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navigate mce2005 with VFD

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by Rajibear, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. Rajibear

    Rajibear
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    Hi

    I am just putting together (slowly) a HTPC together. I have the Silverstone LC14M case with integrated VFD. Now the VFD seems to be working fine displaying lots of different information icluding titles of mp3 tracks, etc. But is there a way to navigate the My Music section in Windows MCE without the need for switching on my PC monitor. I mean cant it display folder names etc. My case come with an Imon remote control so I am not using the official Microsoft remote. Is there a way of doing what I want with the Microsoft Remote Control or will i always need to use the display?

    Thanks

    Raj
     
  2. Duggy

    Duggy
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    Raj,

    I have the LC11M case which I think has the same VFD (connects via USB). I haven't found a way of using the VFD for navigation either. In fact I got so fed up with the buggy and restrictive iMON software that when it died totally I just uninstalled it and I don't miss it! The trouble is that the USB-driven display is relatively new, so there are few if any third-party LCD/VFD driver programs which support it, so I now have a blank display :mad:

    The IR receiver in these newer iMON VFDs runs at a different frequency from the MS remote. I ended up butchering an MS remote receiver and tucking the sensor behind the VFD window so that I could use the MS remote :eek: not for the faint-hearted...

    The new LC16M case hase several buttons and a knob in addition to the VFD. I'd love to know if those could be made to work with MCE...

    Sorry I couldn't be more encouraging. If it helps, I have a friend who has one of those Netgear MP401 media players and he says that browsing his music collection on a 4 line LCD display (ie twice as big as the VFD on our cases) is like trying to paint his hall through the letterbox! Just reconcile yourself to using that spacious MCE interface.

    Duggy
     
  3. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Instructions please I plan on doing this?, when you strip the media center reciever usb cable, what colour are the 4 wires?, are they colour coded, I have an internal USB header cable and plan on connecting it up?
     
  4. OneEleven

    OneEleven
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    I have my MCE remote receiver mounted inside the case. The MCE remote receiver cable has the following :-

    Red Pwr
    White D-
    Green D+
    Black Gnd

    there are instructions how to do this in the 'how to fix the MCE remote into the mediaPC.tv case' thread; although my supplier did this for me. :thumbsup:
    They do a cable/adapter thingymajig too now so you don't have to strip the wires. HERE
    I prefer the cable adapted as there's not a lot of room in my case and the cable is nice and short so doesn't take up very much room
     
  5. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Thanks my USB header cable has the same colour wires so all I have to do is stip the wires then solder them...I would use the adapter but the MCE Reciever wire is so long and it would block the air flow, only hard part is soldering them thin wires,but the cable is long enough for a few screw ups...
     
  6. Duggy

    Duggy
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    meansizzler,

    There wasn't enough room in my case to fit the whole MS Remote receiver behind the VFD window, so I had to desolder the sensor from the board (no mean feat, as it was held down with bent-over and soldered tabs) and extend it on wires so that I could tuck it next to the iMON sensor behind the VFD window. Like I said, not for the faint-hearted - I'm amazed I didn't manage to kill the sensor while removing it from the board.

    After I'd extended the sensor, I velcro'd the board to the underside of the drive cage and routed the (as you say, incredibly long) USB cable out of the back of the case and into one of the USB ports (I didn't have any spare USB headers on my motherboard, so it wasn't worth me butchering the USB cable).

    Now it's done, it's very neat and works beautifully, but now I know what's involved I'm not sure I'd attempt it again...

    Duggy.
     
  7. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Can't you just cut the sensor off and solder new wires to it?...I hate desoldering, also would any wires do to extend it? Nice idea you got..., and I have some double sided sticky tabs so i'de just mount the reicever board on the DVD drive..

    Anyway Internal modding is not hard, as long as the colour of the wires match up it's a simple cut and solder, I managed to hardwire an RF reciever board inside my Xbox, so I could Use my Wireless Pad with it without having a bulky reciever on the outside..worked like a charm, but I do get interference, prolly due to the whole Xbox case Lined it metal shielding... :(
     
  8. Duggy

    Duggy
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    meansizzler,

    The sensor, as far as I can remember, is a metal cased component about 10x8x5mm with three pins on the bottom and two metal "fins" projecting from the back. The three pins are soldered flush to the circuit board, and tabs on the two fins pass through extra holes in the circuit board, bent over and soldered. It took a lot of work with a desoldering pump and desoldering braid to loosen the thing and tilt it back so that the three pins were free, then I snipped the fins off with sidecutters since I couldn't free them from the board. It was messy and crude and I'm amazed I didn't screw up the device in the process. I wouldn't want anyone to think it was easy to do and I probably wouldn't attempt it again myself!

    There was also something that looked like a clear 5mm LED and the legs on this would have been easy to snip (though I desoldered them). I extended this to the VFD window as well, though I wasn't sure of its function. I just used ordinary solid core interconnect wire to extend the sensor and this worked fine for a length of ~25cm.

    Hope that helps.

    Duggy.
     
  9. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
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    the clear LED is the IR receiver
     
  10. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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  11. Duggy

    Duggy
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    Skunkpipe,

    Most if not all IR RECEIVERs that I've seen are of the metal-shielded type with a lens at the the front that I so carefully removed from the circuit board. The clear LED is much more likely to be an IR EMITTER, but I'm not sure what purpose it serves since the MS unit has sockets for IR blasters for emitting signals to other devices. It's the RECEIVER that's important for getting signals from the remote, I just extended the (probable) emitter as well in case there was some sort of two-way signalling with the remote (though I can't see why there would be...)

    There is a third, red LED which flashes whenever there is an IR signal being received, but I didn't bother extending that.

    Duggy.
     
  12. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Damn, guess it's going to be a hard Job then...two things to extend...
     
  13. Duggy

    Duggy
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    If you're willing to put the effort in, it's satisfying when you've done it. I'm looking forward to getting the MS MCE keyboard (see other recent threads in this forum) which uses the same IR receiver as the remote. Then I can ditch the receiver for my wireless keyboard/mouse and have a truly self-contained solution.

    Once you've got the case off the MS remote receiver, it might be worth trying to identify the component and looking for it in RS or Maplin. That way if you screw up the original while removing it you can simply wire in a replacement. It might be worth Googling around the web too - I can't believe I'm the only one to try this and someone else may have found a better solution.

    best of luck,

    Duggy.
     

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