A few new things

So… a little time has passed, and I’ve acquired a couple of new toys. Some are more “practical” than others, while some are just plain cool. Among the new acquisitions are: a toaster, a toaster oven (they’re quite different), and a 20″ fan for the living room.

One of the cooler things I got (well, I actually got two) is a Samsung CLP-500 printer. This isn’t just any printer. It’s a color laser duplex printer! Yes, it does color. Yes, it’s laser, and yes, it’ll print on both sides automatically! Best of all, this thing retails for about $400 or $500 here, and I found two of them being sold for a grand total of $200! Yes, $100 each! They each came with new black toner cartridges too, each of which is worth $150. I’ve already tested out just about every single feature there is, and needless to say, it’s just wicked. It’s a bit big though…

Another cool thing that I found was a used XBox. Somebody was selling just the console, without cables or anything, for $50. I offered $40 and he took it. Great for me, since I once had an XBox that died on me (I fiddled to much with it… 🙁 ) but I was left with all the accessories – and the 160GB hard drive that came with. I also found a guy who would install a modchip in it for $50. Since I have no idea what I’m doing, and I didn’t want to break another system, I gave in and paid him. Voila! I have a brand spankin’ new XBox Media Center – which is the only reason I bought the thing. The XBMC is great because you can watch all your ripped DVDs or TV shows on your TV instead of on your computer! A much better way of enjoying your TV shows if you ask me. It’ll also play music, display pictures, etc etc etc, all in a very friendly user interface.

The only thing that had me bothered was the GPU fan. I, unfortunately, happened to get a v1.0 XBox (there were versions all the way up to 1.6). The 1.0 version was the only one that had a GPU fan – the others just had a beefier heatsink. XMBC has the ability to monitor and display your CPU and GPU temperatures, and both were hovering around the 40-42C mark at idle, and 45-ish while watching movies or listening to music and having visualizations going. I was trying to figure out how to quiet the damn thing because it was loud to the point where you’d hear it while watching a video – GRR! In the end, I ended up removing the fan and just seeing how the temperatures were. They didn’t change at all!!! Lucky for me! Yippee!

The last snag I found with my setup was that the chamber in my “entertainment unit” was getting pretty warm, since there was no open vent for the hot air to get out. It’s one of those cheap old cupboards with the particle board (?) backings – you know, the ones that are halfway between wood and cardboard. I traced out the size of a 120mm fan that I had lying around and started hacking away. After about 15 minutes, I had a nice hole in which I could stuff in this fan. Last summer, I had made a small circuit that would take 12V from a power brick, and run it through two voltage regulators – an LM7805 and a LM7812. At the outputs, I hooked up 4 wires and a molex connector that I had ripped off an old dead computer power supply. Plug the fan into the circuit, flick the switch, and tada!!! A custom ventilation system for my entertainment unit.

Phew… that ended up being a longer post than I thought it would be. Oh well! Thanks for reading!

2 Comments

  1. nick

    2007-07-19 at 14:42

    Haha. You’re getting your own.

    Seriously though, XBMC is really wicked… 😀

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