Worklog: Yet another VCR HTPC

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by klightspeed, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    I was thinking about how in my AM2 Sempron 3000+ -- 2000MHz @ 1.025V thread how I said that I'd like to "create a custom enclosure, about the size of a VCR", and I thought, why not make it out of a VCR. So, here I am making one.
    The VCR is an AKAI VCR I picked up for $2 from the local dump.

    Saturday 2nd December.
    The VCR:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Inside the VCR:

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!

    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Exploded View:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Just the case:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Centre Divider:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Rear IO Port:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    After Cutting, stage 1:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Size fit for the motherboard:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    After cutting IO port to size:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Sunday 3rd December:
    After more cutting and adding the motherboard supports:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Motherboard mounted:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Power supply mounted and connected:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
  2. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    Front display / buttons

    I'm going to be using the original front display board of the VCR for the buttons and as the base for the new display.
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    I'll be using a 16x2 LCD display, controlled by an AVR.
    I've ordered the display, AVR, a socket for the AVR, and a Jaycar Catalogue, so they should arrive in a few days.
    I'll have to rewire the board a bit, so that the AVR has an easier job.

    Tomorrow, I'll see if I can create a base for the DVD drive and the HDD.
    It'll be a squeeze, since the case is only 3" high. The main cavity of the VCR is 16" wide x 3" high x 9.5" deep, so there isn't enough room for the HDD next to the motherboard, and I'd need to do some cutting to the front of the cavity to fit a uATX board.
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    I wonder if I bit off more than I can chew?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2006
  3. -KoMoD0-

    -KoMoD0- Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    9,033
    Location:
    Western Sydney
    Thats going to get bloody hot inside, looks like the fan wont have much clearance either. Forget getting a DVD drive in there unless you have a laptop style one.

    That processor + lack of air + hdd + psu in such a small case will give you greif with overheating


    At least your VCR had a flat base unlike mine :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2006
  4. kizza2153

    kizza2153 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    733
    Location:
    Under your Desk
    I'm fiddling around with 2 amplifiers riveted on top of each other and Its going to be a tight squeeze I couldn't imagine just having 1.
     
  5. matthudson

    matthudson Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,387
    Location:
    Charlestown, NSW (2290)
    hmmmm....are you going to drill some ventilation holes in the VCR? should put a few above the heatsink...
     
  6. archie

    archie Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,433
    Location:
    northmead, sydney
    i'm doing a similar mod but using my old 5disc dvd player (will start a work log over the weekend, just waiting for my dremel to arrive :D) and have the same little micro switches on the front that I would like to re-use.

    are you thinking of running the wires straight from the switches to the mobo? that should work yeah?
     
  7. OCMunkee

    OCMunkee Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,322
    Location:
    Melbourne, VIC
    That'll work as long as they're just momentary-on switches, which is pretty much a given. :)

    --
    Nathan
     
  8. OCMunkee

    OCMunkee Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,322
    Location:
    Melbourne, VIC
    Keep in mind -KoMoD0- that you also had to fit your relatively large PSU in, didn't you? Those DC/DC style PSUs produce bugger all heat, so you don't have to worry about that (not to mention how little space they take up :D)..
    It looks like you'll easily fit your DVD drive in there, if you can customise a nice bracket for it. Though you'll probably want to be soft-mounting your hard-drive or it won't sound very nice in your living room.



    Just out of curiosity what's the stock volts for your Sempy? 1.4V?
    If so that's pretty good getting it to 2GHz on 1.025 (I'm assuming stock is 1800MHz).

    ::EDIT:: Read your thing on the overclocking, missed that link earlier. Stock is 1.35, not bad to get it stable at 1.025V :thumbup:

    I've got my A64 3000+ at 2000MHz (stock) on 1.1v (stock=1.4V) (though it's S754....and passively cooled..)

    --
    Nathan
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2006
  9. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    MDF Base

    I've decided to make a base for the motherboard and HDD using MDF. The DVD base is also MDF.
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    The DVD base is right on the HDD and 3 PCI slots, since I used 25mm spacers.
    I'll have to find some way of ventilating the HDD. Probably cut a hole in the base under the HDD, and put a HDD cooler fan there. I'll probably redo the base anyway, and cut off the base of the VCR, so that I can screw the base to it.

    There is zero clearance between the fan and the lid, so I'm going to be cutting a hole in the lid, and perhaps reversing the fan so that it sucks up, pulling the air through the vents.
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    As you can see in my AM2 Sempron 3000+ -- 2000MHz @ 1.025V thread, when it's going full boar, the overclocked undervolted CPU uses 24W, The DVD drive uses 18W after being spun to full speed, the HDD uses 5W after being spun up, and the rest of the system uses about 24W. That's about 70W in total.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2006
  10. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    Motherboard, HDD, DVD fitted

    I've made a new base for the motherboard, so that there is enough room for the HDD. I've also moved the PSU from the side to the front, so that the cords will reach the HDD and DVD drive.

    It's been a rainy day, so I can't do any work on e.g. the backplate.
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    Motherboard, HDD, PSU fitted:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    DVD drive, front control panel fitted:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    DVD Drive front:
    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    I'll still have to get a 12V brick power supply for it, and wire up the control panel with the parts I'm waiting on, and cut a hole in the top for the CPU fan. The CPU fan is a 7cm fan, so it'll be a challenge getting a grille for it.

    Note that I took these pictures in my car. That is because
    [​IMG]
    we live in a tent. The other pictures were taken either on the drive beside my car, or on the cement outside the amenities block.

    Note: I discovered that UGBox Imagestore cannot accept filenames longer than about 40 characters.
    "DVD Drive, front control panel fitted.jpg" (41 characters) results in:

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!

    Hosted by UGBox Image Store
     
  11. archie

    archie Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,433
    Location:
    northmead, sydney
    any progress?
    how did you mount the hdd onto the base? 'L' brackets?
     
  12. MrSmith

    MrSmith Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,376
    Location:
    nor perth
    ...You live in a tent?
     
  13. kizza2153

    kizza2153 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    733
    Location:
    Under your Desk
    Dah!! Who doesn't. Save on your air conditioning bill.

    Just thought of a great mod. Put a computer in a tent. With blackjack and hookers. Well skip the tent
     
  14. Jon187

    Jon187 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Messages:
    726
    Location:
    Maroubra, NSW
    Yeah? What's the deal with that?

    J.
     
  15. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    Haven't made any progress in the past fortnight. Been spending a fair bit of time working out how to do the front panel. The original board used an IC with a weird pin spacing - close to 2mm instead of 2.54mm. So, I'll probably be using a veroboard.

    I discovered that, as I suspected, the case isn't high enough even for low profile cards.

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    The HDD is screwed to the MDF base.

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    The CDROM drive is screwed to its base.

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    I've rolled the CDROM cable so that it fits.

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    I've started memtest86+, and will check later how it goes.

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store
     
  16. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    I made the new controller board.

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    [​IMG]
    Click to view full-sized image!
    Hosted by UGBox Image Store

    It's a little messy, since I got it wrong first go.

    I'll add a remote sensor to it later.

    I'm still trying to work out which way I'll go with the I/O interface.
    The only headers on the motherboard are:
    SPDIF I/O
    Front Audio
    Chassis Intrusion
    2xFirewire
    2xUSB
    Front panel (Power, Reset, PWRLED, HDDLED)
    Speaker
    Fan
    1xFDD
    2xIDE
    4xSATA

    The only useful I/O for my application might be either the USB or the FDD.
     
  17. archie

    archie Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,433
    Location:
    northmead, sydney
    nice work mate!
    thats some hard work with the front panel!

    decided what you're gonna do with those buttons?

    www.autohotkey.com can use joystick buttons to do stuff, need to write some C code though, its what I'm gonna be doing...maybe that'd be an idea for you too?
     
  18. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    I'll forget about trying with the FDD interface, and stick with USB. I've ordered a few parts to enable me to interface with USB. e.g. a PDIUSBD11 controller, 12MHz crystal, etc.

    I'll probably make a HID device. Since everything goes through the microcontroller, I can make the buttons programmable. The microcontroller can also convert any remote events into HID events.

    I'll be hooking the front control panel wires to the microcontroller. I only need 4 of the wires, not the full 8. This is because the LED drivers are open collector, with the + wires going to a resistor to +5V, and the button inputs are active low, with pull-up resistors, and the - wires go to ground.

    With the power and reset wires hooked up to the microcontroller, I can use the power button on the front panel to control the computer's power, and the microcontroller can have a watchdog timer which resets the computer if it hangs.

    The LCD can be shared between the microcontroller's uses and the computer's uses. I can do whatever I wish with it. e.g. show the progress of the movie, etc.

    I'm considering running MythTV on the computer. I might install Windows on it if we want to play any games that don't run on Linux. Though, I doubt that we will.
     
  19. Kennyken

    Kennyken Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Adelaide
    mate, its lookin good so far. Excellent work with the front panel. must be a mongrel to suss out!
     
  20. klightspeed

    klightspeed Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Blowin' Bowen
    We're finally moving into a house in a few days.
    Unfortunately, it doesn't have a phone line yet, so I'll have to update the progress on the mod at the Internet Cafe in town.
    However, being in a house should enable me to work more efficiently on the mod.
    I think I've recieved the parts for the USB, but I can't be sure until the office opens tomorrow.
    Writing firmware for the microcontroller is definitely testing my programming skills. I've changed the LCD I/O from immediate (with busy-loop delays) to interrupt based with a ring buffer. Now, I've got to code the actual timer interrupt routine, so that I can test it.
    I've still got a lot of coding to do.
    I've still got to make a rear I/O plate, and cut a hole in the lid. Until I can get a 12V 80W brick, or a 150W morex power supply, I'll just have to use a standard power supply outside the case.

    On a side note, my motherboard chewed through the last CMOS battery pretty quick. I don't know why. Perhaps the RTC on the motherboard is fairly power hungry.
     

Share This Page