Rundfunker – WiFi, MP3 streaming radio

Rundfunker

I think the first time I saw the “Rundfunker” I had ignored it because I though it was a commercial product. In reality, it’s a scratch built WiFi streaming radio that has the finish quality of a commercial product. The radio connects to your wireless network and scans for available MP3s. You can select the MP3s using the front mounted rotary encoder and LCD. The main board is a VIA EPIA MS10000E LVDS. It was chosen because most of the features are pin headers instead of ports. It’s also passively cooled and boots a custom Knoppix build from the compact flash. The controls are connected using an ATMega 168. The software is written in Java and features a web interface and remote control identical to the front panel. There’s a great write-up about the project on mini-itx.com, full source on the project wiki, and extensive photo gallery.

28 thoughts on “Rundfunker – WiFi, MP3 streaming radio

  1. ZOMG awesome. I like this a lot. Anyone have an idea how much this would cost? They don’t seem to give any kind of an estimate. Seems like some of the parts are going to be a bit pricy tho.

  2. Well, it sure is interesting, however i just don’t get away from the computer enough to warrent having my MP3′s wireless in my house… if i want my music off of my computer, but i want to listen to them in my livingroom, i’ll just hook my MiniDisc Player to my Stereo system.

    However, with DRM bieng an issue in the future, I like the idea of having a semi-portable stereo that has all of my music.

    Compared to what there is on the market (very little) this definitly shines, it has an internal speaker (witch is nice, but i’d be more inclined to use a set of computer speakers)

    It’s really a nice media-center alternative (allthough price + labor looks to be about the same as a media center PC, this is definitly cooler), just not my cup of tea.

  3. #4 mini-itx.com site has price info for the boards and psu. An lcd like this is around 60 and the other controls are up for guess

  4. I love it… looks so nice… I’m kinda making the same thing right now almost finished but all I need is a controller for the LCD in the front… I’ve been looking around and not sure if I should use PIC processor or use something like BASIC… All I know is that it needs to be cheap b/c college isn’t. I just want this project out the door right now. Its been sitting here for a while now.
    Here is some pictures of mine.

    http://os5.servehttp.com/gallery/album02

  5. having done a lot of research into mini-itx systems, let me tell you some of the costs. mind you, this information is off of the top of my head, so don’t expect too much accuracy or good grammar.

    ———————————————–

    motherboard: size, size, size! the standard is mini-itx, IIRC is a 7 inches x 7 inches. Most mini-itx systems come with processor connected to the motherboard already, however some of the upper end models ($200+) will have a socket. In reality, if you are considering an ITX solution, you are looking for size and power efficency, so I would not waste my money on trying to cool a high end processor.

    via ITX motherboards have a processor range from around 800mhz to around 1.2Ghz. They come with lots of features packed into them.

    another solution for small boards is ebay. Search for “SBC” or “Single Board Computers”. These were industrial boards, and can have a variety of specs. I have seen some custom boards be 3×5 inches or smaller. You will either catch a deal and get one of these for cheap, or end up paying $175-$300.

    SBC’s come with varying feature sets and processing speeds. Keep searching ebay and you will eventually find one.

    a third option would be to search ebay for “thin clients”. these machines used to be nodes on a corperate network. They often have small motherboards (although slightly larger than itx). The main thing about these machines is the price: One can get a thin client that has a 400mhz or 600mhz processor for $10-$30 on ebay. where they gain in price, they lose some in functionality. most thin clients have crappy expansion capability. If you go this route, expect to utilize USB devices.

    ———————————————–

    power supply: My ITX motherboard is running off of a 90w PSU. it’s only power consuming device is a 200gb hard drive. You don’t need or want much power for your small form factor machine.

    You have two routes, a standard power supply or a DC-DC power supply. if searching for a standard power supply, try to get your hands on one that was made for an itx or 1u/2u (server rack) system. these are often smaller (in wattage and in dimensions). some hackers remove the metal casing from their psu’s to conserve some space. you can find these power supplies from $25 and up.

    if space is really a premium, you have to go with a dc-dc converter (like in the article). these will plug into the power socket on the motherboard, and attach the motherboard to an external dc power supply. I’ve seen these as cheap as $40 for the dc-dc converter, however, one will still have to purchase/find-in-their-closet a external DC psu.

    if you go with the thin client route, they often have proprietary power supplies that come with the machine.

    ———————————————–

    storage: you can go massive or solid state. decide what you need and either get a large hard drive, a laptop hard drive (and adaptor to go from 44 pin to 40 pin ide) or a compact flash to ide adaptor.

    keep an eye on the specs of your machine. some small form factor boards that have an ide connector might use a 44 pin ide cable. with one of these, you could attach a thin laptop hard drive with no adaptor.

    on some thin clients, they have a “DOC”, which is also known as a disk on chip. it’s a 30-90mb module on the motherboard that you can boot to. one could roll their own linux distro in there and have some fun.

    ———————————————–

    case fab: what are you going to case it in? aftermarket solutions cost $100+. a creative hacker could get their hands on some plastics (lexan, uhmw-pe, etc) or some cheap metal to make their setup. prices will vary depending on your thickness. if you are determined, you can do your case fabrication with your dremel (you have a dremel, right?)

    lcds: lcd’s cost anywhere from $10-$80, and come with varying features. on their own, you can wire them to a serial or parallel connection. you can also wire them to a microcontroller. Features you need to note before buying a lcd are: its rows, columns, if it has a backlight, what chip is used to control it. the most common chip is the hitachi 44780. there is a load of software and tutorials out there on how to use it.

    controls:knobs (potentiometeres), switches, buttons, one can get them from all over the internet for cheap. again, you can attach them to a microcontroller easily.

    microcontrollers: take your pick, most can be sampled for free from the producer (especially PIC microcontrollers). Either build a programmer for $6 in components, or buy a cheap programmer for $10-$15.

    ———————————————–

    feel free to keep the conversation going with questions.

  6. I thought i was going to be able to make one, but it turns out its too expensive. :..(

    Oh well. Winamp will always be there for me.

  7. it isnt at all impossible to make a lower cost one. let me run you through the pricing for a cheap one:

    cheap thin client on ebay
    $30 shipped

    usb 802.11b/g adaptor
    $15-20 shipped

    pic microcontroller w/ lots of i/o pins
    sampled free

    handfull of components
    $10-15 shipped from a surplus electronics store
    ———-
    total: $55-65

    want more control? get yourself a lcd from shopeio

    http://character-lcd-lcds.shopeio.com/inventory/catalog.asp?ACTION=2&cat=Lcds&sub=Character%20Lcd

    assuming you have a soldering iron and access to a microchip programmer, solder, wire, and programming skills, you could roll one of these in less than a week. i might even take one of my surplus thin clients and do a write up for hack a day. it wouldn’t be pretty, but it would be functional!

    as hackers, we cannot let cost get in our way. think of what you could hack apart to save some money. Have an old broken vcr or dvd player? desolder some push buttons! while you are in there, remove the IR receiver! maybe later you could add universal remote control to the device!

  8. Not a hack of course, but the Rockford Fosgate “Omnifi DMS1″ can stream tunes via wifi, and a lot of times goes for under $50 on ebay. It can also do Shoutcast and Rhapsody. It runs an ARM-linux kernel, updatable via ftp, for those who feel the need to tweak!

  9. Hey guys, we are working on the english translation of our project-wiki. We never thought Rundfunker could get so popular worldwide. The English wiki starts here: https://troubadix.multimedia.fh-augsburg.de/rundfunkertrac/wiki/WikiStartEnglish

    If you worry about costs for a Rundfunker I can tell you that the two prototypes we built were quite expensive (about EUR 600 including the housing), but there are definitely cheaper ways to build it! Use a cheaper mini-itx-board with built-in ATX-PSU and you have already saved about 150 bucks! A list of all hardware components we used can be found here: https://troubadix.multimedia.fh-augsburg.de/rundfunkertrac/wiki/HardwareComponents

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