nbuuifx
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:33 pm

Making a portable media centre

Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:39 pm

I've been using a raspberry pi as a media centre which I'm quite happy with - although do have a couple of issues (on another thread)

However I'm quite tempted to get another to use as a portable media centre.

We have a small campervan which whilst being great for versatility is limited on space. I had considered replacing the stereo with a double din unit (either a 7" raspberry pi powered solution or an android headunit) however it isn't in a very good spot to watch.

I've been looking through the loft (pile of old computer junk) and found a couple of old LCD monitors. One of which is a 12v 15" (o possibly 17"?) screen with built in speakers. It also has the added benefit of a removable panel at the back with a big space behind - probably squeeze a pi and a portable HDD in there.

My biggest concern is that it only has a VGA connection - I have seen some converters but would resolution be a problem? Some of the ones I've seen say they will only do 720p and 1280p resolutions. I doubt the monitor would support those resolutions. I'm guessing it is 1024x768. Will it work with this?

Does it sound like it would work for this purpose, I don't want to mount it in the campervan, I just want it as a portable unit which can just plug into a 12v socket - so it would only have one wire - as an optional I could connect a second wire to plug the audio into the car stereo system.

The other monitor was a little larger - I think it is a 19" 4:3 - it has a DVI connection - however it has a mains kettle lead so would have to take it apart and see what the built in transformer transforms down to. It doesn't have speakers built in though. Would this be any better due to the DVI? It also doesn't have a panel in the back with space for the pi!

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 19781
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: Making a portable media centre

Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:18 pm

nbuuifx wrote:My biggest concern is that it only has a VGA connection - I have seen some converters but would resolution be a problem? Some of the ones I've seen say they will only do 720p and 1280p resolutions. I doubt the monitor would support those resolutions. I'm guessing it is 1024x768. Will it work with this?
The 720 /1080 is the HDMi Ouput, nothing to do with VGA resolution, these will work with the RPi A+ / B+ / 2B

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patuoxun-Adapte ... B00F6RZZMU
adieu

My other Computer is an Asus CS10 ChromeBit running Chrome Operating System.
HP Envy 4500 Wireless Printer supported by HPLIP software in Raspbian Buster.
Raspberry Pi Model 2B v1.1

nbuuifx
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:33 pm

Re: Making a portable media centre

Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:39 pm

Thanks for that.

So if I play a 1080p video how will that display on the monitor if the resolution is 1024x768? Does the pi convert it, or does the cable do something? Or will it just not work?

I've noticed some are powered devices - would a powered one be better or does the pi have enough power to power them?

Also would I be better to get one with an audio break out or do I just use the audio jack on the pi?

Thanks

HiroProtagonist
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:45 am

Re: Making a portable media centre

Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:02 pm

nbuuifx wrote:The other monitor was a little larger - I think it is a 19" 4:3 - it has a DVI connection - however it has a mains kettle lead so would have to take it apart and see what the built in transformer transforms down to. It doesn't have speakers built in though. Would this be any better due to the DVI? It also doesn't have a panel in the back with space for the pi!
If I was doing this I'd pass up on any 4:3 monitors. Not sure what resources you have near you, but here there are a couple of places that sell recycled/surplus computer gear. Look for a 16:9 monitor that either has HDMI input, or DVI + audio. Either of these will work fine on the Pi, the DVI will need an HDMI adapter. I've found you can pick up this sort of stuff really cheap.

The Pi will handle the monitors resolution without you needing to configure anything. If you use DVI + audio, make sure you enable analogue audio on the Pi.

If you have some electronics know-how, take the monitor apart & investigate what DC power is used internally [and if you do have electronics know-how, I won't need to warn you about shock hazards when doing this], then see if you can get a DC-DC converter that will run it from 12V. If you can't, or you're not experienced with electronics, just use an inverter & run it with mains power - most monitors I've run into use less than 25W, so you don't need a grunty inverter - also modified square wave is fine, you don't need sine for this.

nbuuifx
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:33 pm

Re: Making a portable media centre

Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:00 am

Thanks for the reply, I do have a moderate amount of electronics experience.

The campervan does have an inverter built in but it is inefficient in comparison so where possible I try to use 12v. Seems a waste to go from 12v to 240v back to 12v.

I'm not too worried about the 4:3 ratio - I'm guessing just about all my media is 16:9 or even wider so I will end up with black lines top and bottom but I'm not too worried - I'm more after as low cost as possible.

I think I will end up with a spare pi shortly, I have a spare portable HDD, I have spare cables etc and I have these two spare monitors. If possible I would like it to all be self enclosed. I think all I need is the HDMI to VGA or HDMI to DVI.

nbuuifx
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:33 pm

Re: Making a portable media centre

Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:39 pm

I've taken the two monitors apart.

The 19" Screen which has HDMI does have quite a large space inside the casing which would probably house the pi but would make it inaccessible. The power board looks complex though. It has 12v and 5v outputs but also has high voltage outputs to the backlights. Beyond my knowledge to try to intercept with 12v.

The smaller 15" Screen which only has VGA looks more promising - it has a large easy access panel on the back which should house the pi and the hdd. It has a 12v connection - it then has a small board inside which gives high voltage to the backlights.

I'm tempted to go with the 15" screen as it is 12v already, it has space for everything inside, and being smaller I'm hoping it should draw less power from the leisure battery. At an absolute max including the power for the monitor, pi, HDD I think it should draw no more than 40w. The smaller size is also more beneficial in the campervan and the 4:3 may also be a benefit in being less desirable to steal!

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