Author Topic: New in the Wiki: Alx9r's Sample Setup  (Read 10466 times)

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
New in the Wiki: Alx9r's Sample Setup
« on: May 12, 2008, 06:54:18 pm »
Edit: This thread was originally called "Proposal: Reference Design -- A Complete Description of a Working System".

Hello all,
I am currently building my first LinuxMCE system from scratch.  I think I can contribute something meaningful by completely documenting my design for others (especially newbies) to copy, adapt, and learn from.  I am currently keeping details of my design on my user page here:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Alx9r

I have created a proposal to move it to the wiki once it is mature.  The proposal is here:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/LinuxMCE_wiki:Community_Portal:Reference_Design_Proposal

Please respond with your thoughts so I can gauge the level of interest in this.

Regards,

Alex
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 05:35:02 pm by alx9r »

blackoper

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
    • View Profile
I think that is a good idea and I was planning on doing the same thing when I installed mine from scratch. Right now there is a lack of info on how to setup things like security systems/HVAC controllers/Cameras and I know I have questions that havn't been answered. That would save some time for people I am sure.

Todd

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
I am interested in building a system also and will probably try it soon.  I agree a list of "these parts work nice together" would help.  Have you considered the parts recommended in the Newbie Packs? http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Newbie_Packs

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Hi Todd,
I definitely consulted the Newbie Packs pages and learned what I could from them in designing my own system.  Informative as they were, the Newbie packs still left a gap in the knowledge I needed to reliably construct a working system.  The main drawbacks of the Newbie Packs for me were as follows:
1. The basis upon which the author(s) who is/are suggesting the Newbie Packs components is not apparent.  I'm not saying that the suggested hardware is good or bad, just that there is no way for me to know based on what is written on the pages. 
2. There is no indication of whether anyone has tried the suggested hardware in the Newbie Packs with LinuxMCE.  Without some confirmation that the suggested hardware works, it isn't really any more useful than shopping for hardware from scratch.

I was planning to actually build my system and report the results.  That way others can rely on my experience with the hardware without having to be confident in my ability to pick good hardware.  They need only have confidence in my reliability in reporting the results. 

If I can show that my setup works and give clear instructions on how to recreate it for yourself, I think we're a whole lot further ahead than we were with just the newbie packs.

Alex

Edit: It looks like hari did report that the MD Newbie Pack Slim is confirmed working in the wiki, which is great to know.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 12:41:53 am by alx9r »

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
I think that is a good idea and I was planning on doing the same thing when I installed mine from scratch.

Thanks for the vote of support.  :)

gazzzman

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
hi there !
I think it is a great idea that someone starting off knows the setup he has bought "could" work!
I love Linux and Lmce! but for someone that has just left their cosy windows home to start this project... it is a minefield!
and it would be great if these newbes where spurred on by their successes rather than sulking and shouting about their failures!

 gets my vote!
Gazzzman
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version 3.1
GCC@GE@GIT@GO dpu S-: a+ C+++ L++ E-- W+++ N+ o+++ w-- O M+ PS+++ PE-- Y++
PGP+ t++ 5 X++ R- tv b+ DI++ D---- G e++* h*++ r+++ Y++++
-----END GEEK CODE BLOCK-----

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
hi there !
I think it is a great idea that someone starting off knows the setup he has bought "could" work!
I love Linux and Lmce! but for someone that has just left their cosy windows home to start this project... it is a minefield!
and it would be great if these newbes where spurred on by their successes rather than sulking and shouting about their failures!

 gets my vote!
Gazzzman

Thanks for the vote of support gazzzman.  I agree.  I think with the right information in the right places, a lot less grief would be encountered by newbies.  Hopefully this reference design provides some of that information.

Alex

teedge77

  • Addicted
  • *
  • Posts: 591
    • View Profile
isnt your proposal of giving an example of working hardware, by using the hardware utilized to make the video, the same as this...

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Video#Equipment_used_in_the_demo

Quote
Nowhere is there a complete description of an actual working useful LinuxMCE system.

but....isnt there? isnt that where you got your "design" from? how do you propose to make it better? you even say you are using whats in the video. are you going to use things that do not work "out of the box" and include simple instructions for getting these other parts to work also? i get a sense of what you are trying to do. if you just use the hardware from the video, theres not much setup required, other than personalization and the basic custom settings. i am not in any way knocking your hard work. its just that something very similar is out there already but you say it isnt. there are already instructions for settin up everything included in the video.

3.1 PC Preparation
3.2 [0:00] Install LinuxMCE
3.3 [0:22] Run the Video Resolution/Audio Setup Wizard
3.4 [0:27] The setup wizard
3.5 [0:30] Watch a DVD
3.6 [0:33] Connect the Gyro Remote
3.7 [0:35] Navigate the media
3.8 [0:38] Rip the disc
3.9 [1:08] Install the TV Tuner
3.10 [1:13] Wait for the guide data
3.11 [1:28] Wait for OrbiterGen
3.12 [1:31] Start MythTV
3.13 [1:36] Schedule shows to record
3.14 [1:38] Wait for MythTV to record some TV shows
3.15 [1:38] Connect a NAS
3.16 [1:40] Browse the media on the NAS
3.17 [2:00] Connect the TV and Receiver
3.18 [2:03] Add my cable box
3.19 [2:06] Use the cable box
3.20 [2:08] Connect the Jukebox
3.21 [2:17] Connect the ZWave Lighting Control
3.22 [2:25] Using scenarios and floorplans explained
3.23 [2:26] Connect the thin client in the kitchen
3.24 [3:05] Connect the thin client in the bedroom
3.25 still typing the rest

also, the bill of materials part.....its relative. people may find things cheaper or not want the same materials as you. they arent held fast to purchase hardware from only a few vendors. so they can search for what they need and prefer. 40 dollars for a fanless cpu cooler? what if someone finds a perfectly good heat sink with a fan? thats just one part. many people will want atsc tv cards also, which that 150 wont do. youve got the board on there from the video which isnt in production anymore....as you even say yourself. so, how do you propose people follow your design with equipment that is either very difficult to find or soon impossible to get at all? anyway, its a good idea. i think you should be a little more dangerous though if you really are that into it. try some things from the forums that people get to work well. maybe even ask other people to help you contribute what they have that works. a single system built on specs that are obsolete, hard to get, or not practical for certain people wont be of much use to many at all. anyway. i think its a good idea, but it could use a little work still.

Quote
I think that is a good idea and I was planning on doing the same thing when I installed mine from scratch. Right now there is a lack of info on how to setup things like security systems/HVAC controllers/Cameras and I know I have questions that havn't been answered. That would save some time for people I am sure.

thats what we need. things that are extremely lacking in testing and documentation. try some of those out and make reference designs for those pieces to work next. after you get your basic system set up and stable. that would be extremely helpful.
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Asus M2V Via AM2 ATX
Lite-On LH-20A1S SATA DVD Burner
80GB  SATA-150
EVGA GeForce 7300 GT 512MB DDR2 PCI Express
Sound Blaster Audigy SE
Kingston 2 GB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz
Ultra X-Finity 800-Watt
ZCU000
Cisco 7970
TDM400P

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
teedge,

You certainly raise some valid points.  This is exactly why I put this proposal forth for feedback -- I'd rather not invest time in something that isn't of value to others. 

As with any writing, I think it's important to figure out who the audience for this reference design is.  I was assuming it would be most useful for complete newbies.  By complete newbie, I mean someone who has only watched the video and not invested much time reading the wiki and forums.  I was a complete newbie about 3 weeks ago, so my experience is still fresh in my mind. 

After watching the video I was so excited I wanted to get a LinuxMCE system set up right away.  When I entered the world of the wiki and the forum I was confronted with page after page of discussion about what hardware doesn't work, what tweaks have to be made to get certain components to do certain things, etc.  For a few days after I first ventured into the forums and wiki I honestly didn't believe the video was real.  All I really wanted was sufficient details about the system in the video to be able to replicate at least part of what I saw. 

isnt your proposal of giving an example of working hardware, by using the hardware utilized to make the video, the same as this...

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Video#Equipment_used_in_the_demo

Quote
Nowhere is there a complete description of an actual working useful LinuxMCE system.

but....isnt there? isnt that where you got your "design" from? how do you propose to make it better? you even say you are using whats in the video. are you going to use things that do not work "out of the box" and include simple instructions for getting these other parts to work also?

That's a valid point.  For me, the Equipment_used_in_the_demo section was a starting point.  I guess I was looking for more detail to give me confidence that I would be able to hook everything up without encountering problems that I couldn't justify spending the time to fix.  Perhaps this is just semantics, but for me a the list of hardware in the Equipment_used_in_the_demo is not what I call a complete description. 

For me a complete description includes at least the following:
1. Complete bills of materials: Cables, heatsinks, power supplies, remotes, etc.  Every last part that went into the system and their model numbers.  Whenever I have encountered unfamiliar systems, it has always been helpful to understand the parts make up the system.

2. A diagram showing how the components are connected.  This should include ethernet, serial, infrared, and rf connections.  Some of the system's interconnections could be deduced from the video, but many could not.  For example, how exactly is the cable box connected?

3. Setup instructions describing any tweaks and workarounds.  I had to take extra steps to get the PVR-150 working.  I had to install dvd css manually despite that it was reported as installed already.  These steps are necessary to get the system working but are definitely not shown in the video.

I would guess that the three items above are probably irrelevant to most initiated LinuxMCE users, but I personally would have found them extremely useful when I was first starting out.

Quote
also, the bill of materials part.....its relative. people may find things cheaper or not want the same materials as you. they arent held fast to purchase hardware from only a few vendors. so they can search for what they need and prefer. 40 dollars for a fanless cpu cooler? what if someone finds a perfectly good heat sink with a fan? thats just one part. many people will want atsc tv cards also, which that 150 wont do.
I don't understand the point you are trying to make here.  I'm certainly not the right person to be dictating what parts users should obtain to build their system.  Maybe there is a misunderstanding here:  The bill-of-materials doesn't dictate what parts people have to use (we are still in the free world right?), but rather describes exactly what parts were used in a working system. 

Quote
youve got the board on there from the video which isnt in production anymore....as you even say yourself. so, how do you propose people follow your design with equipment that is either very difficult to find or soon impossible to get at all?
A valid point. That mobo became near impossible to obtain about a week after I ordered mine.  I'll probably get a more readily available mobo to include in this design.  I suspect that the availability of fully compatible will be an ongoing issue for LinuxMCE for some time to come.  A current example is the availability of suitable DVD jukeboxes.

Quote
anyway, its a good idea. i think you should be a little more dangerous though if you really are that into it. try some things from the forums that people get to work well. maybe even ask other people to help you contribute what they have that works. a single system built on specs that are obsolete, hard to get, or not practical for certain people wont be of much use to many at all. anyway.
Point well taken, in the future I will push the envelope with respect to the hardware I use for the reference design.

Quote
i think its a good idea, but it could use a little work still.
Thanks. This is just the beginning of this effort.  Hopefully it will turn into something truly useful.

Quote
Quote
I think that is a good idea and I was planning on doing the same thing when I installed mine from scratch. Right now there is a lack of info on how to setup things like security systems/HVAC controllers/Cameras and I know I have questions that havn't been answered. That would save some time for people I am sure.

thats what we need. things that are extremely lacking in testing and documentation. try some of those out and make reference designs for those pieces to work next. after you get your basic system set up and stable. that would be extremely helpful.

Since I am a newbie, having sufficient documentation to get a basic system set up and stable is my priority.  Personally I would rather support newbies to get their systems up and running with a minimum of frustration than to refine the more advanced features of the system.

Thanks for the feedback teedge77, I'm interested in your input.  I suspect, however, that you are probably a much more advanced user than would find the reference design useful.

Cheers,

Alex
newbie advocate

teedge77

  • Addicted
  • *
  • Posts: 591
    • View Profile
i thnk what you are doing is a great idea. i hope i didnt come off in a way that was contradictive to that. as far as the bill of materials part, i just didnt want someone to see it and think its too expensive when they might be able to slide with some cheaper parts...or think it was cheap only to find out they had to buy more expensive stuff to get what they want. as a reference i think its a good idea though. so people can see an average parts cost. im really not that advanced of a user. my system works fine but i used everything thats recommended and havent had a lto of time to add new stuff. i havent gotten my TDM400P to work at all yet. i am terrible with linux also. id love to see some reference designs for some low power mds or whatever you get around to making "MD wise", if you get to that kind of stage. i really dont see myself using any soon. i do see lots of questions about specs for them though. so if you do build one i hope youll put in as much work as you have for youre core. im sure everyone, noob and pro, is thankful for your effort. hopefully youre reference work will help keep the basic questions down some and get people going faster.
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Asus M2V Via AM2 ATX
Lite-On LH-20A1S SATA DVD Burner
80GB  SATA-150
EVGA GeForce 7300 GT 512MB DDR2 PCI Express
Sound Blaster Audigy SE
Kingston 2 GB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz
Ultra X-Finity 800-Watt
ZCU000
Cisco 7970
TDM400P

Todd

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Alx9r, I see the wiki shows your system is setup.  How is it working?  Does it handle high def tv fine?  Anything you are having problems with?  Thanks for taking the time to post your system.

Todd

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Hi Todd,
Thanks for your interest.  The parts of the system that I have built are working great.  I'm very happy with the hardware I selected.


Quote
Does it handle high def tv fine?

I'm not sure what exactly you are asking, but hopefully this helps.  I have a couple of 1080p files that I have been playing using the system:  Monsters Inc. and a trailer for the new Indiana Jones (both 1080p).  They play mostly flawlessly.  Very occasionally while playing Monsters, playback freezes for about 1/4 second.  It could be the rip -- I haven't tracked it down yet.  The Indiana Jones trailer is flawless.  There was quite a bit of tearing with alpha-blending enabled, I run in overlay mode now.

Quote
Anything you are having problems with?

I've been spending quite a bit of time setting up hardware: It seems that despite my careful hardware selection, almost every piece of hardware I add needs a few small tweaks to get them working.  I've been keeping careful notes on my user page so that I can reproduce the tweaks whenever I start with a fresh install again.  I'm on about my 8th fresh install already.  Now that I know what has to happen, I can apply all the tweaks in about an hour after a fresh install.  The tweaks seem to be quite small, however, they sometimes take quite a bit of time to track down.

My current challenge looks similar to the problem in this thread:
http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=3006.0

If you or anyone has any more questions about the progress on my system, feel free to ask.  You can also watch my user page as I update it.

Cheers,
Alex

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
I set up a category on the Wiki: Sample User setups.

Please add your setup to the category!

Cheers.

Perspectoff

Thanks Perspectoff.  I think it's still a bit premature to put my setup in the wiki.  When I finally do, I'll categorize it accordingly.

Alex

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Alx9r, I see the wiki shows your system is setup. 

Todd,
I think the system diagram on my user page implied that I am further along than I actually am.  I updated it so that you can see what's actually part of my setup right now.

Cheers.

alx9r

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
New in the Wiki: Alx9r's Sample Setup
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2008, 08:04:57 am »
Hello,
I have finished the first complete incarnation of my LinuxMCE system.  Check it out in the wiki here:
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Alx9r%27s_Sample_Setup

Hopefully someone finds that documentation useful.  I am still adding to my system and will keep the wiki up-to-date as I add things, so keep watching if you're interested.

Enjoy,

Alex