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Thread: Codename: LlamaBox

  1. #1
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    Codename: LlamaBox W/ PICS

    Hey everyone, here is my custom player assembly. Be warned, there are lots of large photos!

    BAH! I just typed it up and realized the forum software doesn't let you upload pictures without them all being tacked at the bottom. Gonna have to find some webspace... Come back in 2 days, there will be alot more to see.

    My project started off in 2000. I had an mp3 player in my car running on Winblows 98. The system sported a 128x64px VFD display (I say sported because most people were using character LCDs at that time). The player was just a custom WinAMP plugin, but featured browsing, searching, and categories. That system has slowly grown obsolete and I decided to make Version 2 in 2004.

    Version 2 was a big step up from Version 1. It features a faster processor, smaller formfactor, larger harddrive, and a more capable screen. Version 2 served me well for several months, but my ad-hoc interface and using win2k caused the software to vaporize quickly. Needing a better GUI solution, I developed my own toolkit thanks to a grant from my university.




    Construction of the Version 2 case.


    Everything together.

    http://www.cs.etsu.edu/home/showArticle/12

    Version 3 still doesn't have an mp3 player written for it, but all the groundwork has been completed. VFD and Radio drivers are complete. The GUI toolkit is capable enough to complete the frontend. The majority of the hardware is complete.

    First step: Tear apart the Version 2 box:


    Here you see the box with the top and rear panel removed.


    Here is the front of the box. The joystick was originally on the top.


    This is the keyboard matrix. These switches suck and I am replacing them with soft-press tactile buttons in Version 3.








    Fortunately, not all the work on Version 2 was wasted. I get to reuse my input module I soldered up. It is a hacked keyboard controller with a custom circuit to drive the rotary encoders/joystick and feed it to the keyboard controller.

    Second step: A new case?
    I could have used my old case, but I can only make it so nice by hand. Around this time I ran into Gordon Crum (VeritasForge) and his microwave case. Many people ridiculed the case for being large, but I saw the good work he put into it. I figured out AutoCAD and around 2 weeks later I had a design for my new case. VeritasForge turned the new case around in about a week.








  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
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    I'll be back- this sounds killer.
    current system: car2pc adapter playing aux in for a sansa fuze media player. simple. cheap. effective.

  3. #3
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    Does anyone else have webspace? Intuition hasn't been responding to me.

    Thanks. I will change the title once I get pics posted.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate yrean's Avatar
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    Taken care off. llama check your PM's
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  5. #5
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    Continued...

    Third step: Reassembly.

    Must put things back together...


    The rotary Joystick (Grayhill 60A18-4-040S) and rotary encoder (Grayhill 62A11-02-050S) are installed first. Then the custom controller board. You can see the white-wire header. This will connect to my new pushbuttons once they have been received.


    The screen (Noritake GU-256x128c-3900) is now in place.


    Just a preview of the front.


    The Advantech PCM-9373F-M0A1 is a very nice motherboard. Here is a shot of the bottom. You can see the CF slot and SODIMM memory. I'm hoping I can use a WIFI CF card at some point in time.


    The Advantech board installed in the case. Just in time for my discovery of the flash button. You will notice another PCB installed next to my input board. This board will eventually drive two external video game controllers (NES, SNES, or Genesis controllers will be supported). This way I can use the system as an Emulator box when it is at my home theater.


    The Diamond Systems 50watt PC/104 PSU Part# JMM-512 is in place. I also connected several of the headers while I could still get to them.


    The Advantech PCM-232 board is in place. This board converts the LVDS signal to a Composite video and S-Video output. Despite its location, this board only drives the TV-out, not the VFD.




    The HQCT radio module and 100gb Seagate Momentus are fastened to the top panel.




    Everything in its place. Well, everything but some cables.






    The completed box. I am missing one of my db-15 connectors for the video game controllers. I am also waiting to receive: a power connector for below the db-15, and a centronics connector for docking the unit into my car. The faceplate has two knobs for the encoders, but they are at my apartment at school. And, as I mentioned earlier, there will be 10 pushbuttons on the front. Also - The screen will be covered by a blue color filter in the future.

    Now, all that is left is finshing the software and creating the video game controller board.

  6. #6
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    well worth the wait for pics! excellent work, HIGHLY impressed. be sure to post up some in-car action pics- I'm interested in seeing the VFD at work.
    current system: car2pc adapter playing aux in for a sansa fuze media player. simple. cheap. effective.

  7. #7
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    Thats a beautyful case, im thinking bout getting one made by VeritasForge

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate romul's Avatar
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    very nice what kind of buttons will you be using? do you have a link?

  9. #9
    Self proclaimed spoon feeder TruckinMP3's Avatar
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    that is totally WICKED!

    I love it.
    TruckinMP3
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  10. #10
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e39dream
    well worth the wait for pics! excellent work, HIGHLY impressed. be sure to post up some in-car action pics- I'm interested in seeing the VFD at work.
    Thanks for the compliment. I have some videos of Version 2 somewhere... I'll try to dig them up in the next day or so. As I mentioned before. I have the GUI toolkit done (at an acceptable point) for Version 3, but no 'real' player yet. It is one of those "it takes 90% of the time to do 10% of the (apparent) work" scenerios.
    Quote Originally Posted by kalt
    Thats a beautyful case, im thinking bout getting one made by VeritasForge
    Thanks. Good idea -- Gordon (VeritasForge) is good to work with. The only thing I didn't anticipate is the weight of the case. Look at how thick the side plates are, i.e: It is alot of heavy steel. I had one person comment on how it was so much heavier than the iPod (tm); I just rolled my eyes. It is much better feeling solid than frail.
    Quote Originally Posted by romul
    very nice what kind of buttons will you be using? do you have a link?
    http://www.mouser.com/catalog/626/1191.pdf I will be getting ten of the 12x12mm tactile switches with a 12mm square cap (probably black, but maybe ivory or a combo.)
    Quote Originally Posted by TruckinMP3
    that is totally WICKED!

    I love it.
    Thanks, I can't wait until I have the software perfected.

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