Kiosk Computer Setup

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Hive13 Project
Kiosk Project
Status: Inactive
Start Date: 6/01/2009


Kris donated an old computer Kiosk machine that has a touch screen in it. The CPU fan has been replaced and currently we are looking into how to configure the OS.


  • 128 MB of RAM (probably PC100)
  • 266.608 Mhz CPU
  • 6.5 GB Hard drive
  • MicroTouch touchscreen

Current Status

  • Debian was installed on it, the LCD screen refuses to fully turn on (it stays blank white), external monitor works, Touchscreen data was showing up in linux but no research was done on drivers until the screen is working again.

People involved with this project

Goal of the Project

The goal of this project is to restore the machine to fully operational condition and install it in the space. I want to create a custom front end UI for it as well that makes it really easy to do space related activities such as:

  • Create a end terminal for accessing the internet from the space.
  • Tie into the Vending machine so that people could buy an item offline, then trigger its delivery in the vending machine.
  • Have access to the space inventory website (When it gets set up)
  • Have an easy list of the groups members and contact information.
  • Augmented Reality gimmick w/ cards, shirts, and anything else with the markings on them. We'll need a mediocre webcam too. We'll be using FLARToolKit and flash to get the job done.

What needs to be done

  • Decide on an OS to install on the machine, then install it.
    • We are working with 128 MB of RAM (unknown type, only 1 slot)
    • Debian reports a 266.608 Mhz AMD CPU
    • 6.5 GB hard drive
  • TouchScreen is a MicroTouch, we need drivers for whatever OS we decide on.

What has been done

  • CPU fan replaced
  • Screen has been cleaned
  • Xubuntu 7.04 rejected as a potential OS
  • Debian currently installed

Currently on the ToDo List

  • The screen was given a pretty thorough cleaning, but could still use a bit more scrubbing.
  • The problem causing the screen to be solid white must be identified.
  • TouchScreen drivers need to be activated in Debian.


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Work Log

This is a living log of work that has been completed on the machine.

July 31, 2009 - Bought a hole saw

Because I like purchasing new toys, I bought a 1-5/8 inch hole saw at Home Depot. This should be the right size to cut an air vent over where the CPU fan is going to be.

The hole saw requires a mandrill bit for it to work, I believe I have the correct sized one at my house, but will need to double check to be sure.

I still need to find some kind of material to put over the hole after it is cut, I am thinking that maybe some screen window material will work. Which then leads to the question of how am I going to secure the screen window material material to the inside of the case door?

- Updated added by Paul

August 1, 2009 - A new fan


I stopped at Radio Shack today to pick up a composite L/R audio to headphone jack adapter for the space when I noticed they had a 40x40x10 mm fan for $6, I figure that it will probably be a lot easier to use the thinner fan in the case rather than using the thicker fan that would require us to cut through the outer part of the case.

In the picture for this entry, if you open the full size view you can see the socket that the CPU fan plug is supposed to go into. We need to find something that will fit into that socket.

Date Unknown

PlayerTwo dropped off the plug for the CPU fan, however it is missing one of the metal pins on the inside. It has been decided that we wil just solder the case fan lead to the CPU fan leads, and then plug it into the CPU fan socket.

November 5, 2009 - Fan installed

<flickr>4079232482|m|thumb|right</flickr> I had no homework last night so I stopped down at the hive and decided to work on the Kiosk machine. Soldered the two leads for the case and CPU fan together and plugged them into the CPU fan socket. In one of the fan boxes I found some screws to hold the CPU fan onto the heatsink, they are just long enough.

I hooked it up to power and did a quick boot test and received a "CMOS Checksum failed, loading defaults.... Press F1 to continue or DEL to enter BIOS" however I had no keyboard hooked up at that time so I powered it down again. After poking around the hive a bit I managed to finally find a working PS/2 keyboard (sorry Hodapp, had to hijack one from your cluster project). After hooking it up I went into the bios and poked around a bit, nothing super interesting in there.

I rebooted again and Windows 98 started with something called "CityLink" installed. I think there is a script set up that reboots the machine if it detects that some program fails to start, so I disabled the startup scripts I could find. I then tried to connect to the internet, but when I went into the device manager I was told there was an IRQ conflict. I went through the IRQ wizard and rebooted. After restarting the graphics drivers were no longer working, but the network card was now functioning.

At this point I kinda gave up on messing with the Win. 98 install. I did some quick googling and found a site where someone had been working on creating a Linux MicroTouch driver, then I started looking for a replacement OS.

November 10, 2009 - Install Woes

I came prepared today with several different copies of linux, Xubuntu 7.04 (alternate and standard install disks), Xubuntu 6.06 live CD, and the Debian NetInst disk. After installing Xubuntu 7.04 I discovered that the MicroTouch drivers were not handily available for 7.04, and the boot up time was a bit ridiculous.

So I decided to try the Debian NetInst disk. The first attempt failed after attempting to install the "Popularity Contest" package which reports back install statistics. Since this was an optional install I went through the installation again and declined the statistics option. This time the install made it further and I left for the night while it downloaded and installed the rest of the packages.

- Paul

November 11, 2009 - Screen Failure...

I arrived at the hive today to discover that the installation has finished successfully. The boot up was still a bit slow, but that was expected with only 266 Mhz on the CPU. After booting I downloaded and installed the xserver-xorg-config-mutouch package, but since I was not exactly sure how to use it after installing I decided to hook up a mouse in the mean time. I grabbed a spare mouse out of our box of mice (PS/2 mouse), plugged it in, and then everything locked up. So I flipped the power switch and turned the machine back on, only to be confronted with a blank white screen.

I rebooted a few times using various methods, but the screen stubbornly stayed blank. I decided to hook it up to an external monitor and discovered that worked fine, but the main LCD stayed blank white. I reset the bios but that did not seem to have any effect. I messed around with it for a little bit more but I was a bit frustrated so I gave up for now.

PlayerTwo brought in some other RAM possibilities and my next plan is to check the monitor connections. Something similar to this happened when I hooked up some different ram. Maybe swapping ram will make it reset something.

- Paul