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Do It Yourself CD Changer 183

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the surprisingly-elegant dept.
SuperDuG writes "This is a true homebrew solution to saving a few bucks when it comes to cd changers. And to make it even better the whole setup is controlled by none other than linux. Seems like a nice setup to do batch burns without user interaction. Source is provided if you wanted to build your own." Not sure if this is very practical, or even if it would be cheaper than buying a changer, but it sure looks cool.
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Do It Yourself CD Changer

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  • /me bows down in awe and reverence
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mgcsinc (681597) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:54AM (#6498283)
    How long until the RIAA sends out a cease and desist for the publication of this "device to potentially increase the efficiancy of copryright-infringment?"
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sebi (152185) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:54AM (#6498285)
    Not sure if this is very practical, or even if it would be cheaper than buying a changer, but it sure looks cool.

    Nothing spells chick-magnet like a wooden contraption designed to require less movement.
  • by MCMLXXVI (601095) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:55AM (#6498287)
    What kind of geek are you?
    Geek code 101: You are supposed to make things like this out of Legos.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:57AM (#6498304)
    A five gigabyte photo collection?

    Can we say: porn?
    • in one month in Europe I collected 1.6 Gb of pictures. Using a 2 megapixels camera. 5 Gb is not that much if think about, if you have a relatively highres digital camera and use it much it would be easy to fill this up. My entire collection is 2.3 Gb bu it tends to grow more and more.
    • i have 4gb of pictures, none are porn. my 4.1mgpx camera turns out files that are 1-2mb in size each, and if you take pictures a lot like i do it doesn't take much time at all to accumulate a few gigs.
  • doesn't look like "a few bucks" cost for me to make it myself.

    I rather recommend you Beowulf cluster of CD/DVD drives, daisy-chained with SCSI or IEEE 1394 or something, as usual.
  • Actually... (Score:5, Funny)

    by UncleBiggims (526644) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:58AM (#6498308)
    Wouldn't a "do it yourself" CD changer be where you actually get up and change the CD yourself?
  • by calethix (537786) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:59AM (#6498315) Homepage
    " If I wanted to, I could SSH log into it while at work, load a CD in the tray, burn it, and remove it all remotely. Of course, the CD would still be in my basement, so the exercise would be somewhat pointless!"
    That's simple. Just build an add on that carries it up stairs, sticks it in an addressed envelope and drops it in the mail. :)
  • Other goodies (Score:5, Informative)

    by vasqzr (619165) <{vasqzr} {at} {netscape.net}> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:59AM (#6498318)


    Be sure to check out the rest [sentex.net] of his page. Fun stuff.

  • Mislead by Title (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 955301 (209856)
    I went into this one expecting to find a pc emulating an automobile CD changer. This is an idea I've been wanting to try out for a while. I've shelved it for a while because I have too many things going on, and lack of knowledge on my part.

    Does anyone anything about emulating a cd changer's controls so I might plug a computer into the back of a stock car stereo with changer support, and fake it into driving an ogg player?

    From what I gather, each system's pinout is different, but generally they all have to
    • I've looked at it too. Every OEM's pinout is different. You could attempt to emulate the one you'll be connecting to, but even that is tedious. I decided to just build a head unit computer instead.
    • Re:Mislead by Title (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cloudmaster (10662)
      Have you been reading my old car mp3 player page [cloudmaster.com] or my old [google.com] usenet [google.com] posts [google.com] again? :)

      Note that my post about emulating the Kenwood occured about a month before the people at PhatNoise (now makers of the audio Keg) started working on their device. They actually finished theirs, which is more than I did. They're not real keen on sharing their specs, though. At least, they haven't been helpful when I've contacted them. Kenwood's been useless, too. Not that I'm bitter or anything. :)

      As far as how the things a
      • It is possible to find documentation on some kenwood changer protocols through google, I have done it. Whether any of them apply to my old kenwood changer, I have no idea. (I have an older ten disc changer.) It is definitely serial communications, there's not enough wires in there to devote a lot of them to communications.

        P.I.E. [pie.net] makes adapters for Kenwood head units so you can hook up other brands of changer. They run about a hundred bucks. I just emailed 'em and asked them if they are planning a computer

        • If you clicked on any of my links, you'd see dates in the 1999 range... I haven't looked around much since then. It makes me happy to know that someone's managed to document some of them, though. The new changers are all compatible with the old head units, so I'm guessing that they've just extended the protocol some. They added disk naming, which shouldn't make things much more difficult. It'd make it easier, I'd think, since it'd sure be nice to display track names on the headunit. :)

          I've looked arou
          • They are not all compatible. Excelon head units will not run old changers, for example. The CD Text stuff is pretty old, it was around well before 1999, which is about when I got my changer (which, unfortunately, doesn't do CD text, though my head unit does.)

            It is a shame that it's only Sony that's that easy to find. Sony can't make a laser pickup unit worth a shit to save their life. Good thing for them they don't have to.

  • by the_pooh_experience (596177) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:03AM (#6498341)
    There isn't much that I plan on using this gadget for. I guess mostly its for bragging rights. That, and I hadn't hooked up anything to a PC's printer port in ages. If I wanted to, I could SSH log into it while at work, load a CD in the tray, burn it, and remove it all remotely. Of course, the CD would still be in my basement, so the exercise would be somewhat pointless!

    at least he is honest. no need to justify a tinkering project under the guise that it is somehow useful. Tinker for tinker's sake I say!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:04AM (#6498345)
    Bah, I just use my kid brother. "Yo, urchin! Fetch the next batch of CD's will you? There's a nice shiny nickel in it for you and if they get burned before 5 o'clock, a chocolate bar!"

    I'm working on training my dog next.
  • by Esion Modnar (632431) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:05AM (#6498352)
    ...what a CD changer would look like if it was built by the Amish.
  • by doomy (7461) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:06AM (#6498359) Homepage Journal
    I was looking at this guy's wooden assembly and all I could think was, why didn't he use an used dot matrix/ink printer for the carriage. That would certainly be pretty interesting to play with, and would definitly be more precise, ofcourse he'd still need the up and down movement done using another motor.
    • Actually I've seen a commercial setup that looks very similar to what you are describing. Except they used an inkjet printer, and left the head on. It can burn and label a stack of CDs unattended.

      It actually looks kind of similar to this guy's wooden changer. Maybe he should add a small plotter that uses a Sharpie....
    • looking at this guy's wooden assembly and all I could think was, why didn't he use an used dot matrix/ink printer for the carriage.

      He got the slider bar assembly from an IBM Selectric typewriter. And besides, as he explains, he didn't want to deal with the complex timing required to get stepper motors working. Printers use stepper motors. I you're not going to use the motors from the printer/typewriter, that leaves you with the slider bar assembly thing. Which is what he used.

      • He interfaced it using the printer port. Instead of running the stepper motors directly through custom electronics, let the printer's own electronics do it. All you'd need to send is print commands.

        • He interfaced it using the printer port. Instead of running the stepper motors directly through custom electronics, let the printer's own electronics do it. All you'd need to send is print commands.

          That's all well and good for moving the thing, but that leaves the non-trivial problem of trying to interface the grabbing and lifting circuits to something. The way he did it was by far easier.

  • say wha? (Score:3, Funny)

    by qoncept (599709) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:06AM (#6498361) Homepage
    "Do-it-yourself cd changer" ? Isn't that the way a single disc cd player works already?
  • by WesG (589258) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:06AM (#6498364)
    Check out the Rubiks cube solver made entirely out of Lego's.

    http://jpbrown.i8.com/cubesolver.html

    Even uses a cam to figure out what is on each of the cubes faces!
  • by Botchka (589180) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:07AM (#6498373)
    of the time when my friends dad couldn't afford a new Playstation 2 for Christmas. Christmas morning rolls around and my friend finds a Playstation 2 carved out of wood under the tree.....
  • by eyeball (17206) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:09AM (#6498385) Journal
    Now if they were truely geeks, they would've made it out of a Lego Mindstorm kit.

    • I know that was intended as humor, but this guy actually has made some pretty cool things from lego [sentex.net].

      To actually try to duplicate this cd changer with lego seems a little impractical.

      ...that is, if the phrase `a little impractical' even has any place in discussions of this sort....

  • Isn't there some way to build this out of floppy disks?
  • by TerryAtWork (598364) <research@aceretail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:12AM (#6498404)
    We really need a cheap CD/DVD jukebox. I've seen them at Comdex etc for $25,000. The hell with that.

    Someone get a carousel CD player at Target for $100 and wire it up to a computer. There's 70,200 megs nearline.

    Anyone up for that?

    • Just buy more hard drives. 70,000meg isn't actually that much anymore. RAID, remember?
    • You can get an 80,000 meg hard drive for cheaper.
    • Someone get a carousel CD player at Target for $100 and wire it up to a computer. There's 70,200 megs nearline.

      Anyone up for that?

      My jukebox has 200,000 megs online and takes a few milliseconds between songs. Hard drives are too cheap to bother with cds.

    • Someone get a carousel CD player at Target for $100 and wire it up to a computer. There's 70,200 megs nearline.

      Which is roughly 70Gb?

      For $100 or less you could get a 120Gb hard drive, copy the CD's to it, and they're online, none of this nearline crap.

      But come to think of it, the carousel would still be useful if you wanted to set up a CD/DVD burner, and not just a reader. I have a Sony CD juke with a capacity of 400 CD's, and it was only $300.

      So that would be 400 x 700Mb = 280Gb. Wow!

      • My point is three things -

        One - disks die. All your data on a HD has a half life of somekind. I *suspect* that CDRs will last longer (but I could be wrong)

        Two - When you move up to 18 GB DVDs your server capacity is now 1.8 Tera bits, which does not suck.

        Three - you have lots of data you need but not evry day. It's a waste of capacity to keep it spinning on a HD. You should job it off to the carousel and use your HD for frequent stuff.

        I think the big, cheap, long-lasting near-line thing is going to catc
    • And to make it even better the whole setup is controlled by none other than linux.

    Maybe the poster will be sued and have SCO lawyers sending nastigrams for protecting their IP rights since this is technically derivative work ... Sorry, couldn't resist. Way too much S.C.O. FUD in the news the last few days.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Building some sort of gadget that changes the CDs in my cd tray is something I have often thought about. Mostly in the context of ripping my CD collection or burning a backup of my 5 gig photo collection.

    The mechanicals
    My first thought was to come up with something extremely simple, with no electronics. Ideally, the motion of the cd tray would trip some sort of mechanism that would eject the CD from the tray and insert the next one. After months of thinking, I still hadn't thought of a mechanism that h
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:14AM (#6498414) Homepage Journal
    I was thinking of doing the same by making a MiniDisc megachanger. Instead, for now, I bought a Sony CD-Audio megachanger and it worked out of the box. I still intend to go back to that idea though.

    One thing I wish would be done is better control of the Sony CD changer. There are S-link projects out there but all use the parallel port, and IMO, that's too hacktastic, I'd want to continue or build a serial port S-link controller. There is some _very_ slick control software that can even ID all the discs and tracks in the changer, and you select a track on a computer and the changer will play your music. Most people would do MP3 instead, but man-machine and electrical-mechanical interfacing is cool.

    Unfortunately, there aren't any Sonys that can burn discs, at least none that I know, and none that I know that can be used as a CD-ROM changer, at least affordably, so this project still has some merit.
  • by chrestomanci (558400) * <david@chrestomanci.oELIOTrg minus poet> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:15AM (#6498415)

    A friend of mine used to be in an unsigned Metal band. He told me that one of the most boring parts is copying CDs. Apparently commercial CD copy companies usually had a minimum order that was quite large, and always invented problems with whatever was sent to them, creating longer turn around and more hassle. The cost per CD was also quite high compared with burning their own on a CDR.

    Instead, what he would do, is to setup his PC next to a sofa in front of the TV, and manually swap CDs, while watching TV. He said that if he managed 20 CDs per hour (on his 40x burner) he would be doing well, but tropically managed less than that.

    It was of course, boring, and prone to error.

    A contraption to automatically load, burn and unload CDs, like in the article, would have been much better. He could have loaded it up with 200 blanks, gone to bed and come back in the morning to find it jammed, but at least with ~100 CDs done :-)

  • Lazyness (Score:1, Funny)

    by CompWerks (684874)
    Is the mother of invention. Gotta love it. :)
  • by sputnikid (191152) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:18AM (#6498434)
    or does every Flintstones episode come to mind at this moment?
    • 0o0o0o yea... gotta get a bird, with a beak the right shape to pick up the CD's and move them from pile, to burner, to pile... that'd kick ass...

      Just have to figure out a "drip" tray, and refueling stations.
  • by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:24AM (#6498463)
    I wonder how many devices this counts as, given the RIAA's suspect formula? [slashdot.org] If his CDRW writes at 24x, boy is he in the s**t ;-)
  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by tds67 (670584) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:25AM (#6498467)
    ...what about an automatic beer changer? Something that would remove an empty beer can from my hand as I sit in my lazy boy recliner, then put a fresh beer in my hand.

    Now that would be progress!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The beer changer feature is available in Girlfriend 3.2. However all attempts to port it to Wife 1.0 have failed.
    • It doesn't sound too hard, but the difficult part would be removing the "used" beer after it had been processed......
  • ...the software pirates in Asia just got an easier job.

    Anyway, when it comes to mechanical widgets in computer history, nothing comes close to the IBM "spacebar button" solution.

    The story goes something like this: In the sixties, IBM was running two jobs at night, but between the jobs an operator had to press the spacebar. Apparently, changing the software was impossible due to lost source or something, so this guy came up with an ingenious solution. He mounted an iron arm to a clock with a Lego block o

  • That reminds me...cool idea and all, but a little _too_ geeky even for me :) -- but since I've become a Mac head, got the iPod and got totally hooked on iTunes...

    I just don't use my 300+1 Pioneer CD changer anymore. A couple of weeks ago I added in the SliMP3 player (replacing the CD player altogether) and added 2x120G (RAID-1) drives to hold the library.

    Anybody interested in a _real_ CD changer?

    I mean, I've tried GIVING this thing away. My brother, best friend, parents, wife's parents -- nobody wants it
  • with random access to CDs? Preferably scalable to a few thousand disks?
  • by indros13 (531405) * on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:38AM (#6498560) Homepage Journal
    ...Ah, but can you not also build "do-it-yourself cd changers out of stone?"

    (-1, Pythonic)

  • by ahfoo (223186) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:48AM (#6498628) Journal
    This is definitely cool. For all the people saying this type of hack is irrelevant because of the storage difference between HDs and CDs, I must say that's rather short-sited when you consider that the form factor for optical media is most likely going to stay the same all the way into the violet laser media. So, while you could call this an out-of-date CD changer, you could also call it a cutting edge Blu-Ray changer. And commercial alternatives are insanely overpriced.
    But this is certainly not the last word on the matter. I've got my own plans as well. One thing we didn't see was any kind of performance specs about how big of an unattended stack the thing could handle. I read the part where he said it was just for fun, but I'd still like to know how many he could do consecutively.
    The option I'm considering is where you take a plastic housed stack of a hundred hundred discs sitting on a conveyer whith a slot at the bottom of the stack only big enough for one disc at a time to be rolled out. I think some of the commercaial solutions might work like this.
    • The option I'm considering is where you take a plastic housed stack of a hundred hundred discs sitting on a conveyer whith a slot at the bottom of the stack only big enough for one disc at a time to be rolled out. I think some of the commercaial solutions might work like this.

      I have been thinking about the problem of CD changing robots and I believe I have the answer. Unfortunately I would need more legos than I currently posess to prototype it without doing any machining. :) Basically the idea is tha

  • He used spare CD-ROM motors to fully automate it. Not as classy as this one (it throws the completed CDs onto a chair), but works just as well...and he even wrote queuing software for it. I have a videoclip of it somewhere...
  • If you don't value your time, or care if it works reliably.
  • Color Coding (Score:5, Informative)

    by Medievalist (16032) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:10AM (#6498800)
    From the article:
    Luckily, the cable manufacturer followed the black - brown - red - yellow - green - blue - violet colour numbering convention, so I didn't have to probe around with the ohmmeter too much
    In the days of the dinosaurs, when I was in 6th grade, we learned the mnemonic "BLack Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly" which reduces to black - brown - red - orange - yellow - green - blue - violet - grey - white.

    They probably don't teach that particular bit of doggerel any more...
    • No, now we learn "Bad" boys, and not until high school. Or at least, that was my experience. I used to know a clean resistor code mnemonic but only the dirty one stuck with me.
    • Re:Color Coding (Score:4, Informative)

      by axis-techno-geek (70545) <robNO@SPAMgoshko.ca> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:10PM (#6504363) Homepage
      No, it is just more "Politically Correct" now:

      Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Vilot Gives Willingly, sometimes for Gold, some times for Silver, and sometime for No Charge at all.

      Value:

      • Black - 0

      • Brown - 1
        Red - 2
        Orange - 3
        Yellow - 4
        Green - 5
        Blue - 6
        Violet - 7
        Gray - 8
        White - 9
      Tolerance:
      • Gold - 5%

      • Silver - 10%
        None - 20%
      color1 + color 2 * ( 10 ^ color3 )
      color4 - Tolerance
  • That thing is the type of stuff that us art-technology people like. It looks elegant, and it can be seen in a context apart from the fact that it burns CD's... it is creating copies, which could be seen as cloning one's self. If only he had thought of that at the time, it would've been a great work of art!
  • by dfn5 (524972) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:31AM (#6498971) Journal
    I've been looking for something like this for a while to do batch rips. I was going to build one out of legos but I couldn't find a supplier for a suction mechanism. I'm not crazy about that spreader mechanism in the pictures. Too much pressure and you'll have twice as many CDs.

  • And to make it even better the whole setup is controlled by none other than linux.

    As a Windows user (yes, there are still a few of us around) I don't find that better.

    In any case, he's obviously a hardware guy and not a software guy. The program has to run as root, it's controlled through the printer port, and he is puzzled how to make it work through the printer port using Windows. It would have been cooler had he used something like TINI [ibutton.com] to allow control through a network. "TINI's networking capabi
  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:46AM (#6499160) Homepage
    Diskmakers has a similar gizmo in their catalog that is used for burning CD-R's. It picks up blank cd from an input stack, drops it into the open tray of the drive, then picks up the burned cd and drops it into the dot matrix printer to print the label on the disk (printable cd's) then picks the disk up out of the printer and drops it onto the output stack. Of course their gizmo isn't made of Wood. (http://www.discmakers.com/hardware/)
  • If you want to do batch burns, get a Composer Max [www.tape.ca], the thing burns 400 CDs(and even DVDS) without user interaction!
  • Alternative to CDR [roadogz.com]

    It would be more in keeping with the wooden construction, methinks...

  • I have a do-it-yourself CD changer. It's called my hand. :)

  • Well, at least now I know I'm not the only geek who reads Sublime Times [sublimedirectory.com] at Sublime Directory.com.
  • Check out the rest of his site and his brother Markus' site. My hat is off to both of them. I wish I had lived next door to these guys when I was a kid.

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