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  • Showing only topics with the tag "hardware". Back to normal view
    1. Building my own Alexa, but which hardware?

      I originally posted this to /r/selfhosted, but I thought there might be people interested here as well. I finally want to go ahead and start trying to replace Alexa. If I’m doing this, I might as...

      I originally posted this to /r/selfhosted, but I thought there might be people interested here as well.

      I finally want to go ahead and start trying to replace Alexa. If I’m doing this, I might as well go fully local, so I’ll want Rhasspy over MyCroft.ai

      But that’s where my trouble starts. Do I get the Matrix Creator to replace my Hue Hub and Raspberry ZWave stick on one go? Seems like overkill but it’s not really more expensive than the Matrix Voice. And then there is the Seeed ReSpeaker Mic Array? Which one of those? There was a Microphone bechmark, but while the ReSpeaker did well, they didn’t test the Matrix Creator/Voice.

      Where do I get enclosures for those boards that ensure that the recognition quality doesn’t drop while still making them less unsightly? The only thing I found was the ReSpeaker Pro Case and that is for V1 only and doesn’t help with the PI kit (and I want to use a PI for compatibility reasons).

      And what would I get for a speaker (I don’t need much, just simple replies and timers going off). This is probably the easiest part, as I can just use cheap PC speakers, a soundbar or whatever.

      Did anyone play around with any of these things?

      Pinging @Douglas who actually was the one who made me look into this again ;)

      edit: cool, didn’t know tildes auto-linked subreddits :D

      edit2: My current plans:

      I’m currently thinking of simply plugging in either a decent quality active speaker soundbar that can play music in a pinch, or a cheap speaker just to get it to sound alarms or reply to weather queries. A cheap speaker would also mean I simply make the device tell my computer to play the music.

      a) bare metal PoC with the small active Logitech speakers my wife has, get it working for me
      b) Validate if the respeaker Core V2 enclosure CAD files could work with the mic array of the respeaker pi kit
      c) Go to the open lab day of our local fab-lab, discuss with them if there are better options, get the introduction training, safety course and 3d print the whole thing
      d) start making plans for 2 echo-dot sized devices
      e) sell my alexa and dot ;)

      15 votes
    2. Choosing a new printer

      I'm thinking about getting a new printer. My needs are basically to print out textual documents 2-3 times per month from macOS. I don't need to print photos. I will not buy an inkjet because of...

      I'm thinking about getting a new printer. My needs are basically to print out textual documents 2-3 times per month from macOS. I don't need to print photos. I will not buy an inkjet because of the outrageous price of the ink. I would like to have fax support (my spouse sees a lot of doctors and they still use fax machines a lot, and we're not comfortable sending personal medical info via a fax service on the web), and it would be nice if we could also scan documents. So I'm thinking a multi-function device.

      We currently have a Brother 7840W MFC with print, fax, copy, and scan. It's over 10 years old (maybe 15?) and I dislike it. It's been slowly losing functionality over the past 5+ years. The WiFi went out, but I was able to connect it via wired ethernet to a computer and share it from there. The drivers insist that there's a paper jam, but there isn't and it prints just fine (but sounds like some of the internal mechanical components are going to die any day now.) The UI of the printer is awful. I recall having to use the phone pad to enter my WiFi password, and it was like texting on a Motorola StarTAC. (Like if you want the letter "C" press the number "2" three times, etc.) The drivers and related software don't work like normal macOS software. (Disclosure: I also once wrote a scanner driver for Brother and it was horrible, but they shipped it, so I'm not real comfortable putting their software on my computer. But that was 25 years ago, so maybe they're better now?)

      I've heard horrible things about the drivers and software of most other major printer makers - HP, Epson, Lexmark, etc. I'm guessing what I'm looking for doesn't exist, but I just want a multi-function device in as small a package as is reasonable, and with a UI on the device and software that doesn't suck and that won't die on me in < 5 years. Does such a thing exist?

      17 votes
    3. How to find AV hardware for specific requirements?

      Apologies if this belongs in ~tech, that group is more on topic than ~talk but I think it’s for news and links more than open questions. (Edit: Looks like it's been moved to ~comp, I guess that...

      Apologies if this belongs in ~tech, that group is more on topic than ~talk but I think it’s for news and links more than open questions. (Edit: Looks like it's been moved to ~comp, I guess that works too.)

      I’m looking for an HDMI switch. It needs to support at least 4K resolution and have at least 10 input ports. It also needs to have Toslink audio out. Remote control support is a “nice to have” but physical buttons are fine too.

      I’m having trouble locating a product like this online. Not sure if I’m just using the wrong terms or if it doesn’t actually exist. Can any Tildes gearheads give me a pointer here?

      8 votes
    4. My new Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build

      EDIT: Since a few people now have not realized how old this topic is before making a comment, see above date ↑. :) My old PC's CPU (i7 930) started to critically fail after 8+ years of being...

      EDIT: Since a few people now have not realized how old this topic is before making a comment, see above date ↑. :)

      My old PC's CPU (i7 930) started to critically fail after 8+ years of being overclocked from 2.8 to 4.0 GHz, so I decided to build a new one based on the Ultra-Compact Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build from TechBuyersGuru.

      I went with Mini-ITX this time since my old PC was in a huge Antec P193 tower which weighs 16.4kg (36.2lbs) before components and so was a giant PITA to move around. The new Sugo SG13 case is roughly 1/7th the volume and initial weight so is much more convenient to move (but not build!).

      p.s. I was unsure whether to post this 'buildapc' style content in ~tech or ~comp.... thoughts?


      PCPartPicker Part List
      Parts labeled incompatible are not... see "Notes" below in Build Process section.
      Salvaged from old PC:
      GPU   -     $0 - EVGA - GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB Superclocked ACX 2.0+ Video Card
      SSD   -     $0 - Samsung - 850 Pro Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
      SSD   -     $0 - Samsung - 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
      HDD   -     $0 - Hitachi - Deskstar NAS 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

      New Components:
      Case -   $72 - Silverstone - Sugo SG13B-Q Mini ITX Tower Case
      Mobo - $190 - Gigabyte - Z370N WIFI Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard
      CPU   - $325 - Intel - Core i5-8600K 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor
      Cool - $114 - Silverstone - NT06-PRO 74.0 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
      RAM   - $220 - Corsair - Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
      PSU   - $175 - Silverstone - 600W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply
      M.2   - $143 - Crucial - MX500 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
      M.2   - $143 - Crucial - MX500 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive

      Total:  $1382 (CAD)


      Build Process w/ Pictures:

      TL;DR - Behold my new Battlestation, IN ALL HER GLORY!!!

      After saying goodbye to my old, heavy, oversized, Antec P193 case...
      Unboxing the new one, which is almost the same volume as my UPS!...
      And prepping all the new PC components for a photo op...
      I began the arduous process assembling my new computer.

      Everything went fairly smoothly to start. I installed the RAM, M.2 Drives, CPU and CPU Cooler before mounting the motherboard to the case, as instructed in the build guide. The CPU Cooler was a PITA to attach but that's no surprise as they always are.

      Note: These "incompatible" parts listed on PCPartsPicker actually do fit together as the build guide said they would. However the RAM and CPU cooler fan are actually touching and I barely managed to squeeze them in together, so the build guide probably isn't lying when it said that particular low-profile RAM might be the only one that actually works with the cooler.

      I then mounted the motherboard to the case and began slowly plugging everything else in. This was a particularly slow and frustrating process as I have pretty large hands and everything was incredibly tiny, in incredibly cramped positions, and required more finesse to get in place than I could muster with my fingers alone. As a result I wound up using long needle-nose pliers, including some bent-angle ones, to get most everything plugged in.

      This is when I ran into my first major problem though... and one that was not mentioned in the build guide at all. The Case's front panel USB cable wouldn't fit in the motherboard with the CPU cooler fan in place. After trying fruitlessly to get the cable plugged in for 30min I finally gave up and decided to solve the issue the old fashioned way and it plugged in just fine afterwards. (Thanks for saving my ass yet again, Mr. Dremel!)

      The other potential issue was due to the CPU cooler and case mounted PSU, which aren't supposed to work together, but once again as the build guide suggested they actually do... with a whopping 3mm clearance between them! At this point I also decided to swap out some of the ribbon power cables that came with the new PSU for some spare braided ones I had from another build since they are much nicer looking and allow for better airflow.

      Note: The other supposed incompatibility listed on PCPartPicker is due to the fact that the case only officially supports 3x 2.5" drives or 1x 3.5" with 1x 2.5" but that's easy enough to get around, as explained below.

      I also decided to cram an extra SSD under the front case fan, secured with double sided tape to the properly mounted SSD on the case floor panel. It worked just fine and allowed me to get my 3.5" 4TB HDD properly mounted on the underside of the top plate. Linus Tech Tips, in his similar Sugo SG13 build, even managed to squeeze 2 more SSDs above the PSU using double sided tape as well, so I guess that even leaves me with some room to expand my storage later. ;)

      The rest of the build assembly process went relatively smoothly and once everything was hooked up, in position and plugged in, it booted straight into windows 10 (which was still on my old 1TB SSD). The moment when a new PC build gets past the POST is always a huge relief, however that momentary relief soon turned to dread as I quickly noticed a pretty big problem; The machine couldn't detect one of my new M.2 SATA drives.

      After several hours of frustrated tinkering and much googling I finally found out the reason why, cursing PCPartPicker for not warning me and face-palming pretty hard for not having read the motherboard specs more carefully. It turns out that the Z370N motherboard actually only supports 1x M.2 SATA drive and the second M.2 slot is NVMe only. I had apparently just wasted $140+ on an M.2 SATA drive I couldn't use and my plans to configure them both in RAID 0 was shattered. But that's honestly not the worst part... in order to get the useless M.2 drive back out I had to basically FULLY DISASSEMBLE my entire build again since the NVMe M.2 slot is located on the bottom of the motherboard!

      Despite the serious temptation to just leave it in there even though I couldn't use it, I wound up going through with the disassembly purely because I had a pretty good idea for how to actually make use of that second M.2 SATA drive based on something I saw on Linus Tech Tips a few months ago. So rather than leaving it in there or even returning it, after ordering myself the necessary enclosure I now have myself a pretty nice DIY 500GB Thumb drive. ;)

      So several hours later after completely taking apart my new build, removing the bottom mounted M.2 SATA drive, and fully reassembling my build once again, I booted it up, it got past the POST and into Windows 10 again. I then reactivated Win 10 on the new hardware configuration (which was surprisingly painless compared to how it used to be where you needed to actually phone Microsoft) and then began the process of installing Linux Mint on the M.2 SATA drive I still had remaining.

      Conclusion:
      After several days of going at it now, I am finally done and my new computer is fully assembled, functional and ready to use. As always with building computers it was a bit scary, a bit painful, and more than a bit frustrating but ultimately well worth it. I couldn't be happier with the results and can't wait to overclock this bad boy when I get the chance!

      36 votes
    5. What's your dream laptop for running *nix?

      What's your dream laptop for running *nix? I'm currently using a Lenovo Thinkpad T410s, and it's getting ready to die. I think it's a great machine, but every computer eventually dies. It runs...

      What's your dream laptop for running *nix?

      I'm currently using a Lenovo Thinkpad T410s, and it's getting ready to die. I think it's a great machine, but every computer eventually dies. It runs Debian 8 (Jessie), but it can't handle 9 (Stretch) without overheating. On top of that, I need to use the proprietary drivers! My computer got dropped on the floor today (not my fault!), and it got me thinking that maybe it's time to start shopping for a new laptop.

      What are your ideas about what a good laptop for *nix OS's? Any recommendations? What should I look for? What should I avoid?

      I love having a SSD HDD, and playing with different distros, but I'd like to avoid the headache I've had with the propitiatory Intel drivers. I like to have control of my hardware, but still use the latest software. If a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone could match the performance of a laptop then I'd seriously consider using one.

      26 votes