Monday, July 29, 2013

XBMC project - Post 5 - updating to latest version

Story Board:
Post 1
Post 2
Post 3:
Post 4:

This is what I did to install 3.1.2. You can follow these steps for even downgrading.

1. Follow steps in 
Get 3.0.6 img file and install;O=D

Later get official 3.1.2 (or any other latest version) kernel, system md5 files from

Then, follow link below to update to highest version

Thursday, July 18, 2013

XBMC project - Post 4 - Installing OpenELEC

Story Board:

What you need
1.  Pi
2. SD card
3. Computer
4. USB drive, optional but recommended for better performance
If you are using Linux based system use following link for instruction
If you are using windows machine to install  follow the instructions in link below
(this method is tested and works fine)
To simplify, I skipped formatting and partition step. I used normal windows format. Just make sure that you select FAT32.I used suggested win32 disk imager to write image file to SD card

Once completed you can boot raspberry pi with SD card. I have tried at this stage. All feature works without any problem with functionality, however screen navigation and add on experience are not that great. A lot of lag. Follow the instruction in below link to move "/storage" partition to USB drive, which boosts the performance drastically.

Follow the instruction mentioned in below link to get the /storage into USB drive. Only deviation I did was to create a bootable GPARTED CD drive and boot from it to move the partition. 

Assuming that you have LAN router, cable, HDMI TV, a USB Keyboard, another computer which is on the same LAN.

1. Install OpenELEC on SD card as explained above. 
2. Format USB Drive - FAT32
3. Insert SD Card, USB Drive both into Raspberry pi
4. Connect USB Keyboard
5. Connect HDMI Cable to TV
6. Connect power adapter to pi and turn it on

Above steps were derived from link below

Next Post:
Upgrading to 3.1.2
Installing wireless adapter

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

XBMC Project - Post 3 - Operating Systems for Raspberry pi

Story Board:

  1. Post 1:
  2. Post 2:

Before you go ahead with the installation let's see how to connect things together

Connecting Pi to TV and other gadgets is as simple as plugging in power adapter to your laptop.

  • Connect your HDMI cable to Pi and TV
  • Insert SD Card
  • Insert your mobile power adapter to Pi (micro USB) - Make sure that current rating is more than 700mA
  • If you have wireless adapter, plug it in one of the USB ports
  • Plug key board in another USB port for initial setup

And that's it..

Now you have got Pi, you have got power of a computing engine on your palm. Many people use Pi in very different purpose. Most popular flavor is to use it as an XBMC server. This series of posts is to achieve the same. We have many options of OSs to be installed on Pi. Refere

As our goal is to implement XBMC on Pi, let's concentrate on XBMC distributions. Following are the options . (

  1. Raspbian
  2. OpenELEC
  3. Xbian
I have instaled OpenELEC and recommed strongly. However, OpenELEC works very smoothly when installed on USB Drive instead of SD card. I will write a separate post on it. Advantage of OpenELEC is that, it has been build from the scratch for the purpose of XBMC and only XBMC. Its light, fast and accurate. Visit 

My next post will be on instaling OpenELEC on SD card and then move to USB drive for snappiness. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

XBMC project - Post 2 - What you need

Story Board:

  1. Post 1:

In this post I will try to make a list of things you need to establish full working solution
Goal: To achieve full working xbmc which can be used by even novice, who it's not interested experimenting all these things :), also to stream all your own videos, pictures,  movies and songs from external hard drive wirelessly
1. Raspberry pi circuit: So what is this
Raspberry pi is not edible :). It's a small cute circuit board which gives you the power of full working computer. Following are the Ports/external interfaces available
a. Hdmi output - out goes road monitor, in our case out will be TV
b. 2 USB Ports, almost anything or takes
c. SD card slot, has the bootloader and OS
d. Power slot, you micro USB mobile phone charger is good enough
c. Audio and video out, in case you don't want to use hdmi (in our case these are obsolete)
Cost: I got it for ₹ 2900 plus taxes. I went to JP Nagar in person to buy it, you can visit  or contact Ranganath. Just note that prices are already hiked due to falling rupee value against dollar
2. SD card: you can use an existing one if you already have. Better to user high class one
3. Wireless mini keyboard (optional): This is optional, but very useful and cute enough to not to opt out. Cost ₹1500
4. Wireless adapter: I got d link n300 one for ₹900 again from Note all wireless adapters are compatible with pi, even tough pi works without this, I strongly recommend to have this, assuming that you have wireless router and have access to internet through it
5. Wireless N router with USB:(Optional)
You need this if you want to stream your own contents from your hard disk wirelessly. This could be an alternative to an expensive NAS. Of course you have certain  draw backs, will  explain in some later posts.
I bought dlink N300 2750u . One of the coolest routers, costed ₹2200 from flipkart. You can have others but make sure that it has USB storage sharing, supports UPnP.
6. Hdmi cable: This is mandatory for media center so better buy it. You get it for around ₹800.
7. Case for pi: There are different case options, I suggest to buy a decent looking one. I bought black case from, it costed aground ₹400.
Total cost of all these gadgets
Pi - ₹ 3100
Wireless adapter - ₹900
hdmi cable - ₹800
SD card - ₹350
Wireless router - ₹2200
Wireless mini keyboard - ₹1500
Case - ₹ 400
Total (including optional devices) ₹9350

My next post will be on choosing OS for your pi

XBMC project - Post 1 - See the end

Today, one of my dreams have come true. I have installed my home media center, with as affordable price as it can be. I am going to write a series of posts regarding it.

XBMC running on my raspberry pi. OpenElec version of Xbmc
Established wifi connection to my pi using d-link wifi adapter n300

I have also established network drive using my new wifi router with USB. All my media can be streamed from my external 1 TB drive.

Create amazing library of my movies using useful scrappers

Using filmi by nature add on, I can stream HD videos online

Using Yatse Android app I can control xbmc
Using Yatse+ plugin I can stream my media directly from phones and tablets

I can start slide show of my old picture archives just by a click

Play my music from anywhere

Play YouTube videos on big screen

You know, its really good feeling. DIY XBMC, is really cool

Friday, January 25, 2013

Trip to Karwar - planning

My dear friend Sridhar sent an email sometime in 3rd week of December proposing for a trip for year end or 1st week of Jan. At the same time even Sowmya and I were thinking to get out somewhere. It so happened that none of the other friends could make it. So it turned out to be both our families.

We both started to plan things out, starting from place, mode of transport, itenary, things to pack, thinks to buy and what not,  Sri created a planning document on google drive and we started to update then in collaboration. In coupe of days things got frozen on place, ie Karwar and we decided to take bus. The date was initially year end 29th to 31st. But wet didn't get accommodation anywhere. And even bus fare was exuberant. So we decided to move date by one week. Our new date was 5th to 7th. We decided to take leave on Monday. We wanted to take it cool as little ones would be there. Adya and Swaraj both are of almost same age.

Sridhar got bus booked and I got 2 rooms in a resort called Tarang booked. Bus was around 600 per person one way. It was sleeper coach. He got Sugama for on going and SRS for return journey. Tarang resort is in little remote place off karwar town. Around 7 km near Sadashiva ghad. But the review and photos were good on trip advisor and we decided to book that. It costed per room 1.8k per day. Which was good enough for us. The previous week the same was around 2.5k. Only concern was, as it was away from town our committing to places would be tough. Other options for us were, devbghag jungle resorts, estuary resorts, the lotus resort. Out of which jungle resorts we did not get booking, Lotus was way  too expensive and estuary response was not that great. Later we realized it was good that wet din't get there :) as the approach road was horrible

We started logging our expenses in the google drive which was designed to automatically calculates and shares the amount and tells how much should one pay to another at the end of trip.

Ladies at home started to pack things and we supported them.