Tips & Tricks

Q&A: How do I get analog audio out from a mini PC?


Q: How do I get analog audio out from a mini PC?
A: Your best bet is if the unit has a composite AV output – just grab a 3.5mm TRRS to three RCA cable and the white and red RCA plugs will give you stereo audio (the yellow is video).
But if all you have is HDMI output, there may be a couple of options.… Read more

MK908 mod adds in hard drive, USB hub and dedicated PSU


It’s one of the most impressive mini PC mods we’ve seen so far, taking an MK908 quad-core mini PC and turning it into a powerhouse media hub with its own integrated power supply. forum member [Maximus] has taken the MK908 to new heights, incorporating an overclocked new ROM, boosting its clock speed to 1.8GHz. He’s also incorporate a three-port USB hub in the bottom with an RJ45 Fast Ethernet port link.… Read more

Beware when buying HDMI to VGA adapters


With the rise of mini PCs, there’s been plenty of interest in ways to get the HDMI output of these devices connected up to old VGA monitors many of us still have lying around.
While prices for HDMI to VGA adapters have fallen dramatically over the last year or so, you need to be careful you don’t go too low.
At the very bottom of the market, you’ll find a number of HDMI to VGA cables – basically just a multi-wire cable with an HDMI plug on one end and a VGA plug on the other.… Read more

Q&A: Is there an Android 4.2 ROM for the MK802?


Q: Is there an Android 4.2 ROM for the MK802?
A: The original single-core MK802? No, there isn’t. Official support for the original MK802 appears to have ended with Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and the REV.2 firmware. You can still download the REV.2 release from the Rikomagic forum site.
The closest you’ll get the Android 4.2 is a complicated process of installing Android 4.1 courtesy of CyanogenMod10 (CM10).… Read more

Nvidia shows how to build a Raspberry Pi server cluster


The Raspberry Pi is better known as arguably the world’s most popular single-board computer but chip maker Nvidia has revealed the design for a simple but effective Raspberry Pi server cluster.
The design, created by Nvidia’s HPC systems engineer Adam DeConinck, takes five Raspberry Pi Model B boards and matches them to an eight-port switch. Power comes from a powered USB hub capable of providing 5VDC@700mA per Pi.… Read more

Q&A: Can I get composite video out of my smartphone?


Q&A: Can I get composite video out of my smartphone?… Read more

A: Directly? No. But if your phone supports MHL – mobile high-definition link – there’s a decent chance you could. MHL incorporates HDMI output into the phone/tablet’s microUSB connector. But in order to get composite AV, you’ll need an HDMI to composite video adapter. It has to be able to accept HDMI input and output composite video and preferably stereo analog audio as well.

Q&A: How do I charge my iPad in my car?


Q: How do I charge my iPad in my car?… Read more
A: The simplest way is to use a USB power adapter designed for your car’s cigarette lighter. These are very common and you can find them on eBay by the squillion. However, there is a trick. Many of these are rated at the standard 5VDC / 1A current level. While they will work with an iPad, your iPad actually needs two-amps of current to charge at its maximum level (to charge in minimum time).

Fixing mini PC power supply problems


One of the more common problems with mini PCs is instability and sudden rebooting. We’ve seen this ourselves with a few mini PCs we have on our bench. Often, the instability is blamed on the device but it’s well worth checking out the power supply you’re using to power it.
PSU (power supply unit) issues are more common than you might think.… Read more