Take a Raspberry pi, add a DAC and Amplifier and you have yourself a very nice media centre for not a lot of money.
Firstly i must say a "BIG" thanks to the people at GearBest for sending me this item to try out. And if you wish to get one of these boards please use the link below. Thanks.
Step 1: How to Connect It to the Raspberry PI
When i opened this packet i was quite surprised by the weight of the item and the quality. In the kit you get the main board which sits on top of the Raspberry PI (i don't think it can be called a HAT) you get a nice ON/OFF button (illuminated) you get a volume potentiometer and you get a connector to wire up the speakers to, finally you get a set of 4 spacers to fit the amp on top of the PI securely.
I am not going to go over how to put this together as i cover it in the video and the Suptronics website covers the construction very well. Suptronics website.
But very basically,
- Fit the spacers to the PI.
- Fit the board on top of the PI and fasten down.
- Add the ON/OFF button.
- Add the Volume control
- Connect speakers to the connector and plug that in.
- Find a suitable PSU.
This unit can accept a voltage from 6V to 24V dc. the higher the output wattage you want then the more voltage you will need. i am running mine on 12V and its more than loud enough for my shed! There is however one little problem, which is the only thing i don't like about this board. and that is the power jack on the board is the large (less common) 2.5 mm jack. So you will need to find a big jack to supply the power (and dont think a 2.1mm plug will fit!) and lastly on the power side it is worth noting that the power supply should be positive for the centre pin, this isn't stated anywhere and although the centre pin is normally positive i have picked up the wrong power supply in the past and plugged it into a external hard drive and discovered it was wired with the center pin as negative, the drive smoked and that was my entire collection of CD's ripped to MP3's gone!!!
ONE more thing...
you mustn't power the raspberry pi using the normal 5 volt supply, the power supply feeding the Amplifier will also power the Raspberry PI. i am guessing if you try and power the PI with 5 volts then this voltage will also try and supply the amplifier which will overload the power supply.
Step 2: OSMC (open Source Media Center)
The DAC and Amp are particularly suited to make a media center, and the Suptronics website suggests a few. I decided to go for OSMC as i like the whole open source thing and believe it fits in very well with the Raspberry PI philosophy .
SO to get OSMC and get it running on a PI you need to do the following.
- Go to https://osmc.tv/ and hit the download button.
- Scroll down until you find "Disk Images" and click that link.
- Choose the latest firmware for the correct device either "Raspberry PI 1/ Zero / Zero W" OR "Raspberry PI 2 / 3 / 3+.
- Wait for it to download.
- Open up the download folder and unzip the file.
- Once you have the IMAGE its now time to write it to the Micro SD, for this i use Win32DiskImager.
- Open up Win32DiskImager and choose the Image you have just unzipped, and then choose the drive you wish to write it to.
- Sit back and wait for the image to be written.
- Make sure the volume is set to minimum.....
- Put the Micro SD into the Raspberry pi and turn it on.
- Wait for it to set up. (the first time takes a little while)
- Once its all up and running you then need to do two more things to get the sound coming form the X5000. Firstly go to "My OSMC" and click on the Raspberry PI icon, then click the "Hardware Support", and in the "Soundcard Overlay" choose "hifiberry-dac-overlay" you will then need to restart.
- Secondly go to "Settings" and then "System" and in the "Audio output" select the Audio output device to "ALSA: Default (snd_rpi_hifiberry_dac Analog)"
- And that's it done.
Step 3: Testing
So hopefully you have managed to follow the instructions?
Now its time to find some media and have a play! I tried out a few MP3's and found the quality to be excellent and the volume was easily loud enough, i didn't include any music on the video for copyright reasons so you will just have to give it a try. The videos were really good and smooth.
There is loads more OSMC can do and i will do a few more video's when i have had a chance to play!
Again a BIG thanks to GearBest for sending me this item and if you want to buy this item please use the link below.