Discuss Your Gaming Environments and AV Setups
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fastbilly1
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by fastbilly1 Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:43 pm

So I have lots of stuff to write up about the house over the last few months, so there should be more updates here. First up is a project I started on about ten years ago and just got around to finishing...

Cathedral Radio Project
Long ago I found a Cathedral radio in someones trash when driving home from work. It was chipped up, but still looked cool. So it served as a shelf piece for many years. About ten years go I got to looking into fixing it. Well after much shuffling of feet and excuses, I finally got the mechanics out and realized someone had poured something onto the mechanics and fried them. So after tinkering to see if it could be saved, I had to shelf those parts. I kept the speaker on there and did some tests and alot of research and discovered I could get it to work with a modern amp, but it would require a 1w audio amp for the speaker. Then the cone broke so we moved to plan B.

Tanking some old JBL unpowered speakers I had apart, I discovered that both of them would fit inside the box, on the existing screw mount, and would still have enough room to mount a PC inside. So finally we have this:
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And in action:
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Future plans are to shorten the cables internally and mount an old EEE900 inside, once it is running a newer version of linux installed and set it up to boot to Pandora. The dial will be mounted and will turn on the pc. And yes, all of the scotch tape, except the part on the gel, has been replaced with gaffers tape.

Does it sound great, no. But it makes Welcome to Nightvale just that much cooler. It also fits the style of my rolltop desk pretty well. Unlike the toilet paper and Hungry Hungry Hippo.
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by mjmjr25 Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:06 pm

Lookin' good, Fast. Keep the pics coming...I envy a climate that allows for 365 woodworking. I have so many things I want to do, and viewing others projects allows lends to new ideas and fuels the desire!
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fastbilly1
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by fastbilly1 Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:32 pm

Woodworking right now is disastrous. We bought some stools on New Years Eve, stripped and stained two of them, and they are still tacky as of last night. We do have pretty much March to mid December for good woodworking though. I was saving the stools for a post down the road.
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Lokkenjawnz
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by Lokkenjawnz Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:08 pm

Have you thought about using a Raspberry Pi for the radio? They're usually pretty ideal for projects like these, low power, low heat, and plenty of GPIO pins for adding dials and buttons and whatnot.

Great projects!
My Want List!

Consoles: Sega Master System, NES Toploader, Genesis/32X, Sega CDX, SNES, 3DO FZ-1, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Sony PS2, Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox Halo Edition, Wii, PS3
Handhelds: Atari Lynx, Sega Nomad, Neo Geo Pocket Color, GBC (Atomic Purple, Pokemon Edition), GBA (Pink OG, Silver SP, Spongebob SP+), DS (Phat, iXL), 3DS, PSP (1000, Go)
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fastbilly1
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by fastbilly1 Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:04 am

I had not, a Pi would be a good idea. I will be looking into it today. Thanks Lokkenjawnz
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the King
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by the King Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:25 pm

fastbilly1 wrote:
That said, some of these projects will be specific to our needs and will not really be applicable to others – ie I do not believe many of you are going to be figuring out how to fit seven or eight pcs in your gameroom, or where to put an R2D2 store cooler. But then again, those odd issues usually make reading things more interesting.



Easy. You put in the back of your truck and drive around and pretend you are flying an x-wing.

Fun thread. Wished I would of documented more of my household projects. I guess maybe at the next house


Image
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fastbilly1
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by fastbilly1 Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:40 pm

the King wrote:Fun thread. Wished I would of documented more of my household projects. I guess maybe at the next house


I enjoyed your thread as it was. You had alot of neat concepts that I will hopefully be able to implement here.

And R2s dome is in too rough of shape for him to travel outside for too long.
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fastbilly1
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by fastbilly1 Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:48 pm

Kitchen Stools

So my kitchen has a rolling island made out of two cabinets with 5inch casters on it. This is great in that my wife and I eat dinner standing most days, and when people come over we can roll it out of the way, or we can move it when we need more counter space when baking or cooking. The downside we have had with it is when people come over sometimes we need the extra seating at the counter. Enter my mother in law and her ability to find things we need randomly. She offered her hair dresser $5 a pop for three stools that supposedly spun that they no longer used at their shop. So for New Years Eve we went and got them and worked on them.

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Now there were three problems with these chairs. They were well worn, they did not spin, and one was split in half. All things we could work with though.

First things first, we had to fix the broken chair, so out came the socket wrench and a standard wrench (had to hold the bolt to unscrew the nut) and the four bolts that held the chair down came out. A trick I have learned long ago is to keep the pieces from what you have taken apart in a nearby tin, so I use Altoid tins or the Camel Snu tin you can see here that one of my coworkers keeps me well stocked with. If you are working on something with alot of specific parts, it is better to tape them to paper with notes of where they are from, but since this has four of the exact same bolt, washer, nut combos, the tin works really well.

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A good lead of Elmers Wood glue, some pipeclamps, and 24 hours took care of the broken seat, and it was time to look at the other two. Each one of them had a shocking surprise under the chair:

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15ish years of dust. It was a quarter of an inch thick. The swivel bearing was not much better:
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So several hours of cleaning, sanding, and dismantling of bearings to grease them up, then a quick coat of minwax Dark Walnut and we get this:
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And before anyone gets on me about the streaks, they were not there for long after that picture was taken.

Being that the weather has been in the single digits recently, these stayed tacky in the garage for twelve days. Two days ago I gave the two not broken ones two coats of Tung oil, the broken seat one had another coat of stain put on it, since I missed a section…so it still doesn’t have a coat of Tung oil on it. But we have this:
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I moved them inside yesterday hoping that the humidity would help it set. And hopefully tonight the broken seat one will get Tung oil on it.

Overall, this project cost me about $20 out of pocket - $15 for the chairs, $5ish for the stain, tung oil, and sand paper, and about five hours of work. The only downside is that stain ran down onto the garage floor, so now I get to work with mineral spirits and a scouringpad.

Anyone who is not familiar with working with Minwax styled Stain, make sure you put down enough ground cover that you can throw away. No matter how careful you are, it will drip. Ive got twenty years of experience with the stuff, and it always drips. But the results are worth the hassle.
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fastbilly1
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by fastbilly1 Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:06 pm

Sound System
So what is the point of having a calibrated tv and a bluray player without surround sound? Well there are plenty of reasons, but while watching Skyfall on our anniversary, my wife mentioned she would like to have more of a movie theater experience at our house. Who am I to fight with my wife when I want the same thing? So while I am still trying to figure out a better way of doing anamorphic projector setup in my space (but obtaining an anamorphic lens by chance over last weekend is pushing me to work on that this weekend), so I got to work on setting up a surround sound system.

We decided to do this as cheaply as possible for right now. I have no real experience in home theater audio, just pro audio. So while I want to put in some stuff that will shake the house – like my buddies custom built subs, they will literally take your breath away if you have four of them turned up at 50 feet away. But since we are saving that for the actual theater room we plan on making at our next house, we decided to set a silly goal, basic surround system for $100. We had a center, and two rear channels already due to some previous dealings I had (payment for fixing a pc), so we needed fronts, sub, and a receiver. So several months of thrifting later we came up with the following:

Since our anniversary was coming up we decided to go to what is considered the best flea market in the southeast, in Colliersville AL of all places. So we got up really early, and drove down. There was nothing of note there for this conversation, but on our way home we stopped at a random pawn shop and found our mains.

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Two Kenwood JL-1105. These are standard towers but have a built in sub on each side. They were from an old Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) setup that came out in 1996 and was apparently pretty good for audio. The boxes were alittle beatup, but a quick paint job fixed that. My wife bought new speaker cloth and recovered them and now they look great. $45 for the Speakers and $10 for new cloth, paint was already on hand.

We still needed a receiver so we decided to hitup a Goodwill the next day. Luckily a low end RCA receiver was on deck that day for $10. I tested it there and it sounded fine on the nearby speaker but it needed a new fan and a thorough cleaning. I took it apart noticed that the fan was clogged to the point where it could not move, and turns out was broken. So I replaced it with a similar sized one I had on hand, and after a deep clean presto, surround sound.

But the built in subs in the JL-1005s were just not cutting it. So two months of searching later and last night I found a Sony SA-W303 at Goodwill for $8. I tested it with Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust and got some dirty looks from nearby shoppers. So I decided to go for broke and put on Make Some Noise by the Beastie Boys and that got an old lady in enough of a huff to go tell an employee on me.

So the setup now:
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Under the TV:
Center Channel Speaker
Bluray player – Panasonic something or another
Receiver – RCA RT2770
Sub

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In the tower:
Low end Record Player – Ion iLP
Space to move WiiU to
Space to put other HDMI console, HTPC, or VCR
Vinyl – all 33s, I do not care for 45s after working on a jukebox

Overview:
Image

Speakers:
Mains - Kenwood JL-1105
Center – JBL N-Center
Rear – KLH 911Bs
Sub – Sony SAW303

Misc:
On top of the left main speaker is a wireless headphone setup that my wife uses when on the treadmill when I am gaming. That way she can watch her Once Upon a Time while I am killing things. And on top of the component tower right now is Tom Servo. Soon Tom will be on one speaker, and Crow on the other. Gypsy will live on the fireplace or behind the wetbar on the otherside of the room.

Currently the only gripe we have is that the receiver is taking a downsampled audio over composite, since it is not HDMI, and the wiring is causing a slight hiss in the rear channels. A new receiver is in the plans for the future this year, but for now it all works fine.

And since I know I already ruffled some feathers with my subpar gear. It really does not matter to us to have the best gear right now. We use the sound system just for watching movies and listening to records, so maybe three times a week right now. I have had top tier gear before and I have had super low end gear (KLH Model 9 and Monoprice 9774), what matters in the end is if it is good enough to suspend reality during the film or music. And believe it or not, those Kenwood JL1105s put out quite a rich sound, even off of the lowend record player. The highend recordplayer, a Thoren td160, I do not have a good enough room to put that in right now so it is in storage at my parents. The game plan in the future, specifically the next house, is to setup a pro audio system that I design with some buddies. The only confirmed part will be two Dayton Audio UM15-22 for the lowend. These are the best subs I have ever heard and are the ones I alluded to earlier in the post. I am currently working a lead for an HD CRT projector capable of a 4k image, which if I get we will have to rearrange our basement a bit to make it work. I am thinking stadium seating for 20.


Edit:
And my wife just messaged me asking if we can rearrange the basement this weekend to see if we can fit in stadium seating and two of our projectors.
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Re: fast's geekhouse in progress

by mjmjr25 Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:20 pm

Keep it up, Fast. Loving the pics and the read.
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