Raspberry Pi 2 Media Center
After following these steps, you will have a running Kodi media server on a Raspberry Pi 2 in an Altoids tin case, ready for you to attach a thumb drive or hard drive with your media. These steps detail the method I used in my build with the hardware and software choices I made, but there are other options that you can choose. I included some notes about alternative choices in the steps where alternatives are available. Although the steps in this guide are specific, you should be able to adapt the general method for some of the alternative choices.
I chose to use the following components and software.
Raspberry Pi 2 Altoids tin case Xbian 1.0 Release Candidate 2 operating system Remote control input via IR receiver wired to GPIOWhen I built my media center, I did most of my work with the Raspberry Pi 2 plugged into a desktop computer monitor and set of speakers. 2 to 3 hours if you do not set up a remote control (Step 6).
This project requires prior experience with
Dremel to cut metal Linux command line and configuration files (for Step 6 only)List of steps
Step 1: Gather Parts
Step 2: (Optional) Work around “Xenon death flash” bug
Step 3: Make a case from an Altoids tin
Step 4: Download XBian onto a MicroSD card
Step 5: Install XBian on the Raspberry Pi 2
Step 6: (Optional) Install and configure infrared remote control capability
Step 7: Updates and next steps
The instructions in Step 6 enable the media center to accept commands from any remote control you have or purchase. I bought a remote control at a thrift store. If you have a television that supports HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), you do not need to perform Step 6. Instead, you can control the media center with your television’s remote control without any additional configuration required.
SoftwareKodi A free and open source media server and entertainment center. Formerly XBMC. A software package that decodes digital infrared signals of most commercial remote controls. Included by default as part of XBian.
PartsRaspberry Pi 2 model B Empty Altoids tin MicroSD card (at least 2 GB) AC to microUSB power adapter for the Raspberry Pi 2(output 5 volts, 1 to 2 amps) Ethernet cable HDMI cable Television with HDMI input or computer monitor with HDMI input and speakers Remote control Three female to female jumper wires, about 20cm long Vishay Semiconductor TSOP 38238 IR receiverToolsDuct tape or electrical tapeMounting putty (optional) Scissors or pocket knife Permanent marker Dremel with metal cutting bit Metal file Computer which supports MicroSD cards and has SSH client software (Step 6 only) USB keyboard USB mouse (optional) Hot glue (optional)Instead of using the Raspberry Pi 2, you can build a media center using an earlier version of Raspberry Pi. Prior to this project, I completed a similar one using a Raspberry Pi model B rev. 2. The advantage of the Raspberry Pi 2 is that it has a faster processor and more memory, which should make the media center load and respond faster.
The Raspberry Pi 2 has a peculiar bug which causes it to power down when exposed to intense flashes of light of certain wavelengths, such as those of laser pointers and xenon flash bulbs. Although this will not damage the Pi, a running system could experience data corruption. This only occurs under particular conditions, so if you do not expect to take flash photos of the board with a traditional xenon flash bulb, you do not have to do anything about the bug. The easiest workaround is to cover the affected part, device U16, with opaque tape or glue.
Parts and toolsRaspberry Pi 2Electrical tape, duct tape, or mounting putty Scissors or pocket knifeInstructionsIdentify device U16 on the Raspberry Pi 2 board. It has a shiny surface, and it is located between the HDMI port and the Raspberry Pi logo. Cut a small piece of tape and place it over device U16, or cover it completely with a small blob of putty. The tape or putty should completely cover both the top and sides of device U16. Note that I have not tested my Raspberry Pi with this tape as pictured because I do not expect anyone to take photos with traditional cameras while the media center is running. It may actually take a larger piece of tape to cover the device properly.