No public Twitter messages.

Home About Kalinga Sinhala Unicode Help Sinhala Blog Techකතා සිංහල බ්ලොග් කියවනය (Syndi)

HTPC – Intel Atom Media Center Inside a CD Player

[සිංහලෙන් කියවන්න]

Today I’m gonna talk about how to building your self a nice Home Theater System ruining Windows 7 Media Center. I wanted build one for some time now. mainly for listening to music and to play video podcasts, this is NOT a HD media center since its running on the Intel Atom 230 CPU. but you can always get an good motherboard and make this to run as a HD Media Center.

I wanted this to be unique as possible and be a more hands on job, any one can buy a HTPC case and put stuff inside the box and build a Media Center PC but i wanted this to look less then a PC  more like a HiFi device like my DVD or CD-Player and operate the same way with out worrying about keyboards and mouse. This will fit nicely on your HiFi rack and look sexy at the same time 😀

Lest see the hardware and parts i have used for this project, that don’t mean you have to use the same.

The Intel Atom bard is mini-ITX form factor, so its quite small. comes with Audio, LAN, VGA as well, CPU comes with the board. its an Intel Atom 230 that runs at 1.6Ghz. VGA is based on the Intel Graphics, if you want to play HD movies get an Atom board with Nvidia Chipset, www.zotac.com makes nice mini-ITX boards based on the Atom 330 CPU and 9400 Nvidia chip set, that has SPDIF Optical Audio, HDMI and can do 1080i HD Vidoe with out an issue and most of all the boards can run fan less. meaning less noise.

Even tho the Intel Atom board comes with Audio built in, I wanted to connect via SPDIF to get DTS/Dolby Digital to work, then i can plug the Media Center directly to my Surround Amplifier via the SPDIF. it will sound much much better then the onboard sound card.

  • 500GB SATA2 HDD – Rs.7500 (Around $70)
  • ATX P4 Power Supply – Rs.1500 (Around $12)
  • DVD Combo Drive – Rs.2000 (Around $17)
  • Wireless Keyboard/Mouse – Rs.2850 (Around $25)
  • IR Remote with IR Reciver – Rs.1200 (Around $10)

The IR Remote act as a HID (Human Interface Device) so its basically  a keyboard + mouse

IMG_0166 IMG_0169

IMG_0170 IMG_0171

Above you can see every thing setup for testing and ruining Windows 7 RC, boot time is quite good, with Avast antivirus scanner, the system boots up in about 45 seconds.

IMG_0173-1

As the Audio player i wanted to use iTunes but then after i changed my mind and whet with Winamp, iTunes has less keyboard short cuts, this is the main reason. but i use iTunes to download the podcast and also you can use the Apple Remote for iPhone/iTuch to control iTunes using your iPhone or iPodTouch from anyway in the house if you have wifi. you can do the same with Winamp but you need to buy an application call iAmpRemote witch works the same as the Apple Remote.

Right, now to fix every thing inside a HTPC casing, I looked but didn’t really find some thing i like, all of them look more like a PC then a HiFi audio device, then i remembered my OLD CD Player (Sony CDP-950) witch i sold to a friend of my some years back. gave a call and lucky for me he still had the player laying around. i got it back from him. Yes Yes had to pay 😀

cdp-950

lets fit every thing inside the CD Player.

1

i removed every inside the CD Player, got it cleaned and cut and fixed few things to install the HDD and Motherboard.

2

3.5″ HDD fixed inside.

3

Now we need to install the power supply, this is bit hard since you cant install the power supply with out removing the power supply case, i got the fan and the power supply unite out of the power supply case and fixed it to the CD Player case.

7

once the motherboard is installed, you cant fix the sound card upright then you cant close the case, for this i got a PCI slot side way converter card for $2 (Rs.200) off eBay.

Now you need to get the CD Player front panel buttons to work, such as Play, Stop, Forward ete. for this i opened up a PS/2 Multi Media Keyboard and took the parts out and figured out witch button connect what pins on the keyboard controller card. then i wired every thing to the CD Players control buttons.

4 5

6

Cracked open the IR Remote receiver and fixed it where the CD Players original IR reviver was.

11 Photo030

I wanted the CD Player CD Bay to work just like it did before, so i open the DVD ROM case and solder the Eject button to the CD Players Reject button. then made some custom mounts and mounted the DVD ROM where the CD Players original CD loader use to be.

14 15

Motherboard is mounted side ways, you need a way to get the LAN, VGA, SPDIF out, i mounted a VGA and a Ethernet port on the backup of the CD Player and wired them to the motherboard.

8 9.

10 12

Power Input and back panel USB එක.

Photo023

Front panel USB.

Media Center Running.

Controlling iTunes with the iPhone

This is how every thing is fixed inside the CD Player.

Media Center

Photo050

Now one thing is missing thats the Display to Display media information like your normally see in a CD Player, since its to much work to get the original CD Player VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) working. I got a cheap Samsung VFD off eBay for $30 (Rs.3000)

vfd

The VFD has a HD44780 Hitachi microcontroller that can connect to a LPT (Printer Port) and control over it.

Photo037 Photo047

Above you can see the VFD working and to control the VFD I’m using a software call LCD Smartie

HD44780

Photo048

I wanted to get the head phone jack and volume control on the CD Player to work like it did before. I took out the head phone amp and the control from the original CD Player and had to built a power supply for it. the head phone amp runs on 9v-0-9v, i got 7809 and 7909 voltage regulators and conversed the 12v-0-12v that comes from the computer power supply to 9v-0-9v

Photo049

Photo051 Photo052

Main Menu of the Media Center, 2nd Image show its playing DTS ES (7.1)

Photo053 Photo056

Windows 7 Media Center

Share

12 Responses to “HTPC – Intel Atom Media Center Inside a CD Player”

  1. Alex Says:

    Man, this is one of a beautiful piece of hardware! Great job!

  2. Senthil Nayagam Says:

    Kalinga

    DIY project is cool but the dollar conversion rate is far of from the mark, I am assuming it is Indian Rupee

    1$ = 40-50Rs

    Intel Atom 1.6Ghz Motherboard D945GCLF – Rs.8100 (Around $80)
    that should be 160-200$

  3. Kalinga Says:

    @Senthil Nayagam

    ah this is not INR, its LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee)

    its around US$1 = LKR Rs.113

    anyway i did a ruff conversion, not an 100% one.

  4. tst Says:

    Yo! Nice post. Gives me some inspiration.

    Anyway. I just wanted to add that an Audigy sound card does not sound any better than an onboard sound card (e.g. realtek) when you are using SPDIF. This is because the main parts (D/A convertion) of the sound device are not used, the sound is just passed through without much processing. I think that money (and space inside that tiny case) can be spent better and I did alot of testing in that area.

    Other than that, this is an awesome accomplishment – congrats!

  5. Kalinga Says:

    @tst

    yes, when taking a SPDIF it don’t really matter if its the inbuilt or external card, but the issue i had was the Intel board don’t have SPDIF out, i don’t wont to get the analog out since i want the DTS/DD to be decoded in my amp rather then in the PC it self, as i know the AMP has a far better D/A then the PC sound card.

  6. sanzilla Says:

    I’m not a music and HD movie fan. I just watched the stargates like movies not good in Entertainment.

    anyway nice interest and nice stuff about that , OpenRemote , keyboard Hacks , LPT control etc.
    how did you interconnect the media app to the deamon you whatever the process that controls that
    those devices , inter process communication with the Windows Media center application , or did
    you write a addon for the Windows Media Center ?

    How it works ?I’m really curious about this.My question is about can you give me some
    information about how to use IPC mechanism to interconnect media player and your
    OpenRemote API’s ? or what kind of architecture you have used?

    and there are linux based media centers too.but I don’t think that every codec and the
    multimedia hardware acceleration will be fully supported like inside in windows Media Center.

    and I heard about the ppl like you , but don’t believe that called “sound pillers” or some.
    Can you carefully identify what is the codec and data loss things when playing and you hearing ? Wow very nice even neural nets can’t. How it works is outside my question. But
    that’s very nice.

  7. Kalinga Says:

    @Sanzilla

    anyway nice interest and nice stuff about that , OpenRemote , keyboard Hacks , LPT control etc.
    how did you interconnect the media app to the deamon you whatever the process that controls that
    those devices , inter process communication with the Windows Media center application , or did
    you write a addon for the Windows Media Center ?

    the Windows Media Center get controlled via a normal Keyboard, the front panel is a normal keyboard, but i have taken a keyboard apart and use the controller in the keyboard to connect to the front panel buttons on the CD player and the remote is also a HID (Human Interface Device) meaning it act as a normal keyboard and mouse. so you dont need any special plugins or controllers to control the media center, it work as we would normaly do with a keyboard and a mouse.

    and there are linux based media centers too.but I don’t think that every codec and the
    multimedia hardware acceleration will be fully supported like inside in windows Media Center.

    any linux system will run fine on this and every thing should work, for the VFD you have to work on it but every thing else would work, i have tested LinuxMCE and GeeXboX and both worked fine.

    and I heard about the ppl like you , but don’t believe that called “sound pillers” or some.
    Can you carefully identify what is the codec and data loss things when playing and you hearing ? Wow very nice even neural nets can’t. How it works is outside my question. But
    that’s very nice.

    i dont call my self much of an audiophile 😀 but yes i can hear the deference from an MP3 196kbps to a CD 🙂

  8. raz Says:

    i’m impressed.

    this is something i’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, but just haven’t been able to do yet… thanks for the inspiration.

    could you go into some more details on what you did regarding the keyboard conversion to use the case FF/Play/RW buttons? I’m am not an electrical engineer kinda guy, so i have no clue what equipment is needed to do this other than a solder iron and paitience. Perhaps a detail article or write up please? You said you figured it out, but that converts to “it’s magic” to me lol..

    thanks!

  9. Kalinga Says:

    hi raz,

    here’s how you do it, find a cheap keyboard that has Play, Stop, Fwd etc separate buttons on the keyboard it self, this keyboards are called, multimedia keyboards.

    then open it up, find witch connection are touching when you press play, fwd, the wire them to each button on the front panel. you may have to follow the paths on the plastic keyboard lines. but you can figure them out. you can test them while the keyboard is connected to the computer. and putting a wire on the right connections and seeing them functioning or not. then you can solder them.

  10. pubbaa Says:

    wow just looking up how to make a htpc, man you got some serious talent… converting that old cd player the base for your htpc… =-)

  11. Kalinga Says:

    @pubbaa

    haha…. thanks ! but i dont think i do 🙂

  12. janith nishshanka Says:

    brother nice work.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Bloggers’ Rights at EFF

Bloggers' Rights at EFF

Web Hosting

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed