Xbox 360 to x86 total conversion


This thing should have become my new home server. But it had $file heat issues. Or noise issues, i was $file free to $file choose there. I took a $file third option, removed the $file two extra hard drives and used it as media centre. With only one drive. Instead of $file three...

Whats (still) inside:
  • Intel D945GSEJT (Calistoga)
    • Intel Atom N270
    • 2*1024MB DDR2
    • Qualcomm Atheros AR928X
    • Fujitsu MJA2500BH
  • A ugly, very bricky early iron-age SMPS of dubious origin
  • Monitor build from an early 2000 notebook display and an LVDS->HDMI converter from Ebay
  • Speaker build from old Notebook speakers (different notebook) and 1€ Ebay-amplifier.
  • A surprisingly good 15€ miniature keyboard with touchpad from Amazon (iPazzPort something i think)
  • Devuan Linux

Display


Reusing Panels from broken Laptops is a kinda new thing. Most TFT Panels had, up until a few years ago, a so called "LVDS" connector. Although LVDS is a standard, it only describes the physical layer for universal high speed data connections. Thus, each display needs a specific driver chip. Although there are universal controller chisp out there, those are next to impossible to source in low quantities and need to be programmes specifically for the Display at hand. Documentation for those chips next to impossible to get. So, it was next to impossible for the average (or even advanced) user to reuse those Panels.
Until LVDS to VGA/HDMI/DVI/... adapter boards started to show up on Ebay. One still needs a Board specific for the Panel at hand, but Boards for many, many common Displays are advertised all the time, and most sellers offer to make board for most Display. Just search for "lvds adapter" or something like that. they cost between 20 and 40 Euro, depending on the Panels resolution and available connectors.
In this case, the Panel comes from a broken LG LE50, a Centrino era notebook. A boring 15", 1024x768, 4:3, TN Panel. Absolutely fine for what i need it for.
I used the whole Display assembly including the hinges and mounted it to a small Melamin board. Thus i can still tilt it up and down. The controller board is mounted in a small box glued to the Displays backside. Eerything is spray painted black. Looks quite nice, is small and light and runs from 12V, just like the main system.

Speakers


The Speakers where salvaged from a Pentium III-Era Toshiba multimedia Notebook. They had their only little compartments, which i just hot glued to the display's mounting base. The amplifier is salvaged from a pair of very cheap and very bad old computer desktop speakers. The Amp is actually quite decent, the speakers where bad because they used incredible bad speakers. With the reused Toshiba Speakers the sound is ok. Tinny, but ok for speech.

Is that useful?


Actually, yes. But my demands are somewhat special. See, i like to have bad, old TV-series played in the background when i go to sleep. Not too bad, so that i get bored or annoyed, but certainly not good enough to be exciting.
I really don't care about picture quality, as long as i can dim the brightness reeeeeeeeally all the way down. Otherwise the display would be unbearable with its ridiculous low black level and mushed colours. I don't care about performance, all it does is play back low-quality low-res serials from decades ago. And when i every now and then want to watch something on YouTube instead i can wait a bit for it to play in poor resolution. And for reading $file TV Tropes until i fall unconscious its fast enough.
This thing would drive me nuts if i had to use it for anything else. But for my intends, its ok. And quite funny.

Any recommendations for boring but not annoying serials?

  • Home Improvement
  • M.A.S.H. (except a few episodes in later seasons which are actually quite good)
  • Scrubs (except maybe two seasons in the middle where the janitor was to extreme)
  • Hogans Heroes

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