2019. november 28., csütörtök

Akai - Media Player 2. Volumio

I dowloaded and put on a microSD card the Volumio
Connected to HDMI, keyboard, switched on - nothing on the screen (maybe the screen resolution)
Moved the set to a 4K TV - nothing on the screen
Removed the Wi-Fi module - nothing on the screen
Switched the Pine64 board to completely new - nothing on the screen
Changed the microSD card to a different piece, manufacturer - nothing on the screen
Changed the microSD card to my previously used Android TV distribution - screen on, booting
RTFM - you are an idiot. The Volumio is headless on SBCs

Connect to the LAN, wait for IP, connect via browser

First task accomplished
I need a few plug-ins for the complete system:

Tidal (I'm using mainly as music streaming)
Looked around. I'm not happy. Looks like the native integration doesn't exists. You have a few choices:
1. Subscribe to MyVolumio and use Tidal through it
2. Download your music locally with AudFree
3. Stream through UPNP/DLNA from your Android phone
I can tell, I'm not happy with either choices. Not yet decided, what to do.
Further reading:

16x2 (20x2) LCD display - hopefully my VFD use the same communication protocol
It looks like there is quite a lot information exists on the internet. I just need to grab them, and build. The question is, how will it work on the Pine64 as all of the descriptions for Raspberry Pi.
Here are the Github repositories for the code:
I2C Interface (not yet decided, if I'll use it):

Rotary Encoder
It looks like the rotary encoder plugin already in the stock firmware, so I installed it already.
Here is the documentation and connection:
I read on various pages, that this is unreliable. Here is a different solution:
We will see, what is the working solution.

The chassis contains three buttons already. My plan is to keep them, and use them for... I don't know yet. I'll figure out later. probably I'll relabel the buttons.
Anyway. Here is the plugin:

I'd like to play music from my phone through bluetooth. So looked for the solution. Here I found one:

Infrared Remote
Here is a starting point for the infrared remote I plan to use:

Now I collected all of the information I think is necessary for my VolumIO project. I'll continue from here connecting, setting up piece-by-piece.

2019. november 18., hétfő

Akai - Media Player 1. SBC

In the previous post I was writing about Raspberry Pi as the computer will be used in the device.
I was thinking a bit further and realized it is not the ideal solution. (Still, I think the Raspberry Pi is an awesome piece of hardware, just doesn't fit into this particular task)

The features I miss from the RPi:
Internal USB
I need a USB connector can be extended to the front panel to be able to play music from a USB stick
On RPi all of the USB connectors are on the same side as the Ethernet what I would put to the back of the unit (this could be hadled different way, but I have other things)
External Wi-Fi, Bluetooth antenna.
The case is made from metal. Probably the Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth would barely work inside the case. I found hack on the internet to overcome this, but this is a hack.
So I looked around, the internet, found a few feasible solution, what kind of board should I buy. On the other hand, I have two problems with those:
I have plenty SBC-s on hand, don't want to spend money on an additional one
If I order something from the net, it take a few weeks to arrive. As I ordered the DAC and the display previously, probably the  SBC would arrive latest
So I dig into my development board/SBC box in my workshop. I realized that the board I have many of it (at least 5) completely satisfy my needs.
The brain of the media player is switched from Raspberry Pi to Pine64.

I'm still not totaly convinced in my choice, therefore I'll not build it into the case right now, just assemble it on my desk and start to experiment with it.
Here I found a reasonably new release of the VolumIO for my Pine64:
I'll continue my journey with this.

2019. november 17., vasárnap

Akai - cannibalized

As I wrote previously, I want to add streaming media capability to my retro Akai Hi-Fi set.
The plan was the following:
Pick up on the market a low cost unit, fits into my set.
Remove everything from inside.
Build the following set into it:
- Raspberry Pi + VolumIO
- Some power supply
- Some DAC
- Some alphanumeric display
- Rotary encoder
- IR receiver

I was looking for the possible "donor" units. Finally my choice is an Akai AT-A1 tuner. I bought the one I have in my hand for GBP 17 from UK

Opened the box. Here is the original inside:

Then I removed everything what looks unnecessary:

Ordered a few things what will go into the box:

This is the current status. More will come soon.

2019. november 16., szombat

Akai - old love

I didn't write this blog for a while. I had good reason for this, what is not public. From now on it looks like my reason went away, so I'm back.
Along with my passion for electronics, CNC milling, 3D printing and many more, I have an old love. Music and Hi-Fi. To be honest originally this was bringing me into the world of electronics almost 40 years ago (38 to be exact). I was 11 when the first Hi-Fi set landed in my family. Right from the beginning I was thinking how can I expand its capability, later on I was thinking how can I rise its sound quality. This lead me into the word of audio electronics, building amplifiers and other things.
As I raised behind the "iron curtain" in the '70s and '80s. At that times not to much goods arrived from the western part of the word. Here in Hungary mainly one company namely Akai was available, based on the fact that Videoton (Hungarian audiovisual manufacturing company) acted as a manufacturing base for Akai here.
At 1984 even they had a trade show in a restaurant in Budapest. I was there and picked up a brochure, what was almost a Hi-Fi bible, a source of wishes for a long time. I just wanted to own a full set of highest ranked equipment from this brochure - what unfortunately don't have anymore.
In the last year somehow pop this desire into my mind after a long time forgotten.
So I started to collect.
Today I can tell, I almost have the full set I wanted. Actually even a bit more, but the "project" not finished. I'll probably sell a few, switch a few from it.
Here is the current collection:

Some of the units are in a good shape. Some of them need care both outside and inside. In the following months even years I plan to restore those into working, aesthetically good condition (also with some external help).
In addition to this I plan to create a shelf to accommodate all of the units I intend to keep, and add some capabilities what fits into the design, but was not available at the time this equipment was built, like internet streaming audio.