View Full Version : Reality Bites

09-05-2007, 03:30 PM

Hello Everyone,

My first post on TBCS Forums so what better way to start than with a few details of my current project.

I have called it "Reality Bytes", because well sometimes it does. Also it is to be a custom watercooled case to house my gaming system which can serve as a nice escape from reality every now and then.

For the case I went for a very plain, simple and above all small case, the Antec NSK4000 and choose a black / neon green colour theme. The main feature of the project was to be a clean, effective and functional watercooling loop.

The system specs are as follows:

AMD Athlon64 X2 5200+ @ 3.2Ghz
Asus Crosshair nForce 590 SLi AM2
OCZ 2Gb Platinum Revision DDR2
Nvidia BFG GeForce 8800GTS OC2 320Mb @ 700/1000
Internal 320Gb Seagate & External 400Gb Freecon
Asus 5.1 Surround (supplied with motherboard)
Liteon Litescribe DVD/RW
Jeantech 600w Modular PSU

4x ACRyan 120mm Blackfire UV Green Fans
Corsair Memory Cooler
Asus Aux System Fan
2x Zalman Fan Controllers
Lang DDC 12v Pump with Alphacool Plexi Top & Tank
EK Multioption 250ml Res Rev2
240mm BlackIce Pro GTII Stealth
D-Tec FuZion CPU Block
EK 8800GTS Full Cover GPU Block With Acetal Top
Tygon 1/2' Tubing
Feser One Coolant & UV Green Dye

I did start this project over 2 months ago now, so have made quite alot of progress with it. Still alot to do though so I hope to update this log as I go.

On the Immediate todo list is the side panel. I want to make one 100% from clear Perspex after hiding some interior parts with the green perspex used throughout the case.

Also the Seagate HDD, which is sat onto of my DVD Drive on a square of Perspex. My intention with this is to have it mounted sticking out the top of the case with a heatpipe/heatsink cooler mounted to it. Hopefully to keep it nice and cool and also for a bit of eye candy to an otherwise dull top panel.

Here are the sketchups of the original idea (my first time on sketchup so not perfect)





Now here are a few pictures of the interior as it currently stands. The interior is pretty much done now, the work to be done is mostly on the exterior so this is what will follow in future updates.








Well thanks for reading, hope you have enjoyed it so far. Funds are a tad tight at the moment but I hope to be making an update asap.

In the meantime any comments, good or bad are welcomed. Be nice to know what poeple think.

09-06-2007, 09:07 AM
I have been planning the side panel today. The plan is to make it from a sheet of clear plexi the same size as the original side panel. I was going to go with a simple window mod, but this way all the areas of the inside I want to be visible will be.

However there are areas I don't want visible. The area the PSU and DVD drives are located. So I will be using black plexi to cover these areas.

I have used sketchup to make the plans before I buy the plexi. Some screenshots are below. I hope to get building in the next week or so.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/Random/SidePanel1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/Random/SidePanel2.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/Random/SidePanel3.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/Random/SidePanel4.jpg

Thanks For reading.

09-06-2007, 06:13 PM
@ XcOM - ATM its just resting ontop of the card held in place by the plastic clip on the mobos PCI-E slot. But I will be using M3 bolts/nuts to secure it through the 2 holes where the backplate is attached to the card and also the 2 holes at the opposite end which have nothing in them. To insulate the bolts/nuts/washers I will use the small cardboard washers that come with some cases to be used when mounting the mobo.

Hope that makes sense.

09-07-2007, 06:21 AM
I used a jigsaw (fine tooth blade) to cut the straight lines and then used a dremel (sanding drums) to add the curves. To make sure the striaght edges are perfectly straight I used a block of wood, held in place with clamps, as a guide to run the jigsaw against.

I tried etching, using the dremel, but I too had the same problem. I think you need a very steady hand and alot of practive to get etching right.

09-07-2007, 07:21 AM
As you can see from the previous posts in this project I have started the log halfway through the build, due to not intending on doing a log when I started out. I have been through the few pictures I did take in the early stages of the build so I can 'track back' on some parts of the build.

So here we go first off the PSU.

I started out with the stock PSU (Jeantech 600w Modular). Now the PSU was pretty much how I wanted it to look, all that needed changing was the 120mm fan. Here it is in all its stock 'white' glory, not quite in keeping with the green/black theme.



So I took it apart and switched the white fan with an AC Ryan 120mm UV Green Blackfire fan. Now these fans come with separate connectors for the fan power and the UV Leds. So I connected the UV Leds to a constant 12v supply to keep them nice and bright. The fan power is connected to the fan power wires from the PSU. I didn't connect the Leds to this supply as the PSU has a smart fan feature which lowers/increases the fan speed dependant on the PSU's temperature.

Here it is with the new Fan in place, much better I think you'll agree.



Here you can see the PSU mounted in the case with the Leds on full brightness whilst the fan itself remains at a low speed.


Thanks for reading, next is the memory cooler.

09-07-2007, 07:38 AM
I decided on using an 'Air' memory cooler over a watercooled one due to space/flow limitations. I chose to use the cooler from Corsair as IMO its by far the best memory cooler to look at and looked to have some potential for modding.

Here it is stock just after being delivered.


First on the list to do was to remove the Corsair 'branding', seemed senseless to have the Corsair logo in the case when I am using OCZ memory. So I removed the fans/wires and soaked the metal frame in hot soapy water for 30 minutes or so to loosen up the adhesive. Then once it was loose enough I peeled back the stickers on the top and sides. Dried it out and remounted the fans. Leaving it looking like this.


Now I did debate leaving it all black, a somewhat 'stealthy' look when mounted over the memory as seen below.


However once the case started to take shape and the green theme became ever more present, I decided that the cooler also needed some 'green' to help it fit in with the theme and also to make it visible in the case. Being all black it became too 'stealthy' and in certain lights was difficult to even make out. As I think this next picture shows quite well.


So I took an offcut of 3mm UV Green perspex I was using and cut it to the same size as the top of the cooler using a jigsaw and then a dremel (sanding drum) to tidy up the edges. Then using a hole saw I cut the three circular holes needed to allow air into the three fans. After a little sanding it was a simple case of mounting it to the top of the cooler using the, already present, four screws.

This is how it turned out, much more visible and in keeping with the theme of the case.




But it was at night that it really came into its own, being UV reactive and having had the edges sanded (dispersing the light more) I was really impressed with the effect it created. This giving me the idea to mount plexi on the sound and graphics cards. The picture below captures the effect quite well.


Again thanks for reading, next the GPU waterblock

09-07-2007, 07:58 AM
I brought my Nvidia 8800GTS around 3 months ago and put quite simply, she was my baby. I had never owned a 'good' graphics card before and this one was a huge step up for me. However even though the performance was more than I needed, being only human, I wanted to push it that little bit further. The only limitation to this was the temperature, it ran so hot. Under a full load it would often reach 80'c. This to me was unacceptable so the best option would be to add it to the watercooling loop.

There are so many waterblocks on the market nowadays it took quite a while to decide which one to go with. In the end I chose the EK Full Cover Block with the Acetal Top. It seemed to have very good overall performance for several reviews and also IMO looked the part.

And here it is a couple of days after being ordered


And here is my beloved card (I couldn't help thinking the man on the graphic was holding his head in a desperate panic seeing me with a screwdriver and a waterblock, having never fitted one before lol)


So anyways after reading the instructions several times over I took the plunge and carefully removed the standard heatsink to expose the bare card.


After cleaning off the thermal paste from the core and taking the thermal pads off the voltage regulators and memory I began to prepare the waterblock. I had all the nuts, washers and screws laid out before me in the order I would need them in a desperate attempt to make sure nothing went wrong. Applied the thermal paste (Arctic Silver Pro) and placed on the thermal pads with a pair of tweezers, then began mounting the block to the card. I have to say it was one of the single most frustrating this I have ever done. I haven't got tree trunk fingers but they are by no means small and seemed incapable of holding onto the tiny screws and washers. But after quite some time I finally got there and now had a high end graphics card setup for watercooling. Needless to say I was very happy indeed.

Here it is fitted (apologies for the low quality pictures)



Last thing to do was to pop it into the PCI-E slot out of harms way.


Thanks again for reading, Xperiment

09-07-2007, 08:03 AM
This mod is top-notch man. It's actually given me some ideas I might try out (don't worry though, I won't rip off your mod ;)). That video card cover is so simple, yet so effective.. I wonder why I haven't thought of that before! Also, I really like the idea for the res. I've been trying to think of how to mount one, and that is a really good way! This thing is off to a great start man, +rep.

Thanks for the kind comments and the rep Maleficus. The GPU card cover, like so many good things, came about by complete accident but yeh it did turn out quite nice. Also feel free to use my project for ideas, I am glad people deem them worthy enough to do so.

@ The boy 4rm oz - NP, no i didnt polish any of the plastics. If im honest I wouldnt even know what products to use. I just sanded the edges to allow them to difuse more light, this seemed to help alot give the glow around the edge. Good luck with the plastics work, best advice I can give is to take it very slowly.

09-07-2007, 08:12 AM
Yeah I have a few dotted about the case, they do give a nice effect.

Also they will be very handy for you when filling you waterloop. (if using UV Dye) they are excellent to look for leaks with, like this ....


09-08-2007, 11:03 AM
I had the soundcard out of the system today whilst I was taking some measurements, so thought I would show you how the plexi cover was added to it.

To get started here is the original soundcard that came with the motherboard. Notice the small screws that hold the actual PCB to the backplate have been removed.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/StockCard1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/StockCard2.jpg

This is to allow the backplate to be removed form the card so the holes can be used to mount the plexi, like this.


Now to cut a sheet of the 3mm Plexi in the same shape as the PCB, making sure it will cover the PCB itself and also the screw holes for the backing plate. 3mm diameter holes also need to be drilled through the plexi to allow mounting through the backplate. I will be using M3 bolts, nuts and washers.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/PlexiCutout.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Fixings.jpg

Then simply place a washer on each of the bolts and place through the plexi. I then tightened a nut on the bolt to raise the plexi off the top of the PCB and to keep it straight. Next the two bolts thread through the holes in the backplate and then thought the PCB, before lastly tightening the ends with the remaining nuts.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/FixingStage1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/FixingStage2P1.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/FixingStage2P2.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/FixingStage3P1.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/FixingStage3P2.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/FixingStage3P4.jpg

Now just pop it back into the motherboard and secure in place. Here are some final shots. Both under UV light in a dark and light room.

Thanks for reading.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Fitted1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Fitted2.jpg


09-09-2007, 04:23 AM
Mate that looks fantastic, do you mind if I do the same thing to my wireless LAN card? I would do it to my 8800GTX but it is too damn long, I got something else in store for it though ;)

BTW: that RAM cooler your looking at looks great, will suit your mod perfectly. I looked at the Thermaltake Cylo but opted not to get it cos it was rather bulky.

Thanks, yeah NP fell free to use the idea. I looked at that one too and the OCZ XTC Cooler, but as you say, a little to bulky.

Two things..

1. That looks fan_freakin_tastic!
2. What kind of camera are you using? Your pictures are amazingly clear even up close.


The camera is nothing special, its a Fujifilm Finepix A340. I am using it with a tripod though and always use the self timer to take the pictures. That way there is no camera shake so the pictures always seem to come out very clear and sharp.

09-09-2007, 12:18 PM
Small update from todays time spent in the garage.
It was the motherboard fans turn today to have a new plexi suit made. By motherboard fan I am talking about the ASUS one which came with my motherboard and is used to cool NB, SB and the voltage regs via the heatpipe.

My problem with the standard fan was that it seemed to like catching UV light and glowing purple, which in a green/black project just isn't good enough.
Here is the fan before (hard to tell from the picture but it does glow bright purple)


So my plan was to cover each side of the fan with UV green plexi held in place by some socket headed bolts. Like in the simple sketchups below.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Sketchup1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Sketchup2.jpg

I started by marking the designs out on some 3mm UV green plexi. Then drilling 2mm pilot holes for the air intake and the 4 bolt holes.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Template.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/2mmCut.jpg

Next I increased the hole sizes to 4mm and lastly the air intakes to 37mm using a hole saw.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/4mmCut.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/37mmCut.jpg

This is how it looked after cutting with a jigsaw and fastening together using M4 socket headed bolts, zinc washers and nylon locking nuts. I used the empty shell of an ASUS fan to line it all up.


After quite abit of sanding and some touching up with the dremel the plexi parts where complete, a few pictures

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Sanded1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Sanded2.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Sanded3.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Sanded4.jpg


Next I switched the empty fan case for the fan from the system leaving it now finished and looking like this.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Finished1.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/Finished2.jpg

Finally here it is fitted into the system and fired up.





Overall I am very pleased with the outcome of this 'mini mod'. The cutting is by no means perfect but mounted in the system I think it looks much better than it did 3 hours ago.

Just itching for my black and clear plexi to arrive so I can get cracking on the side panel. Until next time,

Thanks For Reading

11-19-2007, 12:56 PM
Well I am pleased to say things are back on track now, but most importantly I have been able to make some progress on the mod.

Some of my more expensive plans have been put on hold for a short while, so the following update isn't going to be huge. First off on the mod list was the rear 120mm exhaust fan.
The problem with it was that 3 of the 4 UV LED's had burnt out leaving it looking rather dull and boring. So I ordered a new one with the intention of doing a straight swap, but the more I looked at the fan the more I felt there was something missing. It just didn't stand out enough or make a great impact on the eye.

So I decided to use radiator grills instead of normal sized fan grills to make it more bold and also decided to use the burned out fan casing as a kind of spacer to bring it away from the rear of the case into a more eye catching position.

I am very happy with the results, a few pictures below.





On the next update:

- Mirror Acrylic
- A modded PS1 LCD screen
- Also some work on the side panel

Assuming I don't get made redundant again of course :)

11-19-2007, 01:24 PM
@ Teamikke - Thank you, in some of the pictures it does give the illusion of air in the water. I assume its something to do with the the light from the UV dye. I spent many hours removing the air from the loop and thankfully I haven't seen a bubble for a while now. But yeah it does look 'airy' in the pictures.

11-20-2007, 05:03 AM
Update: Mirror Acrylic

Today I received the AC Ryan Mirrored Acrylic (http://www.watercoolinguk.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=46&products_id=653) I ordered a few days ago.
When I was reading through the advertising for it I was quite excited to read it was both a 2 way mirror whilst being see-though at the same time. There were a few areas of the case that I wanted to hide from view and other that I wanted to be more visible, so this product seemed like the perfect answer.

The 3 main areas I wanted to apply this acrylic are:
- Below the four 4"UV cathodes next to the power supply
- Behind the 3.5" bays, around the pump
- Above the radiator on the inside rear of the case

So after a few quick measurements and a few minutes with the jigsaw I had 3 pieces of acrylic ready to install in the case. I used double sided pads (that came with some cathodes) to secure the pieces in place, I had to cut the pads into thin strips so they could not be easily seen through the acrylic but at the same time give the pieces enough support.

To be honest I was amazed at how clear the mirror image was on these pieces, being acrylic I expected it to be less clear than a glass mirror however it is very difficult to tell the difference.

Pictures of the 3 areas where the acrylic was used can be seen below, hope you like the effect.

3.5" Drive Bays




Below UV Cathodes



Rear of Case above Radiator






Its hard to show the full effect in picture form but I think you get the idea, the reflections give alot more depth to the case and help to bounce the UV light around lighting up areas that were kept in the shadows before.
I will hopefully have my PS1 LCD screen delivered in the next few days. I plan to hook this up to VGA and mount it in the front panel of the case.

Thanks For Reading :)

11-20-2007, 06:50 AM
Shouldn't be too long now, less than 10 minutes after my post the delivery man paid me a visit.

1 x AC Ryan Smoked Black Acrylic (http://www.watercoolinguk.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=46&products_id=574)
1 x AC Ryan Clear Acrylic (http://www.watercoolinguk.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=46&products_id=575)



Just need some 'pure' black acrylic now. TBH I was hoping the AC Ryan Smoked black would be a little more black and not quite as see through. I will have a play around with it though, I'm sure mounting something behind it will help.

11-20-2007, 10:20 AM
Ok this afternoon I have been working on a template for what will form the inner part of the side panel. Its basically just a cut sheet of black acrylic which will hide areas such as the side of the PSU and the sides of the rear fans, along with the sides of the 3.5"/5" drive bays.

I have made a cardboard template of the shape I want to use and placed it in the case. Now I cant decide if I am happy with the shape and if it fits the 'shape theme' of the overall build. . . .

Opinions / suggestions would be gratefully received, some pictures:



11-21-2007, 05:14 AM
I do like the idea of the tubes coming through the acrylic, I will take some measurements and do a mock-up, thanks TEAMIKKE.

Not sure on the thumbscrews though, I have been meaning to find some different screws for the backplates. Ideally I would like some bright green anodized socket head bolts. May get one thumbscrew just to test though.

11-21-2007, 06:43 AM
I think it looks better now the mirror is there, was a little plain before. But now there is a point of interest there I would like to keep it open and on view. If only someone made plastic UV Green thumbscrews, that would be the finishing touch to the area.

I know what you mean with the cover-plates (I assume you mean the rear expansion slot covers) They are near mirror finish stainless steel, guess it don't show very well in the pictures, but I think a polish would help, will add that to the 'todo' list.

Many thanks for your continued input :)

11-22-2007, 11:34 AM
Update: LCD Screen

Still waiting on some more acrylic before I can begin the side panel, which is a little frustrating, however .....

Today my PS1 LCD screen arrived, I picked it up on Ebay second hand so it cost next to nothing, which is good as I have never modded on of them before. I have read a few tutorials on various sites and along with some help from you guys I am confident I can get it to work.

So first off here is a picture of it straight out the box:




Obviously I am not going to mount it in its casing. I need to get the LCD and its circuit board out, time to take it apart.

A few screws, a little frustration and some snapped plastic later:


Here is the screen and circuit board removed from the case:




Now to take some measurements of the screen and surround in order to mod the area it will be mounted:


I was running a little low on fixings so also brought some more nuts, bolts, washers and threaded rod. All M4 in size and all bolts are the socket cap type that I have tried use throughout the case:


I am going to mount the screen in the front panel of the case, below the 3.5" bay covers.
A few pages back I said I was unhappy with the front panel as it was too 'stock' and TBH just looked like a run of the mill PC face. I think having the screen mounted in it, to use as a system monitor or just to have visualizations playing, will add that much needed eye candy. Also the whole front panel will be covered with 3mm smoked black acrylic, but that's for another day.

Here is the front panel removed from the case:


The panel is in three parts (all ABS Plastic), this is ideal as it gives plenty of space between them to house the LCD circuit board.
Here are a couple of pictures of that space I have to work in:



So lets get those three panels separated. They are all (rather cheaply) held together with small plastic tabs, as you can see below:


The tabs are quite fragile so I gently prized them apart with a flat head screw driver:



Now its the same deal to get the inner panel detached from the front faceplate:



Now that the silver front faceplate is removed I can mark out measurements for the area I need to remove in order for the screen to show through:


Initially I marked out the area between the bottom of the 3.5" drive bays and the top of the case badge, then measured the area to find the centre point:


The area of the screen I need to be visible through the front panel is 115mm x 80mm (5" screen) so using the centre point as a starting point I marked this out on the front panel:


That's it for now, this weekend I will be able to get down the garage and start cutting the front panel to mount the screen and also cut the acrylic to go on the front and then it will be time to try and wire it all up ..... :twisted:

Thanks For Reading

11-23-2007, 12:07 PM
Update: LCD Screen - Part 2

Hello everyone,

Pleased to say I had a good day of modding today, I managed to spend some time down the garage and got quite alot of work done on the LCD / Front panel.

Lets get started! Masked up the front panel for cutting:


Out comes the dremel:



Cutout for the screen:


Then a quick test fit. I was going to hide the silver surround but decided to have it exposed as I quite liked having a bit of shine:


And from the back:


Now to mark up the second panel for cutting to allow the screen to fit in:


Cuts made:


Another test fit:


Then the third panel:


Test fit:


Next I masked up some black smoked acrylic to make a surround:


Lots of smoothing and sanding. I used 200, 600, 1500 grit sand paper to polish up the edges:


With all the cutting and sanding done it was time to get some lunch and get back indoors out of the freezing cold garage and fix everything together.

First and second panel joined:



To raise the screen away from the circuit board for a smoother fit I made some spacers from the parts below:



Then fitted to the screen:


Allowing the screen to mount through the front panel:





Now for the acrylic surround:


I fixed this through the front panel with M4 nuts and bolts:






And the finished product fitted to the case:





I am very happy with how todays work went. I still have got to fit some more acrylic to the front panel to finish it off but I hope you will agree, it now looks alot better than it did before.
Next is the wiring, not looking forward to that in all honesty but its got to be done.

As always thanks for reading, let me know what you think.

11-26-2007, 01:04 PM
Update: Loose Ends

I should have all the components I need to wire the LCD screen up to the PSU and graphics card by tomorrow, so I wanted to tie up some loose ends today leaving me free to concentrate on getting the screen up and running.

One problem I was having with the screen was that it was not as secure in its mounting as I wanted it to be. The front panel did hold it in place enough to stop it from moving around, but if the screen where to get touched or knocked it would move slightly backwards into the front panel.

I didn't want to use a glue gun nor to have anymore visible bolts on the front panel. So I came up with the idea of making a rubber 'foot' that would press against the circuit board of the screen and hold it in place.

The parts used:


How they fit together:


Even though the metal bolt is covered by the rubber grommet I applied some insulation tape to the area it would press against:


Now the bolts applied to the front panel:



Now from the picture below with everything back together you can see that the new bolts press firmly against the back of the screen holding it in place:


The next task I was part way through was the inner side panel I made a template for a few pages back. The only thing holding me back was waiting for some black perspex to be delivered. However just as I sat down to lunch it turned up:



2 sheets of black acrylic - 500mm x 500mm x 3mm

So with lunch now becoming 'take-away' I marked out the template on the sheet:


Then off to the cold garage to start the cutting:


The cut went really well and only took about 15 minutes, however sanding down of the edges took much longer, well worth it for the nice smooth polished up edges though. Again I used 200, 600, 1500 grit sand paper to get the desired result:


Back in from the garage I removed the protective covers from the acrylic ready to test fit it in the case. The acrylic is a very dark black and has a very glossy, near mirror finish which looks nice against the matt black of the case:


Finally here it is mounted in the case. I decided to stick with the original shape of the cutout because I didn't want to over-complicate the lines nor the overall shape.

Once I start on the outer-panel I will be able to secure the reservoir to the inner panel which will also hold the panel to the case, but for now its just the tight fit holding it in place:



And one last picture to show the glossy mirror shine:


That's it for today, should have another update tomorrow with the wiring for the LCD screen.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Looking forward to some feedback.

11-29-2007, 04:02 PM
Update: LCD Screen

Hey Guys,

Only a small update I'm afraid, Maplins seem to think 24hour delivery means "will take over a week" :eek:. So I am still waiting on parts to get this screen up and running.

I have made a start on the wiring however.

Here is the adapter that came with the screen for the video/sound output:


As you can see from the picture its a very small area to work in, and knowing the limits of my soldering skills I decided to mod the wires that connect to the adapter instead of soldering wires onto it.

Here is the connector to mod:


There are 10 wires in total, I only need 6 of them to connect via VGA. So I cut into these and lengthened them with some thin wire so they will run from the screen to the output on my graphics card. Each wire is numbered to correspond to the pin on the VGA connector:


Then this end will connect to the screen:


Now here are the wires connected to the screen:


And finally here they are braided:


I also made a quick connector for the screen power. Just a molex connector running to a toggle switch. This will then connect to a small circuit to drop the 12v to 7.5v.


Hopefully Maplins will pull their finger out over the next few days so I can connect the power to the screen and wire up the VGA connector. Then we should have a working LCD.

Thanks For Reading :)

11-30-2007, 11:27 AM
Update: LCD Screen

Some good news, my order from Maplins finally turned up today, However when I opened it and started checking off all the bits and pieces I noticed they had not included the last page of items :?

The parts they left off aren't urgent but its still very frustrating, and now I have been told they will be with me in 3-5days !?!?!?! pfff

But anyway the modding must go on. The only missing part that will cause a bit a problem is the stripboard, so for now please enjoy some Ghetto electronics ...... :banana::banana:

Powering the screen: Ghetto Testing

A big thanks to 'xmastree' for coming up with the circuit diagram to allow me to reduce the standard 12v supply from the PSU to the needed 7.5v for the screen. Original Thread (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11902)

This is what I will be working to:


I will be testing this circuit on two outputs, the first of which is a set of two 12" cathode tubes. The thinking behind this being that they were the highest wattage 12v item I had to hand.

Below you can see the 'Ghetto' arrangement used to test:



So after connecting everything and switching it on I used a multimeter to measure the voltage being supplied to the cathodes (from the outputs on the circuit diagram).

This gave a result of 7.88v.


A good result and well within the range the screen can cope with.

Next I used a simple 120mm fan, again connected Ghetto stylee:


The voltage reading for this test seemed to be less stable, moving from 6.90v upto 7.65v. I left it running for around 3 minutes and it did level out at around 7.30v, again a perfect supply for the screen.

I am very happy with the results and quite confident that the circuit works the way it is meant to. However not being that knowledgeable of all things electronics I wont connect it to the screen just yet, I will run a few more tests first.

If anyone can see anything I have done wrong here, please point it out to me, you may just save my screen :bunny:

I have done a little video of the 2 tests hoping this will highlight any problems:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/th_RB1.jpg (http://s90.photobucket.com/albums/k265/xperiment_2006/New%20PC/?action=view&current=RB1.flv)

I now have my 15 way D-Sub connector (VGA) so tonight will be able to solder this to the video inputs on the screen, an update on this to follow.

But that's it for now, as always thanks for reading :)

12-05-2007, 04:46 AM
Looking good so far. If the power seems unstable, it might be an idea to put a capacitor across the output to smooth things a little. Got any dead electronics lying around?

A while ago I did strip a DVD player and an old motherboard of all its caps and other bits before I threw it away. So will try out a few different caps to see what happens.

However, It seems transistors don't like short circuits lol


Will have to pop over to maplins again, cant be doing with their delivery again.

Hey man, I was just wondering if those fans you are using were AC Ryan Blackfires? If so do you find them loud? They are rated at almost 29dba and just thought I may ask.

Yes dude, they are AC Ryan Blackfires. As for the noise, it depends where you mount them, what voltage you run them at etc.

I find that at 5v they are silent, of if they have nothing directly touching them at 12v again silent.
But if you run them on a rad at 12v they can be a tad noisy. I tend to run all mine at 5v-7v.

Good fans though, would recommend them.

12-05-2007, 11:44 AM
Dude, I need to know what settings you are using on your camera. I have the same one, and can't get mine to come out as good as yours.

I use macro mode and auto focus on the camera itself. Quality is set to 4MF. I use a tripod to keep it steady.

Self timer helps for the closeup shots to keep the picture sharp. Also try half pressing the 'shoot' button until a small yellow box comes on the screen, wait a couple of seconds then fully press. I think this increases the shutter speed for a sharper image.

I also take about 3-10 pictures of the same thing then pick the best one.

As for editing the picture once taken, I move to photoshop, select a square area and crop, then reduce it to 500x500 pixels, this seems to improve sharpness a little more.

Hope that helps.

Back on topic:
The project is looking great man. Keep up the good work.

Thanks, slow but steady at the moment.

12-05-2007, 01:15 PM
Update: LCD Screen VGA Connection

I really want to get this screen up and running now, what with waiting on deliveries and blowing up transistors it just seems to be taking forever to make progress on it.

So today I wired up the video inputs to a VGA socket. The plan was to do this using a bare 15 pin D-Sub plug which would then plug into a VGA -> DVI adapter.

When I grabbed the adapter I noticed how easy it would be to plug the wires straight into it rather than solder them to the VGA plug. So I cut some lengths of solid core black wire and slotted them into the adapter:


Then labeled each one so I knew which wire was from which pin:


Used a hot glue gun to keep them in place:


And used heatshrink to cover up the wires:


Lastly I connected up the wires to the loom already fitted to the screens inputs and ran it through the case, hidden behind the radiator, before coming through the rear expansion slots and into the graphics card outputs:


Now that this is done all I need is a new transistor and it will, at last, be ready to switch on.

12-05-2007, 03:45 PM
I was just testing the circuit and the ground probe on the multimeter touched the live input. Quite a big bang, lots of pretty sparks and that piece that broke off hit me on the chin lol, live and learn.

No heatsinks at the moment, have got the insulators you suggested, so will bolt to case.

As for the VGA wire, I would love to solder to the card but I know it would be the most expensive solder job I ever did, the card would have been dead within minutes.

12-06-2007, 05:16 PM
Update: Outer Side Panel

Well I've been looking forward to getting the outer side panel started for a while now and after a few days of planning and marking out the design I was able to get down the garage today and make some progress.

The panel is going to be made from two sheets of plexi (what else was it going to be) :) One black and one clear, both 3mm. First I needed to get both pieces the same size as the side of the case.

I clamped them to a the workbench and used a plank of wood as a guide to get a perfectly straight edge:


After two cuts with the jigsaw I had the two pieces of the correct size:


I had already marked out the cutting lines for the black piece:


I started by using a holesaw to get a perfectly round curve:


Then with the jigsaw cutout the rest:


Leaving a frame to cover the clear piece of plexi:


Next I cut 4mm holes for the bots to hold both bits together:


And used M4 socket bolts to secure:



Next to add a little detail to the panel I cut a circular piece of UV green plexi using a holesaw and fitted it to the end of the drill, allowing me to file and sand to a perfect finish:


Then the same, but smaller with a black circle, giving me two pieces:


Then cut the a mounting hole in the panel:


Before bolting together:



The idea being the UV green circle will glow from the light inside and appear to be 'floating' against the clear plexi.

I couldn't resist having a peek, so took the masking off the black plexi. I have left it on the clear piece for now as I still need to cut a hole for the res to poke through:




I'm really happy with how it is looking so far and think the curves and green circle really fit in with the theme of the case.

More to come soon, but that's it for now. Thanks for reading, look forward to hearing what you think.


12-11-2007, 05:12 AM
Update: Inner Side Panel

Only a small update today. Now I have started work on the outer side panel I needed to get the inner panel secured in place so I can mount the res.

It will be secured in two places, first to the 3.5" bays next to the pump. I cut some 4mm holes to allow me to bolt it to the bays.



It is also held in place by the rear exhaust fan. I did this to minimize the number of bolts I would have to have showing.

So to make sure the panel is held tightly in place I changed the way the rear fan is mounted.

The grills:


The fan and empty fan:


M4 threaded rod marked for cutting:


First the two grills bolted together:



Threaded rod cut using dremel:


Bolted through the grills;



Fan mounted:



Empty fan fitted:



Then finally mounted, with grill, to the case:


This way the fan grills pull towards the back of the case and hold the inner side panel tightly in place.

Thanks for reading, I should have the side panel finished in the next few days, pics to follow.

12-12-2007, 05:33 PM
Update: Side Panel

Just a quick update as the side panel is almost complete now. Mounted the res to the inner side panel:


Then cut a mounting hole in the clear plexi of the outer panel:



Now for a test fit:


Just resting in place in that picture, a few minor adjustments needed before it can be bolted in place.

Thanks for reading, more updates soon I hope.

01-03-2008, 04:45 PM
First off, apologies for the lack of updates over the last few weeks. What with Christmas, new years and starting a new job its been hard to find any time to get any real modding done.

Also I have run into a slight problem with the build. After connecting the LCD screen up and powering it on I cant seem to get it to function.

Windows detects the additional screen but I cant get anything to display on the screen, not even a flicker.

So all of my time is being taken up trying to figure it out. Does anyone know if windows would detect the screen even it wasn't getting any power, or had blown in some way. I don't think this is the case as windows knows the max res of the screen so must be getting some info from it, but it would be nice to rule it out.

Be nice to get some ideas from people of what the problem may be as I am fast running out of ideas. Theres a massive +rep for anyone that can help :)

Hopefully I will get the last few bits of the build done in the next few weeks, so will post pics as and when I can.

03-25-2008, 04:56 PM
Hey Xperiment. I just caught this mod and I dont see any activity in the last 2 months. Have you done anything towards the completion of this great case?

Well its pretty much finished. I just cant seem to get the lcd screen up and running. No matter what I try.

I can only assume its a dead screen so I am trying to get another one to find out.

This coming weekend I will take some completed pictures of the case and post them up as a completed mod. Then if I do get my hands on another screen I will just have to update one or two of the pictures.

idk how the hell i missed the updates since the install of the lcd.... that is purely amazing youve been one of my favorite modders for quite some time now...and you never fail to impress

Thanks for such a compliment, thats very much appreciated.

07-05-2008, 03:24 PM
Well better late than never I guess.

I have finally got round to finishing this mod, the side panel is finished fitted. I have chosen to remove the clear acrylic and have an open sided case just to be a bit different.

I'm very pleased with how this came out, just wish I could figure out the PS1 screen on the front, one day I will get it up and going!

Enjoy some final pics ...............















Last but not least a big thanks to those who got involved along the way :)

Link To Original Worklog (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10478)