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Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:35 pm
Location: Manchester, UK

Raspberry Pi based music player.

Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:25 pm

I have a approx 70G music library, around 1200 CD's worth, ripped to ogg format, tagged to my satisfaction, including embedded cover art.

I normally play it via a Mint based Intel PC. That PC uses too much power, and is too noisy to run continuously.

I run the Banshee music player app on that player that I'm happy with, including the cover browser that shows tha album artwork in the selection menu.

I could see no reson why I could not make a Raspberry Pi based system that ran the same functionality.

So to this project.

Basic device is a Raspberry Pi 2 B.

I've mounted that in a Pimoroni Pi case, attached to the back of a Foundation touch screen in a Pimoroni frame.

Power is from a standard white Foundation Pi PSU.

That actually powers the touch screen, with the Pi powered by a short USB cable from the USB power out socket on the touch screen to the P's power socket.

This leaves the GPIO pins unconnected, and thus free to run a Pimoroni Phat DAC soundcard. That sound card is fitted with the GPIO connector Pimoroni supply, and the RCA Phono plug module also available from Pimoroni. See notes later about possibility fitting a deeper connector than the one Pimoroni supply.

There are a couple of mechanical issues with the set up. The clamp plate that attaches the support legs to the screen frame of the Pimoroni frame interferes with the connection to the USB power out socket on the touch screen board. Pushing home the USB plug actually unclipped the USB socket off the board at the back of the touch screen.

Possibly I could find a suitable 90 degree USB cable that did not foul, but my crude fix (after taking the whole lot apart to reconnect that USB socket to the board), was to use a jewlars saw to cut out a notch in the clamp plate to clear the USB cable. The clamp plate is much larger and more substantial than it nees to be and the cut out thus has no significant effect on the strength of the assembly. Pimoroni could usefully modify those brackets to arrange better clearance.

The Phat DAC comes down on the camera cable that connects the touch screen to the Pi, if I was doing this again, I'd use a deeper connector than Pimoroni supply with the Phat DAC, and give a few mill more clearance.

The Pi is fitted with a Foundation WiFi dongle for internet connectivity, a bluetooth mouse/keyboard dongle and a 128Gb USB drive that has a copy of my music library on it. Though it is nice to be able to select music via the touch screen, manipulating searches and editing playlists is too painfull using an on screen keyboard, so the bluetooth keyboard and mouse that I initially attached for the build, has becom a perminent feature.

I built the system on a 32Gb microSD card, Raspibian Jessie full version (to give space for Banshee to store its music database, artwork cache etc).

I needed some messing around to install banshee and to get the soundcard functioning correctly, notable being that the Pimoroni touch screen frame will only fit the Foundation touch screen with the screen mounted upside down, or at least what is now upside down. The Pimoroni setup instructions give the correct config.txt statement to rotate/put the screen back to its original rotation.

Banshee took about an hour to build its music database from the USB stick, running about 25% load. I guess that means its a single thread process.

A little while longer to fill its artwork cache from the cover artworks in the track files.

I've run it for a few CD's now and I'm very happy with the result.
Cheers Harry

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