ECE497 Project Music Server

Revision as of 04:23, 15 November 2013 by Amesen (talk | contribs) (Future Work)
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thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder

Team members: Eric Ames, David Cooper

Executive Summary

This project focused on creating a music server hosted on the BeagleBone. The server contains a number of MP3 files which will be playable from the Beagle via either direct access or network access over ethernet/wireless. Currently (all from your web browser) you can upload and download songs, add to and subtract from the playlist, play your custom playlist over hdmi or headphone jack, adjust the output volume, load new media, etc.

We realize it's an odd choice to have a project that focuses solely on software, rather than a combination of that and hardware (ignoring the audio output). But when approaching the project, we wanted to build something that we would actually use afterwards, and not just relegate to the dust bin of history. I would happily say we succeeded.


Just about everything needed is in the repo, including the needed node modules. You will need to install NPM and NODEJS on your own. May also need to install module dependencies.

Installation Instructions

1) Go to and clone the umbreon folder somewhere on your laptop. NOTE:Does not work on Windows. Does not play nicely with IE. Should work with Firefox, Chrome, maybe Safari.

FOR USB-Audio and browser volume control

1a) If you want to use a USB-audio device, you need to set it to default. I used the guide here . Also make sure that you have alsamixer, as the sound controls in-browser use command-line arguments sent to amixer, a module of alsamixer. If you don't have alsamixer, you simply won't be able to adjust the volume from the browser.

2) You will need NodeJS, v.0.8.xx or higher, along with NPM. While I include the different node_modules in the git repo, installing them through NPM also installs their dependencies. If you run into issues with the distro not allowing module installation, use node-gyp here: .

3) Due to the whole 'unable-to-reflash-with-Angstrom' problem, I am unable to guarentee this will work on a standard BBB. However, I only use general linux architecture features, so feasibly as long as you can install Express 3.xx on Angstrom, it should be perfectly fine.

4) I'll add another step here whenever I get the server to run on OS boot.

User Instructions

See the README for further detail, but here's the basics.



if you wish to automatically mount your current usb drive. Server will start at If you'd rather just start the server without auto-mounting, run

node umbreonServer.js

To play the current playlist (initializes to all .mp3 files in the top directory of your flash drive), hit the big arrow button. To view the current playlist/remove songs from it, hit the '-' button on the right. To view the entire directory of mp3 files and possible add them to the playlist, hit the '+' button on the left.

To swap out flash drives, physically switch them and hit the 'Load Media' button below. To stop the current playlist from playing, hit the 'Stop Playlist' button.

To download the current track, hit the 'Download' button at the bottom of the page. To upload, choose a file at the bottom of the webpage and hit the 'Submit' button.


Unable to shoot video, but here's the current (rough) GUI.

Again, it's rough.
Again, it's rough.

Theory of Operation

Using express framework in NodeJS. Enables user to upload songs for playing, download the currently playing song, view playlist, edit playlist, add songs from the directory, change media by swapping out usb drives, etc.

Everything was planned for maximum user convenience, as I plan on using this in my dorm room once I obtain a wireless router for the bone.

Work Breakdown

I would like to point out this wouldn't have taken so long if I hadn't had to learn NodeJS, Express, NPM, alsa, CSS, html, and all the little quirks associated with them. On top of my Beagle dying Sunday and refusing to reflash to Angstrom. Spent all day trying to reflash it, had to switch to Debian Wheezy and re-dowload all the software.

Server Core-----------Eric------10hrs

Server Features-------Eric------30hrs (minimum)

Beginning with Express, NodeJS, NPM, als-arch, :: 18hrs (last Friday and Saturday. Sunday was spent praying and trying to fix the Beagle. Monday was spent swapping over to express.)
Playlist viewing----20min
Playlist editing----20min
Radio-Stream--------6 hrs - partially included in the 'Beginning' section
Basic GUI-----------1hr
Enhanced GUI--------4hrs
Song uploads--------6hrs
Song downloads------1hr

Express Test----------David-----1hr

Network access--------Eric------1.5hr

Future Work

1, 3, and 4 I plan on doing over break, I'll update this if I finish (grading should be done by then, so I won't impact that.)

1) Add wireless router for easy streaming, no ethernet cord hassle.

2) Fully implement the Stop and Skip buttons. Currently, they can't stop the audio stream currently outputting, only the rest of the playlist.

3) Add a 'reboot server' button, in case of server failure. Tying into this, the server needs to be able to start on boot- I lost the config files when my board self-destructed on Monday.

4) Due to not knowing CSS or html, the current GUI is a bit crap. I'd like to build a GUI I can actually be proud of, rather than the slap-a-dash affair I have now.

5) Song playback bar, graphically lets you know time remaining.

6) Button feedback. It's weird to select a song and having no feedback if it worked or not. Annoying.

7) Embarrassing to admit, but the server currently only recognizes .mp3 files. Easy enough to change, but since I myself only have .mp3 files, I haven't bothered yet.


Give some concluding thoughts about the project. Suggest some future additions that could make it even more interesting.

thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder