"The current off-grid audio system uses a car stereo deck with a
built-in CD player driving three stereo speaker sets, all running
on 12V DC power. Power consumption is in the range of 5-10 Watts,
depending on volume. The car stereo deck has an auxiliary audio
input for connecting external sound sources, such as a computer.
After one becomes used to a Linux-powered music system with
unattended playback of a large music library, manually swapping
individual CDs every 45 minutes seems like a lot of trouble.
"Initially, a stripped-down desktop computer was considered for
the job, but the power consumption was a bit too high for
continuous off-grid use, especially when powering the machine
equipment through a DC to AC power inverter. A number of mini-ITX
systems were considered for the job, but their prices were high,
power consumption was still moderate, and an external monitor, with
more power consumption, was required.
"A laptop computer seemed like a better platform for building
such a system. Taking the small system idea one step further, it
was decided that a palmtop computer would be a good candidate for
the task at hand. The ASUS Eee PC was chosen because it was
inexpensive, common, tiny, self-contained and would run on low
power. Also, another LWN editor had an Eee PC model 4G (701) that
he was willing to part with. This machine uses a solid state flash
drive for its primary filesystem."