A while back I had an idea to build a Gonk droid subwoofer with two down-firing ten inch speakers. I realized I didn’t need another subwoofer, so I wondered how else I could create a functional, household Gonk droid.

I decided I wanted a Gonk that actually Gonks.

Gonk Droid HTPC

Gonk Droid HTPC

Inspired by many other plastic bin Gonk builds on Google image search and especially Chris Bartlett’s Gonk costume, I decided to turn this Gonk droid into a HTPC. Utilizing internal PC guts I could use five or twelve volts from the power supply to power chicanery such as lights and perhaps even sound.

Some of the specs:

2x 10 Gallon Sterilite containers

2″ Maple Dowels (legs)

2 1/2″ Black Split Wire Loom (hides the wood dowel legs)

4x 8″ pieces of 2×4’s stacked and glued for feet

1/2″ plywood stand (on top of dowels)

1/2″ acrylic slab on bottom to help stabilize the legs.

Fractal Design Node 304 PC case w/ four 3 Terabyte hard drives (room for a couple more) w/ cheap AMD A6-5400K CPU (perfectly fine for Blu Ray playback)

I needed a somewhat strong base for the PC to sit on so I went with two short stacked two by fours for the feet. I used a router to make two inch holes in the feet (straight through only the top 2×4’s) and ran equal length two inch maple dowels into these holes for the legs. PVC flanges screwed into the legs support the bottom half of the Gonk storage bin, there is little to no weight on the bottom half so it rests easy on the flanges. The legs continue for about eight inches past the two holes in the bottom bin and on top of the dowels I simply screwed a piece of half inch plywood for the PC to rest on.

The Sterilite bins cut easy with an exacto knife and in the front and back of the droid I placed some PC fan dust vents. I simply cut round holes for the vents and drilled holes through the vent corners and fastened with screws and nuts. Holes were cut in the ass end of the Gonk for HDMI cable, power and ethernet cables. Two small holes drilled through where the back bin handles meet were fitted with twist ties to serve as hinges for the top bin to open and close like a clamshell. The “face” of the droid was made with a plastic speaker cabinet plate, I had a hard time finding cake pans (the face of choice for larger Gonks) so that find was a nice one. Simply drilled some holes in it for little greeblie lights and a cheap camera lens extender I found on eBay for an “eye.” I placed some easy to access USB ports on the face by way of these USB port panel mount extensions.

For lights, I used a Logisys 12v remote control kit connected from a spare molex on the PC power supply to several candle flicker style LEDS on the front face of the droid. I soldered one end of the kit to a molex style adapter and plugged that into a free molex on the PC power supply. The module has 12v and ground In/Out plus a blue antenna wire. The 3 volt leds wired in parallel required 470ohm resistors to protect them from the full 12 volts. Finally, I ran wires from the last  candle LED to a cheap 12v rated sound activated led controller from eBay and wired from that to a 12v blue LED in the “eye” of the Gonk. When the lights are turned on via the Logisys kit, the candle LEDS flicker and the blue led will flash whenever a loud noise occurs, such as a “Gonk.” The little remote in the Logisys kit works from a good thirty feet away and through walls.

Gonk Droid Wiring

Gonk wiring

I wanted the computer inside the Gonk to function as a XBMC (now known as Kodi) home theater file server that sleeps most of the time until it is awoken via remote control. In order to accomplish this I used a great USB adapter called “Flirc” that lets you program just about any infra red remote to pair with your PC. I chose this wonderfully turdy little remote because it had just enough buttons that I needed to control XBMC (I should start calling it Kodi I guess) and wake the computer. The little Logisys remote for the lights can sit right on the back of it thanks to some double sided tape. The Flirc allows you to set one button as “wake” which wakes the PC up from sleep.  I have the Gonk PC connected directly to ethernet, this way I can also wake this PC from remote computers also on the network, Kodi has a program to do this called Advanced Wake On Lan. I have Kodi set up on a couple computers on the network so if I want to watch a movie on the Gonk and I’m in the bedroom, I can wake it and then my bedroom PC Kodi install can access all the files on the Gonk.

Gonk Droid PC

Fractal Node PC (with case cover off) under the hood of the Gonk

To get the Gonk to “Gonk” I went into Kodi’s theme install files and changed all the .wav files in users/”name”/appdata/roaming/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.kodi/addons/skin.”skin name”/sounds/ to Gonk droid sounds. I made these sounds much louder than normal with a program called Audacity. Loud, so they would trigger the Gonk’s sound activated led while any music/movies/tv shows would be heard at normal levels. Now that I’ve changed all the .wav files, I think I will go back and leave some of them default. There is such a thing as too much Gonking.

This was my first foray into the world of Kodi and I’m impressed with it, it’s great to access all your Blu Ray’s DVD’s Music and such from one program with instantly downloaded background art, information about the shows , etc. One feature I also like is the TuneIn internet radio plugin.

It took a while to copy all my DVD’s and Blu Rays but in the end it was worth it having them all on one server. You basically have to name the shows in a manner so Kodi identifies them and downloads the appropriate information for them. One very helpful tool was a program called “The Renamer.”  In order to copy my DVD’s and Blu Rays in the most lossless manner possible I chose MakeMKV. Some of my DVD’s exhibited horizontal scanlines when copied, so I used the program Handbrake instead to deinterlace them.

All in all it’s a handy little droid. I won’t be truly satisfied until I can make one that’s shotgun blast-proof and actually walks around the perimeter of the yard throwing handfuls of gravel at unfortunate trespassers.