Project: BabyPuter

Fenris_Ulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
1,831
Well, to start off, my baby girl Eliana was born was born a month ago. While waiting for her to come home I had some free time so I started thinking about her room and came up with an idea. I decided to build a small media PC for music and paintings using mostly old stuff I had laying around. It doesn't have to be very powerful, just enough to play music and do basic stuff. I also wanted it to be as low profile as possible and not be intrusive in her room.

I had an old VIA C3 mini-ITX motherboard laying around from a carputer. I put a Thermalright HS-05 chipset heatsink on the CPU, which is about 100x better than the stock one. I also wanted it as quiet as possible, so I decided to try using a CompactFlash memory card as a budget SSD instead of a hard drive.
mobo1.jpg


Some other components that might make it into the build. The PSU is a 200 watt Delta from www.allelectronics.com. It's only an inch or so wide, about 4" tall, and about 9" long. I had to take the small noisy 1" fan off the end, I'll remedy that later.
components1.jpg


In the past I've worked with Sun external drive boxes. I've used model 411 and 811 boxes to build Gainclone amps and found that they're awesome to work with. I had a model 911 box that I never had done anything with and it was tall enough for the Thermalright heatsink and should have enough room for the mobo and everything else.
case1.jpg


And taken apart:
inside_case1.jpg


Even though it's built like a tank, removing only four screws allows you to take everything out of the inside:
case_apart1.jpg


Checking how the major components will fit:
test_fit1.jpg


I then used a dremel to carve out a hole for the back plate:
back1.jpg


The PSU is going to need a fan of some sort, so I found an old 70mm AMD CPU fan and positioned it so it would avoid the PCI slot on the mobo. I took the cover off and used a 62mm hole saw to cut a hole and drilled screw holes for the fan:
PSU1.jpg


With the fan on, it's looking good:
psu_halfway1.jpg


The PSU wires are still waaaaay to short and it's a 24 pin PSU, so that had to be fixed. The easy way was to buy an adapter, but that's not the [H]ard way. I spliced in 8" of wires and sleeved it with Techflex as well as cut off the end four pins on the PSU plug:
PSU_done1.jpg


Next up will be the modifications to the case itself.
 

BinarySynapse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
15,103
I have to say that's pretty awesome. I wish I'd done this for my kids when they were still crib bound.


Not really related to the project, but could you size down the pics a bit. It's hard to scroll around a see it all using a trackpad. :p
 

Fenris_Ulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
1,831
The case was pretty ugly as it was, so I gave it a coat of textured black plastic spray paint. I drilled mounting holes for the motherboard and the PSU (the PSU has two 6-32 threaded holes on the bottom). The power plug lines up with the original Sun holes, all I needed to do was cut out the divider. I like the purple Sun feet, so I masked them off:
case_empty1.jpg


I started installing everything and with a few small tweaks:
inside_front1.jpg


And from the side:
inside_side1.jpg


I found that the top wouldn't go on with the 120mm fan in front so I replaced it with a 92mm one. I don't have a picture yet of the changes, but here's one from the back before the change:
inside_back1.jpg


I found a 15" touchscreen LCD monitor on e-bay for a reasonable price (it didn't have a mount, but I don't need it anyway). I got a wall mount and recessed power and data wall plate from monoprice.com and mounted the monitor on the wall. The wires run up the wall , through the ceiling, and down the inside of the wall on the other side of the room to the computer.
monitor1.jpg


I had a pair of small speakers that I built a few years ago - Vifa 4" woofers and Dayton Neo tweeters. They sound better than most anything under $300 that I've heard, except they have hardly any bass due to their size. It's OK, my daughter is only a few weeks old, so she's probably not very discriminating yet.
speaker1.jpg


Both of the speakers together. I routed the wire for the one on the right under the crown molding.
speakers1.jpg


I've got the preliminary software load done. A stripped down Windows XP with a fullscreen Winamp skin loaded on boot.
winamp1.jpg


After 1 minute of inactivity, the screen goes to a rotating screensaver of impressionist paintings, probably better for her than a Winamp visualization:
screensaver1.jpg


I've decided to put an audio amplifier inside the case, so after a little research, I found the National LM4950. It's made for 12v single rail operation and can deliver a couple of decent watts, which is all I need. They only cost a couple of bucks each and I had the rest of the parts, so I made a PCB for two channels and am waiting for the Chipamps to arrive in the mail.
amp1.jpg


I'll update with new pictures of the case and amp when I get the parts in this week :p
 

Fenris_Ulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
1,831
I have to say that's pretty awesome. I wish I'd done this for my kids when they were still crib bound.


Not really related to the project, but could you size down the pics a bit. It's hard to scroll around a see it all using a trackpad. :p

Will do, just posting in a hurry and didn't have time to resize...
 

Fenris_Ulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
1,831
Got the chipamps in last night and soldered them into the PCB. The mounting location for the PCB needs to be moved by about 1/2" to clear the PSU and I'm not entirely happy with the PSRR (power supply ripple rejection) of the amp(s). It sounds a bit static-y and compressed, kind of like a marginal FM station. I'm going to have to look at doing a few power supply filtering tricks and probably lowering the gain from 13 down to about 4 or 5. I took a few pictures last night and hopefully will have time to post them tonight.
 

AthlonXP

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 14, 2001
Messages
20,476
now you need to pump some classical music though and you can call it a day.
 

GigantoR

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Messages
416
This seems like kind of a strange idea to me, but I appreciate your resourcefulness (is that a word? lol)
 

Fenris_Ulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
1,831
Yeah, I'm ripping all my classical music and lullabye (sp?) CDs that my parents have given me. I put all the music on my Win Server 2008 box and stream it. I can run a nighttime playlist of more soothing classical and a daytime playlist of more "energetic" classical. Plus, by keeping it on the server I can run the same playlist on my laptop in the living room (which is on a different floor than the bedrooms). I've thought about running a true Winamp broadcast to synchronize everything, but I haven't played with the new Winamp features enough to figure this out yet.
 

HaroldM80

n00b
Joined
Apr 17, 2008
Messages
5
Yeah, I'm ripping all my classical music and lullabye (sp?) CDs that my parents have given me. I put all the music on my Win Server 2008 box and stream it. I can run a nighttime playlist of more soothing classical and a daytime playlist of more "energetic" classical. Plus, by keeping it on the server I can run the same playlist on my laptop in the living room (which is on a different floor than the bedrooms). I've thought about running a true Winamp broadcast to synchronize everything, but I haven't played with the new Winamp features enough to figure this out yet.

Just setup a Shoutcast Server on your Server box. It's free and just make it private so noone can join outside your internal network. Easy to setup and it's what I've used for years for streaming music in my house.

http://www.shoutcast.com
 

Fenris_Ulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
1,831
Just setup a Shoutcast Server on your Server box. It's free and just make it private so noone can join outside your internal network. Easy to setup and it's what I've used for years for streaming music in my house.

http://www.shoutcast.com

Thanks! I'll have to check that out when I get home (blocked at work). My poor C3 CPU is being hammered by Winamp.
 
Top