Instructables

Compaq EVO T20 Thin Client as an MP3 Player ( Network Controllable)

Picture of Compaq EVO T20 Thin Client as an MP3 Player ( Network Controllable)
At work we need background music in the waiting area and after a while 5CD's on a CD Player get a little predicatble and the one local radio station we can receive is just annoying. So what I created using a low specification ( lowest NTe Evo T20 Thin client ) was a stand alone mains powered MP3 player that easily stores up to 16 Gigabytes of music - So now can have several days of Music with no repeats! And the best thing about it is I can access it and change playlists from my desktop over the network - so my music taste rules- And I can insert short reminders like 5 second adverts telling people to turn off cell phones  no smoking etc in between the songs!.

Advantage over other alternatives -network controllable - unit remembers where it is in play list and starts from same point . quite rugged - cheap -
and yet another good use for a Compaq Evo T20 thin client.
 
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Step 1: First Collect the parts: Need the right Model NT

Picture of First Collect the parts: Need the right Model NT
firststart.JPG
To build this project you will need a Compaq NTe Evo T20 ( and its power supply ) - the Win Ce version cannot be used nor can the later XPe models easily ( the XPe Version can play music but music file storage is an Issue and you need to store the music files elsewhere on your network as I have not found a method of getting a Xpe version to read a Local USB pen drive).

The NTe Evo's come in a wide range of models with the sole difference being the size of the Flash drive and the Ram the Lowest Specification model has 48Megs of flash memory and 64 megs of ram the Highest 128 Megs of Both - All are usable for this project. (The Win Ce Models have 16/32 or 32/64 and do not have a useful OS for this project as they cannot be modified other than reflashing them for Linux so forget them )

If you Are buying a unit always check the model number online this is located on the underside of the chrome stand ( or plug it in and see what boots ) and with a Google search you can quickly see what It should be . The difference between a low specification machine and a higher one is how many files you will have to dispose of they all have the same CPU and Audio Chips .

Will also need a USB Pen drive already formatted with FAT a USB Mouse, USB Keyboard and a VGA or better monitor. Plug everything in and Turn it on . (to Format your Pendrive in FAT Will need a computer running WIndows 2000 or 98 to do the formatting as XP /Vista will refuse to down grade from FAT32 to FAT or else use a Linux box ? ) if the Pendrive is formatted in any other file system it cannot be read by the Box and the EVO has no formating capability.

tfgbd29 days ago

Don't let the poster of this guide convince you otherwise. The Windows CE models can be used to do the same thing as this above guide. I've even seen the CE clients being sold for as low as $8 on eBay some days. It's just a difference of software and maybe a little CE familiarity.

First, lets tackle the myth that these can't run 3rd party software...

Read your thin client's documentation on pushing updates via TFTP. You will notice some updates include an .exe once extracted. There's your in.

All you really need to do is replace this .exe with another one of your choice like TCPMP or a file browser and point your thin client's update application to it. It will then run your application. You can then run a registry editor or file browser and do whatever you feel like on the device.

To make this easier in the future and ensure your device is always "jailbroken", you can edit your device's registry to run the application you want on startup under HKLM\init by just adding a string with something like Launch60="your.exe".
See:http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms901773.aspx

You don't need a desktop OS like NT or Linux and high end model just to play MP3s on a thin client. That's just silly!

To play mp3s, just use the x86 WinCE build of The Core Pocket Media Player(TCPMP) found here:
http://www.hpcfactor.com/downloads/tcpmp/

This plays anything from OGG to FLAC and has pretty decent playlist support. The CE editions of these thin clients already ship VNC so you can use that to remote control it. With this, they can even play videos!


Want to have even more fun?
Install PocketDOS on your CE client and run your favorite DOS applications from yesteryear.

Now, the sky is the limit as to what you can do with your "crippled" CE client. You are only limited by your imagination, your compiler, OS version, available open source projects(not much software for x86 CE) and CE itself. No Linux, no flashing, no desktop Windows and no viruses in sight.



Enjoy!

rimar20005 years ago
What a good work! Congratulations. BTW, is it EVO Morales?
nzqwack (author)  rimar20005 years ago
No there is no connection to Bolivia >
I disagree - I live in Bolivia. My T5700's both work great here! Enjoy
So, yes....Evo and EVO's all work in Bolivia! :-)
nzqwack (author)  jmccommons2 years ago
Ha Ha . yes there is a connection to Bolivia but not the Morales Connection
techboy4112 years ago
Nice!
jtillman23 years ago
BTW a note on the flash drives. You CAN format them to NTFS as well if you don't have access to a Windows 2000 or Linux machine to format to FAT16. And I can imagine if you have access to a NT 4.0 system you might can get the command line Format utility off of it and free up some internal flash to store it on the Evo. On thing to note it when you format a flash drive to NTFS and use it on the Evo, then try to use in on a Win7 system, it sometimes can be stubborn to read. Probably has to do with The Evo uses an older NTFS version.
nzqwack (author) 4 years ago
I have to reflash a unit this week to create a special purpose machine for a friend  to make an XPE Unit into a Recorder so will re educate my self on how to do it and hope fully post a clear  instructable on how to do it this week .\

Have found from experience the best OS to do it with  is from a pc running Windows 2000 but suspect can be done with Xp - no idea of Vista or 7 or any of the Linux flavours  - Needs working Java is the core requirement
 
nzqwack (author)  nzqwack4 years ago
Now Loaded an Instructable on how to reflash
I can't get a usb mouse to work with the T20 I got. Any tips?
It was a bad unit and I got a new one. Actually, I have  2 in various states of having been locked-down and modified by system adminstrators. I can't really get software onto them because I can't mount drives, etc.

I would like to be able to re-flash units so that I don't have these problems. Did you post that instructable on re-flashing? I would love to see one. Thanks.
nzqwack (author)  mulluysavage4 years ago
Make sure mouse and keyboard are plugged in before powering unit up !
Only Issue I can think of is are they generic mice with just the 2 buttons and maybe a single scroll wheel or very  very  fancy multi button mice [ T20 Usb Ports are class 1.1 I believe and so some modern equipment is not compatible ] - Never had issues with any generic  mice in any of the T20s I have used -Would suggest trying a new cheap  generic mouse first ?  Is a key board working and is a key board bplugged in as well try with just a mouse ? - If a key board is working suggests test all 4  USB ports to macke sure all 4  are good  - If they are but mose is still not seen -first thing I would do is reset back to factory settings in case " mouse function" has been turned off in the T20 previous use  - press and hold G when doing a restart need to press while the Led is still amber and keep holding - if that fails then may need to do a full reflash back to the factory setting - or possibly the T20 unit is just faulty?  Hope that helps reflashing is not that hard but need a PC Ideally running win 2000 for it to be seamless
Awesome Awesome. I think I have 2 of the nt ones that I use as thin clients for our linux servers via xrdp. guess the price of those old units will go up on ebay with instructables like this., I may have to reflash them if I can find a good image though. Can not wait to try this project
Can I set it up so that I can give one of these to a friend as a gift and then "DJ" for them - that is, load or stream content over the internet?
nzqwack (author)  mulluysavage4 years ago
Can definatley do i over a net work - to do it over the internet would depend on your freinds router settings and risk would be that it could be quite insecure if it can be seen from the internet. 
Yeah maybe a better way would be for me to serve up a stream and point their player to that stream.