After reading our articles on the MP3 music format last month, you’ve probably converted all your
CDs to this convenient, space-efficient format, stored carefully away on that
new big-GB hard drive ready for the Jukebox – right?
So let’s find out how to put them to use!
The basic idea behind this project is to enable you to control
an MP3 music player (Winamp) running on a Windows PC with a standard infrared
remote. Up until now, you’ve probably only ever listened to your MP3s while
sitting in front of your computer. But imagine for a moment that your PC is
actually a jukebox and that you can control it from anywhere in the room just
like you do right now with your stereo system!
In keeping with the jukebox theme, we’ve included features like
track shuffle and repeat, multiple playlist support and a liquid crystal display
for vital track information. And if you’re a budding DJ, Winamp can be set up
for track cross-fading and other great effects – but more on that later.
The IR Remote Receiver & LCD hardware described last month
mounts up front in an empty 51/4-inch drive bay in your PC’s case. As it attaches to one of the snap-in
drive blanking plates, no modifications to your PC case are required. If you
want to remove it at some time in the future, all you need is a spare blanking
With only two plug-in connections, hooking up the hardware
couldn’t be easier. Power is sourced directly from the PC’s power supply via a
disk drive connector and serial data is exchanged via a free serial port. To
keep the serial cable hidden, it is routed through the case internals, exiting
via any unused expansion slot hole at the rear. It then plugs into one of the
standard 9-pin serial port connectors.
On the software side, you need a copy of our "IR Remote Control
for Winamp" program, which we describe in detail below, as well as the current
version of Winamp.