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View Full Version : Duet on a boat in the jungle of Panama !



DeVerm
2008-06-12, 18:00
Hi there; I'm new here so don't whack me too hard...

I just finished installing the duet plus a new pico-ITX PC aboard our sailboat "Jedi" (see http://www.sv-jedi.org) while moored in the jungle of Panama. This setup is very different from any I read about in the forums and brings up some problems other might never have noticed. I wonder if there are other "mobile" users out there!
Let me describe the setup:

The amp is an Alpine 6-channel car amp. It's configured to drive a 2.1 speaker configuration with 2 channels bridged for each speaker. The two satellites are from Mirage (Canada) and the subwoofer is a 10" marine version from Memphis Audio.

The network is where it gets interesting as you can guess there's no cable nor dsl service on the water! I installed a DLINK 4500 router which gives wifi service for the duet and a laptop. It's WAN port is connected to a Linksys router with software from Sveasoft. It provides a "client-routed" configuration which basically replaces a cable or dsl setup with a wifi uplink solution. That Linksys is connected to a 500mW amplifier which is connected to a permanent outside 8dBi omni-directional antenna. There's a directional yagi antenna available for very challenging situations but that wasn't needed here in Panama yet. The marina where we are has a flaky wifi service which we now connect to. As we are in the jungle, they have a point-to-point wireless uplink to an ISP in Colon. My Internet access thus involves 3 radio-links....

The PC is a pico-ITX fanless system running XP and SqueezeCenter. It also provides DVD-entertainment and Internet browsing and email. See http://www.logicsupply.com/products/systemgs_l08 for more on this really small and 0dB noise-level PC. The screen is a 24" Dell LCD.

The complete network/wifi system is directly powered from our 12V house-batteries. The duet and PC are still on their AC adapters. We have to make that AC out of the 12V too, using a true-sine inverter.

Now the installation and the difficulties involved; The duet's receiver immediately upgraded itself from the SC 7.01. No way of seeing that coming, let alone preventing it. After that, the controller only showed the read-me menu-item saying it needed an upgrade plus the settings option where one can select to start the upgrade. That never works because it turns out that the new software is NOT in SC but somewhere on the Internet. Result: broken setup/config. This is an error IMHO as both upgrades should be either from the Internet or from SC but not split between them. SC 7.01 simply wasn't talking friendly to the controller.
Also, SC really really wants you to be online with account-info, pin-numbers etc. Anyway, after 2 days of trying to upgrade I finally succeeded at 3 AM when nobody else was online here anymore, there was no lightning-storm to break one of the 3 radio-links and I provided the patience as the download took more than 30 minutes to complete.

The duet always has 100% signal strength which isn't surprising as the boat isn't as big as a house, nor has concrete walls (we're plastic, not steel). I still have an occasional drop or crash on both duet components and the SC webinterface is slow on this PC (1GHz CPU). The whole system is very nice though and I hope the small problems still there might get solved with further software upgrades. This is a perfect system for a boat.

User friendly? In use: yes, but I really think I'm the only sailor in the world who managed installing this on the boat and that's 100% network & Internet related (which used to be my work before setting sail).

My only real comment would be to make it possible to download new software versions for controller and player; copy those files into SC and update both controller and receiver from SC from the LAN, instead of from the Internet.

I don't see how I can run SoftSqueeze without running SC on that same computer but I did manage to control it with the duet's controller. I hope to install SoftSqueeze on the pilot-house computer which has a small but nice amplified speaker-set and have it retrieve the MP3's from the SC running "downstairs". I get the feeling that SoftSqueeze is more of a try-out before buying the hardware but I'll give it another try some day.

So, if there's other mobile (car/RV/boat/airplane) users out there, let me know!

ciao!
Nick.

sfraser
2008-06-12, 20:11
I thought about it in our new boat, but being there is all ready a mini jack input built into the marine stereo, so an ipod seems a lot simpler.

I will be putting one into our hunt camp this year. We have our own power, via solar panel, with 12 volt batteries and a 1000w inverter. We run everything we can off of 12 V DC directly to keep things as efficient as possible. therefore I will be using a Koolu/SlimNAS platform which requires 12 V DC input as the SC. The duet and wifi router will run off the AC inverter. Speakers are Cambridge Soundworks satellites and amp/subwoofer which run off of 12V DC as well. It is/will be the best sounding hunt camp south of Algonquin Park!

SuperQ
2008-06-12, 20:36
My only real comment would be to make it possible to download new software versions for controller and player; copy those files into SC and update both controller and receiver from SC from the LAN, instead of from the Internet.


The Receiver gets the firmware from SqueezeCenter, and you can download the controller's firmware and copy it to an SD card without need for direct internet access.

pablolie
2008-06-12, 21:56
...since it makes me want to set sail myself.

I can only imagine how exacerbated some issues are when Internet links become unavailable or congested. Disable automatic upgrades right now. :-)

peter
2008-06-12, 22:24
On Thu, 12 Jun 2008 20:36:13 -0700, "SuperQ"
<SuperQ.3axckn1213328401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> The Receiver gets the firmware from SqueezeCenter, and you can download
> the controller's firmware and copy it to an SD card without need for
> direct internet access.

Sure, but how do you know which SBC fw version to get for each SC
version?
It would be much better if the appropriate version was included with the
SC distribution.

Regards,
Peter

DeVerm
2008-06-13, 07:47
The Receiver gets the firmware from SqueezeCenter, and you can download the controller's firmware and copy it to an SD card without need for direct internet access.

Yes, that would have been the best method... if I had known about it at the time! This is not documented, not even the fact the SD slot is in the controller, although it was the first thing I noticed. I will definitely do this for the next update!

Like another poster wrote: it should be in the SC distribution as it's needed to work with that SC distribution. This means a bigger file while many users have no controller but I see other firmware in the distribution that I don't need too...

cheers,
Nick.

DeVerm
2008-06-13, 07:58
I thought about it in our new boat, but being there is all ready a mini jack input built into the marine stereo, so an ipod seems a lot simpler.

I will be putting one into our hunt camp this year. We have our own power, via solar panel, with 12 volt batteries and a 1000w inverter. We run everything we can off of 12 V DC directly to keep things as efficient as possible. therefore I will be using a Koolu/SlimNAS platform which requires 12 V DC input as the SC. The duet and wifi router will run off the AC inverter. Speakers are Cambridge Soundworks satellites and amp/subwoofer which run off of 12V DC as well. It is/will be the best sounding hunt camp south of Algonquin Park!

Well, that jack on your marine stereo will accept the SB output just as well! I don't know about iPods but I do know that this morning with the SB, I listened to news radio from Holland (we're Dutch) while reading the BBC world news headlines and only when the 64 kBps stream started dropping too much I changed over to SC. Can you do all that with the iPod while in Panama?
I think the difference is how you use the boat; you sail it now and then and we are liveaboard cruisers who sold everything ashore and the boat is our house. Big difference, think about it! ;-)

ciao!
Nick.