Category Archives: DIY

HD Homerun Prime CableCard Tuner Installation with Charter Cable

I wanted to get the SiliconeDust HD Homerun Prime Tuner for a long time. The HD Homerun Prime is like a cable box but for your home network. It enables you to watch TV on a computer, tablet, or phone connected that are connected to your network. The tuner is able to produce 3 separate streams to 3 devices. This means that 3 devices on the network can watch and change channels independently of each other. It takes a little tinkering and patience to get everything set up and configured. It’s all worth it in my opinion.

HD Homerun Prime - Front View

The HD Homerun Prime can replace your cable box if you have a home theater PC (HTPC) connected to your TV. For me, Charter Communications charges $6 a month to rent each cable box. The cable card costs $2 a month. The price will vary depending on your cable provider. THe HD Homerun Prime costs $150. But you can get it for $100 when it goes on sale.

There are some good 3rd party apps for your tablet or smartphone. I use the HomerunTV app, which costs $2.99, for my Nexus 7 tablet. The app are a little buggy but works well once you have everything configured. Overall, it’s worth the time and effort to get this running. Any device connected to your network could be a TV.

Let me give you a few warnings about setting it up and using it. You will have to become a CableCard expert whether you like it or not. When you call the cable company, 99% of the representatives will not know anything about the cable card or now to troubleshoot. Most of the time, I’m guiding a representative through their system when something goes wrong.

HD Homerun Prime Setup

I’m going to breakdown the setup process into 3 parts; hardware, installation, and cable company.

Hardware

Obtain a CableCard M-Card from your cable company. You’ll also need something called a tuning adapter. Most of the cable reps don’t know. Just ask them for the box that goes with the cable card. It looks like a cable box. You’ll also need a PC and the HD Homerun Prime. I’m also assuming you have a home network too.

Installation

You need a high performance home network to accomodate the bandwidth needed to stream 3 unique HDTV sources. I have a wired gigabit (10/100/1000) network and a wireless N router. It has to be gigabit and wireless N for a clear signal. I made sure to connect my dedicated HTPC to the wired network to make sure I get the best signal possible. Wireless N is just fine when I watch HDTV on my Nexus 7 tablet.

There are many guides about setting up an HTPC. You have your choice of operating systems and different options of media players. I went with the simplest way possible. I used Windows Media Center on a Windows 7 desktop. Windows 8 doesn’t come with Media Center. It’s a downloadable paid app from the app store. Windows 8 Pro does come with Media Center. So check your computer before doing this.

Windows Media Center (WMC) is fully capable of being your DVR. It downloads a guide for you to schedule all recordings. The first thing you need to do is install the HD Homerun driver and software. In WMC, you need to install the “Digital Cable Advisor” found in the Extra menu. You can’t watch most digital cable channels with the Digital Cable Advisor. It makes sure that your recorded show can only be watched on your that computer.

I’m going to assume you’ll have an extra coaxial cable lead from a splitter. You might need to get a cable guy to come to your house to set up an extra outlet.

HD Homerun Prime

1. Tuning apater – 3 wires; coaxial in (from the cable company), coaxial out to the HD Homerun Prime, and usb cord.
2. HD Homerun Prime – 3 wires and cable card; stick the cable card into the slot, connect the coaxial from the tuning adapter, connect the usb cord from the tuning adapter, connect the cat-5 network cable to your network.

That’s it for the hardware

In WMC, go to Settings> TV> Set up TV Signal. WMC will scan for any available tuners. WMC will give you a screen of different numbers from the tuner. Now it’s time to call the cable company.

Cable Company

Call your cable company and tell them you want to set up a cable card. They’ll ping your cablecard to make sure they can see it on their network. Ask them if you can give them a Host ID. This is important. Without the Host ID, nothing will work. After you they enter the Host ID, you should be all set with the cable company.

Windows Media Center

Now scan for channels again. With WMC, you need a free plugin application called, Digital Cable Advisor. It’s available in your Extra menu. It’s basically for copyright purposes. Some TV shows are locked to that one PC only. That means you can only watch the recorded show on the PC that recorded it. It’s important that you never shut down your PC if you schedule a recording. Instead, set the PC to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity.

That’s about it. I’m sure I’m missing some minor details. It’s been a while since I set this up.

How To: Install the Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard in a 1000H

Asus Eee PC 1000H – 1000HE Keyboard Mod Part 1

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard

If you are lucky enough to order an Asus Eee PC 1000HE replacement keyboard, you have some work to do before you can install it.  Remember, please use gentle force because these parts are very fragile.

Things you’ll need:

Asus Eee PC 1000H
Small Screwdriver
A nail clipper
An sharp knife
A file
A tweezer
Scissors (optional)
Double Sided tape (optional)

Prepping the new 1000HE Keyboard

The first thing you need to do is prepare the new keyboard.  The 1000HE keyboard has extra plastic bits that you’ll need to remove in order to properly seat the keyboard in shell of the 1000H.  There are three tabs located below the space bar.  The two smaller plastic tabs needs to be removed.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keybaord Extra Tabs

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keybaord Extra Tabs

You can clip them off with a nail clipper.  One of the tabs is surrounded by the ribbon cable.  Be extra careful to not cut or nick this cable.  Take your time.  Smooth out any excess plastic left with a knife.  Now, file down the areas so that it is smooth.

On the two sides of the keyboard, there are two plast nubs.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Extra Side Tabs

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Extra Side Tabs

Those have to be removed to properly seat the keyboard.  I just ran a knife and carefully sliced them off.  Take your time because you don’t want to scratch the keyboard.  Once those are off, set the keyboard aside.

Removing the old 1000H keyboard

At the very top of the keyboard, you should see four black tabs between the F keys and the body of the netbook.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Tabs

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Tabs

Use a very small screwdriver to push those tabs away from the keyboard.  The keyboard should pop up enough to keep the tabs held back.  Once all the tabs has been back, carefully use your finger and the screwdriver to lift keyboard on top of the F7 keys.  Slowly pry the keyboard up.  The keyboard might be held down with some double sided tape.

The keyboard is connected to the netbook by a very short ribbon cable, like the one on the back of the new keyboard.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Ribbon

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Ribbon

To detach the ribbon cable. push the two black tabs on either side up.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Ribbon Connector

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Ribbon Connector

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Ribbon Connector

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Ribbon Connector

Use the tweezer and slowly push them up.  They are small and can be broken easily.  Be careful.

Installing the new keyboard.

Notice how the crease on the ribbon cable of the old keyboard.  You’ll need to crease the ribbon cable on the new keyboard like that.  Hold the keyboard so that your left thumb in on the G key and your on the back of the keyboard.  Use your fingers to project the ribbon cable out.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Install

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Install

Insert the ribbon cable in the slot and secure by pushing the black tabs back down.  Make sure the cable is secure.

System check

Before closing up, you may want to boot the netbook to make sure the keyboard is working.

Once you have confirmed that the keyboard works, go ahead and push the keyboard down.  Makre all four tabs on top is re-engaged.

Depending on which BIOS version you have, some keys might not work properly.  The forward slash and the semicolon keys didn’t work for me.  To fix this, you have to upgrade your BIOS.  Go to START -> All Programs -> Asus -> Asus Updater.  Select update from the internet and choose VIOS version 1803.  Follow the steps and your done.

Finished Product:

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Installed

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Installed

What to do with old gadgets?

If you’re an early adopter, you probably have a few old gadgets around that are gathering dust.  For one thing, most old gadgets are fairly obsolete now.  Case in point, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) have been replaced by a smart phone.  Actually, a smart phone is the combination of a PDA and a cellphone.  I know a few things about smart phones because I own a couple.

Smart phones

Very few people have a need for a standalone PDA because who needs to carry an extra “thing” around with you.  I only thought about my old PDA when I saw the Nokia N810 on sale for $250.  I almost bought it, but I held back.

My old PDA is a Dell Axim x51v.  It had all the makings of a good netbook.

Dell Axim x51v

Processor

Intel XScale PXA270 624 MHz Processor

Memory

64MB SD RAM
256MB Flash ROM

Display

Type: TFT Color 16-bit, Touch Sensitive, Transflective LCD 3.7 inches
Number of Colors: 65,536 colors
Display Resolution: 640 x 480

Dimensions

4.7″ (L) x 2.9″ (W) x .07″ (H)

Weight

6.2oz

MISC
Intel 2700G multimedia accelerator with 16MB video memory
Integrated CompactFlash, SDIO and MCC Expansion Slots
Integrated Integrated 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless technology

It was shipped with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition.

So far, I flashed the OS to run Windows Mobile 6.

Dell Axim x51v WM6

There are a good tutorials out there if you want to do the same.  Stay tuned for more mods and hacks on my newly revived Dell Axim x51v.

Asus Eee PC 1000H – Memory Upgrade

The Asus Eee PC 1000H came with 1GB of memory pre-installed.  With today’s memory hungry applications, 2 GB is better for smooth computing.  SInce 2 GB is the maximum amount you can install in the Asus Eee PC 1000H.  I went with a Corsair 2GB module I bought at Fry’s for $25 after rebate.  The Asus Eee PC 1000H can use any memory module 200 Pin So-dimm DDR2 PC5300 667 MHz.  The system will adjust to the right speed if you install a faster module.

Here’s what you need to get this done.

  • Small Philips Screwdriver
  • The 2 GB Memory Module
  • Asus Eee PC 1000H
  • 10 Minutes
  • Difficulty – Easy

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Here’s what you do.

Step 1 – Remove Battery – Just a safety precaution

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Step 2 – Unscrew the two screws on the back cover nearest to the battery.

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Step 3 – Remove Back Cover.  Carefully pry the cover off.  It’s held in place by plastic clips attaced to the edge of the back cover.  Your Eee PC 1000H should look like the picture below.  With the MSI Wind, you have to remove the whole plastic shell of the computer to access these parts.  Asus cleverly placed the two items, memory and hard drive, that most people will upgrade right under a very accessible cover.

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Step 4 – Remove the memory module.  Like most laptops, the module is held in place by two metal clips (red arrows) on two sides of the module.  Carefully and slowly pull the metal clips away from the module.  You just have to pry it out a little bit, maybe 2 mm, and the module will pop up.

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Step 5 – Remove the memory module.

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Step 6 – Insert new memory module at a 45 degree angle and press down until the two metal clips snaps around the module.  Check to make sure the module is secure.  Replace cover and you’re done.

Asus Eee PC 1000H