I would like to share with you my latest project. Nothing much, but it looks good and works fine. This post is the story of my Radionette Menuett HTPC.
The idea for this project started a couple of years ago, in 2007 I think. It started with some inspiration, an old Radionette radio at my grandmother’s that I have always found very pretty. I didn’t want to take my grandmother’s radio, so I found a similar one online. I ended up buying a beautiful 1951 Menuett radio from Radionette (Norwegian Wikipedia). I wanted to make it into a HTPC, something that could be a livingroom furniture and a computer. The radio I bought didn’t work, so I cleaned out the inside ending up with a nice future HTPC case.
Then the project stopped. I had lots to do and the whole project went to a halt for about two years. Fall 2009 however I restarted it.
Since I wanted a HTPC and the fact the HDTV is becoming more and more normal, I wanted a machine that could play Full HD material. At the same time I wanted to keep the computer as cheap as possible, and simple to build. I chose a Zotac ION motherboard that includes NVidias PureVideo™ HD Blu-Ray/HD DVD acceleration and HDMI output. The CPU, a Intel ATOM N230, and 12VDC power supply was included with the motherboard.
|Case||Radionette Menuett 1951 radio|
|Motherboard||Zotac ION N230 (Mini-ITX)|
|CPU||Single Core Intel Atom N230 (included with motherboard)|
|Memory||2x 2GB Crucial BallistiX (DDR2 PC6400)|
|Harddrives||2x Western Digital 160GB (SATA)|
|PSU||90W 12VDC (included with motherboard)|
The building of this project was very simple. First step was to remove all excess electronics from the old radio. Then I cut a hole in the side of the radio to fit the motherboard backside. The motherboard was then mounted on a metal plate, separated with spacers. The plate was then screwed to the case.
ON/OFF and RESET pins were soldered to one of the front panel buttons. Additionally I used the 12VDC harddrive output with a voltage regulator I made to power two light bulbs, lighting up the old tuner. And that’s about it. Keeping it simple.
I installed the latest version of Ubuntu (9.10) and Boxee, a free media center software. Two problems were encountered. The first problem was overscan, thus that the outer parts of the output was not visible on the TV. This was solved by a setting on the Samsung TV. The second problem was that I had no sound through the HDMI cable. This was easily solved by unmuting the HDMI sound output in Ubuntu (alsamixer). Both of these problems were quickly solved by Andreas.
So, to sum up. My Radionette Menuett works perfectly, it plays full HD movies and is great for surfing. But the best thing, it looks great in the livingroom! Click the images to enlarge them.