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Topics - actkk2000

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16
Hello!! :)

This is the next chapter for http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,3150.0.html
Acronyms:
CT = Cubietruck
DIY = Do it yourself
PS = Power source
RPI = Raspberry Pi
TFT = 7" TFT display
WTF = What the f...

While I was wondering what to do with CT after I managed to bring it back to life and sucessfully connected it to a Lapdock, some unfortunate event happened on my mother's house (nothing to really worry about...)
A couple years ago she got a Phillips Digital PhotoFrame (DPF) similar to this:
http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/dcbint/cpindex.pl?slg=en&scy=in&ctn=SPF1237/12

It worked well for a long time, until a few months ago it didn't start anymore. After a quick review I found the 5V wall charger was the problem. Since I had the original CT PS without being used at that time, I could spare it and I replaced the broken DPF wall charger. So far so good, a happy mother again...

Then while I was recently tinkering with CT and the Lapdock, she told me the DPF failed again. My first thought was a PS failure, but in that case it will be a big issue since the original DPF PS was 5v and only 650mA and CT PS is 5V 2A, meaning much more amps than needed. If this PS also got burned then the DPF had to be a real electricity blood sucking crap...

But when I tested the DPF I found this time a change of PS was not the answer. I opened it to see if there was something to do, but the circuit is quite compact indeed, very interesting for such small device. Just two little boards with everything, one for processor, memory and lcd interface all integrated and a little one with a 5 keys keyboard for setup and stuff. Nothing else. So if there were something fried it will be much difficult to me to find it...

In the meantime I took the chance to test the original CT PS and add CT to Lapdock and the other project all together. The CT PS was OK. Well, here I was thinking on one side how to fix the DPF and on the other what to with CT, since there was no enough room for 3 boards on my project...
And suddenly it all made sense. Why couln't I use CT to build a DPF and replace the brown one?

I googled it and found some interesting projects for RPI:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Raspberry-Pi-Media-Panel-fka-Digita/all/
http://www.hackourlife.com/diy-multimedia-photo-video-frame-using-raspberry-pi/
http://www.binaryemotions.com/raspberry-slideshow/
http://techclicker.com/technology/build-functional-raspberry-pi-digital-photo-frame/

The first link caught my attention over the others because it was designed to work with XBMC. And I could use Android and XBMC to make it work easily on CT...
It will be needed an auto loader program to start XBMC after boot (http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=175693) and also to use the XBMC slideshow screensaver (http://kodi.wiki/view/Add-on:Slideshow)

But I didn't want to spend much money on that, I wanted to help my mother but if this would be an inconvenience it would be better to tell her to buy a new DPF. Nevertheless, DIY calling is much stronger and I wanted to do something about it by my self.

So the next step will be to find a cheap display for this project. And it turned out I already had one...
From the other project I had a TFT composite monitor that I replaced by a Motorola Lapdock for Atrix.
And a quick comparaison revealed they looked very much alike, at least in size:



The only inconvenience will be that CT does not have a video composite output. No RCA connector like in RPI.
I already had a VGA to RCA cable adapter like this:
http://www.dx.com/p/vga-to-svideo-and-rca-f-cable-9812#.VFUotnl0yHs

But it didn't work because it is for video cards that support TV-out via VGA port, and seems CT doesn't have that feature.
Then the only way to connect the TFT to CT would be through a VGA to RCA converter: http://www.dx.com/p/pc-to-tv-video-converter-adapter-silver-167014#.VFUo5Xl0yHs
And I finally decided to have one (click to enlarge):




OK, at this point you have to be thinking "WTF? Are you crazy? Why would you pay for something that it is already included in RPI?"
"Why don't you use the RPI as it was intended in all the listed projects for a DPF with a RPI, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel?"
And yes, that would make sense but it turns I'm not crazy... Or am I? ???

Some people worked on the same thing for cubieboard, but with Linux:
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,1676.0.html
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,173.msg16505.html#msg16505

Anyway, I was closer to convert CT into a DPF than a RPI which was already working, assembled on a case with a system in place.
And from my point of view, CT time had been passed. It was out too much time, and I already moved onto a new project to replace it, so there was nothing left for CT, just maybe a spare part. In this way it would fulfill a purpose, and would make my mother happy again, she loves her pictures collection.

Another reasons would be Wifi connection, faster boot and faster reading of the flash memory, also more trustable than a SD card, this will work many hours per day every day, more storage space for pictures...
And Android will let me to use a nice live wallpaper which I am fond of: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.main.kurousa.android.livewallpaper.DeviceInfo

With that in mind I proceeded to do some tests. First it would be needed to flash CT again with VGA Android image: http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/test/ct-android-factory-VGA.img.gz
It worked like a charm, with one little problem. Due to there was hot wheater here, I noticed CT started to heat as well and eventually to turn off or restart.

When I touched the acrylic I noticed it more than warm... something I didn't realize before. This caused I consider to add something to the build that I never wanted before: a fan.
Then again needed to buy something extra, this time a 3" 12V fan to cool off CT, similar to this:
http://www.dx.com/p/6015s-dc-12v-0-3a-brushless-cooling-fan-6-x-6cm-138608#.VFVEVnl0yHs

Fortunately I already had a 12V PS for the TFT and the CT addon http://cubieboard.org/2013/09/24/how-to-support-3-5-inch-hdd-on-cubieboard/ which I bought just in case, but I never used it before.
This way I would be able to control both display and fan power feed from the addon and to power off everything from CT.

Here some pictures of the new case built with only the two remaining acrylics and the addon in the middle, over CT. No Sata disk needed. (click to enlarge):




Here testing if CT and the addon could handle power for TFT display and the cooler fan:




Will continue on the next part...
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,3164.0.html

See you soon!!  :D

17
Projects / The Cubietruck chronicles - Chapter II: Lapdock days
« on: October 30, 2014, 12:56:49 am »
Hi there!  :D

This is the next chapter of http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,3147.0.html

To test CT with an Android image and as for benn's advice I downloaded this one from cubieboard.org:
http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/test/ct-android-factory-VGA.img.gz

But I wanted a 1080p HDMI capable image, then I found this one in the same dir:
http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/test/android_cubietruck_1080P.img.tar.gz
I tried it on a full hd capable monitor and worked right out of the box as well.

At that time I was also finishing to adapt a Motorola Lapdock for Atrix to my other project:
http://forum.lemaker.org/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=8307&fromuid=1602




Since CT board was not fixed to any case or box, I decided first to attach CT alone to the Lapdock for a try.
I saw this post I realized it will be possible for CT to be used with a lapdock as well:
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,1366.0.html

Also these adapters worked for CT without any modifications:
http://www.dx.com/p/micro-usb-male-to-female-extension-data-cable-black-20cm-123738#.VE1jBHl0yHs
http://www.dx.com/p/micro-usb-female-to-usb-male-adapter-black-172524
http://www.dx.com/p/cy-hd-156-bk-micro-hdmi-female-to-hdmi-male-adapter-cable-for-tablet-pc-cell-phone-black-20cm-279467#.VE1jIXl0yHs

And I plugged the CT USB power cable to one of the USB ports on back of the Lapdock.
The only inconvenience was that when the lid was closed, power on the USB ports also got cutted and CT was shutted down without any warning...
Just after open the lid againt CT started, meaning Lapdock USB ports remained off when the lid was not fully open...

Here some pictures while testing the stand alone mode (click to enlarge):





I also tried to simplify connections by using just one USB cable like the one described on Adafruit:
http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2012/09/10/cables-adapters-for-the-atrix-raspberry-pi-laptop/
For that I bought a cable designed for PSP with the advantage that it already has a 2.5mm plug that will fit on CT:
http://www.dx.com/p/usb-data-and-charging-cable-for-psp-3000-2000-1000-110cm-length-28732#.VFGu7Hl0yHs
And also a mini USB adapter for the USB port:
http://www.dx.com/p/usb-a-male-to-mini-usb-5-pin-female-adapter-26785#.VFGuynl0yHs

That would allow a project to use the USB port designed for Atrix cellphone, which when the lid is getting closed it just cuts power for a second and starts again once fully closed.
This is not an inconvenience for a cellphone, but without any batteries CT still was shutted down and restarted as soon as the lid touched the keyboard.

To keep the power for that (actually less than a) second I considered Super Capacitors, as described here:
http://www.element14.com/community/community/raspberry-pi/blog/2012/09/11/raspberry-pi-lapdock-tricks
http://www.zprod.org/zwp/making/supercapacitor-raspberry-pi/

But first I tested the cable, with no luck. CT seemed to not have power enough to work, as soon as it started to boot, it just power off inmediatly.
Then I added a USB extension cable modified for my other project, with the 5V line cutted to avoid backpower on the CT USB ports (as also is explained on Adafruit video):



If this worked, eventually I would do the modification directly to the PSP cable.
But didn't work either. The only way it worked was plugging the mini USB portion directly to CT OTG port, seems that reinforced somehow the power needed to boot.

That was not the expected because in that way USB port data for cellphone on the Lapdock was cancelled and the keyboard and pad wouldn't work either.
Probably was a cheap cable, then after trying different configurations with no results, eventually I gave up.

But I was surprised when I also attached a Sata disk and it worked without problems, just with the power provided by the USB port on the back of the Lapdock:





As long as the lid remained open, it wouln't be any problems. But then CT wouldn't act as real laptop, right?  ???

So finally I decided a final test, adding CT to my other project, and using the original external power source that I bought along with CT.
It's a 5V 2A USB charger like this: http://www.goodluckbuy.com/hp-universal-5v-2a-power-adapter-usb-charger-for-tablet-pc-.html
And since I have a HDMI switch with 3 connections, I've got one spare for CT...

The only problem will be the keyboard and pad, because I have a USB swith with only two connections.
But for testing purposes I could unplug Raspberry Pi USB cable and use it on CT.
Other way was plugging a USB mini mouse to CT, and also a mini keyboard that I wasn't using anymore.



So here is a video of the "three amigos" working together... (click to enlarge)



It was a short stay, because during that period something happened that would change CT fate forever...
But that story, is for the next chapter...
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,3163.msg20835.html#msg20835

See you soon! And thanks for reading this! :)


18
Projects / The Cubietruck chronicles - Chapter I: Dead and back to life
« on: October 29, 2014, 02:05:11 am »
Hi Everyone!  :D

You probably remember me because I was the guy complaining about his Cubietruck (CT) just died and I made a lot of fuss about it... Well, sorry for the inconvenience but I had to do something...

But on the road I found out there are a lot more of people with the same problem...
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,2285.msg17698.html#msg17698
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,1120.msg17705.html#msg17705
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,564.msg17699.html#msg17699
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,3061.msg20195.html#msg20195
https://translate.google.com.ar/translate?hl=es&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cubieforums.com%2Findex.php%2Ftopic%2C2527.msg16426.html

Also I think I was very lucky because, altough I'm still not sure, it seems it was only a mechanical problem.

At first my idea was to replace my Raspberry Pi with a more powerful board, but I started to play (may be too much) with Android and games and gamepads:
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,2278.0.html
http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,1973.msg12702.html#msg12702



Then all the problems started several months ago, the day I tried to fit CT inside Ewell case.
Big mistake to buy that. Even when it is pretty cute it is not good.

I followed instructions and I saw the video but after putting CT and try to fit sata cable, I discovered there just wasn't enough space...
http://cubieboard.org/2014/02/27/ewell-has-come-minipc-not-be-far-behind/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTFYcAC_cPE

If you look closely on the video you will see there is a lot of handling and you need to push hard to finally fit inside sata disk and cable. The back cover simple won't stay in position until be screwed.

First my CT just didn't boot. I saw some lights on, but they remained fixed, Android logo also freezed...
I tried a few resets but nothing. At one point it managed to boot but it didn't go too far, monkey was also freezed...
Each reset made things worse, until stop booting.

I opened the case and extracted everything out and put it back to the acrylics, then flashed CT with Android, everything worked again.
I decided to call the night and leave it for another day, that was enough for now.
When I tried again but this time without the disk, things were the same. Same deal. Until things went south...

After that I was never again able to boot CT, nor flash it again. With any distro.
I expended a month trying to fix this, during the same I was asking everywhere and to everyone about this problem.

I have received some good advices from rose28357 pointing me to a possible memory voltage issue and also great help from benn from Cubietech, but in the end nothing worked. http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,1938.msg17863.html#msg17863

I also thank to all the people that gave me their support during the past months, like Gul or @lex and tydaikho when I stuck around figuring out how to solve this weird problem.
From time to time I tried to flash CT again, with no luck... the process always stopped at some point, sometimes didn't even start.

I wonder if this wasn't actually a blessing because there are number of reports of heating problems because sata disks take high temperatures due the confinement, and even if this would have worked, probably my disk would have been fried eventually.

Months later Cubietech released a new version of a CT case, this time made of metal and supposedly designed to handle temperature in a better way and with an easier assembly as well:
http://cubieboard.org/2014/10/11/cubietruck-metal-case-is-available/
Should I have waited? Nah! It is not very attractive anyway...  :o

That's why I planned to extract Sata disk and put it outside in a base for the case, made of the back cover flipped out and joined to another back cover of a second Ewell case that would be used to house a USB character display. This was a picture of what I was planning when CT finally died, using Raspberry Pi in the back connected to the USB character display:



In the end I made it in a similar way with a different product: http://www.lemaker.org/resources/9-166/banana_pi.html

After a few months dedicated to continue my previous project http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,2285.0.html but this time with a replacement for CT (see http://forum.lemaker.org/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=2897&fromuid=1602 and updates) recently I decided once again to give CT a try.

I went back in my steps remembering what I did wrong, when it all failed.
I remember all the groping and pushing and that probably broke something inside.
I consider myself a handy person, very careful when handling electronics, and I couldn't believe that I caused this mess.

Then with nothing else to loose, I started to push with my thumbs all the components, specially ram and flash memory. All in the opposite sense of Ewell case insertion, from the top of the board.

Yeah, that sounds stupid... I didn't even try to solder anything, just pressing the components and making an adjustement with my fingers...
But after that, I tried again to flash Android, and YEAAHH! it went all the way... 100% completed!

Imagine my joy when CT booted and I saw that little monkey's face again!
Seems something (I really don't know what) was out of place or who knows really... thing is that CT was alive again!

I've got my suspicions on the HDMI connector, my HDMI cable is thick and heavy and might also have helped to loose it, maybe just enough to cause this failure.
But I don't wanna touch it anymore...

Unfortunately my other project was too far advanced, then it could'nt be undone anymore and CT actually became the third wheel...
So what to do with this zombie ARM board? It just decided to finally work a little bit too late...

The answer: on the next chapter... http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php/topic,3150.msg20771.html#msg20771

See you soon! :)

PS: I'm sorry if this was too long and disappointing, probably won't fix anybody's else broken board but I needed to get it out of my chest... Thanks for reading!

19
Projects / CubieTruck as Raspberry PI replacement
« on: April 02, 2014, 11:39:11 am »
It's a work in progress, although software so far is already working fine:

http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php?topic=2278.0

I had some problems with gamepad because of lack of driver, but fixed at last:

http://www.cubieforums.com/index.php?topic=1973.0

Both systems are coexisting together for now...

I can even manage RPI from CT with remote terminal and transmission gui  :D

The obvious advantage of CT is speed, Google Play, and in this case also portability, my RPI can't be moved to anywhere anymore...


20
Raspberry Pi / RPI still alive and kicking
« on: April 01, 2014, 11:45:30 pm »
Actually I'm a proud owner of a Raspberry Pi board...

I have successfully mounted:

-A headless torrent server with Transmission and LCD2USB display board
-Files downloader manager with PyLoad
-A small NAS with USB portable disk, SMB y Debian (Raspbian)
-A media center with Xmbc (Raspbmc), DVD player and 7" LCD monitor
-A retro gaming console with PieMame and arcade joystick
-A digital desktop clock with Clockatoo RTC Clock Board

I call it "RasPi-Rack"

I also own a Cubietruck and of course is more powerful!
Still under development, looking to move some stuff here with Android and waiting for Ewell case to arrive...
But in the meantime Raspberry Pi still is useful  ::)




21
Hi,

I would like to know if there is a gamepad/joypad/game controller that really works on CT with Android...
I have a common USB dualshock gamepad, also tried a Sixaxis PS3, installed USB/BT Joystick Center, and no luck...
Tested on all nand 1.01 versions of http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/a20-cubietruck/android...
I read that with Gamepad IME and joydev.ko file may work, but dont know where to get a compatible one...
So, is there anyone that could help on this?
Thank you,

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