My $60 home built NAS/music server

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randytsuch

My $60 home built NAS/music server
« on: 17 Oct 2006, 04:42 am »
So, here is the story of my $60 music server.  Kind of a diary/guide to save other linux newbies some of the pain I went through.

I decided to build a dedicated music server to store my songs, and to run slimserver on.
It will live in my garage, and I will turn it on and off as needed.  It will be “headless”, no monitor, keyboard or mouse.

Hardware
OK, it was only $60 because I had bits and pieces of stuff around, including a mid tower case, with a generic power supply.  I also have some hard drives I have bought on sale at different times.  Also had some RAM, left over from when I upgraded my current home PC.

What I needed was a MB and Processor.  So, I did some research at the slim devices forums, and at silentpcreview.  Looking for something cheap, low power, with enough horsepower to run as a file server and slimserver.

I decided on this via based system
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813185043

It is cheap enough, and I think it will do what I need it to do.  It also has two Ram slots, two PCI slots and supported USB 2.0.  The VIA boards I saw, were more expensive, and did not have all of this.  They either had one ram slot, or were USB 1.1, or $100 more expensive.

OS
For my OS, since I wanted to run headless, and do not know linux, I looked for something easy, other than windows.

At the slim devices forums, I found this
http://www.clarkconnect.com/

It is free for the “community edition”.  Linux based, but has a GUI interface.  Lots of support from web pages and forums, and people are already running slimserver on it.  Plus, you can control it remotely, from another PC, so it is ideal for a headless server.

From the clarkconnect site, download the community edition ISO file from here
http://www.clarkconnect.com/downloads/isos.php

You need to burn it to CD as a bootable CD.  There are free utilities to do this, google for burning a ISO CD to find one.

Building the PC
So, first I put together the PC.  I had an extra mid tower case, with PS, that I used.  I also had a 512 and a 256 meg stick of DDR RAM to use.  The 512 stick was a higher speed than Chips calls for the MB, but it worked fine.  Normally, it is fine to go with faster RAM.  Since the processor is already installed, it is pretty easy to put this together.  Just hook up the Power Supply (you only need a PS with a 20 pin connector), install the RAM, and connect the jumpers from the front of the PC for the LED’s, power switch, ETC.  Also, connected two internal USB ports to the front of my case.

At this point, I just installed a small hard drive, and a CD rom drive, on the same IDE port.  HD was master, CD slave, both were set to Cable Select (CS).

Hooked up monitor, KB and mouse, and it worked  :D.

Then, I went into the BIOS setup, and found the page with the boot drive order.  I set the CD rom to be the first boot device, and the hard drive as the 2nd.

Installed my bootable CD with clarkconnect 4.0 on it, and it booted up. 
There is a CC installation guide here
http://www.clarkconnect.com/help/pdf/CC-Quickstart.pdf
It is for the older version of CC, but basically the same.

Followed the instructions, and installed CC to the hard drive.  It ends up overwriting the hard drive, so don’t have anything you want on the hard drive.

First time, I decided to install everything, and the installation failed, had a problem reading the CD.  Then, I tried again, this time I did not install the Email and SPAM programs (won’t use this for email), and the installation worked.  I have no idea if the stuff I did not install had anything to do with the success.

Removed the CD, and PC booted from the HD now.  I connected the PC to my Ethernet switch (I am not going to run this wireless right now, I will run a wire from the switch). 

Then, I tried to talk to the CC PC from my XP PC.  You just run explorer, and type in
https://192.168.10.1:81/admin/
using the ip address found on you CC PC.

It did not work because I was using the DNS server address, instead of the PC address.  The PC address is the IP address under eth0, or something like that.  Once I figured out the address, I could talk to it no problem.

Putty

With the explorer interface, you are limited in what you can do.  To cause some real damage, you need a console interface.  I used putty, can be found here,
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/

Download it, I just dragged it to my XP PC’s desktop, and double click to start.
It comes up, with a box for the Host name or IP address.  Just type in the IP address for your CC machine.  You can save this, so you only need to do it once.  Click open, and a new window will open, asking for your username.  Type “root”, then the password you entered during the CC installation.

Now, you have a console, where the “real” linux people live.

Installing Slimserver
It is easy to install slimserver from putty, type in
rpm -Uvh http://www.slimdevices.com/downloads/SlimServer_v6.5.0/SlimServer_v6.5.0.noarch.rpm

This will load in the latest version (6.5) of slimserver.  For older versions, find the address, and substitute it in.

Once slimserver is installed, you can find it using your Win machine, on explorer by typing in
http://192.168.10.1:9000       
note:  substitute the address for your CC PC here.

This will bring up the familiar slimserver start page.


Adding another HD.
I opened up my machine, and added another drive.  I actually ended up swapping in a 60G drive for the “linux” drive, and added a 250G drive for the “data” drive.

Since I swapped to boot drive, had to reinstall CC, which is pretty easy, especially after a few times.  I probably ended up doing 4-5 installs before I was done. 
Then, I tried to use “fdisk” to set up the 2nd hard drive.  When I rebooted my CC PC, I had screwed up the boot drive, so had to install CC again.  Not sure what I did.
When I reinstalled CC this time, on the partitioning screen, instead of “Use Default”, I selected “I will do my own partitioning”.

After a few screens, the disk partitioning screen showed up.  I picked the non manual option, where the program told you what to do, and just let it do everything.  It ended up creating a partition called
/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00 
That was almost 300G.  It was the 250 gig drive, plus what I had not used from the 60G drive.

Setting up the HD.
To use my 300G partition, I needed to mount it. 

From the putty interface, typed “df”, and I got the following information.

Filesystem                                                1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00  297798360   1064600 281606416   1% /
/dev/hda1                                                   101086         8975         86892  10% /boot
none                                                            371156             0        371156   0% /dev/shm

Use the following to make a directory called “/mnt/hd”.
mkdir /mnt/hd

Now “mount” it.  You have to mount it to use it.  This command maps the directory you just made into the large data partition.
mount -t auto /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00 /mnt/hd

Use cd to go to the new directory.
cd /mnt/hd

You need to mount if every time you use it, or automount it.  I have not tried to automount it yet, that will come soon.
Now, to move stuff between the XP and CC machines, download winscp.  This adds a graphical interface to putty, and shows you the directory structures for both machines.  Makes it easy to transfer files or directories.

I am not sure if you need to set up samba to use winscp.  I had already set samba up before I tried winscp.  If it works, great, otherwise, the CC web interface program has some built in samba support, so you can use this to set up shares.

Oh, and to turn if off, go to “system” then “tools” in the CC web program, and there is a place to turn off, or reset the CC PC.

I placed my PC on top of a cabinet, in my garage, so I can’t reach the on/off switch.  So, I built a little cable, cut off the connector from the HD LED, which I don’t need, and soldered a switch to it, with about 5 feet of wire added.  So, I have a switch I can reach, to turn on the PC.

Hope this helps someone.  I am sure this is some details I left out, but this should get someone through the big steps.  And, I am quite happy with the results.  For the money spent, I have a pretty nice NAS, that will be easy to expand later, and seems easy to support and work on.  \

And I am sure there are other ways to do what I did, and a linux expert will probably laugh at how I did things, but it works, and that's what matters to me :thumb:

Randy
« Last Edit: 18 Oct 2006, 11:41 am by EchiDna »

Greg Erskine

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #1 on: 17 Oct 2006, 05:30 am »
Excellent  :D Thanks for spending the time to document this.

I've been thinking of a similar project but didn't know where to start.

regards

Paul_Bui

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Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #2 on: 17 Oct 2006, 05:52 am »
Randy,

I really appreciate your generous contribution.  I was thinking of purchasing an Infrant NAS alone or the Slim Device's offer, but your excellent post has changed my mind.

randytsuch

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #3 on: 17 Oct 2006, 06:24 am »
Wish you guys luck, if you try this.

I do not want to deter you, but this did take some work, I spent Thurs night, Friday night, and a fair amount of the weekend working on this.  Finished it tonight, when I installed winscp.

And, there was the research before hand.  But, my post should save a lot of time and work for you guys, if you make this.  And, you know it will work.  When I started, I thought it would, but did not find this exact configuration anywhere.  But the MB was cheap, OS free, and I had everything else already, so there was little to lose.  Could also return the MB to newegg, if it didn't work out.

Going into this, I knew nothing about linux, but have built several PC's, and working with linux brought back memories of DOS from my early PC days.

Randy

robert1325

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #4 on: 17 Oct 2006, 10:36 am »
Nice post,   I'm still thinking of using my xbox as a NAS,      I managed to load linux on it,  but am having problems getting the keyboard to work,   the mouse works...   I find it a bit to difficult to use linux without knowledge and keyboard :roll:

jkelly

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #5 on: 17 Oct 2006, 11:39 am »
Randy,

Have you played with switching firmwares (15) on the linux side?

Jeff

JoshK

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #6 on: 17 Oct 2006, 01:39 pm »
This makes me want to give Linux another try on my server.   Nice write-up....should be a sticky. 

randytsuch

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #7 on: 17 Oct 2006, 03:57 pm »
Randy,

Have you played with switching firmwares (15) on the linux side?

Jeff


No have not.  But I will give it a shot.
I think I just need to put the "right" firmware in the firmware directory, once I find it in the directory structure.

Edit
I just found this post, with advice from Mike G on how to change the firmware.  Just have to find the file now, and it should be easy to make this change.
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=27875.0

Randy

randytsuch

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #8 on: 17 Oct 2006, 06:23 pm »
This makes me want to give Linux another try on my server.   Nice write-up....should be a sticky. 

Thanks for the nice words.  I hope I did not miss anything important in the write up, I think I covered all the major stuff, but may have skipped over some minor steps.

I also tried linux a few months ago, don't remember what "kind", and it did not come up, and I had no idea what to do to fix it.  With CC, it just came up and ran.  Then, just had to figure out how to install slimserver, and set up my hd, and transfer files over.

Forgot to mention that the CPU I picked is supposed to be equivalent to around an 800 PIII, so it is not a high performance platform.  I saw people running CC on some very old machines, so if you have an old PC around, this is easy to try.  The only reason I did not try to use my old Celeron 450 is that it no longer remembered it's BIOS settings, so I did not have any faith that it would boot up all the time, without some intervention.  And for $60, it was worth it to me not to screw with that.

And my one minor disappointment is noise.  It is not as quiet as I would have liked, but since it lives in the gargage, not a big deal.  I am not sure if it is PS fan, or CPU fan that is noisier, but I may replace the PS with a "free" Fry's rebate one, when it gets here.

And, the one issue with the CPU that I saw at a Newegg review is that the heatsink is glued on , and hard to remove.  If you do remove it, you can replace with a big passive heatsink, and if you have a quiet PS, this thing could be basically silent.

Randy

BRN

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #9 on: 18 Oct 2006, 12:32 am »
Thanks for the info. I think that I will have to give it a try.

Brad

jkelly

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #10 on: 18 Oct 2006, 12:44 am »
Thanks Randy - installed fine on an older Dell 300 MHZ box. 
I did have a problem installing the latest version of Slim Server.
I was getting an error message that something was missing on
the linux side.  I was able to install 6.2.2 which is what I run on the PC side.

Your directions were great especially the drive stuff which also worked
for mounting an external USB drive. /sda1

Jeff
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2006, 03:45 pm by jkelly »

randytsuch

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #11 on: 18 Oct 2006, 02:15 am »
Thanks Randy - installed fine on an older Dell 300 MHZ box. 
I did have a problem installing the latest version of Slim Server.
I was getting an error message that something was missing on
the linux side.  I was able to install 6.2.2 which is what I run on the PC side.

Your directions were great especially the drive stuff which also worked
for mounting an external USB drive. /hda2

Jeff

Wow, that was quick.  Glad my instructions helped, that was the point.  It did take a little while to figure out the drive stuff, and how to mount drives.   Good to know USB works, it gives me more expansion options down the road.

Wonder why SS 6.5 did not work.  Only thing I can think of is that you did not install all the CC modules.  I think I installed all but the email and spam modules, but I did not write it down.

Randy

EchiDna

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #12 on: 18 Oct 2006, 11:41 am »
*stickied*

 :D

jkelly

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #13 on: 19 Oct 2006, 12:45 am »
I followed your suggestions and did not install email and spam.
Anyway this is the error message I got:

perl-Digest-SHA1 is needed by slimserver-6.5.0-1.noarch

I did not get this on 6.2.2

Jeff



randytsuch

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #14 on: 19 Oct 2006, 05:44 am »
*stickied*

 :D
Cool, I am a stickied author.   :thumb:

I followed your suggestions and did not install email and spam.
Anyway this is the error message I got:

perl-Digest-SHA1 is needed by slimserver-6.5.0-1.noarch

I did not get this on 6.2.2

Jeff


There is a thread here that talks about the exact problem you are having,
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=25087&highlight=perl-Digest-SHA1


While I am giving links away, here is a good guide for Linux newbies, it helped me figure some of this stuff out
http://linux-newbie.sunsite.dk/



And, I figured out how to get to change the firmware version, thanks mostly to Mike’s post here
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=27875.0

So, first I had to find the squeezebox2.version file.
So, from putty, I typed
find / -name squeezebox2.*

and after a little bit, it came back with
/usr/local/slimserver/Firmware/squeezebox2.version

Then, I used winscp3 to find it
I right clicked on squeezebox2.version, and selected duplicate, then OK.  Then, I saved it to a different name, as a backup version.

Then, use winscp to copy squeezebox2_15.bin to the /usr/local/slimserver/Firmware/ directory.

From winscp, you can just double click on a file to edit it.  Then, I made squeezebox2.version look like this
# Squeezebox2 firmware
#
# from        to
# from1..from2 to

1..15  15

# future versions may be downgraded to this one
         15


After that, you just go to you SB, and push the brightness button to update, and you’re done.



Few more helpfull hints.
To turn off your CC server from putty, you can type
shutdown -h now

Winscp supports something it calls custom command.  You define the command in the preferences screen, then select files then custom commands to find and execute it.  I added a custom command for shutdown, so I can turn off my CC machine from winscp now.

So, now I don’t use the CC web interface at all, I use putty and winscp.  And, you can launch a putty session from winscp, so this program does all the stuff I need to do.

Randy

jkelly

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #15 on: 19 Oct 2006, 09:03 pm »
I wanted to add some info on using an external USB drive with ClarkConnect.
I wanted to keep the drive readable on both windows and linux so that I could
easily load up new flac files on the windows side and then reconnect the USB
drive to the ClarkConnect linux box.

Well ClarkConnect kernel doesn't support mounting NTFS drives. (at least without
patching the kernel etc.)  And at best it is a read only.

So I had to reformat the USB drive in FAT32.  That is not that easy.  Windows
really doesn't want you doing it and doesn't want big partitions.  A program
on the web fat32format.exe formatted the drive in Fat32 in all of 4 seconds.

Then I was able to copy the flacs on the windows side and then connect the FAT32
drive to linux.

On linux you have to make a folder:

mkdir /mnt/usb

and then mount the drive to it:

mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb

In Slimserver the music folder is /mnt/usb.

Hope that helps.

Jeff




randytsuch

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #16 on: 24 Nov 2007, 05:27 pm »
Hi guys
A few updates

I just updated to slimserver 7.0, based on the positive reviews of it

This is what I used to do it
rpm -Uvh http://www.slimdevices.com/downloads/nightly/latest/7.0/SlimServer_trunk_v2007-11-24.noarch.rpm

I just did this from a putty window out of winscp
I did get a couple of error messages, I think since I was loading over 6.5, but it appears to be running fine.  But, I only listen to music with it, I don't even have playlists at this time, I just pick what I want to listen to, and listen.


I have created a blog here, with the info from this post
 http://randytsuch-musicserver.blogspot.com/

This guy has a better page
http://www.ulverston.myzen.co.uk/mini-itx/index.htm
with more information and details than I do
I am actually going to try some of the stuff he has, like power saving and disk spin down when not it use.

Randy

Zepplock

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 12
Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #17 on: 12 May 2009, 08:25 pm »
Interesting approach.

I actually went with NAS + Netbook. It was more expensive (~$300) but maybe more flexible.
More details here. http://vova.org/2009/05/09/my-home-music-server-diy-style/

p.s. Should I make a separate thread? Just in case people have question.

gkinberg

Re: My $60 home built NAS/music server
« Reply #18 on: 6 Feb 2011, 06:49 pm »
I'm not sure if this thread is for me becasuse I'm not terribly handy with tools or computer programing for that matter. However, I might like to give it a try but the first post has been deleted. Any reason why?

Thanks, Garth