet 350w 80+ power supply
  • Pioneer BDC-207DBK Bluray drive
  • Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 rev.2 CPU cooler
  • Arctic mx2 thermal paste
  • Isopropanol alcohol (for cpu cleaning)

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Installing A Monitor Mount

I had some spare IT kit and I thought it would be useful have a PC and monitor in the workshop.

I wanted to mount the monitor on the wall out the way, so I purchased the cheapest swivel monitor mount off ebay for about £7.

I was given an old pc minus a hard drive so I found one in the stores and then installed Xubuntu 14.04LTS which was all easy enough, added a £3 ebay usb wi-fi stick and a keyboard and mouse I had kicking about.

To mount it I decided to fix the bracket to a piece of 2×4″ then the 2×4″ to the wall, this will provide four fixings in the wall rather than two so should be more secure.

To begin, I took a piece of scrap 2×4, and bevelled the ends for aesthetics and marked where I wanted the 2×4″ to be fixed to the wall.

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Raspberry PI

I picked up a raspberry pi to experiment with, here is the board in all its glory:

Its a tiny credit card sized linux computer, find out more info here. Its the Model B version with networking and with a CPU running stock at 700mhz.

I also picked up a case from Mod my pi and a 16gb Intergral class 10 SD card. Its powered by a micro usb PSU providing at least 700mA so I found an old blackberry charger that seems to be working fine. Once the HDMI cable and a logitech wireless keyboard and mouse I was ready to started playing. I downloaded the new operating system software from the Raspberry Pi website NOOBs (new out of box software) which includes a few different OS’s to choose from. I stuck with Raspian first which installed reasonably quickly and booted fine. Then I overclocked the pi to 800mhz (a “modest” overclock) by amending the config file to provide a bit of extra speed – this will not void the warranty and is super quick.

I am hoping to use it as a small energy efficient file server a bit like this.

Upgrading a PC Power Supply Unit

I had issues with an Antec High Current Gamer PSU, I had a spare and whilst it worked, it was noisy and not very efficient. So I got a BeQuiet 430w PSU to run my ubuntu PC.

Here it is unboxed:

I removed the temporary one and installed the new one…

Here is the back of the motherboard tray, I had an extension cable for the four pin CPU power so I could route it behind the tray to help airflow in the case.

Up and running fine and very quiet, the cables are not sleeved, but who cares it seems to be great so far…

Heres the link to the PC build post

 

Building an Ubuntu PC

I wanted to build my own pc and run linux that I have used on an HTPC for some time. This will be a cheap way into PC building and hopefully provide a good general use machine.

Kit List

  1. Case – NZXT source 210
  2. CPU – Intel Pentium Dual Core 2.8ghz
  3. Motherboard – with HDMI and DVI- Gigabyte B75
  4. RAM – 8GB Corsair 1600mhz (will run slower due to CPU)
  5. SSD – OCZ Agility 4 128GB
  6. HDD – WD Green 1tb from old external drive  (not yet fitted)
  7. USB Stick – for installing Ubuntu
  8. PSU – 80%+ – Antec High Current Gamer 400w – to be replaced by Bequiet 430w
  9. Speakers – Logitech x120
  10. Keyboard and mouse – have already
  11. Monitor – Dell 21” – have already
  12. 3.5” to 2.5” drive convertor – For SSD installing in a standard drive bay
  13. Optical Drive – Not needed this is 2012
  14. SATA cables

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