Cambridge SoundWorks

Do you like remote control?

Building the SAC remote

This is the saga of the build to be used as a remote control for the SAC live sound mixing environment. Ultimately there will be a laptop involved with the system, but I am waiting for the right deal to come along to buy the laptop. The requirements for the remote computer are minimal so I am putting a collection of old parts together for this application.

Some time ago I upgraded a friend's computer. It had come with a 2.66 Ghz Celeron processor. We put in a new mother board and an AMD dual core processor. I was left with the old processor and motherboard. Reassembling this system will provide enough power to operate the remote control software for the SAC system. I included the extra parts that I need to complete this build in my parts order for the SAC computer.

I will probably install this system in a custom case if I am to use it for this purpose. This will be a 'briefcase' style case that will transport the complete system easily and efficiently. All of the components will remain hooked up, so it will just be a matter of opening the case and it will be ready to go. I plan to do the assembly of the basic computer this evening and will keep this page updated as I go.


Oops! I ran into a bit of a problem here. I had ordered a new system drive (and OS) for this computer, as the license stayed with my friends computer. I ordered an sata drive, neglecting to remember that this is an older system and requires an ide drive. Drives, as most computer parts are relatively cheap right now, so the expense is not such a big problem, but this means paying a bit more to buy one locally or waiting a few days for one to be shipped to me. This will delay the project a bit. I do have other things to do, so it is not a disaster, but I was in the assembling mode right now.


04/20/2009

I checked the local stores and found that they wanted too much for a drive and that the selection in ide drives is now quite limited. I did not want a large drive in this old computer, even for just a few dollars more. There is no need for a large drive for the application for this box.

I got together a parts order that included parts for two computers belonging to friends that needed repair/upgrade. These are both computers that I have worked with in the past. The one from which the rest of the parts for my remote box came lost its hard drive. The other was the first computer that I repaired/upgraded a few years ago. The mother board had gone bad.

The parts order arrived today, but since I have the friends computers to get back up and running it will be later in the week before I have opportunity to assemble my remote unit. I will write up these adventures in a separate article.


04/25/2009

The SAC Remote unit is up and running, more or less. This turned out to be a bit more of an adventure than I had thought in some ways. The assembly was relatively smooth but there was one gotcha. 

The ide cable had no key and I got it turned around some how. There was no damage to the drives, but the computer could not see them. I replaced the cable with a spare that I had in the drawer and everything was happy.

The OS install went fine, but I did not have a driver disk for the board. I located the right numbers and downloaded the necessary drivers from Intel's site. Some of these drivers were out of date, so I went back and found the updates. 

There is no audio output from the box at this time even though the device manager claims that everything is fine. It is not important for the application for this box, but I will dig into it more. This computer will also serve as a guest box here at the house sometimes and will need audio for that usage.

The wifi installation went without a hitch and I have wireless connectivity through my local AP. I will bring the SAC unit over to the house and see if I can get these computers to talk to one another this evening. I have an AP to hook up to the SAC WorkStation, but this will be new territory. The trick is to get the computers to talk nice to each other before the wireless element is introduced into the equation.

I have put up a website dedicated to the SAC system and I am offering to assemble SAC systems for others. You can visit the site: Mixer In A Box.


04/27/2009

I did bring the SAC unit over and tried to get the networking going without success. The remote unit is running XP Home and the networking protocols are not as good as with XP Pro. I have more work to do to get the computers to talk to each other.

I could not work further on this yesterday as I had a commitment to mix the main stage at a benefit for a local musician who has been stricken with a serious illness. I wrote up the event on my blog at:  http://www.audioartsound.com/blogs/ Check it out if you are interested in SAC in use for a live event.


The remote unit does work fine. In addition I have an Acer Aspire One that I use as a roving remote. It also works fine and allows me to set up the computer on stage and go anywhere in the room to mix the sound. What a system is this SAC system.

What do you think about this?

Please tell me here!

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