LinuxMCE Forums

General => Users => Topic started by: krys on November 05, 2008, 10:59:30 pm

Title: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 05, 2008, 10:59:30 pm
 Hey guys, I always like to do build logs both for getting help and just for personal documentation. So here is mine!
A little info about me first, I am a generic IT helpdesk guy looking to make my way into development. So I do have general tech knowledge and am currently learning C++ (which will lead to .net and so on) so some programming knowledge and willingness to learn. I am well versed in W$ but have little experience with Linux, so this will be a learning experience. I am not one who backs down from a challenge or doesnt want to spend time "jacking with the system". I find that to be part of the fun. I currently use W$ MCE, and just find it limiting, plus I kind of despise Vista and have always been interested in home automation. I currently have a slew of PC's around the house plus an XBOX 360,that I have been using with VMC so I will be trying to use existing hardware whenever possible to save $$$$.

Now a little info about my house. Just built it two years ago and wanted audio pretty much throughout. I ran surround sound wires in my family room, then I ran speaker wires from some ceiling speakers in individual rooms into my pantry where I have a speaker distribution block and a 3 disc changer. I am on COX cable and have their cable TV, internet, and phones. I will post my house Blueprints when I get home.

So anyway that is my intro and I will go post more here in a few.
Title: House Layout
Post by: krys on November 05, 2008, 11:00:28 pm
Finally with a pic, not really sure how i actually got it uploaded to wiki, but its there, and now its here! This will help you see what my game plan really is.
Office- The blue square in the office is a closet which will house the Core unit
Pantry- The blue space in the kitchen (orange boxed = cabinets) is the pantry where all my speaker wires are currently run
Entertainment areas- Denoted with yellow, these are the rooms where I will have the MD units (with exception of the office)
The ceiling speakers are currently in the Master Suite, Living Room, Dining Room, and Back Patio. Surround sound speakers are in the Home Theater room

Title: Goals
Post by: krys on November 05, 2008, 11:01:07 pm
I have been studying Linux MCE for quite some time now. I always gather as much information as possible before diving into a project of this magnitude. So far I have scratched out a fairly basic scheme and it goes as follows.
  Core- located in my office, currently working on getting Kubuntu 7.10 installed. Will be a dedicated core server setup. It is a dell Vostro 200 series with an ATI video card, about 2ghz processor, 1gb ram, and 80gb storage, also i installed an extra NIC for the internal LAN. (This PC will eventually be replaced when I take home my work PC early next year, at that point it will be the AD for my Master Bedroom)

 AD(Living Room)- Gateway 4525GZ laptop 1.8ghz, 1gb ram, 80gb storage. This will eventually be turned into a Digital Picture frame which I will mount on the wall in the sitting room. Hopefully I will add a 4wire resistive touch screen so that it can be used w/out mouse and keyboard (Kubuntu 8.10 OS)

AD(Home theater Room)- Dell Laptop 3ghz, 3gb ram, 200gb storage, 512mb Nvidia gforce video card, (Vista OS)

So right now I am just working on getting 7.10 installed on the Core, installing MCE, and setting up the internal LAN. So far the 7.10 install is not going so good, but I am going to try a new CD when I get home.

Goals for this project include but are not limited to:
1. Have a centralized location for all media
2. Be able to view/hear all media at the different entertainment locations
3. Be able to control central location from any location in the home (possibly from outside the home)
4. Each location should be able to run different media multiple locations running at the same time
5. Each location should be able to record its content to the central location
6. Surf the web/ run applications at all entertainment areas
7. Would like to set up a camera at both the front door for guests and in the outside (covered) dog kennel
Title: Current Equipment
Post by: krys on November 05, 2008, 11:01:30 pm
Core- Dell Vostro 200 Series 2ghz, 1gb ram, 256mb ATI video card, 80gb HD, DVD ROM
AD(sitting room)- Gateway 4525GZ, 1.8ghz, stock video, 1gb ram, 80gb HD, DVD RW, internal Wireless card
AD(Family Room)- Dell XPS 3ghz, 512 Nvidia GeForce, 3gb ram, 200gb HD, DVD RW, internal wireless card, bluetooth

External Lan-
Internal LAN-

Samsung 50" Plasma HPS5053 (Family Room)
Sanyo 27" Flat Tube (Master BR)

Sony (needs upgrade)

Possible Web Orbiter:

Title: Equipment Needed
Post by: krys on November 05, 2008, 11:05:52 pm
37" ish LCD for Master Bedroom- Want an RS232 connection for MC control
50" plasma/LCD to replace Family room Samsung- Only to have RS232 control, would only replace if I sold current model to make up most of the difference.

Want a reciever that has HDMI inputs, 5.1 surround, A/B speaker select, RS232 control

Need my office PC to be retired (hopefully in January) to take home and make into core
random cards: DB9,
Network cable to run new lines to AD's

Home Automation: (not totally decided on X10 would like to hear pros/cons)
X10 PC control module
X10 sprinkler control module
X10 thermostat
X10 switches

remotes for each AD
4wire resistive USB touchscreen- for AD(sitting room) which will be a digital picture frame/AD
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 06, 2008, 05:37:29 am
I am having some issues with the 7.10 install on my core pc. whether I try to boot install, or live cd install after the kubuntu load screen all this type screen

edited*** issue fixed, was a faulty HD ******


you can see the pic here cuz i cant get it to show up

I thought i might need to reformat and partition using a program other than the install so I tried to run a gparted live CD. I saw some of the same messages on the command prompt screen but eventually gparted loaded. I deleted all existing partitions and tried to just reformat to one partition using ext, gparted tried but I got an error message saying something like, could not format drive not found check to make sure the name is correct. This all leads me to believe that my HD is bad but it was running vista perfectly 24hrs ago.... let me know what you think if you have any ideas.
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: superfro on November 06, 2008, 06:23:28 am
Sadly that error could mean a wide range of things... let me run down a quick list for you...

Bad sata/ide cable
loose sata/ide cable
sata/ide cable near a fan causing ata interference
bad hard drive
buggy ide/sata chipset
buggy ide/sata chipset driver

... Basically the way to diagnose this one is... swap the cable / move it away from things that might cause rf interference...
Boot a live cd for a newer linux os.... like ubuntu 8.10 live cd....

That should help narrow it down.... you say it was working fine in windows, but maybe windows was just handing the error better...

Try those 2 things and see where that gets ya
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 06, 2008, 03:30:04 pm
newbies helping the newbies. thats what I like to see... Well I brought the damn thing to work with me and swapped out the HD with one from an extra PC up here. Looks like its gonna work I will keep you posted
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 06, 2008, 04:39:43 pm
Easy enough, with the new HD in I did the Kubuntu/MCE install via the DVD knocked it out in about 20 minutes, only problem is I dont have it networked in so I will have to wait till I get home to set anything else up. Plus now I have to go buy a new HD since I cant just keep this one from my office.
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: superfro on November 06, 2008, 05:11:36 pm
Well thats good news then...

Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: hari on November 06, 2008, 07:25:24 pm
where are the pics?  :-)
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 06, 2008, 07:33:44 pm
where are the pics?  :-)

Damn, busted.... I spend like 30 minutes in Sketch up modeling my house layout and cant post it because of my webfilter at work. Plus I cant figure out how to get images posted on this forum. I use google picassa for all of my images and when I tried to post one last night it wouldnt show up. I used the insert image button, then put the hyperlink inside the img brackets and nothing showed. Does this forum kick the images if they are to big or what?

I promise to get some images up tonight, I will include the entertainment center I just got done building... (I am a handy man also)
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: hari on November 06, 2008, 10:00:25 pm
You could make a user page on the wiki, and upload the pics there..
/me takes notes: check forum uploads
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 06, 2008, 10:12:02 pm
hmm, I have never done that before but I am sure that it cant be too hard. will I be able to use them in my posts, or will I just have to have links?

**Edited ** Here is the link to my Wiki, it sucks now but will get better over time.
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 07, 2008, 03:59:47 pm
I got my Core home and hooked into the network ran through the setup and get her up and running. I added my internal network and got it up and running. I tried to netboot my first MD but had no success, I assume that the network card that I am using doesnt support PCX so I think that I will get a new card. I know that there is a work around, but for like 15 bucks I would rather have the right hardware. Good news is that the two computers can see each other and when I run Kubuntu on my laptop it set up a Samba share and i can access the internet, so it looks like the nework is doing its job.
oh ya and I was so busy jacking with that I didnt get any pics up, but I did listen to my first songs using LMCE and ripped a DVD using it also!!!
Title: Re: My MCE build log (pics and details included)
Post by: krys on November 10, 2008, 04:48:13 pm
Status update.
The core is up and running, along with one MD. They are both in my office for now just so I can do some testing before I take the time to get everything set up. So far I am completely impressed with how everything works, from just navigating through the menus to playing a movie on my core and opening up the floorplan and flipping it over to my MD, or running it on both simultaneously.

Current problems I need to resolve.
1. The only MD i have been able to network boot thus far has no sound....
2. The second MD will not network boot at all
3. The system seems to lock up quite often (I dont want to have to reboot every time i want to watch tv). The core seems to only lock up when I switch back and forth from KDE or when I reload the router, the MD will lock up in a couple different situations. So far I can only run the basic UI on this MD, i tried running the medium and it would lock up as soon as the orbiter loaded every time.

This all seems like fairly easy stuff to fix just as soon as someone points me in the right direction, I have a couple of posts over in the install section regarding a few of these issues.