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Hardware and Case Mod's You Paint it, Cut it, Solder it, bend it, light it up, make it glow or anything like that, here is your forum.

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Unread 01-24-2004, 12:40 PM   #1
Zogthetroll
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Default Modding Evolution of my beige box (psssst, stealthed LCD)

In the beginning there was beige, and it was boring. (and ugly, so i don't have any original pictures of it) Then one day i stumbled across THIS web site and thought "hey, I could use a light and more fans" so I built a baybus for my computer. and that's where it all started. I also painted the side panels while i was at it and added an intake i made out of a plastic funnel to the front panel along with some "gutter guard" mesh as a fan grill.
Love that ghetto material.
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Unread 01-24-2004, 12:44 PM   #2
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here's the front panel reinstalled with the control panel in place. 3- three way switches for fans, and 2 on/off switches for lights.
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Unread 01-24-2004, 12:46 PM   #3
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inside view showing wrapped cables and power dist. box
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Unread 01-24-2004, 12:50 PM   #4
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and a close-up. good ol' Radio-scrap parts. works like a charm though. you may note that while there are 5 switches up front, the box only has 4, the last switch is routed up front to a seperate connector, you'll see why after a later project. hint; lots of blinky lights.
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Unread 01-24-2004, 01:02 PM   #5
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oh, btw, if anyone recognizes what kind of case that is and can direct me to a "before" picture of one i'd appreciate it.
OK, on with the show. Part 2: front usb and sound header. this was an idea that was floating around in my head for a while, actually ever since i got my thumb drive a year ago. the drive came with an extension cord so i was fine for a while, but things changed. I got a few more devices with usb interfaces (2 usb ports wasn't cutting it now) and i got a nice computer desk which really limits my access to the back of the computer (at least untill i get more $ and build a pull-out shelf for it) so in my usual form i scavenged some usb headers off an old keyboard, and found an audio jack to go with them. the result:
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Unread 01-24-2004, 01:08 PM   #6
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my next challenge, build a box to hold it so i could use the drive rails for my spare 3 1/2" bay to hold the headers in place. so i whipped out my supply of 1/8" plexi and my trusty hacksaw and went to work.
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Unread 01-24-2004, 01:15 PM   #7
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and now I get to play with my dremel (I love that thing). time to make the holes in the front face and mount the proto board. note what i'm using to connect to the header on the motherboard. Yup, i found a use for my old cd-rom audio cables, as long as they had 4 wires that is.
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Unread 01-24-2004, 01:22 PM   #8
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alright, now lets install this baby. here it is in its slot, and good to go. note that i spaced the headers apart intentionally so i could use my thumb drive and still have room for another device. i couldn't be happier with this. now i just need to figure out if i want to backlight it or not, and i still need to install the cover i made to stealth my new usb header back to its orininal look. (see second post with picture of front cover for reference)
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Unread 01-27-2004, 08:36 PM   #9
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Alrighty, here we go again. if you noticed my earlier comment about little blinky lights, well this is what i was referring to. that's right people, a stereo VU meter is in the works. as with lots of stuff that i've done recently, i've realized that it helps to have documentation/templates, that sort of thing. kind of a "measure twice, cut once" sort of deal. more on that later. time to drill some pilot holes.
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Unread 01-27-2004, 08:44 PM   #10
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Default and on to the components

yup, that's right. no kits here. I found a website one day over my lunch break (www.electronic-circuits-diagrams.com) and found the diagram for a mono vu meter on it. (they've got lots of cool random stuff there btw) I figured stereo would be better and decided to put my electronics and soldering skills to the test.
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Unread 01-27-2004, 08:51 PM   #11
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Ok, template time. on the extreme right we have the front panel off my pc, and on the left, probably the best idea i've had in quite a while. yes, i made a template to hold all the tiny led's in place for soldering/wiring. those holes in the chunk of wood i've got there saved me a MAJOR headache later on. oh, and the circuit board in the picture is the main part of the stereo vu meter. I decided to have the led's wired to a seperate board and connected via a ribbon cable so i could place the main circuit wherever i wanted. I did manage to shrink that circuit board down later, which was real convenient.
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Unread 01-27-2004, 08:55 PM   #12
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time to start playing with the ol' soldering iron. step one: LED's, twenty of them in fact. found some cool wiring in my scrap materials box. and of course my trusty spool o' solder
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Unread 01-27-2004, 09:00 PM   #13
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yes, its beginning to take shape quite nicely now. my apologies to those who work with electronics for a living or use fancy things like pcb's. try not to look at the next couple of pictures. hehehe *note* that's also the reason you won't see the underside of the main circuit board, it just ain't pretty (but it works)
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Unread 01-27-2004, 09:05 PM   #14
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and here we are, all led's in place, soldered up, connected to the main board, and good to go. on to the testing.
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Unread 01-27-2004, 09:17 PM   #15
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WOOOHOOO. yeah, no sparks, smoke or anything like that. crank it up!! i just need to sand the led's a bit so they diffuse the light a little more (so it looks better viewed from an angle) as you can see, the mainboard is outside of the case for the pic below, but at the time of writing this everything has been finalized and put in its place. as i said earlier, i managed to make the main board a little smaller, so its now resting inside the front panel in the space between the floppy opening and the front intake. It gets its signal from the back of the pc, I put a Y-splitter in for it and the speakers. lazy ba$tards at the factory didn't see fit to solder pins onto my motherboard's onboard sound connector. not that that bothers me or anything. yeah. well, that's all for now untill i decide whether or not to put the ramsinks I made onto my graphics card or figure out how to stealth my new usb ports. feel free to let me know what you all think of my WIP so far.
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Unread 01-27-2004, 10:38 PM   #16
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Wow that is really impressive, gives me hope for this P100 (looks at floor) screw it, i am turning it into a LEAF router anyway.
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Unread 02-04-2004, 03:13 PM   #17
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oops, backtracking a bit here. this is what i get for not paying attention to whats in the digital camera. here's a nice shot of the control board for my vu meter.
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Unread 02-04-2004, 03:21 PM   #18
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Default LCD time!

ok, lcd's are nothing new really, but i wanted one (i managed to convince myself there were some practical reasons for putting one in my pc ) and i had a crazy idea floating around in my head that i wanted to try out, so when i got ahold of an AT&T business phone the other week i decided to see if i could use its display. and yes, i found the magic serial number on the back of the board, HD44780. WOOHOOO. time for some graphics.
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Unread 02-04-2004, 03:30 PM   #19
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gotta love this display, its a 16x2 and the size is great, its 15/16"x3 7/8". for a 16x2 that's friggin HUGE. unfortunately its not backlit (yet), but i have plans to stick an EL strip into it to fix that little problem, so its all good. ok, here's the end result, i made a 2-bay cover to fit both my switch panel and the lcd into the front of my pc. kinda had to since the lcd is just a tad too tall to fit in one bay, oh well. and yes, i'll be replacing the bottom screws, i just had a brain lapse while at the hardware store and forgot i needed six screws instead of four, doh. alright, as mentioned elsewhere, this mod is kinda unique (that i'm aware of), and if anyone can actually guess what makes it so before the next shot i'll be impressed. sorry, no prizes here.
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Unread 02-04-2004, 03:45 PM   #20
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ok, now i know there are some of you out there who stealth your drives, and i like the concept (especially when you have bone white drives in a nicely painted or finished case. however, it isn't always that great, i mean if you just cover the drives it looks like your case just got to you from the factory, what's the point? i figure you use it to highlight an lcd, or a switch panel with indicator lights or something cool instead of having empty looking drive bays. anyway, i do like the concept, but i kinda ran out of drive bays on my computer for an lcd, so at some point one of the little voices in my head says "why not stealth a drive WITH an lcd" gasp, was it possible? the original idea was to attach the lcd to the front of the drive and have it run out when the drive was oppened. but as i said, i've got an oversize lcd, plus the wire hookup was in the wrong spot (bottom instead of side) so instead i came up with what you see below, my stealthed 2nd drive bay with a spring-loaded lcd front panel that swings down to allow cd access. yeah, i could just be wierd, but i'd never seen it before, and wanted to know if it could be done. all i have to say is it looks cool and it works. and yes, i do plan to stealth the top drive. the trick that makes it work is that i dissassembled the cd burner and redrilled the holes for the guide rails so it sat 1/2" back from the face of the pc, thus giving the space needed for the lcd assembly
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Unread 02-15-2004, 10:48 PM   #21
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now you see it, now you don't. well, not really. you can still see the cd drive, but it really blends in now after a nice matching coat of vinyl die (man, I love that stuff). yeah, i know, its a really small step, but it was very gratifying nonetheless. I no longer cringe when I glance at the front of my computer. my wife even commented on it, so you know that's an improvement.
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Unread 03-09-2004, 02:12 PM   #22
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Nice dude. Looks real good
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Unread 04-14-2004, 08:40 AM   #23
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Nice idea with the LCD/stealth job - I like it. That'd look particularly sweet on a home-theater setup
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