Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hacked IKEA bar

After looking for a unique but cheap bar solution for our balcony I decided to make my own. Obviously IKEA was a good choice as far as cheap went. Walking around the store I slowly got a plan together in my head. This is what I came up with:

The serving/prep area is on the far side. The Igloo 12-qt. Ice Cube fits snuggly on one of the shelves.

This nice thing is the diversity as the Expedit has many extras you can add.
  • The wine rack insert
  • The door insert
  • The drawer insert
Using these extra parts you can customize this into your ideal bar.

The serving area keeps preparation items off the main surface and discrete.



Construction is fairly straight forward. The brackets are the only tricky part.

  • Screw only one corner of the Capita brackets to the Numerar countertop at the desired location (a few inches from the edges). Not too tight, you may need adjustment.
  • Align the brackets to the edges of the countertop.
  • Measure the distance between the two bolts on the brackets and use that measurement to drill 2 large holes through the top of the Expedit at the desired spot.
  • Insert the Capita brackets through the holes with the countertop attached and get them straight. If the Vika Byske leg is not on yet you will need 2 people for this. If the holes are not fully aligned you should still be able to adjust because of only using only the 1 screw above.
  • Once you are satisfied that everything is straight and lined up you can use a pen or anything sharp to mark out the remainder of the holes for the bracket screws.
  • Remove the countertop from the Expedit and screw in the remaining screws.
  • Reattach and bolt the Capita's to the Expedit.
  • Attach Vika Byske leg to the countertop.
  • Place the bar where it is needed and adjust the leg until the bar is level.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Home Theater Setup

  • Samsung PN58C7000 58-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV (Black)
  • Samsung SSG-P2100S/ZA Shrek 3D Starter Kit, Black

  • Logitech Harmony 900 Rechargeable Remote with Color Touch Screen

A/V system:
  • Onkyo HT-S7300 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package with iPod Dock

  • Running Ubuntu 11.04 Natty with MythTV backend, XBMC as the frontend.
  • nMedia 2000b
  • Intel Core i3 550
  • Gigabyte H55M-USB3
  • Corsair 4GB Dual Channel Corsair DDR3 Memory for Intel Core i5 Processors (CMX4GX3M2A1600C9)
  • Corsair CMPSU-430CX CX Series 430-watt Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core I7 and Core I5
  • ASUS GeForce GT430 1 GB DDR3 Video Card ENGT430/DI/1GD3(LP)
  • Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder

  • PlayStation 3 160GB
  • Logitech Harmony Adapter for PlayStation 3

Need to add some decent cable management...


Turns out USB3 is still unstable in Ubuntu 11.04. When the HD-PVR is connected to USB3 will fail with the following in dmesg:

[ 1603.561520] xhci_hcd 0000:04:00.0: ERROR no room on ep ring
[ 1603.561524] hdpvr 9-4:1.0: usb_submit_urb in hdpvr_submit_buffers returned -12
[ 1603.561527] hdpvr 9-4:1.0: couldn't submit buffers

Just switch back to USB2 and the issue should go away.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

nMedia 2000b

 This is an amazing case that matches my Onkyo receiver perfectly except for the LCD color. The "PRO-LCD OEM" screen must be purchased separately and it turns out that nMedia have stopped making their standard green screens in favor of blue LCD's without updating any of their online material. Grrrr! I sent them an email to see if they still have the older ones lying around but unfortunately they don't. The issue is more than just about visual consistancy with my receiver but also readability and subtlety. The bright blue LCD is neither readable nor is it subtle. Unless you turn your HTPC off at night the screen will be burning your retinas out and startling the natives for miles around.

One good thing is that the screen works great with LCDproc and the LIS driver. For some reason the LIS driver is missing from the Ubuntu LCDproc packages, which is annoying.
What you need to do is:
  • download the LCDproc source and unpack
  • cd into the directory and run ./configure --enable-drivers=all
  • run make
  • *DO NOT* run make install, simply copy the created server/drivers/ to /usr/lib/lcdproc/
  • edit /etc/LCDd.conf and set Driver=lis
  • restart LCDd and lcdproc and configure to your taste

USB issues with HP IR receiver

Every now and then my IR receiver will fail with errors like this in dmesg:
device descriptor read/64, error -71
device not accepting address 12, error -71

When the device does show up in lsusb:
0471:060c Philips (or NXP) Consumer Infrared Transceiver (HP)

I have not ever been able to track down the issue so if anyone has any ideas please let me know.
Tried so far:
  • unloading ehci_hcd kernel module (no longer works as the module is integrated into the kernel)
  • adding acpi=off to the kernel line in the grub config
  • adding noapic to the kernel line in the grub config

Some suggestions have been to run a powered USB hub but I don't want to do that on a sleek HTPC build. I don't reboot that often so I can live with it but a solution would be good.

HTPC Setup (Software)

I decided to use Ubuntu 11.04 with MythTV installed. I did not want MythBuntu as I wanted a full GUI and also to run XBMC as the front end.

HD-PVR and Mythbuntu:

I used a Hauppauge HD-PVR to record off my TW cable DCH3416 mainly because I wanted a better frontend. The interface on the cable box itself makes me want to cry every time I see it. Time Warner really needs to update their stuff. The HD-PVR should work out of the box with Ubuntu 10.04 and later, I'm not sure about earlier versions. However, I had a hard time trying to get the ir transmitter working. Even when I could get it to work it would not survive reboots or OS updates. An outline of the HD-PVR with MythTV is here.

To bypass the flaky ir transmitter issue I just went with direct control over firewire described here. I would definitely recommend the 6200ch script documented there and here for use with the Motorola STB's. My particular model (DCH3416) was not defined in the script so I added my model_id to the 6200ch.c and recompiled. I didn't bother to get recording working over firewire as I already had the HD-PVR.

Next is XBMC as a frontend PVR:

XBMC has only experimental support for PVR functionality at this time and it seems that this is mainly being done through tvheadend. So in order to get this set up I needed some way to shift my recordings to XBMC in some way that was meaningful to it. XBMC is set up with a separate hard drive to the OS and MythTV. Once MythTV has recorded a show I use mythicalLibrarian to move the show into a folder on the drive where XBMC can see it. mythicalLibrarian interacts with MythTV's database to get more information about the show and then moves the file to the XBMC folder location and renames the file in the format XBMC understands: show/season/show.s01e04.mpg etc.

Info on the mythicalLibrarian script can be found here with thanks to 'outleradam' from the XBMC forum for getting that together. He is actively developing it and is very helpful. 

XBMC and watching LiveTV through MythTV:

Thank you to TechNazgul for his useful post.