Converting a laptop computer into a desktop machine

[Michael Chen] found himself in possession of a thoroughly broken laptop. The hinges connecting the screen to the body of the computer were shot, and the battery was non-functional. After a bit of thinking he decided that it wouldn’t take much to resurrect the hardware by turning it into a desktop machine.

At the core of this hack is the hardware that you must keep for the computer to function. That is, the LCD screen, the motherboard, hard drive, and the AC/DC brick that powers it. [Michael] ditched everything else; the case, keyboard, trackpad, webcam, etc. Next he started building his own enclsure out of acrylic. First he sandwiched the LCD screen between a full sheet of acrylic and a bezel that was one inch wide on each side. Next, another full sheet was used to mount the motherboard and hard drive. You can see how the three sheets are connected by nuts and bolts in the image above. It looks like the only other alteration he made was to relocate the power button to a more convenient spot.

Once a USB keyboard and mouse are added he’s back up and running. We’ve got our eye on an old XP laptop that might end up seeing this conversion to become a dedicated shop computer. We just need to build in some more dust protection.

Creepy HDD activity lights just in time for Halloween

We almost skimmed right past this spooky HDD activity light thinking it was just another set of LEDs wired to the motherboard.  However, they explained right off that they didn’t want just another blinking light on their case. They wanted it to change its intensity smoothly based on hard drive activity. While there are a million ways this could have been over engineered, we think they did a pretty good job of simplifying the circuit. The bill of materials is pretty much just a handful of resistors, LEDs, an opto isolator, and a capacitor. The effect, is quite nice and can be seen in the video after the break.

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Server not as think as you drunk it is

server-in-whiskey-bottle

[Janos] pulled off a unique case mod by fitting a computer system inside of a whiskey bottle. Inside you’ll find a 733MHz processor, 256MB of ram, a 40GB hard drive, and a 60 watt power supply. The specs seem a little light but since this mod is from 2006 we certainly understand. Using the right server software this will still keep up with today’s demands.

It sounds like the hardest part was putting holes in the bottle. After a few failed attempts, [Janos] found a professional glass grinder to cut the openings for him.

The whole thing was running a little hot and instead of filling the bottle with oil (oh, how we wish he had) he added a second fan in the bottle’s neck and drilled some air intake holes. This brought the temperature under control while preserving the boozy look of this creative enclosure.

[via Lifehacker]

Upgraded Atari 1024STf

atari-1024STf-case-mod

[Gerritt] wanted to give his crippled Atari 1024 STf a new purpose in life. He cracked it open and set to work filling it with some modern components. The keyboard from the nearly 25-year-old dinosaur doesn’t have all the keys we’re used to, nor did they all work, so he replaced the original with a 101 key model. The internal hardware was replaced with a microATX board, a picoPSU, Bluetooth and WiFi transceivers, a hard drive, and a slot-fed DVD drive. He even rebuilt the original mouse to use the circuitry from an optical mouse.

The final product is a 1.6GHz Pentium Mobile with one gig of ram. Now he has no need to pick up an EEE Keyboard PC when they hit the market.

High explosives PC case

ammo_casemod

[Ilias] let us know about his new HTPC case mod.  He took a surplus Ammo-case and with a bit of work turned it into a livingroom eye-sore masterpiece. His build has some nice touches, including a slot-fed DVD player, switch-based fan control, and key-and-button “nuclear launch” type power-on controls.

A few things to learn from this project: Cleanly cutting holes in a steel case for the connectors is tough.  You can see that [Ilias] did a pretty good job with it and in several cases used rubber gaskets to cover the rough edges. Secondly, the slot fed DVD had to be mounted upside-down.  We assume this will be fine, but we’d like to hear a follow-up after a few years of heavy use. Finally, the GFAF (girlfriend acceptance factor) ran very close to critical on this build as [Ilias] didn’t clean up the metal shavings on his porch and ended up with rust stains everywhere.

Case mods are an enjoyable hobby. We hope this will inspire you to take the leap.  If you do, don’t forget to send your completed project into our tip line.

Neo-Geo case mod

Neodrive%20with%20pads

What do you get when you cross a Neo-Geo and a Sega Genesis? A pretty vintage case mod. [Brett] used a variation of the 16-bit console (known as the Mega Drive II) as the base of his project. With an original Neo-Geo motherboard and a few other components (such as a power indicating LED), the ‘Geosis’ was born. [Brett] removed a few of the unnecessary parts from the mobo, like the power-amp, and set it up to work with a regular 5V DC wall adapter. The PCB also had to be clipped so it would fit into the Mega Drive chassis.

Though it may not be the case, some Neo-Geo motherboards in circulation have been salvaged from arcade machines. An enclosure would be essential for protecting them during standalone use – something [Brett] plans to do a lot.

HTPC inside a cellular phone

htpc_carphone

Reader [Jani] always wanted to throw a PC into an old school cell phone. He based this around the extremely small Commell LS-371 motherboard which measures just 146×101 mm (~5.9×4 in). He found room behind an existing access door for a DVI connector and audio in/out.  He even incorporated an OLED screen, secondary sound card for “speakerphone”, and a WiFi connector into the handset. Things start to get interesting when he decided the SSD was too large and needed to be removed from its case. The one thing that seems to be missing here is an IR receiver for a remote but since he plans on running XBMC, he may already be setup to use another option such as an iPhone to act as a remote interface.