Build fun projects with a PC,
 Linux, some free software,
 and a few extra

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 Linux Toys II   FC-RHEL4 Bible   Linux Troubleshooting Bible cover   Linux Bible   Linux Toys   Red Hat Linux 9 Bible

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Hardware for Linux Toys II Projects

To help you start building the projects in Linux Toys II, hardware you can use for each project is listed below. Click on the link to each item to read a description and purchase the item online.

NOTE: Over time, the best hardware to use with any Linux project will change. Hardware that we used may no longer be supported in later versions of Linux. Likewise, new hardware is coming out all the time that might work better than the hardware we suggest. Although most of the hardware listed on this page is exactly what we used to build the projects initially, you should do your own homework to make sure that the same hardware will still work for you.

Project 1: Gallery (Photo Gallery Server)
Any PC that can be used as a server will work for this project. No additional hardware is needed.

Project 2: MythTV (PVR/Entertainment Center)
Tom Weeks put together a very cool entertainment center PC for this project. While you can get by with a reasonably good PC (with a sound card and network connection built in) by only adding a TV card, the hardware listed below is what Tom used to create a MythTV entertainment center that is the envy of his neighborhood. Here's what it included:

Case: Silverstone Lascala LC11M Case
AMD Athlon XP3000+ CPU Barton Core 333FSB
Memory: Viking 512MB PC2700 DDR 333MHz Memory (two sticks)
Cooling Fan: Thermaltake TR2 M6 / Socket 754/940 CPU Cooling Fan
Motherboard: MSI K7N2GM2-LSR Socket A Micro ATX Motherboard
DVD Burner: NEC ND3520 DVD Burner  (different model)
Wireless Keyboard: BTC 9019URF Wireless Multimedia Keyboard w/Dual Mode Joystick
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WINTV-PVR-500 MCE 2 TUNER PCI (1081)
Hard Disks: HitachiT7K250 250GB hard drives (two)

Project 3: eMoviX (Bootable Movies)
No special hardware required.

Project 4: Damn Small Linux (DSL on a Pen Drive)
Choose the size of USB flash drive you want for the project. DSL requires about 50MB of memory, so choose how much more space you need for other applications and data. has some good deal on USB flash drives.

Project 5: HeyU and BottleRocket (X10 Home Automation)

This chapter describes two different computer interfaces you can use for operating X10 appliances from your computer in Linux. BottleRocket lets you use an inexpensive Firecracker kit. HeyU uses the slightly more expensive, but more powerful, ActiveHome CM11A hardware. With your basic kit in place, you can add as many different X10 modules or other devices as you like.

Project 6: BZflag (Tank Game Server)

No special hardware is needed for this project.

Project 7: Devil-Linux (Dedicated SOHO Firewall)
While all you need for this project is a PC with two Ethernet cards, Tom Weeks created a cool modified PC that included a network switch inside. For the two Ethernet cards, the one facing the Internet should be at least a 10Mbit card, while the one facing your LAN should be a 100Mbit card.  Ethernet cards are cheap and plentiful, but here are some examples to look through. Tom also builds a network switch into his firewall PC. While most small, cheap 100Mbit auto-crossover detecting switch will do, Tom particularly likes the GigaFast EZ800-S 8-Port 10/100Mbps Network Switch.

Project 8: Icecast (Internet Radio Station)
No special hardware is needed for this project.

Project 9: Linux Terminal Server Project (Thin client server and workstations)
While most any PC can be used as a thin client for the Linux Terminal Server Project, if you are in a professional environment, you may want to purchase new machines that were made particularly to be used as thin clients. A Web site associated with the Linux Terminal Server Project itself called sells workstations that are certified to work with LTSP.

Hardware for Linux Toys Projects

Here is a list of hardware that might be useful for projects described in the original Linux Toys book.
Project 1: Music Jukebox
Most any PC with a CD-ROM drive and sound card will do. I used a Shuttle XPC because I think it looked nice in my entertainment center. You can read about one here:
Shuttle XPC.

Project 2: Home Video Archive
For any of the video projects, you need a TV card that is compatible with video4linux drivers. We tested the Hauppauge WinTV-go card and Hauppauge WinTV Theater card. For a low-end configuration, I used a Hauppauge
WinTV Go card; on the higher end, you can go for Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500MCE card.

Project 3: Television Recorder/Player
Same hardware as for the home video archive.

Project 4: Arcade Game Player
Although you can just play Xmame without any special hardware, if you are going to build the project into a gaming console, you might want to get some controls other than your keyboard. While I haven't tried the HotRod or X-Arcade Joysticks, they are well-recommended in the XMame community. HotRod comes with 14 Capcom game ROMS (yeah, legal games!). Click on the links below to find out more about the the HotRot Joystick and how to order it: 
HotRod Joystick FAQ and HotRod Joystick Purchase. Click here to find out more about X-Arcade Joysticks.

Project 5: Home Network Server
Once you have your Internet connection hardware in place, to connect your computers together to share that connection you need an Ethernet card in each computer, a switch or a hub, and some Ethernet cables (Cat5e with RJ-45 connectors). Examples of inexpensive network hardware are contained in the Devil-Linux hardware listings for Linux Toys II.

Project 6: Home Broadcast Center
Same hardware as for the home video archive.

Project 7: Temperature Monitor
The Digitemp project ( has stopped making the temperature monitor hardware needed for this project. Although, the ibuttonlink site has agreed to put together some kits as described in Linux Toys, readers have reported that is doesn't work with the software delivered with the Linux Toys book. I would suggest going directly to the Digitemp site for information on their current software and available hardware.

Project 8: Digital Receptionist
Getting a good voice modem is difficult. We used the Multitech Multimodem MT5600ZDXV. We have also heard good reports for the Zoom 2949C modem.
Although those modems are now outdated, the newer models available include the Multitech MT5634ZPX-PCI-U and the Zoom 3025 modem.

Project 9: Mini ISP
Any dial-in modem supported by Fedora Red Hat Linux will work for this project. Aside from that and the hardware you use to connect your computer to the Internet, there are no special hardware requirements for this project.

Project 10: Web Hosting Service
As with the Mini ISP, you need only the hardware required to connect your computer to the Internet to build this project.

Project 11: Little Linux and BSD Games
No special hardware is needed with this project.

Project 12: Toy Car Controller
Although you can use most an radio controlled (RC) toy car for this project, we used Zip Zaps (which you can get from Radio Shack) because we thought they were neat.
The more critical component is the Lynx-PORT board from Marrick Limited. You can purchase the LynX-PORT board from