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Digital Picture Frame

Discussion in 'Modding' started by browca04, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    A friend of mine wants a digital picture frame, and because I'm the nerd friend, she asked me how to go about it.

    I think I can get an old laptop to canabalise, but was a bit worried about software. Was going to put a copy of XP on it, but what I need is a way to set it up, so that when the laptop boots up, it will automatically start to play a slideshow of all the photos on the harddreve. The other thing was hopefully to set up a means to grab files off a usb thumb drive. Because the project won't have any keyboard/mouse to speak of, it needs to be all done automatically. Ie usb Drive is inserted, files are automatically copied and added to the slide show.

    Any one know of a program or utility that can do this?

    In more of a modding context, I am looking for designs for the frame. I was thinking an aluminium border with black plex or something. Downloading SketchUp at the moment, but if any of you have seen Auriga's LCD's, that's kind of the look I'm after.

    So any ideas on how to go about making this mod happen would be much appreciated. I'll make a worklog once I begin.
     
  2. nux

    nux Member

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    It may well be easier to buy a digital picture frame instead.

    Otherwise maybe a small Linux distro and some startup script to make an image slideshow. Would be easy to make it save pictures from a USB key too by pressing a button.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    As I said, it needs to be automatic. And I would rather not mess around with Linux. It's for some seriously technologically illiterate people. I'm thinking even using a usb thumbdrive might be stretching it. The other thing is an 8" DPF is around $400 - $500. I don't want to spend that much. I recon I can get this all done for >$150.

    [​IMG]

    On the side you can see a usb hub, which is the only means of input. House its going into doesn't have wireless or anything, so there's no need for that. Power will be run into the bottom of the unit, or underneath if I can manage it.
     
  4. tin

    tin Member

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    Linux will be heaps cheaper, more stable and probably easier to script changes to the slideshow, etc once files are added.
    Will boot faster too.
    Ignore the end user as far as OS choice goes... The user shouldnt need to know more than where to plug the power and the USB device if you do this right.

    Just a thought.... You'll want to have some onscreen message when files are finished copying off the USB device (or even a progress indicator).
     
  5. vindicator

    vindicator Member

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    Windows would be arse for this.

    Have a look at the embeded Linux distributions. Run it in single user mode, with a start up script and syncronised disk io. Plenty of stuff on this online.
     
  6. nux

    nux Member

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    My point was that a consumer product already designed for the job will be much easier to setup and use for the end user.

    If you are still wanting to DIY it may take a lot of work to get the housing setup, OS setup and the interface for the end user.

    An old laptop under $150 is going to be pretty big in size and underpowered for Windows, I really think Linux would be a much better choice. More stable and easier to setup for this sort of task. Much easier to setup Linux so it will boot straight into an end user program that will just display pictures and accept a USB stick for uploading more.

    I think a few buttons on the interface would be good, maybe hook them up to the parallel port. One could be to set different times each picture is displayed for, another for skipping to the next photo and a third to upload images from a USB key.
     
  7. OP
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    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    This is exactly what I don't want. I think the idea is power -> photos. Buttons mean more work, which A, I cbf'd doing, and B, I cbf'd explaining.

    So if I rule out using XP (The only thing I've ever done in Linux, was a bit of open office) and go with a Linux disty, what do you recommend? Fedora? Ubuntu? I'm just throwing names out there, as that's all I know.

    Thanks for the replies thus far.
     
  8. nux

    nux Member

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    Something like Damn Small Linux would be good. If you have very limited Linux experience I dont like your chances of setting something up that will work.. But once you get the hardware setup it shouldnt be too hard to get the software side running. I think the hardware will be harder than the software.

    That is why I recommended the commercial products. You pay for the ease of use.
     
  9. OP
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    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    I have a few friends who use Linux a bit, that ought be able to help me out. And then there's all of OCAU at my disposal.....
     
  10. Goth

    Goth Grumpy Member

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  11. OP
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    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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  12. NuttZ

    NuttZ Member

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    if u want no interface,
    whats gonna happen when hdd is full?
    whats gonna happen when you want to delete the photos?1 photo or all photos

    i guess they are just gonna have to call you in every time they want something changed.
     
  13. strafe

    strafe Member

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    Ideally you would just want something that has a card reader or usb port on the side, you plug something in, it displays the photos on the display. simple..
     
  14. OP
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    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    That's fine. Gordon makes a great Thai Green Chicken Curry.

    And the laptop I'm looking at has a 20gb hdd. I cant see them filling that up with Pics. I talked to them about wireless, and they are coming around. That way I can (Linux version) VNC in if shit needs changing. Or load photos on from another computer over the network. Then I don't even need external USB ports...
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2006
  15. Julz

    Julz Member

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    www.icop.com.tw make a touchscreen pc that runs WindowsCE. Using one at uni for an incar computer project.

    Not sure how much they cost but you could build a custom WinCE image to simply load up JPGs from a USB at random i guess?
     
  16. Gazob

    Gazob Member

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    you could always combine one of those media hard drive enclosures with the screen, something like this

    AIVX

    there are probably similar ones which are card reader capable, this would give you the option of playing movies as well. It would certainly be more compact then any PC capable of smoothly playing divx.

    GaZ
     
  17. OP
    OP
    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    The idea of the project is simply to have the DPF on the wall, so that when you walk past you can look at it and say "Oh that's from..." and when people come over, they can say "Where was that taken," "who's that," etc. Movies aren't wanted or needed. An external Hdd is probably something to think about tho. Provided I could mount it in the frame. That way If stuff needs to be put on, just remove, and plug into a new computer, voila.

    Thanks for the ideas. Am checking out Damn Small Linux, as well as a couple of other distys, looking for an easy setup, as there's not going to be any interaction after it's set up. The system just runs through. Randomly select an album, then play all the files in order, rinse, lather, repeat.
     
  18. Gazob

    Gazob Member

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    these things play a JPG slideshow just as easy as a movie, they are very small, and have a good array of inputs and outputs. Pull it apart, throw away the casing, hide all the bits in appropriate parts of your DPF and put the remote sensor on the front. To load pictures just plug the usb cable to a computer or laptop, couldnt be easier.

    That being said have you considered getting an oldish laptop with say a 12 or 13" screen, unhinging the screen and turning it around like a tablet and then hiding the lot inside a picture frame. Wouldnt need to be much more than a P200 as long as the screen was good.

    GaZ
     
  19. yoink

    yoink Member

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    I have made a few of these, in the past three years, using old laptops :thumbup:
    Typically I get a laptop with these minimum specs, usually bought off OCAU ~$100 - $150:

    P2 300Mhz
    14" LCD
    4gb HDD
    128mb RAM

    I then:

    . get a photo frame that I like, (14x11") ~$40
    . make a "box" that fits nicely around the PC, painted to match frame. ~$20, less if you already have paint and brush - look for the sampler packs ;)
    . Make a screen surround, from black thick cardboard ~$5
    . Install whatever OS the laptop came with (W98 or w2k)
    . Add wireless card ~$20
    . Install xampp, and my own custom PHP slideshow / picture upload package

    My costs were typically < $300, depending on laptop and the such. I don't have good tools, (or carpentry skills), so it took me a while to make. With good tools, (and skills), you could easily put one together within a week-end.

    Things to watch out for:

    . Make sure you get a good hanging hook - the whole shebang could well weigh > 4kg, especially with old laptops
    . the screen must be attached to the surround carefully, and be propped up, so it doesn't move around after a while - I use old corks cut into shape
    . The backlight for the LCD can easily break

    Tips:

    . Using liquid nails work well for attaching the box to the photoframe - don't use nails or screws
    . The box should be easy to open, I usually use velcro stips to close it, and nice hinges
    . When installing the laptop in the box, keep in mind that it WILL need to be taken out again, for whatever reason :)

    Further thoughts:

    . Make sure your friend realises that it's made from an old laptop, and that it might well break / need repairs.

    Cheers;

    -- yoink
     
  20. OP
    OP
    browca04

    browca04 (Banned or Deleted)

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    Yeah I hav considered that. Like in the first post. This has been what I've been trying to do. RTFT mate.

    Thanks a lot for the info. Any idea as to where I can get xampp from? Google?

    Cheers much.
     

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