Adventures in MythTV

Adventures in MythTV


  • Asus M2N68-VM
  • AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350
  • 2GB of OCZ Platinum DDR2
  • Antec Earthwatts 380W power supply
  • Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE encoders (x2)
  • Western Digital 320GB SATA2 drive
  • LG DVD+/-RW (IDE)
  • PL2303-based USB-to-serial converters (cheap Chinese specials, x2)
  • Pertelian X2040 USB LCD module
  • Homemade serial IR receiver
  • Hauppauge Media MVPs (as remote clients, x3)

A note about Hauppauge hardware: Apparently they've stopped manufacturing all of the standard definition capture hardware that's well supported under Linux and consequently, MythTV. Can't see how that's a good move for them, seeing how the PVR-x50 (150/250/350/500) are the mainstay capture cards of the Myth community, but hey it's their business. Consequently, eBay is your buddy... I picked up both PVR-150s for about $50 total.


Build/Install Notes

  • lirc (the infrared remote receiver software) is a gigantic, pachyderm-sized pain in the ass to configure. I'll add notes here later on building hardware and getting it configured.
  • Contrary to lirc documentation, the Radio Shack #276-640, a 38kHz IR receiver, works just fine. You just need a decent circuit behind it to generate proper RS232 signals, rather than the hack-job standard serial circuit that people usually use for lirc. Oh, and the pins are, left to right looking at the front of it, output, ground, +5V. Thomas Breuer's circuit here is what I wound up using, though I moved the power for the output driver transistors to after the diode, changed the regulator to a 78L05, and substituted standard 2N3904s for the NPNs and a 2N3906 for the PNP.
  • Normally I'd build my own LCD connection, but the Pertelian was a gift from my ex-wife several years back that I'd never really found a good use for. This was it - it's in a nice little case and plugs into the USB port - a very good thing, considering how overtaxed I already was on serial ports.
  • While the Pertelian X2040 is supported under lcdproc 0.5.2, I found that unless I set the DelayMult parameter to 50 in LCDd.conf (the file suggests values of 1,2, and 4), I got screen corruption corresponding to what I'd previously seen with HD44780s being clocked wrong. Otherwise, you just have to set it up as an hd44780 driver with connection type "pertelian".
  • Mythbuntu doesn't set up the power modules for you, so I suggest you add "powernow-k8" and "cpufreq_ondemand" to your /etc/modules.conf. These will install the support for AMD's CPU frequency/voltage scaling and a governor that will scale CPU power to load, respectively. You'll then need to add a "/usr/bin/cpufreq-set -g ondemand" to /etc/rc.local. I found enabling CPU frequency scaling trimmed about 10 watts off my idle load.
  Questions? Email Nathan Holmes
© NDHolmes, but freely usable under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Last modified on January 25, 2009, at 05:31 PM
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