Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Information During a Power Outage....

Continuing on from the last post. One of the areas that I wanted to work out was the ability to gather news from the local media in the general area. Specifically the media would be local television. The goal is to pursue DC power and the DC power source had to be common. My location makes 12 VDC the easiest to work out and get batteries easily.
My laptop is a dual-boot machine. I run Linux & Win 7, while the better half uses Win 7. The laptops will run for one to three hours depending on how they are configured. Purchased 12 VDC adapters for laptops that could have them. To use the battery power more efficiently the WiFi gets turned off. No need for the laptop to keep looking for a network to connect to. Not to mention that my internet connection went through a revamp. I will share that as well, nothing earth shattering, but the new config lets the UPS last much longer. Back to getting local TV...
I picked up a couple of the USB digital TV tuners. A Monoprice Digital TV Anywhere USB device, the other happened to be a Hauppauge HVR 950Q. Both tuners come with the ever important disc to load the software and drivers for MS Windows OS', expandable whip antennas, and remote control. These two devices are separated by price, but function is the same. Both work very well on Windows while the Hauppauge works on Linux as well. The Monoprice device did not work or rather I have not worked out a way to make it work on Linux. The Hauppauge gave me a bit of trouble. Had to poke around on the internet to get an updated firmware patch.

One way a fellow got it to work on Linux can be found here: Hauppauge HVR 950Q Updated Firmware. Linux is funny. It never loads the same. Each machine is different and will give different results.
The top device is the Monprice and the bottom is the Hauppauge. The cable came with the Hauppauge and should be used. It will take stress off of your laptop USB port. I tried a couple of generic USB extension cables; a big No GO.

Put up a small digital TV antenna picked up from Amazon.

With this antenna we get twelve to fourteen channels. Not to bad for being mounted approx. fifteen feet up off the ground. A little more elevation and I may be able to get another 5 or so. On Linux Kaffeine seems to be the choice of most folks from what I have read. No complaints from me as it seems to work well.

Linux and the apps on Linux are FREE. Awesome. So now we can attempt to receive the local news in the area during disasters, power outages, etc. Pretty cool stuff. More to follow in internet equipment and configuration.