Modding a Sun E450 -Capped beware!

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by mjunek, May 1, 2009.

  1. mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Evening all,

    Currently running an Antec P190 case, with the dual PSUs, 8x HDDs, 2x CDs, FDD, etc. All good and well.

    In the process of spec'ing up a WC / Pelt system, consisting of 2x 360 rads, 1x 240 rad, NB/Mosfet/CPU+Pelt/GPU loop, some form of reservoir, and a large pump.

    Now, my pump is physically quite large, about 100mm wide, 180mm deep and 200mm high, without barbs (add 30mm to depth and height). Will also need to fit a 3rd custom built power supply with a bit of heatsinking on the transistors, as well as some control circuitry.

    Obviously, there is no way in hell the WC setup, specifically the Rads/fans and Pump, as well as this 3rd PSU are going to fit into the P190. Not to mention I havent even thought about the reservior, given that I'll be moving alot of water relatively quickly with that pump.

    So- I have two different methods of approach for this setup.

    Either-
    a) Build a base for the P190, to house the pump, rads and circuitry, which would be a few inches wider and deeper than the P190, and stand around 10 inches (250mm) tall. This should fit every thing in with some
    squeezing. From there, piping would run up the back of the case in via the ports already there, ready for the WC loop.

    - or -

    b) Build a completely custom case. I'd love to make a wooden one, always had some ideas in the back of my mind, but never enough to put the designs into practise. Might consider a metal case, but I dont have the equipment to do sheet metal work. Things such as best methods for HDD and Mobo mounting are questions I would need answered.

    So basically I'm just out for a little feed back on what people recommend, maybe some experiences, tips, anything that'd be handy!

    Some of this might also belong in the Extreme cooling category too; I'm sure people there would be interested too.
    Will also make this a worklog once I actually get my ass into gear and working on it!

    Cheers!
    Mike
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  2. cbb1935

    cbb1935 Guest

    Depends how handy you are with wood.

    Keep in mind a wooden case is ggoing to be VERY heavy, and need to be made out of something like pine, or MDF. Both are heavy but solid woods.

    Then you need all the relevant tools (saws, routers, measuring implements, holesaws).

    Finally you'll be wanting to hope it's not on a desk.

    I had plans to build a pine case a while back but aborted the project. The case of regular full tower height weight in at around 15kgs. Thats bare case, no parts.

    I think I still have some of the parts laying around for it somewhere (ready made metal brackets, powdercoated and all). If you're keen to go wood I could give you that stuff as a starter.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    The Winner?

    Hi Mitch - Thanks for the input!

    Last night I walked into my server room (aka pc spare parts room too) and noticed the pot of gold sitting there ready to be claimed.

    My Sun Enterprise 450 server. It's a good (little?) machine; Quad 440Mhz UltraSPARC II's, 2GB RAM and a bunch of 9 and 18GB SCSI disks.

    This thing is massive. Here are some photo's of units I scrounged up on Google Images of it. (Mine is buried under a few other servers at the moment!)

    This is the unit all closed up. To give you the real dimensions, its 450mm wide by 520mm high (exc wheels) and 700mm deep.
    [​IMG]


    Next up, we can see the 20 drive bays, 3 & 1/2 inch bay, 2x 5 & 1/4's 6x LEDs and the Keyswitch (aka power switch)
    [​IMG]


    As you can see, the drives are all SCSI hot swappable with the spud trays, onto an 80pin SCA connector
    [​IMG]


    On the right hand side we can see the PCI slot covers, as well as the MB backplane, and on the left are the 3x (Massive!) power supplies
    [​IMG]


    Close up of the PCI slots. 10 in total.
    [​IMG]


    The business side of the enclosure. The other side has the PSU's and drives.
    [​IMG]



    My Plans
    I reckon this will be a great mod to house my system with the water cooling etc. Its a big, roomy case, and looks quite hot :) I've always loved the Sun hardware!

    The plan is to hack my motherboard into the top 7 backplane covers, leaving the bottom area clear. I'll gut one of the Sun power supplies, and fit two standard PSUs inside it. The SCSI backplane will come out, and I'll re-use the spud trays to mount the 8x HDDs I have. I can re-use the original LEDs at the front (maybe change the colour?), and the keyswitch on the front would be awesome to utilise as for my power control.

    As for the rest of it; well, given the room to play with, I'm open for options. But I think I've found my winning case right here!


    MJ
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  4. MrSmoke

    MrSmoke Member

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    holy crumpets look at the size of that mobo and those psu's.
     
  5. JuzIE

    JuzIE Member

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    Sweet :) Go for it :thumbup:
     
  6. OP
    OP
    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Its all stripped down now

    Alright....so after a few hours work, she's totally dismantled! Some interesting methodologies for mounting things, and just having a quick look at it, I think it's going to be relatively a straight-forward conversion.

    The hardest part I see so far is the motherboard mounting.

    Here are some pics of it in pieces. Must apologise for the quality of the pics....the shitty Nokia phone doesnt quite cut it!


    The front view of my unit:
    [​IMG]


    Stripped down - the motherboard side of things
    [​IMG]


    Stripped down - the power supply side
    [​IMG]


    I'm going to remove the dividers between the current PSU's, the top slot will be one of the old PSU's with new internal hardware - to power the new motherboard etc - probably strip out a current ATX one and re-fit it.

    The bottom two power supply's I will grind apart so that I can keep the back as a blanking plate, and this will house the pump and reservoir, etc.


    I do want to fluff up the case a little - make it a bit prettier - there are heaps of air holes on the front for light to gently flow through the sound deadening material, some perspex on each side to show off the innards. In keeping with the Sun tradition though, I want to keep the original purple and grey on the outside, however I would like to paint the internal metal work something interesting, and illuminate the case appropriately.
    As my "creative design" skills go.... well... there is a good reason why I never liked art. I suck at it. Big time.

    Suggestions please!! :)

    Cheers
    Mike
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  7. OP
    OP
    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Just for you Mr Smoke ;-) Here is the mobo and CPU combo once it was removed from the case.

    The 4 cpu's are at the top center.
    There's 16x 128MB ram sticks for a total of 2GB in the top and mid right corner.
    Directly below the ram are the 4 voltage regulators for the CPU's
    The big black connector at the bottom is the power input.
    You cant see it, but under that metal cover between the cpus is a chip (about 6x6cm) which is the memory / UPA bus controller (kind of like the northbridge on an x86 platform)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  8. ford ftw

    ford ftw Member

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    That mobo i gigantic! this should turn out good.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    So yesterday I started work on the drive cage. Dropped in a spare SATA disk I had lying around and came across a problem. The centre cut-out for the SCA connector doesnt match the SATA - the power connector on the SATA is too far to the left.

    Attacked it with an angle grinder, made a few grooves here and there, roughly cut, and now the bays are all able to take the connections without issue. Will need to clean it up with a file to make it look presentable.
    I'll take and post some pics tonight when I get home.

    As for the fans and the radiators, after a bit of jimmying around, I've worked out the best way to mount the rads.
    Also ordered all the WC gear today from GAM and FrozenCPU; should arrive shortly I hope :)

    So the cooling setup will be:

    - 430W Peltier for CPU
    - CPU Block: Swiftech Apogee GTZ
    - GPU Block: EK-FC88
    - NB Block: EK NB/5
    - FET Block: EK GA Mosfet 2X
    - Rad1: PA120.3
    - Rad2: NexXxoS Extreme III Radiator
    - Rad3: BlackIce 2
    - Pump1: PondMate 4800P
    - Pump2: Eheim 1048

    Plus also grabbed a bunch of 1m SATA cables for my drives, as the run around the box is quite long!

    Also started work on the area for the pump. Pulled apart one of the power supplies; plenty of awesome useful components (bridge rectifiers, big caps, transistors, heatsinks and voltage regulators) to save me cash on the big PSU I'm designing for the Pelt.

    Took the foot deep casing, and again Mr Angle Grinder has now made it only 3 inches deep, just enough for the fricton fit and the locking mechanism. Will also be dismantling the other PSU to mount my ATX one inside it, with some modification.


    That's where it's upto at the moment.

    Still deciding on the internal colours; although I'm thinking painting the motherboard half of the case gloss black and illuminating it only with UV's.

    The power/pump/disk side who knows - maybe something a little different.

    Also need to window out both sides; looking at probably 400x400mm windows. - Question here - what would be the best to use? 5mm plexiglass? How would I go about attaching it to the plastic sides? I was thinking perhaps some clip mechanism, although I'm definitely open to suggestion.
    Either that, or I'll go with some of the hex grill plating, although this might end up being too noisy. I guess this is something to be decided once I get the stuff fitted.

    This weeks main objective though, mount some form of ATX motherboard. Probably grab my old Thunderbird board and play with mounting that (it's already dead) - I think Mr Arc Welder is going to have some fun here too!

    Woohoo I made front page!! Winner :)
     
  10. HeXa

    HeXa Member

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    I had 4 of those.... planned to do something like that as well.... then I realised that I would likely kill a few dremel clones in the process :p

    hope you have lots of dedication to seeing this through :thumbup:

    Have since moved my attention to fitting x86 systems into pizza, lunchbox and 1RU Netra cases instead :)
     
  11. OP
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    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Man; x86 in a pizzabox....now that would be awesome! Be a bit of a squeeze in there without any height :)

    I have another couple of Suns, an old SS1, and an Ultra 10... also the SunAXI board - that's a good bit of hardware - standard ATX fitting, but Sun based :D

    Well; I dont think it's going to be as complicated as it first looked - the hardest bits will be the actual "Modding" and "doing up" of the case, as opposed to the actual fitting of the components :cool:
     
  12. TomMorrisonfag

    TomMorrisonfag Member

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    Thats gonna be one nice build man, good to see someone use peltiers im experimenting with them right now.
     
  13. OP
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    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Yeah, I tried it a few years ago, but put the peltier on upside down (it was a spare Duron 800 i killed). But this time....I'll have to be more careful :)


    Well, the photos didn't come tonight. Got home from work, measured the current draw of the fans (and appropriate noise levels) and then settled down with a beer and Futurama.

    Maybe tomorrow night :)

    MJ
     
  14. KookedGoose

    KookedGoose Member

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    We had a few of these sitting un-used where i used to work.

    Always thought we should mod one into a bar fridge :)
     
  15. phrosty-boi

    phrosty-boi Member

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    google 'sgi fridge'

    that might give you some inspiration, though an e450 might be a bit small
     
  16. OP
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    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Hey, as long as it holds a 2x 6-packs you're sweet :)
    Finish one, put the next in, everyone's happy :D

    The Sun Enterprise 10000 would be a good "home" fridge if you wanted a big one!!

    Fortunately in fridge mode it wouldnt need a 32A GPO to operate! hahah
     
  17. OP
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    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Well it seems the project will be progressing a little slower than expected. It'll be a good 4 weeks before I get all the bits and pieces I want for it; seems there are a few stock shortages around the place.

    No worries though, Im not in any massive rush :)

    I've started disassembling the old Sun power supplies, some good quality components in there that would be very suitable for me to use in the larger PSU I'm building for the pelt.
    Just need to work out a way to use MOSFETs instead of standard bi-polar transistors as a method on increasing regulator current. Does anyone know of some circuits flying around that I could modify?

    MJ
     
  18. GTZLevin

    GTZLevin Member

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    Great project here dude..

    im in the process of something very very similar..

    I got a hold of an old Dell Poweredge 4RU server with dual 1.4ghz Tualian CPus.. old scsi 160 i think it is with backpane and hotswap drives .. blah blah..

    Im removing all of the old components and just using the case.. starting a tread when i have enough to report on....

    Will keep an eye on your thread for inspiration to keep me working..Good JOB
     
  19. OP
    OP
    mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    Ahhh nice one :)
    Old server case mods are always fun :D I have an old DEC Server, similar shape to the Sun, just smaller - might build a box into that too! :)
     
  20. GTZLevin

    GTZLevin Member

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    How you planning to mount the motherboard?!

    u mounting it in the same place as the stock mobo or you going to fab up your own mounting plate!?

    The dell im using has a 2nd teir where the motherboard was mounted.. with the massive powersupply secured underneith.

    I wanted to remove this panel.. which took alot of drilling.. since dell spot weld all their case together.. not pop rivet.. 4 battery charges of the drill later i got the plate out and im ready to continue..

    Im guessing sun may employ the same tactics to slow you down.
     

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