Since several people asked me to show some pictures of the kitchen PC now I took the time making some pictures of the current state of the kitchen PC.
It is mounted on the wall in our kitchen in a Proof-of-Concept case now. The pictures show the current state of the GUI which will be reworked in the near future. Means I am already in progress redesigning the graphical frontend. The last three images give a preview on the new design. But enough of the words … now have a look at the pictures of my beagleboard driven kitchen PC.
After choosing the Beagleboard C4 as the platform for my kitchen PC project I had to search for the needed components. The beagleboard comes as single board pc without any other components. To be able to use it additional components are needed. For example a power supply, a serial connector and a usb to serial converter for programming the beagleboard, a memory card (SD) for storing the OS components on it and so on … And for this special use case a screen and speakers are needed.
For those who don’t know the beagleboard a quick introduction: The Beagle Board is a low-cost, fan-less single-board computer. The design and specifications of the boards are open source and available to the public. The documentations of the board are very detailed.
There are a lot of different beagle board based projects out there, for example robots, home automation projects.
Here a list of the components I used to build the system round the beagleboard:
Common needed components
- AC Power Adapter, 15W, out 5V with 5.5mm Plug for Beagleboard
- SDHC-Card, 4GB, SanDisk Ultra
- USB2 Hub (4 Ports)
For programming the board
- IDC10 to DB9M bulkhead (RS-232) cable
- DB9F Null Modem (RS-232) cable 1,8m
- Delock USB2.0 to DB9M RS-232 (Serial) adapter
Special components for the project
- Speaker: LogiLink SP0006, USB, White
- HDMI to DVI Kabel 1,5m
- Touchscreen 7″ LCD Monitor with mounting frame
- TP-Link 54Mbps Wireless USB Adapter
A lesson I learned during putting the components together: The HDMI plug at the beagle board outputs a pure digital signal (-> DVI-D). It is not possible to attach a VGA display directly to that board. So it is important to have a display which can handle HDMI/DVI-D signals.
Another note: Be careful when plugging/unplugging things from the board. Always detach the power supply from both devices before e.g. pluggin/unplugging the display connection.
And please, don’t ask me why I did not buy an iPad and have a lot more functionality with it… guys, it is a lot less fun!
Okay. This was the hardware now. On the next post I’ll write about putting the components together and the first starts of the board. So stay tuned…
Not that I needed it … My first thought: What can I do with it? What is the best reason to buy such a cute thing?! I had several approaches like building a NAS, router but none of them seemed the be a good reason to buy such a board. I do have good solutions for that.
One evening my wife provided the idea for my new project: A kitchen PC! She is listening to the radio in the morning, needs several timers while cooking or baking, uses cooking recipes from the Internet and likes to take a look at the weather forecast. Since the radio in the kitchen has a bad signal and the egg timer can only used for one timer it was clear to me: I’ll build a kitchen PC for her – YAY!!
So what am I gonna do?
- Buy a Beagleboard, power supplies, touchscreen for the user interface, wifi USB dongle, speakers (Small power consumption)
- Build a case for the kitchen PC – nothing very special ; But I like it to be small and wall mounted
- Build a minimalistic Linux based operating system for the Beagleboard (Quick bootup)
- Design and create the program for controlling the PC
I was a bit lazy the last months. So I did not write these lines while developing the system. The system is finished for the moment and daily used – Cool! But I did not write anything about it yet.
Now I decided to write about the interesting parts of the story. I’ll split the topics in different posts, so I won’t end up with a huge post which no one likes to read. This first post is meant to introduce the project and give a brief view on the tasks and goals of the project. In the next post I’ll write down the single hardware parts I used for the project. So standby for the next post…