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Old 09-13-2005, 10:26 PM   #1
Matir
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Hardware Toys


I'm a college student on a budget, so nice really expensive suggestions please.

I've been inspired by reading a lot online about people hooking up cool things to their computers, like LCD displays, PICs, etc. So I'm trying to find some way to learn some things about this without breaking my bank. I guess this is my very open-ended question about suggestions for either eeprom-style flashable PICs, LCD displays, etc.

I always seem to have a desire to have some sort of "project" to work on, so I need something new.
 
Old 09-14-2005, 05:57 AM   #2
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PC Mods are truly limitless. If you can dream, it can be done and probably has already been done. I'm a bit of a modder myself. One of my systems has an LCD display/sound processor in one of the 5 1/4" bays. I'm getting ready to install a 6" LCD screen in the front of another system. I'll be using that with a TV tuner card to watch TV while I'm on the computer. Here's a few sites you might want to take a look at. You might also take a look at your local auto parts shop. Cars use a 12v electrical system and computers do too! So, if it's something you could put in a car, you can put in your computer too.

Case Mod God
Frozen CPU/PC Mods
Parts Express
 
Old 09-14-2005, 09:32 AM   #3
maroonbaboon
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I used to fancy myself with a soldering iron once, but the problem with PICs and mini-LCDs is that their mass-market counterparts (Intel/AMD microprocessors, 17inch displays) are just, well, so much better value and easier to use

For fun projects with a bit of hardware flavour I would go for modding an NSLU2 (http://www.nslu2-linux.org) or an X-box (http://www.xbox-linux.org) or even a Linksys router (http://www.batbox.org/wrt54g-linux.html).

You get to leverage off all the work that has gone into linux, and maybe even end up with something useful, rather than just beautiful (http://www.bit-tech.net/article/135/).
 
Old 09-14-2005, 10:53 AM   #4
Matir
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To be honest, I have no idea what I would do with an x-box with linux on it. Of linux boxen, I have plenty.

The NSLU2 looks kinda cool, so I might investigate that.

The advantage of PICs is that you don't need a whole motherboard to interface them to something... I mean, with one of those, to interface them to some analog sensors, you basically need a whole USB chipset in there as well, unless you can find a mobo with a bunch of serial/parallel ports.
 
Old 09-14-2005, 01:12 PM   #5
Chromezero
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X-box Linux seems kinda cool, but I have too many computers as it is. I've been working on more functional/visual mods rather than just visual mods or more systems. My main rig has the basic mods such as, a side panel window and Interior lights. Things like the 6" LCD screen can be functional as well as visual. Whether it's used in a dual monitor configuration or as a monitor for my second system, it's still useful. My original idea was to go dual monitor; with TV or karamba sys monitors on the 6" LCD.

A friend of mine is working on a similar project that would be great for a college student or anyone with limited space. His idea is to take a 15" LCD monitor and basically mount it into the side panel of his case. It would basically be an all-in-one system. Oh, I should mention that his box already has a wireless router mounted inside with ports and antennas on the back panel. Once he's done, he will basically have a transportable computer, monitor, and wireless router all in one full size ATX box. Plug in the power cord, mouse, and keyboard and he's rockin' and rollin'...
 
Old 09-14-2005, 04:39 PM   #6
Matir
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Yeah, I just need to get some more work outside my regular job, lol. $10/hr pt time is not enough, lol. One of those displays would be nice. I wonder if I could find some on ebay for a decent price.
 
Old 09-14-2005, 05:00 PM   #7
linuxtuxhellsin
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Have you read the book LinuxToys ? There's 13 nice projects inside and they used to have website also, but now it's not working.

http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/7387/print
 
Old 09-14-2005, 05:02 PM   #8
Matir
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I've always wanted to pick up one of those ExtremeTech books. I got paid today, so maybe I will.
 
Old 09-14-2005, 05:07 PM   #9
Matir
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Apparently, for anyone else reading this, there's a Linux Toys II coming out next month. (Or so claims the borders website).
 
Old 09-14-2005, 09:47 PM   #10
Matir
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My apologies for the repeated posts, but just an update. I checked out a copy of LinuxToys at the bookstore today, and was frankly unimpressed. The fact that a "home network" made the list was somewhat disappointing. Of the 13 projects, I only found two that really picqued my interest. But for others, it may be quite interesting. If I could find a nice interface for the jukebox, that might be exciting. Maybe I need to build a little panel with buttons (next track, pause/play, previous track, volume) and a small LCD display (track name, runtime, progress) that has a USB interface to control it. Just sounds a bit pricey.
 
Old 09-15-2005, 05:30 AM   #11
Chromezero
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That would be pretty cool, although it does sound a bit expensive. I once had the idea of using a mini case, with a touch screen as a media center. After I started researching prices on the touch screens and such, I decided against it.
 
Old 09-15-2005, 05:47 AM   #12
Chromezero
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Since we've been discussing different mods, I couldn't resist posting this one. I've always wanted to try something like The Humidor. It's just tough to convince myself to tear apart a good power supply or whatever, just so I can re-assemble it in some other container. Not to mention the fact that my wife tends to get a bit frustrated with all the parts laying around and the ideas scribbled on sticky pads that I won't use anytime soon but refuse to throw away...
 
Old 09-15-2005, 07:10 AM   #13
Matir
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That's pretty cool. Not really my style, but pretty cool none the less.
 
  


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