Previous posts on this topic:

* * *

There’s a dozen of questions that I have to answer before embarking for this adventure.

  1. What shall I do about hard disks? If I want to have a hard disk (or two) inside the box, then I’ll have to provide space for it and to think about some sort of mounting rack/case to fix the disk to. If all disks will be outside, the size of the box will be much smaller, but there will be extra cables to plug/unplug every time I want to connect a disk (this is especially unpleasant with SATA disks, which, to my surprise, seem to require extra power even when connected to USB). Inside is better.
  2. What shall I do about power supply? One way is to use the standard ATX power supply I own (and use right now). The other is to find a cheap DC-DC adapter board (like in car computers) and use a laptop-type PSU. Besides these obvious options, I could get a smaller PSU (like TFX, SFX, FlexATX) and toss it inside. Gotta find out what dimensions they have.
  3. What shall I do about cooling? The easiest (and coolest, to me at least, would be to leave two opposite sides uncovered and to drill several holes right above the CPU radiator. Additionally, I could mount a fan somewhere. This shouldn’t be difficult — although it’s a fanless board, it preserves connectors for a CPU fan and a system fan.

Then there is a series of less important questions:

  1. Shall I use the onboard USB connectors and have USB ports on the front panel?
  2. Shall I use the onboard Audio connectors and have extra Audio on the front panel?
  3. Shall I use the PCI slot? If yes, what shall I insert in it — a WiFi, an IDE riser card, another Ethernet card, a CF card reader, or…?
  4. Shall I add another 2Gb of RAM?
  5. What about NAND Flash memory?
  6. What to do with the front panel leds and buttons? Making a button myself is not exactly a trivial task, but tapping a screwdriver to the power switch headers on the board every time I need to turn it on is not a good solution either.

Anyway, I have already purchased a 300x450x3 mm sheet of black plastic (have no idea how that material is called). If With luck I think I can do with this amount of plastic.

UPDATE (Oct. 24) The set of two six-wire cables (power switch, HDD and power leds, no reset switch) that I bought on ebay arrived today. A two-way IDE-to-SATA and a 3.5IDE/2.5IDE/SATA-to-USB adapters are still somewhere on their way.

UPDATE #2 (Nov. 1) The 2-way SATA-IDE converter arrived today. It is a bit different compared to the picture on eBay — it has a couple of jumpers, which miss on the original picture. It took me a while to figure out the correct position of the jumpers and get it working. First, there is a legend to the jumpers, but it’s on the other side of the board. Second, to make it work one has to connect power to both the disk and the board, which is counter-intuitive. Anyway, after several tries I connected my 3.5” IDE disk and I can access my pictures again.

UPDATE #3 (Nov. 2) The everything-to-USB adapter is here. I did not test it yet, but it looks so simple that I can’t image what can go wrong.

UPDATE #4 (Jan 10, 2012) A trip to Akihabara resulted in a small (TFX?) power supply box.

* * *

Followup posts on this DIY project:

Leave a Reply