Raspberry pi B+ and volumio

We spent Christmas with my parents and wanting to take some xmas music along, I decided to give volumio a go to setup a mobile/tablet/pc controlled music player with a raspberry pi.

Picture of the set-up

Equipment

  • B+W Zeplin speaker dock (using the 3.5mm input)
  • Raspberry Pi model B+
  • music files located on Lexar usb stick in .flac format
  • SD card with the Volumio OS installed – download from here: http://volumio.org/
  • USB extension cable with cheap USB soundcard attached (extension cable as sound card is too bulky to fit next to the usb stick) – £2 or so from eBay
  • USB Wi-fi stick – digitazz
  • power supply for pi

The new B+ pi has an additional 2 USB ports, better power management and cable connections on only two sides.  Great for volumio as I needed 3 USBs (soundcard, music and wi-fi).

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Chilli Seeds

2015 will be a year of the chilli here, I ordered the seeds from sowseeds.co.uk which arrived fast and in attractive packets.

So after quite some time deciding on what to grow here are the contenders:

*Cherry Bomb – 2,500 – 5,000 SHU – great for salsas as well as pickling or roasting in the oven stuffed with cheese & herbs.

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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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New PSU for the Lepai Amp

So the little Lepai amp stopped working this week (original post here), after a bit of investigation which I originally assumed the amp has failed, but by swapping over the PSU for another one it appeared that the PSU had given up the ghost and not the amp.

What ensued was a quiet couple of days of quiet while waiting for the new PSU to arrive.I choose to upgrade the PSU to a 12v 5amp rather than 12v 2amp that I was previously using. The amp can work with both and will just draw the power it requires, some have concluded an improvement in sound quality when using a 5amp supply. The old was was a samsung one left over from an external hard drive and was already a couple of years old.

Anyhow hopefully this will last longer than 11 months!

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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SD Card File Recovery

After a visit to Silverstone Classic I uploaded all the photos and then formatted the card in the camera. I totally forgot about videos that were also shot. So being none too hopefully I looked online for software to try to recover them. I use a sony camera which shoots in AVCHD Format.

First call was Recuva, this software worked fast and recovered all the photos but not the videos – I already had them.

Up next was EaseUS Data Recovery, this worked and found the video files but only 1gb can be recovered with the free version, these files were in excess of this so the search continued.

Then I tried PhotoRec, this open source software runs in the terminal and works great. It’s reasonably easy to use, good online guide here. I set the options to find any file except .jpg as I had them already, it took a long time to scan the card but found all the videos from the day and dropped them into a folder.

PhotoRec is available on windows and Linux and worked a treat, interesting to note that the Recuva software recovered lots more photos that I was expecting, photos over a year old where the camera had been formatted multiple times but obviously data had never been overwritten.

Anyhow videos recovered, job done.

Sony PS3 Hard Drive Upgrade

After a bit of ebay loitering I managed to pick up a cheap ps3 superslim 12gb console, mainly as i’ve never really bothered with gaming at all. Anyhow £75 later I had a PS3 which was barely used and arrived with some games. Then after a bit more ebaying I picked up a collection of second hand games cheaply which all arrived.

Then after getting some more games I ran out of space on the ps3, so instead of just buying a 2.5″HDD, I bought an SSD for the server (link) and then moved the 2.5″ 500gb Hitachi HDD from the server into the PS3.

I had to get a bracket for the HDD, so  £3ish later this arrived.

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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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Second Bed Build

Following on from the last bed build (see part 1, part 2), I made a second one. This time a full UK double size rather than a UK small double. As it was a full double I again added the centre 2×4″ and also a centre leg for extra strength.Frame made in the same way as before, 4×1″ for the legs, 2×4″ for the frame and 1×4″ for the slats. Prior to assembly, I cut everything to size, sanded it and varnished with water based polyurethane (dries much faster than oil based).

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Free To Air Satellite TV FAQs

So if you’ve seen this post (click here) here are some answers to a few questions I’ve had regarding a DIY installed satellite system.

  • what is FTA?

Free to air channels are channels broadcast by satellite unencrypted.

  • OK what don’t I get?

All the sky channels are encrypted so you can’t get them. You also only get a now and next programme information – no seven day electronic programme guide (EPG.)

  • What is FreeSat?

Free sat is a group of free to air channels that pay to be part of freesat and get put on the freesat seven day (EPG).

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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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