As the SPDIF Out bracket issue is a common one here, I thought I'd whip up a HOWTO re: building your own from mostly junk/leftover/"free" parts. This guide assumes the BioStar TF7050 motherboard, whose SPDIFOUT header has the ground and SPDIF OUT signal line pins next to each other. Some motherboards arrange the SPDIF signal and ground pins so they are separated by other pins.
This is a great "first timers" soldering project, as it's probably the absolute simplest wiring/soldering can get. This guide assumes basic soldering skills. Here are links to some beginners guides to soldering:http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/solderfaq.htmhttp://www.elexp.com/t_solder.htmhttp://www.vansairforce.net/articles...gTechnique.htmhttp://solder.net/technical/tips.asp
DISCLAIMER: It is up to the reader to determine if your motherboard SPDIF OUT pinout supplies 5V TTL level or ~.5V - 1V coax-like voltage levels. Connecting a 5V source to a device expecting the lower non-TTL level voltage may damage your equipment.
Most motherboards have both an SPDIF OUT pin and a 5V pin on the same SPDIF header.
DO NOT CONNECT THE 5V for a coax (RCA) SPDIF connection!
The 5V pin is to provide power for an optical SPDIF (TOSlink) module, which we're NOT using in this HOWTO.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINKhttp://www.mythtv.org/wiki/How_to_bu..._SPDIF_brackethttp://www.sys-concept.com/toslink_receiver.htm
"TTL Transistor-Transistor Logic - used by nearly all digital logic circuits
TTL is typically (but not always!) 5V (on), and 0V (off). TTL is used as a matter of course within nearly all digital devices, and almost all logic ICs are compatible with these signal levels. TTL S/PDIF outputs are also provided on many sound cards. Many suppliers sell add-on units to accomplish TTL to COAX or TTL to TOSLINK conversion.
COAX Coaxial cable - 75 ohm cable connected with RCA plugs
The coaxial interface uses 75 ohm COAX cable with RCA (phono) connectors. Standard audio interconnect cables will work for transmitting S/PDIF over short distances, but anything over 0.5 metre or so should use 75 ohm cable. The unloaded signal is nominally +/-0.5V and must be terminated with 75 ohms on the receiving end - the resulting signal is +/-0.25V when terminated. Naturally, audio 'speciality' shops love to sell the 'ultimate' cable for up to several hundred dollars, but a cable which you can easily make yourself should cost no more than $10-20 using good quality 75 ohm cable and connectors.
TOSLINK An optical fibre connection
The TOSLINK interface uses optical fibre cables that plug into TOSLINK modules. These modules send or receive a TTL signal. Again, speciality cables will make no difference to the final sound quality, so don't be caught out by the glib sales person who insists that you have to spend serious money to get the best sound. Good quality fibre cables are essential however, as degradation of the optical signal will cause distortion, noise and even loss of signal in extreme cases."
(See linked pics or pics attached to the end of this post)
Spare rear slot cover bracket. Extras are included with most cases, or cannibalize from an old defective ISA/PCI/AGP/PCIe card or old unused case, or remove one installed in your current PC and add the RCA jack to it.http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...6&d=1204077907
A 4 pin "MPC" CD/DVD-ROM analog or 2 pin CDROM SPDIF digital audio out cable like these, packed for free with many CDROM/DVD-ROM/Writer drives. The 2 pin cable was included with Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live cards back in the day http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...8&d=1203645239http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...9&d=1203645239http://www.cablewholesale.com/catalog/cdromcables.htm
Another option is to use an old hard disk LED cable or other 2-pin motherboard panel wire (Reset, Power Switch, Power LED, etc) as shown in attached/linked below photo hdLED.jpg. Thanks to LT72884 for the suggestion! Any old case has plenty of these to salvage. Just cut off the LED, switch or whatever is on the end opposite the motherboard connector.http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...9&d=1221612783
If you can't find a 2 wire/pin assembly to cannibalize, Monoprice.com (forum sponsor) has some very low cost 2 pin SPDIF cable assemblies with nice insulation jacket. One 50 cent cable can make two coax SPDIF brackets if you cut it in two:http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
Threaded female RCA ("cinch" for the Euro folks
) panel jack (you could try to cannibalize one from old electronics):http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...2&d=1233318465http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=familyhttp://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=090-280
Wire cutters or good scissors
Xacto knife or single sided razor blade/boxcutter
Wire stripper or equivalent (your front teeth
Drill- 13V-18V Cordless drills work great
1/4" drill bit for metal (for Parts Express or Radio Shack RCA Jacks shown)
File or deburring bit on a rotary tool (Dremel or compatible) for cleaning up drill hole if needed
Electrical tape or shrink tube
If using the 4 pin "MPC" style analog CDROM cable:
With small wire cutters or a fresh X-acto blade, cut/trim off two of the pinouts on one end connector, keeping one black and one white or red wire intact in the black connector. The idea is to make one of the 4 pin MPC connector ends look like the 2 pin CDROM SPDIF connector (see attached pic), again assuming your motherboard SPDIFOUT and Ground (Earth) pins are next to each other.
Trim off the connector retention clip, too. Near the other end, cut off the connector and strip the wires enough to solder the wire ends to the RCA connector.
If the pinouts on your motherboard have the SPDIF OUT signal line separated from the ground line by one or two pins in between, just cut the 4 pin MPC connector down the middle and trim off the center pins you don't need, in order to create two separate signal pins, one for the SPDIF OUT signal pin and one for ground pin. Snip back the two unused wires of the 4 wire MPC cable assembly and wrap to the main bundle with electrical tape, to prevent accidental shorts.
If you use a 2 pin SPDIF CD/DVDROM audio out cable, you don't need to do no trimmin'
Just cut near one end, or in the middle if the cable is long enough to make two- one for SPDIF IN or another OUT for another PC.
Drill a hole to match the size of the threaded end of the female RCA connector. See RCA connector specs from the links above. For the Parts Express RCA jacks linked above, a 1/4" drill bit should do.
Drill into the center of the slot bracket using any general purpose drill bit- most slot covers use soft metal. For harder slot covers, be sure to use metal-rated/hardened drill bits.
You could also drill and mount an RCA connector to the back of your PC case, instead. DON'T DRILL the back of the case with a motherboard already mounted! The metal filings/shavings will contaminate your motherboard and/or other components and cause shorts, burning out your motherboard, power supply or other cards/components. If you plan to drill or cut into your PC case, the case should be EMPTY. After drilling and de-burring the drill hole, be sure to clean out the metal filings. Blow out the case with a can of compressed air or a compressor, then wipe down the insides of the case. THEN mount your motherboard, power supply, etc.
A slot cover bracket will allow you to sell the bracket or use the bracket with the motherboard in another case easily, and avoids the metal filings/shavings contamination issue.
Pilot the threaded side (solder side) of the female RCA connector into the hole you drilled, from the external case side, and fasten with included nut and washer. The Ground lug goes on FIRST, BEFORE the washer (if included- I omit the washer, since the ground lug acts as a washer) and then the nut. After the nut is fastened, bend the ground lug up and away from the slot bracket or case at about a 45 degree angle to make it easy to solder (clearance).
Solder the black wire to the outer ground lug/washer, and the white or red wire to the center conductor of the RCA connector. See diagram below. Use smaller diameter, lower temp solder to make the job easy and not melt the center insulator in the RCA connector. Wire color doesn't matter, but its best for wire color assignments to adhere to known electrical standards- black for ground, white/yellow/green/$ANYCOLOR for the SPDIF signal out. Red usually means Power/voltage/"Hot".http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...2&d=1233318465
Wrap each solder joint with electrical tape, then wrap the connector/wire assembly with electrical tape for strain relief and also to prevent electrical shorts.
If you want to impress your geek friends, use shrink tube over each solder joint, then shrink tube over the RCA/wire end assembly
. Thread the wires through the shrink tube before soldering.
Attach the connector you trimmed to the motherboard SPDIF Signal Out and SPDIF Ground, ensuring to match the black to ground and white/red/$ANYCOLOR to the SPDIF-OUT Signal, NOT the 5V/"Power" output!
Congratulations! You've completed your SPDIF output for your new uber Linux-powered media PC!Enable SPDIF Output on your Soundcard in Ubuntu 8.04-9.04
(right click on Speaker icon in task bar systray, upper right)-> Open Volume Control
-> Preferences (near bottom right of dialog)
-> (check all options labeled "IEC 958", the electrical engineering term for SPDIF)
-> Switches tab (appears after you enable the IEC958 options in Preferences)
-> Check all IEC958 (SPDIF) checkboxes