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README.md

RaspDAC on OSMC

RaspDAC on OSMC is an how-to and a set of scripts to help people get their Audiophonics RaspDAC up and running with the Open Source Media Center operating system. OSMC is based on Debian and uses Kodi as a mediacenter and human machine interface.

The RaspDAC is a high quality yet affordable network audio player. It is built on a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 board, a Sabre ES9023 based DAC, a power management unit and an OLED display. Being an affordable device, you are supposed to install the OS yourself. After the OS installation, you have things to configure such as choosing an overlay to use the DAC, and figuring out how to handle the power management unit and the display.

The Sabre V3 version of the RaspDAC is designed to host an IR remote control receiver. See this section for an how-to install and configure lirc and use it to control Kodi.

Table of contents

RaspDAC running OSMC playing music

RaspDAC running OSMC playing Inca Roads

RaspDAC running OSMC in energy saving mode

RaspDAC running OSMC in screensaver mode

Note: in no way am I affiliated to Audiophonics. I wanted to share my experience in the hope that it would be helpfull. If you want to try this, proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Software installation

This project is dedicated to the software installation of the RaspDAC on OSMC. If you're looking for instructions on how to assemble the hardware, refer to the links at the end of this document.

Prepare the SD Card

The download page for OSMC is here. As of September 2017, there is no specific image for the Rapsberry Pi 3, so use the Raspberry Pi 2 / 3 version.

Option 1: installer

OSMC proposes a dedicated program targetting the OS from which you will install OSMC. If you wish to follow this path, click on your installation host OS and follow the instructions. I never used the installer.

When you're done, insert the SDCard into the Rapsberry Pi and start the Pi. Jump to the configuration section below.

Option 2: manual installation

I assume you use a Unix-like operating system.

  1. Download the compressed image: click the Disk images button and scroll down to the latest release for Raspeberry Pi 2/3.

  2. Extract the image:

cd to the directory where you downloaded the compressed image and issue the following command:

gunzip OSMC_TGT_rbp2_20170803.img.gz
  1. Prepare the SDCard: insert the SDCard in your installation host and figure out which device it is associated to. If the OS auto-mounted the partitions, unmount them. E.g.:
unmount /dev/sdb1
unmount /dev/sdb2

Copy the image to the SDCard. Warning: this will erase everything on the SDCard. Make sure the device matches the SDCard before proceeding with the following command:

sudo dd bs=4M if=OSMC_TGT_rbp2_20170803.img of=/dev/sdb
  1. Finalize the installation: eject the SDCard from the installation host and insert it into the Rapsberry Pi. Connect an ethernet link and a keyboard and start the Pi.

OSMC will format and install the filesystem. When it's done, it will reboot. Follow the instructions. Choose a name for your media center. When prompted for SSH, accept the default option (Enabled).

Configure OSMC for the Sabre DAC

You should now have a runing OSMC with the main menu and time of the day.

Note: don't worry about the blinking power button, we'll get to that in a dedicated section.

Update OSMC

Before doing anything, it is a good idea to check for updates.

  1. From the main menu, select My OSMC
  2. Move up to the cloud Updates
  3. Move down to Manual Controls
  4. Move right to Scan for updates now and press the enter key.
  5. Wait until the scan is done. Reboot if needed, otherwise you can press the backspace key to return to the main menu.

Configure the overlay for the Sabre DAC

  1. From the main menu, select My OSMC
  2. Move left to Pi Config
  3. Move down to Hardware Support
  4. Move right and change Soundcard Overlay to hifiberry-dac-overlay
  5. Move down and select OK
  6. Press the backspace key to return to the main menu.
  7. Move down to Power
  8. Move down to Reboot and press the enter key.

If your RaspDAC is linked to an amplifier, you should get notification sounds from Kodi when you move through the menus.

Configure the installation host to connect to your RaspDAC

First you need to figure out which IP address is used by the Raspberry Pi. There are multiple ways of doing this depending on your network infrastructure. You may try something like this:

sudo nmap -sP 192.168.0.0/24

In the rest of this section, I will use the IP address 192.168.0.15.

Note: it is a good idea to assign a static address to the RaspDAC.

Prepare for passwordless ssh sessions (enter 'osmc' when prompted for the password):

ssh-copy-id osmc@192.168.0.15

Log in:

ssh osmc@192.168.0.15
uname -a

You should read someting like this:

Linux raspdac 4.9.29-8-osmc #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Jun 16 21:37:12 UTC 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux

For security reasons, you should change the password:

sudo passwd

After you log out, just issue the following command to connect to the RaspDAC (you won't need the password):

ssh osmc@192.168.0.15

Download this project

For the rest of the installation, we will use files from various git projects. On the RaspDAC, in an ssh session (see above), install git:

sudo apt-get install git-core

Clone this project:

mkdir ~/Projects && cd ~/Projects
git clone https://github.com/fengalin/raspdac-on-osmc

Handle the Power Management Unit

The project contains scripts and a systemd unit to handle the power management subsystem. This allows stopping the button from blinking when OSMC is started and handling soft reboot or poweroff as well as clean poweroff when the button is pressed.

The scripts rely on the python RPi.GPIO module which can be installed using pip (we will also need gcc):

sudo apt-get install gcc python-dev python-pip python-setuptools
sudo pip install rpi.gpio

Install the scripts and the systemd unit:

sudo cp -r ~/Projects/raspdac-on-osmc/power/* /usr/local/

Register and start the service:

sudo systemctl enable raspdac
sudo systemctl start raspdac

After a few seconds, the power button should stop blinking. You can now press it to cleanly shutdown the RaspDAC or handle the power unit from the command line or from Kodi's user interface. E.g. to shutdown from the command line:

sudo systemctl poweroff

Configure the OLED Display

Kodi uses the XBMC LCDproc add-on to show informations on a display. Obviously, the add-on relies on a properly configured LCDproc server. LCDproc supports HD44780 compliant displays such as the WINSTAR WEH001602A that comes with the RaspDAC. Some recent modifications are necessary to use LCDProc to its full potential on a RaspDAC. Until these modifications make their way to OSMC, we will have to compile LCDProc from source.

LCDproc generation requires automake:

sudo apt-get install automake make

Clone LCDproc:

cd ~/Projects
git clone https://github.com/lcdproc/lcdproc

Generate LCDproc with support for HD44780 only and install it:

cd ~/Projects/lcdproc
sh ./autogen.sh
./configure --enable-drivers=hd44780 --enable-extra-charmaps --disable-libusb --disable-libusb-1-0 --disable-libftdi --disable-libX11 --disable-libhid --disable-libpng --disable-freetype --disable-ethlcd
make
sudo make install

I stripped the configuration and adapted it to use the display via the GPIO. I also wrote a systemd unit in order to start the daemon automatically. Install the scripts and the systemd unit:

sudo cp -r ~/Projects/raspdac-on-osmc/display/* /usr/local/

Important: LCDd is configured for the Sabre V3 version by default. If you use a V2, proceed as follows (otherwise you can skip to register the service):

sudo nano /usr/local/etc/LCDd.conf

replace the following line:

pin_D7=27

with

pin_D7=15

Note: the configuration loads the Western Europe I font bank and char map. See LCDd.conf for other options.

Register and start the service:

sudo systemctl enable LCDd
sudo systemctl start LCDd

You should see a welcome message on the OLED display.

Install the LCDproc add-on using Kodi's add-on manager. The display should show "Kodi running..." and the time and date. See Modify how things are displayed if you want to change this message.

If you want to prevent the OLED display from entering screen saver mode during audio playback, check this how-to.

Configure an Infrared Remote Control

The Sabre V3 features 3 pins for an IR receiver. The case of the RaspDAC has a slot between the power button and the display to receive the module. The shape and size suggests it was designed for the TSOP 38238 form factor. I couldn't find this exact model locally, so I went with a TSOP 4838. I had to file down the hole a bit from the inside for the 4838 to fit properly.

Configure OSMC

On my device, the IR receiver data pin is connected to GPIO 26.

Note: Prior to version 2017.06-1, OSMC didn't allow defining a GPIO pin higher than 25 for an IR receiver. If you want to install a version earlier than 2017.06-1, you will need to patch your installation manually. Please refer to the instructions in tag 1.0.0.

Select the parameters for the IR receiver:

  1. From Kodi's main menu, go to My OSMC -> Pi Config -> Hardware Support
  2. Activate Enable LIRC GPIO support
  3. Select the following values: gpio_out_pin: 10, gpio_in_pin: 26, gpio_in_pull: down

Restart the Rapsberry Pi for the changes to take effect.

Configure your remote control

If your remote control works out of the box, I guess your are lucky. Otherwise, let's try to configure it. Linux Infrared Remote Control is a subsystem and a set of tools to handle remote controls on Linux.

Check if the Raspberry Pi receives an IR signal.

  1. Stop the LIRC server:
sudo systemctl stop eventlircd
  1. Dump the output of the IR device:
cat /dev/lirc0

Now, press a few keys on the remote control. If you can see gibberish, it's actually a good sign. If the command doesn't print anything, you might have an issue with your IR receiver.

Check this database for your remote. If you can find it, download the matching lircd.conf file and go to the following section

Generate a lircd conf

If you can't find your remote in the database, you'll have to generate the configuration file.

First, get the list of the valid key names with the following command:

irrecord -l

Then, use this command to generate a configuration file and follow the instructions:

irrecord -d /dev/lirc0 /home/osmc/your_lircd.conf

You will probably need to start over before getting it right. Check the next section for usefull keys. Using this method, I had a bouncing effect when I pressed the keys. From what I read, sorting this issue out depends a lot on the remote control itself. I ended up finding my remote control in the database. As an example, these were the lines that made the difference:

  min_code_repeat 1
  min_repeat      2

Assign names to keys to control Kodi

In order to ease the integration with Kodi, it is a good idea to choose key names that will produce the expected result out of the box.

Here are the ones I used and which allow controlling Kodi to a large extent:

  • KEY_LEFT, KEY_RIGHT, KEY_UP, KEY_DOWN
  • KEY_OK, KEY_BACK, KEY_HOME
  • KEY_CLOSE, KEY_POWER
  • KEY_MENU, KEY_INFO
  • KEY_MUTE, KEY_VOLUMEDOWN, KEY_VOLUMEUP
  • KEY_PREVIOUS, KEY_NEXT, KEY_STOP, KEY_PLAYPAUSE, KEY_FASTFORWARD, KEY_REWIND

Edit your_lircd.conf file to use these names. Then set it as the default configuration:

sudo rm /etc/lirc/lircd.conf
sudo cp your_lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircd.conf

(or use a symbolic link if you prefer)

Restart LIRC and Kodi:

sudo systemctl restart eventlircd
sudo systemctl restart mediacenter

Use the remote to navigate in Kodi's UI. If it doesn't work, I'm afraid, you'll have to dig a little more into LIRC's documentation.

Tips

Modify how things are displayed

The LCDProc addon stores a definition of the screens to display depending on the context in the following file:

nano ~/.kodi/userdata/LCD.xml

If you want the display to scroll long lines slower or faster, you can adjust the FrameInterval in the LCDd configuration file:

sudo nano /usr/local/etc/LCDd.conf

There are other parameters like the strings Hello and GoodBye which define what to display when the server starts and stops.

Use a mobile device interface to control the media center

Kodi comes with a web server that allows managing some of its features from a browser or a dedicated mobile device application: Kore.

These are the steps to configure the web server:

  1. From Kodi's main menu, move to Settings -> Services -> Control
  2. Enter a user name and password
  3. Allow remote control...

Check that the web server is runing: open a browser and connect to this URL: http://192.168.0.15:8080/ (replace '192.168.0.15' with the IP of your RaspDAC). You should be prompted with a user and password. Enter the ones you defined above.

If the connection succeeds, try installing Kore and configure it with the same settings you used above.

Kore hosts a copy of the metadata from your audio and video collection. You can browse your collection and control playlists from the mobile device.

Prevent the OLED display from entering screen saver mode during audio playback

During audio playback, when the screen saver timeout is reached, the playing time is displayed with big digits. If you prefer being able to read the playing title as well as the total time for the track, proceed as follow:

  1. Install a "visualization" package and restart Kodi:
sudo apt install kodi-visualization-spectrum
sudo systemctl restart mediacenter
  1. Activate the addon. In Kodi, got to Add-ons -> My add-ons -> Look and feel -> Visualisation -> Spectrum and click on Enable, then Use.

  2. Go to Settings -> Interface -> Screensaver and activate: Use visualisation if playing audio.

Disable Wifi and Bluetooth

For many reasons, you might want to disable the Raspberry Pi's Wifi and Bluetooth interfaces. I couldn't find a definitive minimalistic procedure, so here is a set of measures which I believe prevents the Pi from using these interfaces.

  1. Deactivate and mask the services:
sudo systemctl disable wpa_supplicant && sudo systemctl mask wpa_supplicant
sudo systemctl disable bluetooth && sudo systemctl mask bluetooth
sudo systemctl disable brcm43xx && sudo systemctl mask brcm43xx
  1. Blacklist the kernel modules:
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/raspi-blacklist.conf

Add these lines:

blacklist brcmfmac
blacklist brcmutil
blacklist btbcm
blacklist hci_uart
  1. Disable the interfaces:
sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Add these lines:

dtoverlay=pi3-disable-wifi
dtoveraly=pi3-disable-bt
  1. Reboot:
sudo systemctl reboot

Links

Resources used for this project

Scripts for the RaspDAC on audio oriented distributions

RaspDAC-Display was the main source for this project.

Raspberry Pi GPIO Handling

I choosed to use the RPi.GIO module as it was flexible, yet easy to use and it supported passive listening to GPIO.

Distinguish between reboot and power off

The shutdown script uses the strategy described here to determine if the running shutdown operation is a reboot or a power off.

In order to implement it in pure python, I used the DBUS interface for systemd.

HD44780 display using LCDproc

This how-to showed me the way. However, the project is now hosted on github.

Disabling Wifi and Bluetooth

The measures I propose come from this thread.

RaspDAC hardware installation

Sabre V3 connections

The Sabre V3 product page shows the display and IR pins for the different versions of the Sabre v3.

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