Author Topic: Zaurus As A Car Media Player  (Read 6863 times)

Xumbi

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Zaurus As A Car Media Player
« on: March 19, 2005, 02:57:13 pm »
In my never ending quest to make my Z run my life, my next task is to create a car media player with my Z.

Here is my logic, the most expensive part of a car media player is the display.  Then it hit me, I already have a perfectly good display on my Zaurus!  Why go out and buy a new one just for the car?  However, I quickly realized that there are 2 big problems with using the Z in the car:

1. Limited storage.  Compact flash cards are getting cheaper, but I want access to my entire music collection (> 40GB).
2. Poor interface.  Xmms is great, but it's not really meant for this purpose.

Now, nothing is going to fix problem #1 any time soon.  Yeah, I could get a RATOC USB card and connect an external drive, but that means buying the card and the drive.  I would have to spend at least $200, and I don't even know if the RATOC card works with pdaXrom yet.  And problem #2 would still exist.

Then I started looking into what people are using in their cars for a media player in Linux.  I came across this thread on mp3car.com.  There they talk about a few interfaces, HeadUnit, MythTV, Freevo, and a few others.  HeadUnit looks the best, but I couldn't get it to compile.  MythTV is cool, but I couldn't get it installed either.  Freevo, on the other hand, was a breeze.  I got it installed on my home Debian box, and with a little X11 forwarding trickery I can now do this:

[img]http://img239.exs.cx/img239/2251/freevoz5ut.png\" border=\"0\" class=\"linked-image\" /]

This is exactly what I want in my car.  Simple interface, looks good, and it plays every music format out there.

Now, how am I going to do this??  I'm thinking the easiest way will be to get an inverter to power a computer in the trunk, and then do X11 forwarding with the display to my Z.  I'll just have to figure out how to connect them...  WiFi?  Cat5?  I don't know which would be better.  I've never configured a direct IP connection between two computers, so I would really appreciate any help with that.  Then I would connect the computer in the trunk via usb to my stereo (that's right, I have a unit for my stereo that functions as a usb audio device!).

Can anyone think of a better way to do this?  Are there better interfaces out there than Freevo?

I've already ordered this car mount from shirtpocket, so I'm on my way at least.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2005, 03:28:30 pm by Xumbi »

craigtyson

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Zaurus As A Car Media Player
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2005, 03:11:17 pm »
Since having my car cd player stolen my Z is all I use fow music in the car.  I built a sterio amp to pluginto which sits bedind the dash.  A shelf bought from halfords sits infront in the sterio hole and all I do at the begining of my run is select enough music for the journy.  Since I tend to stop atleast every 2 hrs theres no need for more than ten or so ripped disks.  You could just splash out on a ipod if you wanted 20GB of mp3s at your finger tips just mount it infront of the dash somehow and feed into the sterio.
Craig
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Keep your Z on a bungee, you never know.....

Xumbi

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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2005, 03:35:25 pm »
The problem with the ipod is no ogg support.  90% of my music is in ogg form.  Other portable players support ogg, but they're expensive, and their interfaces don't lok as good as Freevo.  Also, other players are limited to laptop hard drives, which are much more expensive than 3.5" drives.

That sucks about your stereo. I would be severely traumatized if someone stole my car stereo.

I'm also hpoing to eventually be able to use some kind of navigation system, and play videos.  Can't do that with an ipod.

craigtyson

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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2005, 03:47:55 pm »
In that case have a look at http://www.wspc.biz/ they do nice small pc boxes I think one will run off of 12v.
Craig
SL-C1000, Angstrom GPE 2007.12r13
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Old Faithfull - SL-5500 battery out of the C750 (see below) TKC v1 (New) 1GB SD
Dead - SL-C750, Cacko 1.23 lite (Dropped, very messy!)
Ambicom WL1100C, SanDisk Dead - 1GB SD
Keep your Z on a bungee, you never know.....

pgas

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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2005, 04:24:54 pm »
Direct ip connection is not different from other ip networks. Just use 2 ips on the same network 192.168.0.1 and 168.0.2 for instance.

To connect two devices via wifi you can use the ad-hoc mode, use the same settings on both and that's it.

To connect two devices through ethernet just use a cross-cable between the 2 ethernet interfaces.

I guess cable is more reliable and uses less power, But you need to pass a cable.
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himchen

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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2005, 10:51:21 am »
Quote
Can anyone think of a better way to do this?  Are there better interfaces out there than Freevo?
[div align=\"right\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a][/div]

take a look at [a href=\"http://www.pymedia.org/pycar]pycar[/url], which is a UI exactly
for the purpose, e.g. elements on the touchscreen are big enough so that you can touch
it with your fingers.

Quote
I've already ordered this car mount from shirtpocket, so I'm on my way at least.
[div align=\"right\"][a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71433\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a][/div]

I have it too and am very satisfied with it.

Xumbi

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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2005, 04:15:50 pm »
Thanks for the replies.

Pycar looks good.  I was trying to run it on my Z, but it's looking for a module called 'traceback', and I don't see it in any of the feeds.  I know I originally wanted to set up a computer and do X11 forwarding, but now I'm not so sure.  

I might settle for a big CF card or microdrive as long as I can get an interface like this working.

projekt

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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2005, 06:02:13 pm »
Yeah for the love of god don't "splash" on an ipod.  Proprietary apple format be damned in my opinion.

Really, you don't need to go through all of this crazy stuff man.  The player I own plays all the formats, has a 40GB harddrive, doesn't have to use id3 (WYSIWG mode, like winamp), and plays OGG, FLAC, WMA, WAV, MP3.

It is run by a remote and has no front LCD.  In the car this is great, you can have the remote in your hands the whole time.

http://www.jetaudio.com/products/iaudio/m3/

chrget

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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2005, 05:32:25 am »
Quote
Proprietary apple format be damned in my opinion.
Hmmm, AFAIK the only proprietary thing Apple is doing with the iPod is its DRM (Digital Restrictions^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hights Management) system -- which, along with all other systems of such kind, should indeed be damned.

As for the rest, Apple is using just regular MPEG4/AAC audio, which is an open ISO/IEC standard -- nothing proprietary about it.

Best regards,
Chris.
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omega

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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 07:01:47 am »
What about cf-pcmcia adaptor, and then a pcmcia - 2.5" harddrive adaptor.... someone around here has used that combination... then you just plug the stereo out into an amp....

The harddrive would need external 5volts to run with the zaurus, should all fit in a nice little case...
Gorgeous C860, 256 Sandisk SD, 1Gig Pretec 40x CF, PDAIR leather case & the really cool retractable iPDA USB sync/charge cable. Powered by PDAXROM BETA 1.

My wish - to have a Command & Conquer style game on my Z! (FREECNC!!!) Simcity 2000 would also be great.

V-Man

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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2005, 10:56:24 pm »
For the computer, you might be able to find an old laptop to act as the music storage.  Occasionally you can find one for well under $100.  They are old and slow, but will work well as a file server.  Additionally with an old laptop, you can power it without an inverter.  Many inverters are designed for intermittent use and won't stay up for hours on end (would be good for very short trips, in-town driving, etc).  A good power brick that converts 12V to the 18-24V that laptops require is a bit expensive (expect about $100) but can be used for any laptop.  

My solution was to load up a 256M and a 512M CF card with enough music to get me through a boring 8 hour shift.  I use a FM modulator ($15 on sale) to get the music into the stereo (most of our PD cars do not have a tape player).  I just put the music I want on the cards before going to work or leaving on a trip and set the player to shuffle.

Good luck and please post your end results.  I am very interested in your final end product.
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dreadlocks

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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2005, 12:43:33 am »
my head unit got stolen as well, however all my speakers and amps were left behind.. since my speakers are powered by an external amp I got a stero 9mm to RCA adapter from radio shack routed the cable to my center console with power for my 5600.. when I get in I setup the playlist and tuck it away, I use the buttions on the front for controlling volume and switching tracks.. I had to retune my amp for the Zaurus, but its a clarion 600w 4ch marine so I have great output controll..
mmm, now I want a gps unit
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projekt

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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2005, 06:34:28 am »
chrget: don't you have to reencode to AAC when you transfer to the player?  I mean, you can't use mp3's on an ipod right? They are converted when they go over I thought.. Fuck if I know anything anymore, someone just told me that and I am too lazy to look it up.

Xumbi

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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2005, 11:53:32 am »
Looks like I've sparked some interest on this topic!

I've been looking at lots of different options, and I keep coming back to the idea of having a desktop or laptop powered by an inverter from which I run X11 forwarding to the Z.  The main reason is that I want to be able to use my car USB adaptor, which will provide the best possible sound quality.  It's also the cheapest way to get a lot of storage.

Something I just figured out, which I can't believe I didn't think of before, is to use the USB cable for the networking.  This will look better than a CF lan card, it's faster than wifi, and I'll still have access to my CF slot.

I keep looking around for other frontends, but so far Freevo is the only one I've gotten to work.  The biggest problem I have with Freevo is that it takes forever to scan folders of music, and it does it every time.  There must be a way around that.

As soon as I get everything working I'll be sure to take pictures and post them here.

JohnKiniston

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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2005, 12:26:53 pm »
Quote
chrget: don't you have to reencode to AAC when you transfer to the player?  I mean, you can't use mp3's on an ipod right? They are converted when they go over I thought.. Fuck if I know anything anymore, someone just told me that and I am too lazy to look it up.
[div align=\"right\"][a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71751\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a][/div]

Nope iPods will happily play MP3, AAC and Apple Lossless (The later only available on 4th generation and newer iPods)

I've got hours of MP3's on mine ranging from nasty old 64kbps to 320kbps on my Generation 2 10 gig iPod as well as a number of home made AAC's and purchased AAC's.