Archive for May, 2011

Creating my kitchen entertainment center (Part 4)

I have received my touchscreen panel last Friday. 🙂 Luckily it has survived the long trip around the world and the next best thing is, that it works without any problems 🙂

Mounting the touchpanel

Maybe you remember that I have told to turn around the screen on the eee, that doesn’t w0rk because of the case design of the eee. Thinking about a solution I have decided to detach the screen and all necessary parts from the case because I won’t see the eee at all in my selfmade case.

But from the start. Opening the case wasn’t that easy I have thought it would be. You have to be very careful not to damage anything. In the first picture you can see the eee without the keyboard and front case. There is the motherboard at the bottom, the LCD at the top (without the touchpanel at the moment). You can see both speakers, the WLAN antenna and the webcam. I have completely detached the lid from the case and removed the LCD, LCD controller (at the bottom of the LCD) and WLAN antenna from the case. You can see that in the second picture.

The second picture shows the eee in his current state. The touchscreen panel is mounted on the LCD (you don’t see much differences, but you can see the flat cable coming from the touchpanel attached to the touchpanel controller). Everything you see will be mounted to my selfmade case (the speakers, touchpanel controller, WLAN antenna and the USB extension for the front of the case).

Some words about the touchpanel, it has some sticky tape around to stick it to the LCD. So that was very easy to accomplish. The touchscreen is only 1.1mm thick so it would fit without problems into the normal case of the eee to use it. The touchscreen controller has three optional USB connectors, one is for the webcam because you will attach the touchscreen controller to the internal USB port of the webcam on the motherboard and you have to make sure that you have activated the webcam in the BIOS otherwise you won’t have power for the touchscreen.

You can also see the skin of the running XBMC with big buttons to hit the menu without problems. On the right you see the control widget to control the playback (pause, play, next, back) and volume control. You will see this more in detail after I have completed my kitchen entertainment center, I plan to upload a video from it after I have mounted it at the wall.

Meanwhile I have lacquer my case with white high gloss color, but I have no pictures right now.

That’s all. More information soon.

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Some selected climbing shots

I thought that I share some selected climbing photos of me. The photos were taken at “Neuffener Parkplatzfelsen“, “Gelber Fels” and “Bad Herrenalber Falkenfelsen” in a period of three weeks taken by a friend during our climbing tours.

Climbing is the best kind of sport you can have after your 8 hours work at the desk in front of your computer and coding the whole time. 😉

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Creating my kitchen entertainment center (Part 3)

Building the case

I have finished my case (more or less). I still have to lacquer it, it will be white high gloss because my kitchen is painted with white high gloss. The cutting for the display will be framed with polished metal. Have to do this after lacquer the case. As you can see in the pictures, I have decided to place the screen on top with the 2 speakers at the bottom and an USB connector between them. The speaker are the one I have described in my first blog post, they are the X-mini II Capsule Speaker. I was really surprised by the good sound quality of these little speakers.

I still need a small hole in the front of the case to place a switch to turn the eee on. Have to think about how I will do it, any ideas out there?

I have placed my eee beside the case, so you have something for the comparison of the sizes. That’s all so far. Still waiting for my touchscreen panel, that’s the next big thing in this little project.

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Creating my kitchen entertainment center (Part 2)

While I’m waiting for my touchscreen I can write something about it.

The touchscreen
I have found several auctions at eBay which offers touchscreen panels for the EEE 701. My criteria for it were very easy, no soldering, not that thick (that it fits into the case of the eee) and support for Linux of course . I have decided to choose the touchscreen panel 4W-0701 from VisualTouchWorld which seems assembled by OneTouch, maybe there is some other assembler in the background again 🙂 As long as the device is running, I don’t bother about it. According to their website, they support Linux and it looks like the panel controller is supported by Linux. I have found two different drivers for that device, first the driver from the manufacturer (it’s the eGalaxTouch driver) and second the evtouch module.

Both modules seems to work, I have to check which one is the best solution and works without any problems. I will write another post about the configuration of the touchscreen panel and some pictures from mounting it to the eee. But first I have to wait one more week because it’s on the way from Hong Kong to Europe. Sadly you won’t find any reseller in Europe (especially Germany) which sell the panel, so I have to wait and you have to wait for the next article, too.

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Creating my kitchen entertainment center (Part 1)

This blog post is the start of a series of blog posts abbout the creation of my “kitchen entertainment center”.

This week I have decided to create a “kitchen entertainment center” to have more than just my little radio in the kitchen. But what exactly do I want? The end result should be just a screen which I can control by touch. Nothing more. I don’t want to see a computer all day long in my kitchen which I must control with mouse and keyboard. It should play internet radio streams, maybe some videos and my music collection from other PCs. Heavily inspired by this blog post (http://xbmc.org/natethomas/2011/04/15/feature-friday-the-kitchen-hi-fi/) I decided to do something similar on my own.

Finding the right computer
I have looked at eBay and hoped that I will find a cheap old laptop which fit my needs. But no, the cheapest I have found with touchscreen costs 160€ (about 228$). A way too much for such a project in my opinion. After googling around for cheap alternatives I have found several posts and videos about modded EEE 701 with touchscreen. Reading around and found out that it isn’t that hard to add a touchscreen to my EEE, I decided to do so. The last usage of my EEE was in August 2010, so I think that won’t be a loss of a heavy used computer. A touchscreen panel for the EEE 701 costs only 35€ (about 50$) at eBay, I have already ordered one. So I have to mod my EEE with the touchscreen, turn around the screen that the screen is displayed if the lid is closed. This is necessary because it should be mounted to the wall in a slim way (a small case, etc). I have seen some pictures on the web which show such mods, so it’s possible. 🙂

Finding the right software
Finding a good media software which can be controlled by touch isn’t that easy. My preferred solution is XBMC, it’s already running on my media PC (EEE Box) in the living room mounted at the backside of my TV. XBMC isn’t coded to control it by a touchscreen as default input. But thanks to the skin support, you are able to change the look&feel of XBMC completely. Looking at the forum of XBMC I have found a good skin for XBMC with touchscreen control in mind. You can find some screenshots of it at the forum. I have chosen the XBMC live cd, copied it over to an USB stick and booted from it. Trying to have a first look of everything, if it runs smooth on the EEE with his 900MHz Celeron CPU. But it’s nearly as smooth as on my EEE Box in the living room. Everything was running out of the box (screen resolution, wifi and all the other components which are necessary). After first tests I have installed the live cd on my EEE harddisk.
With the standard repository of the XBMC plugins I have access to youtube, vimeo, grooveshark, shoutcast and listenlive.eu (this is a website which lists nearly all radio stations in Europe which are streaming their radio signal to the internet). That are more music sources I ever want… 🙂 Even plugins for podcasts are available which I will install later.

So, right now I have my EEE completely installed with all necessary plugins and skins. Now I have to decide how I will do the case and which speakers I will take because the builtin speakers are not that good. I have already thought about mounting the X-mini II capsule into my case that you can only see the front of the speakers somewhere around the screen. I will need some kind of access to at least one USB port for USB sticks or other temporary devices, then I need access with my DC plugger to charge the EEE from time to time. I have already a bigger battery which has nearly double the capacity of the original battery, so it has a very long uptime in battery mode, perfect for such kind of usage.

That’s it so far. I will continue to post my progress in this little project with pictures and videos. Hopefully I get something good and usable  at the end of this project.

If you have any tips or tricks which I haven’t thought about, feel free to comment.

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