All posts by Mike Lane

I am an IT professional that has 14 years of experience if you just count my official on the job time but 30 if you count all my time behind a keyboard. I have multiple IT certifications the top of which are my CISSP, MCITP:EA/SA, CCENT, Project , CHFI. I have a BS in Information Technology from Western Governors University.

Fixed our Discovery Kids digital mp3 boombox

This post is about how I fixed my kids Discovery Kids digital mp3 boombox that stopped working. It just wouldn’t turn on any more.



I did some searching on the problem and found that other had this same problem. Some found a solution by connecting it to a computer and formating the device. Like others the unit would work fine when connected to USB. The drive looked to be ok, I could access it from the computer without issie, but I copied off the music and formatted the drive just to make sure and then put the music back on. This didn’t help me but I void warranties very well so I opened it up. I also noticed that something was rattling around in there when I shook it so I figured I would at least see what that was.

The tricky part about getting into this toy is the rubber plugs in the screw holes. I had a dental tool that was curved and rather sharp, almost like a sewing needle. I was able to hook it around he back of the plugs and pull them out then use a very small Phillips screw driver to get the screws out.

I found that our kids had played with it a little too rough and the cable that supplies power to the main board from the batteries was broken off. The wires had moved back and forth enough to cause stress fractures and snap off. This flat gray cable has four wires in it and comes off of the circut board that the “ON HOLD OFF” switch controls, which is a pass through for the battery power.

I had to take all of the internal circut boards out and the speakers. Go easy so you don’t break off any other wires. I then stripped back the insulation on the power cable, I just cut between each wire with a hobby knife and used my thumb nail to strip it so I wouldn’t cut the thin wire any more then it was. Next I tinned each wire. Next I tested to see which wire was the ground wire as the ground terminal was labled on the main board and I could use that to make sure I put the wires back in the right place. I just used my multimeter to test continuity to find it. While I was doing all of this my soldering iron was heating up and was now ready for me to re-attach the wires, so that’s what I did. It was a little tricky because my iron tip is was a bit big for this kind of work so I got the terminals crossed once and had to clean it up.

Once the cable was back on I tested it out and it worked just fine. Before I closed it all back up I shot in a good amount of hot glue around the power cable and a few others that looked weak. I put every thing back in and all the screws and even the rubber plugs. The kids were back dancing to “Bit By Bit” and supper happy.

This took me about an hour to do but half of it was with my son in my lap “helping” me out.

Hope this helps someone.


Like all of my projects I scoured Google and through the reading of many tutorials I was able to piece together the settings and configurations I needed. I was originally inspired by this article written by Lee Hutchinson URL = I had also read about the Raspberry Pi project and wanted to get one but couldn’t think of what I would do with it other than increase my dust collector collection, but with butterfly labs releasing their hardware I now had something to do with a Pi. Anyway here we go and remember “Don’t Panic.”

Getting the Pi up and going with an OS and connectivity:

I followed the first three Raspberry Pi lessons over at learn.adafruit, great site with other good tutorials. I don’t remember making any obscene changes to the steps in the lessons other than those to personalize my box like I did sudo apt-get install vim cuz I like it better than nano which most of the tutorial use.

Lesson 1. Preparing an SD Card for your Raspberry Pi URL =

Lesson 2. First Time Configuration URL =

Lesson 3. Network Setup URL =

Setting up cgminer:

I started with the tutorial “Super Tutorial Raspberry Pi+Raspbian+CGMiner+TightVNC+WIFI at boot” URL = by jafc76. You can go back and forth between that one and mine but I will put everything I did here so you don’t really have to.

I skipped everything that was redundant from the adafruit lessons mentioned above like initial setup and network configuration. I actually skipped over his TightVNC section the first time I read this and cost me more time finding the right VNC combination, but it was here all along. I have included my VNC setup at the end of this so don’t worry. I put things in here in the order that I did them with the goal of getting the end result working first then move on to ease of admining the box.



First depencancies


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install build-essential git autoconf libtool libcurl4-openssl-dev libncurses5-dev pkg-config yasm make libusb-1.0-0-dev

Clone latest stable version of cgminer source files


git clone cgminer

Compile cgminer


cd cgminer


sudo ./


sudo ./configure --enable-bflsc


sudo make


sudo make install

Auto start cgminer

1. Make and edit the cgminer.conf file in the /cgminer directory by

sudo vim /cgminer/cgminer.conf

The cgminer.conf file is what holds all your mining account specifics. Mine looks like this … well sort of, I sanitized it so it doesn’t have my actual account names and passwords.


The slush pool has updated. You can get more info from the place I got it from, here. Basically they have added more operation sites so you can replace the URL with one that is geographically closer to you.

"pools" : [
"url" : "stratum+tcp://",
"user" : "bartimaeus.worker1",
"pass" : "C0mpl3xP@$$w0rd"
"api-port" : "4028",
"expiry" : "120",
"hotplug" : "5",
"log" : "5",
"no-pool-disable" : true,
"queue" : "1",
"scan-time" : "60",
"shares" : "0",
"kernel-path" : "/usr/local/bin"

2. Edit the rc.local file

sudo vim /etc/init.d/rc.local

3. Go all the way to the bottom and add a new line

/cgminer/cgminer --config PATHTO-CGMINER.CONF

Mine looks like this

/cgminer/cgminer --config /cgminer/cgminer.conf

4. Wright quit that gem and reboot to test. At boot cgminer should be running the the background as root, which is good because you need root privs to access the ASIC device. If your Pi is configured like mine, which it will be if you keep following all my steps you will run headless most of the time cuz the kids have priority on what’s on the TV, then start up PUTTY and login then run TOP to see cgminer in the list. It won’t be taking up too much CPU, maybe like 1 – 2 %.


Now this is all good and you’re now mining but if you want to check your status you will need to like me ask permission to interrupt Caillou or The Wild Kratts, I won’t interrupt Phineas and Ferb cuz that show rocks! and switch the TV over to your Pi for a few seconds. I don’t like interrupting my kids so I figured there had to be a way to see the session that is configured to boot. I found others that wanted remote capability and they used VNC as the solution. I have used it before for other projects and it works well so I jumped on board but there were a few things that the other tutorials didn’t do or work for me so here is what I did.

I started with and followed a lot from the “Installing VNC” tutorial written by Simon Monk over at learn.adafruit URL =

You can use that tutorial and this one together, if you like switching back and forth or if you like to see nice screen shots, or you can just follow what I have I will make my section titles jive with Simon’s so if you need to you can correlate his steps with mine. I will make it a short and sweet as possible and include anything that gave me a hang up during my install.

Installing VNC


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install tightvncserver -y


vncserver :1

4. Give the prompts what they ask for. Note that the password will be truncated (AKA shortened) to 8 characters so if you put in 123456789 VNC will shorten it to 12345678 so make sure you know how your password will be changed, or just do what I did and pick an 8 character password. If you mess up and forget or fat finger your password just do

sudo rm ~/.vnc/passwd

and redo step 4.

Using a VNC Client

This will come latter, IMO it doesn’t make since to put this right here, it’s better to test at the end.

Running VNC Server at Startup

I could not make VNC server startup the way I wanted to by following Simon … I couldn’t get it to start at all mostly. Unlike Simon’s and other tutorials this will allow you to connect to the user session that starts at boot not an alternate session that would intern run another cgminer instance and whatever else might be in “/etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart”.


sudo vim /etc/rc.local

2. Find the line that is

su -l USERNAME -c startx

and comment it out with a “#” so it looks something like this

#su -l USERNAME -c startx

replace USERNAME with a valid username on your box.

3. Add a new line

su - USERNAME -c "/usr/bin/vncserver :1 -geometry 800x600 -depth 16 -pixelformat rgb565 > /tmp/vncserver.log 2>&1 &"

replace USERNAME with a valid username on your box. Mine looks like this

su - bartimaeus -c "/usr/bin/vncserver :1 -geometry 1280x768 -depth 16 -pixelfomat rgb565 > /tmp/vncserver.log 2>&1 &"

4. Write quit that bad boy and reboot to test.

Using a VNC Client (in the right place this time)

1. Open up your favorite VNC client, I like RealVNC’s VNC Viewer, and put in the hostname or IP of you Pi followed by a :1 in the VNC Server or host or whatever spot, mine looks like this



and click connect or go or open or whatever.

2. You might be prompted about the connection being unencrypted just click whatever is equivalent to the don’t bug me again box and click continue or ok or yes or whatever.

3. Enter the password you set up, remember its 8 characters long MAX.

4. If you followed everything right, and I wrote everything right, you should see the desktop with a terminal running cgminer. You should check top to make sure there is only one instance of cgminer running otherwise you just started a new user session and launched a new cgminer instance which won’t do you much good because they will argue over resources and do less work each.

Now that it all works you should follow good industry standard practices and make a backup of you SD card in the event you mess something up in the future or you have hardware issues or you want to make another one of these. At the very lease you should save a copy of this write up someplace local on your system in the even I take it down or something, not that I plan to but again you never know … isn’t that right Perry?



After having the thing run for over a year I was only successful in generating enough Bitcoins for about $40.00. I have since taken it offline.


After several months of not caring about Bitcoins, the mostly death of my phone, made me go look at my Bitcoin wallet. I was surprised to see that the value of Bitcoins had dramatically gone up so that what was once worth only $40.00 was now worth nearly $300.00. So I turned the JalapinoPi back on. Well I had to redo it so that it was working alongside my Weather Underground reporting. With that I ran back through all of this and verified / updated where necessary.