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General => Users => Topic started by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 12:27:39 am

Title: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 12:27:39 am
Hello,

Firstly, just to let you know i'm a complete Linux noobie - your chance to convert someone whos worked with MS products for most of his life!  And i thank you all very much in advance - i realise what i'm about to ask is a lot but hopefully not too much!

So i started to write this big long essay, describing exactly what i want to do in my house but then i realised all it boils down to is a few questions, so i won't waste anyone's time and get straight to the big ones:

I've concluded i need 1 hybrid and 1 MD:
Hybrid with HDMI out and 7.1 for 4 zones of multiroom audio and 1 video stream
MD with HDMI out and 7.1 for the HD theatre.

1.  All my kit will be rack mounted - is there an off the shelf rack mounted system that is ready built that will work for the Hybrid and MD?  Otherwise, whats a good rack mounted case that will allow me to build a suitable system using the part list in the wiki?
2.  What kit will i need to be able to connect my standard landline telephone?
3.  I'm going to control 15 different pieces of kit using rs232 - whats the best hub to use?

Now on to Orbiters (i love that name - sounds so much cooler that remotes)

I want complete home control from every orbiter - audio levels, video outs, lights, IP camera feeds, telephony info, the works!

Is it a good idea with the following (just need reassurance i'm not overestimating the functionality):  iphone?  LG Viewty? ipod touch? 15" screen in the wall in the living area (conencted to some slim client or something)?  Chumby built into a sofa (well why not?)?

I think thats it for the moment - i am absolutely desperate to get going on this project - my current 'get me by' bodge is driving me crazy!

Thanks for all your forthcoming advice.

Tom
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: tschak909 on February 03, 2009, 05:09:54 am
Hello, and welcome.

Please read the FAQ, then come back to ask questions,  it will allow us to help you better:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/FAQ

-Thom
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 10:10:58 am
Hello, thanks for the reply.

Having been through the Wiki for the millionth time i have one question that will get me going if anyone has any ideas or opinions:

Can anyone recommend a rackmounted PC out there, ready built, that will be usable as my Hybrid?

If not, can anyone recommend a rackmounted case that fits the bill to be built using the other components in the wiki. 

(i've never built or touched a rackmounted system before - any help appreciated.)

If i've missed something in the wiki that answers my questions please feel free to point me in the direction.
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Marie.O on February 03, 2009, 11:06:32 am
Tomm,

where are you located?
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 11:21:31 am
hi,

i'm in Oxford in the UK

Tom
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: lozarythmic on February 03, 2009, 12:14:28 pm
In leiu of someone actually coming up with a rack mounted system they know of, it wouldn't be hard to (again) search the wiki for compatible hardware, and build the solution yourself. Thats what I did! Building PC's is like lego these days, most internal connectors are colour coded and there's plenty of tutorials out there on the intertubes :)
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 12:26:44 pm
oh god.  can i just request a simple answer instead of being told 'Wiki' each time

Is there a rack mounted system that someone has used in the past with success? (YES/NO - delete as applicable)
If yes - would you like to tell me what it is?

Is there a rack mounted case that someone has used in the past with success?  (YES/NO - delete as applicable)
If yes - would you like to tell me what it is?

i'm not asking for a detailed part list - JUST A CASE!!!!!!  I can read the bloody wiki and find the rest of the parts - however i can't find a rack mounted case in there. (please tell me where if i've missed a page)

I was really looking forward to this project but i can't understand why this has suddenly become such a mission?
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: itsmeok on February 03, 2009, 12:46:52 pm
I do not have an answer for you but if I would look for advice on a different forum. I would ask my question on a hardware forum. In the Netherlands I use Tweakers.net but for sure there are several of these forums in your language. They will help you on al kinds of questions for your case.

Hope this brings you forward on you project as I think it is a brilliant solution. For example I first installed it on a desktop system to get familiar and take my time to look for a case that I like.

Success
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: jondecker76 on February 03, 2009, 12:52:24 pm
Tomm

You should seriously consider changing your tone if you want some help in here. Remember that everyone is here to learn together and nobody gets paid for any kind of support. Nobody is going to want to help someone that comes in demanding things - simply put, communities like this do much better without those kind of users.

That being said...

Just go on ebay and look at rackmount cases. There are a ton of choices. Almost all of them will conform to the ATX standard, in which you can place your motherboard. I would recommend a 4U unit to leave room for drive space, adequate cooling and room for PCI cards etc. You can see the rackmount chassis I used here:
wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:jondecker76 (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:jondecker76)

If you want an out-of-the-box solution thats already built, look at some used servers such as the one listed here http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=7006.0 (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=7006.0). Keep in mind that what you find may not have been tested with LMCE, in which case you assume some risk of it not working. For this reason, try to stick with known working hardware (this is where the wiki and some research will help). Also be advised that it is not a simple task putting together a LMCE system - some of us have spent many months and even into a year to get our setups perfect. There is a lot to learn and if you want to be successful you have to keep this in mind and be patient
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 02:31:58 pm
Hi, i'm sorry that what i thought was a simple set of questions turned into such a big deal.

Jon - i felt in my first post i asked for some advice and subsequently got told where to go but getting a bit agitated got me some answers - says something if not everything.  Anyway, what advice you have given me was excellent and generally what was required.  So thanks very much!

itsmeok - thanks for this, definitely constructive.

i'm sure i'll be back soon to annoy you all again once i've got a hybrid going.  ;)
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Marie.O on February 03, 2009, 02:49:57 pm
Tomm,

if you are located in the UK, you might want to contact totallymaxed in the forum. They can provide you with ready-made solutions.

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?action=profile;u=38882 (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?action=profile;u=38882)
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Zaerc on February 03, 2009, 02:51:55 pm
Look man, if finding a rack mounted case (just about the least lmce specific part you can get) by yourself, is already over your head, then you'll probably be better off to give up on this project right now.
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: PeteK on February 03, 2009, 03:14:54 pm
How about the new fiire system:

http://www.fiire.com/fiire-engine.php

I'm not sure of the current state of fiire, but others can answer that question.
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Tomm on February 03, 2009, 03:31:26 pm
alright Zaerc calm down, you might be the world's expert in all this but i haven't a clue (as i'm sure most people have noticed) so do me a favour and if you don't want to help me then don't bother posting.

Thanks for the other posts though, i'd looked at both companies last week before deciding that it was something that i should build for myself to not only gain the experience, have a bit of fun but also i can get it to do exactly what i want and fix any problems.  And it was fun until i asked for advice on rack mounted cases...

Anyway, i've made my decision on kit now.  I was going to post it up here to get feedback but i won't bother now, i'm sure everything will be ok, i've read the wiki.  ;D
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: marrandy on February 03, 2009, 03:52:53 pm
Hello,

Firstly, just to let you know i'm a complete Linux noobie - your chance to convert someone whos worked with MS products for most of his life!  And i thank you all very much in advance - i realise what i'm about to ask is a lot but hopefully not too much!

I've concluded i need 1 hybrid and 1 MD:
Hybrid with HDMI out and 7.1 for 4 zones of multiroom audio and 1 video stream
MD with HDMI out and 7.1 for the HD theatre.

1.  All my kit will be rack mounted - is there an off the shelf rack mounted system that is ready built that will work for the Hybrid and MD?  Otherwise, whats a good rack mounted case that will allow me to build a suitable system using the part list in the wiki?

Tom

Hi Tom and welcome.

This is an open source development project.  There are a lot of issues and setting up involved.

With no Linux experience and your requirements and being in the UK, talk to totallymaxed.  He works for a company called dianemo  http://www.dianemo.co.uk/  who will be able to get the job done for you.  Check out the videos etc.
I don't know what their pricing is, but its worth a shot.  They are based in Chelmsford, UK, by the way

Good luck.


When you have your system, please come back to this thread and tell us all what you bought.  There are way too many threads on this board which dead-end, as people fail to come back with their fixes, solutions etc.
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Zaerc on February 03, 2009, 03:55:28 pm
alright Zaerc calm down, you might be the world's expert in all this but i haven't a clue (as i'm sure most people have noticed) so do me a favour and if you don't want to help me then don't bother posting.
...
LOL, don't get your panties in a twist, and that was probably the best advice you received in this thread. :D
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: pcbastard on February 09, 2009, 07:28:46 am
Tomm,

Beware of the Noob Stalkers.

I love this place, but certain hard working developers are touchy people.  They hate people who ask for any help unless there is proof in your post that you truly tried to find the solution in the wiki first. 

And if you post a wiki page, smiles will break out all over!

Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Zaerc on February 09, 2009, 01:13:09 pm
Tomm,

Beware of the Noob Stalkers.

I love this place, but certain hard working developers are touchy people.  They hate people who ask for any help unless there is proof in your post that you truly tried to find the solution in the wiki first. 

And if you post a wiki page, smiles will break out all over!


Oh the drama!!  ;D
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Marie.O on February 09, 2009, 01:13:44 pm
rotflmao

And this on a Monday morning. It made me smile the whole morning
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: hari on February 09, 2009, 04:02:12 pm
damn where is that popcorn :-)
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: Ron Moody on February 18, 2009, 03:07:58 am
I want to thank Jon Decker for his post. It's the reason I got a login. In fact, this is my first post.

After I read Jon's post, I jumped to his user wiki that talked about his set-up and the process he's gone through in making LinuxMCE work. So far he has won all the jelly doughnuts for clarity and thoroughness. My impression to date is that everybody is so deeply into the LinuxMCE soup that they assume everybody else knows what they know. That was not Jon's approach and for that I am grateful. The wiki was great. Thank you.

I've built two MythTV systems and have been blown away with the quality of that product. Granted, I've had it crash on both 32 and 64 bit versions of Ubuntu but it's still simply amazing. I'd been researching home automation systems for a relative and when I stumbled across LinuxMCE, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. I suppose I still do, although it's been kind of tough trying to figure out the secret handshakes it takes to get started. In fact, I still haven't found a way to actually purchase a DVD. I've followed all the links and jumped through all the hoops but still no success. I'm waiting for a response to two emails I sent out last week to team leaders in hopes that they might point me in the right direction.

But that's not why I'm writing. Again, thank you Jon. Keep it up. It seems that the clear and simple communication you generate is right on the money (from my perspective anyway).

Ron Moody
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: tschak909 on February 18, 2009, 03:19:21 am
Welcome.

Unfortunately right now, we do not have a way to press or send out DVDs.

And yes, Jon has been doing some amazing work in documenting, as well as helping us get the new release of 0810 out the door. Thank you, Jon.

-Thom
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: jack daniels esq on February 21, 2009, 09:26:52 am
You guys are insane   ;D ;D
Reminds me of another Linux crowd I know & used to love
Even the story board layout is identical - I think I'm gonna love it here.
Just perusing the trails for now - will revert ASAP with a heavy
BR>Jack
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: colinjones on February 21, 2009, 10:27:11 pm
oh god.  can i just request a simple answer instead of being told 'Wiki' each time

Is there a rack mounted system that someone has used in the past with success? (YES/NO - delete as applicable)
If yes - would you like to tell me what it is?

Is there a rack mounted case that someone has used in the past with success?  (YES/NO - delete as applicable)
If yes - would you like to tell me what it is?

i'm not asking for a detailed part list - JUST A CASE!!!!!!  I can read the bloody wiki and find the rest of the parts - however i can't find a rack mounted case in there. (please tell me where if i've missed a page)

I was really looking forward to this project but i can't understand why this has suddenly become such a mission?

Tomm - you are getting a little over heated here, as others have pointed out - it is important to note that this post was only 12 hours after your initial question. Remember, just because the posts in that time didn't give you an answer doesn't mean that you won't get one .... unless you start ranting :) that's a sure fire way to get people's backs up. This is a community forum, and so its entirely possible that either the person with the info you want hasn't read your thread yet or that nobody has the info.. don't just assume that the info will come in the first posts! Just because it doesn't, doesn't exclude the possibility that it won't.. keep working the thread and don't get exasperated or you shoot yourself in the foot.

As it happens, although you may not have realised it due to your inexperience (by your own admission), the answers are there now. First, you have some suggestions of particular products, also a pointer to Andrew's (Totallymaxed) company in Essex, but most importantly Zaerc's (albeit tetchy!) advice ... that the case is the least specific thing.... find any old case that is rack mountable, from any source, it will have a motherboard profile like ATX, then choose any compatible motherboard that is that profile. It is meaningless to ask which is the motherboard that is best with that case as any board that has that profile will work equally as well, there is no distinction upon which the forum members can provide you advice there, its arbitrary hence you won't get specific answers to that question.

Perhaps a simple guide for selection will help:

First, decide what capabilities you want - most importantly will be the video and audio outs... HDMI, DVI, component, composite, VGA for video; HDMI Audio, SPDIF optical/coax digital, analogue, surround, etc for audio. Ask specific questions about these options and you will get very specific answers from the community.

Next, how many and type of drive you want to connect, capacity of storage, RAID protection, etc - do you want the storage onboard or remote. How many USB ports you want, and other basic I/O capabilities.

Now you've determined that, you can select a board based on it. Again, asking for a specific board recommendation based on these specs is somewhat meaningless - there are squillions of boards out there, many that will match your specifications, numerous that have already been shown compatible... you can't ask people to select it for you, as it will necessarily be arbitrary and biased advice ... most will have only tested their own board so can't really compare it with many others that match. This is why people simply document in the wiki or forums what they have working so that you can access these and choose one for yourself. If you are uncertain, by all means actually choose a board that you think fits and that others have used, then specifically ask about that board... you are far more likely to get a definitive answer/advice when the question isn't so open-ended... in other words make it easy for people to answer the question without speculating.

Personally, my advice is always not to get too hung up on the particular board - concentrate on the chipset. If the board is compatible with Kubuntu 0710 (easy to find out) then you are half way there. Now look at the video, audio and network chipset. For video, choose nVidia (if you've been reading the wiki and boards then you already know why) something in the 6200-7300 range is perfectly adequate, although the 8xxx and 9xxx series will likely offer some decoding advantages in the future. There are some very common sound chips that work wonderfully with LMCE, choose one someone has confirmed elsewhere, but at the least choose one that is compatible with kernel 2.6.22-14 and has an ALSA driver. Finally, the network chip - Intel is de rigeur here, but again there are plenty of common ones that are compatible, choose one.

Using this (chipset) method, you are not as locked down to specific motherboards, which often get discontinued even though the chipsets live on!

Finally, once you have choosen your motherboard, take its form factor and pick any old rack mount case that accepts that form factor and a power supply that can deliver enough power. Done! You have your system, now pick your peripherals with care. hope this helps.
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: wierdbeard65 on April 19, 2009, 09:06:46 am
Colin,

Once again a very detailed, and helpful, posting.

Despite having hung around for a while now, I haven't seen this particular approach to building up a spec before - yet having read it it makes so much sense!

I'm starting with a zero budget, so whatever scraps of equipment I can find are being used. I intend to then invest in replacing the bits that don't work. I suspect motherboard will be "up there". I'm going dedicated core, so can I just ask if I only need to worry about my MD's and as long as the core boots Linux, I'm ok? Or are there hidden traps waiting for me on the core as well???
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: colinjones on April 19, 2009, 03:25:49 pm
If you only intend to use the core as dedicated rather than a hybrid (which is slightly more usual) then no, as long as it will run Kubuntu 0710 then you will be fine.
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: wierdbeard65 on April 19, 2009, 10:40:33 pm
My intention is a dedicated core, yes. I intend to put 3xDVB-S receiver cards in it. I then hope to have my main MD in my living room with a capture card to connect to my Sky-TV STB (for the encrypted channels). That would fully use a Quad-LNB in my dish. At the moment, I only have a single LNB and a STB, so what is the advice for a card for the MD. Am I better having 2 - 1 for capture and 1 for output to the TV, or can I get a single card that will do both?

I'm keen to keep costs down, but I also want a system that looks good as well as performing well. At the moment, I'm swinging between a HTPC box for the living room, and a VESA-Mount box (like Fiire used to do) that fixes on the back of the TV out of sight. Anyone care to comment on pros and cons? (And, assuming the latter, suggest a source for a VESA-mount box, Google isn't turning much up!  :( )

I would also like to thank Jon Decker - a very interesting description of his system!
Title: Re: New install advice please - rack mounted, telephony & orbiters
Post by: totallymaxed on April 21, 2009, 01:14:41 am
My intention is a dedicated core, yes. I intend to put 3xDVB-S receiver cards in it. I then hope to have my main MD in my living room with a capture card to connect to my Sky-TV STB (for the encrypted channels). That would fully use a Quad-LNB in my dish. At the moment, I only have a single LNB and a STB, so what is the advice for a card for the MD. Am I better having 2 - 1 for capture and 1 for output to the TV, or can I get a single card that will do both?

I'm keen to keep costs down, but I also want a system that looks good as well as performing well. At the moment, I'm swinging between a HTPC box for the living room, and a VESA-Mount box (like Fiire used to do) that fixes on the back of the TV out of sight. Anyone care to comment on pros and cons? (And, assuming the latter, suggest a source for a VESA-mount box, Google isn't turning much up!  :( )

I would also like to thank Jon Decker - a very interesting description of his system!

Hi,

We have currently have two approaches in use for our customer installations;

- We use the vdr IPTV plugin and a capture card like the Hauppauge PVR-150 or 250 to capture the SD output of the Sky/VirginMedia box. We then use IR or (RF2 control on the Sky Digiboxes) to send commands to the external STB. The STB then appears as a 'channel' in the vdr channel list just like any other channel...selecting the STB channel displays the digitised output from the capture card. Two downside with this approach is that there is a slight 'lag' between pressing the MCE remote and seeing the response from the STB (this is down to the video capture process... and adds 2 secs lag approx), secondly the picture quality is degraded by the capture process.

- The second approad does away with any attempt to capture the video output of the STB and instead allows the direct output to be routed to an input on the display you are using. So each STB's output would be fed into an video splitter eg HDMI (or component, composite or RF) 1-4 or 1-8 depending on how many MD's you wanted to have the output displayed on. The 1-4/8 splitter gives us 4-8 identical outputs and one of these is routed to one of the inputs on the TV connected to the Core and each MD. We then use either RS232 or IR to switch the input on the TV to the input used for the STB when the user requests it. As soon as the STB input is selected then all MCE remote commands are sent to the STB to allow us to control its features/functions. When we want to go back to the Orbiter we just have the user press the 'Green button' on the MCE remote and then the TV's input is switched back to the input displaying the output from the Orbiter and control functions are not returned also to the Orbiter allow the remote control to control it again. This sounds complicated but it isn't in practice. The advantage is you get much better picture quality (ie the full quality that either RF, composite, component or HDMI can deliver) and no lag in the control of the STB whatsoever. Down side is that you need to use some additional hardware to move the video signals around the house to the screens that need them. We usually use additional CAT5 cable runs to do this - but you could stick with RF, composite, component or HDMI instead.

In either of the above approaches the MD's can be located local to the displays or in a rack centrally if you do not want any 'boxes' located around the house.

We like the Eee Box B202 for behind the screen installations (it comes with the mounting kit for this) and we think that the new Acer Aspire Revo (search the forum for references to this new machine) will be worth looking at (the Revo has not been tested yet... but it looks like it will be a great MD) its available from the 18 May in the UK.

All the best

Andrew