The Ultimate AIO Case? Worklog.

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by Ratzz, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Defyant

    Defyant Member

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    Defyant Modded "Tail" Lights!
    i just re uploaded it.... not sure why i took it down.

    But i do prefer the new one you got. Makes more sense not to have any controls and let windows do the work.

    I'm sure i have that same amp , mines banded branded linep much cleaner than the other 2 as you noticed as well :D
     
  2. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Yeah it sounded great for awhile. Then I turned the music off but left the power on. About half an hour later I started getting a pop... pop... pop... pop.. noise about every second from the left speaker, just started out of nowhere, as if it was switching on and off repeatedly. The power brick has been in a homemade garden tool 'shed' for a long time, just running an LED strip I'd had installed. Wondering if its just the brick succumbing to moisture, dunno.

    I'll test it when the Chinese 24v/5A PSU arrives, see if that was the issue or not, otherwise I dunno, I guess I'll start seeking advice. I've checked the speaker connections and the power connection on the board, no obvious issues.

    Not in a hurry anyway, so I'll just put it aside until the PSU arrives.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  3. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    I've had a second stats monitor screen rattling around in my head for awhile, to be built into the panel below the clock. I was thinking something like a 4" screen, and was searching for some suitable software to display it. The only thing I remotely like is the NZXT CAM software, but the lack of configurability of it, and the fact that I would need to drag it into the smaller window as an extended screen every time I boot up makes it less than ideal.

    I came across this Modbros setup for a Raspberry Pi Zero W. Looks pretty good, I'm going to give it a shot.



    I've ordered the Pi and an 'official' case for it. Downloaded the software. Now begins the search for a suitable screen.
    I've never done anything with a Pi before, even though there is no dev work to do (thankfully :lol:) I'm looking forward to actually owning one and using it. Single purpose in this case, but something a bit different and unique in the context of my build.
     
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  4. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    The screen.

    Costs a little more, but IPS :thumbup: 3.5", so nice and compact. Certainly big enough to do the job, which will just be to display basic stats like CPU temps, CPU + RAM frequency etc.

    I've no desire to use the touchscreen, its just a display, so that should make things simpler.

    Not sure if I can connect this directly to the PI or I'll have to use the HDMI. Not having any knowledge about PI of course, but the info appears to suggest I may be able to just piggyback the PI directly to the back of the display if I'm reading it right, which would be nice. Then the only connection required would be a Micro USB for power, since I'll be using the PI Zero W (wireless) to glean stats from my system via my home network, using the ModBros software. Nice.

    Pix would suggest that I can simply make a screen sized hole in the panel under the clock, with everything else concealed nicely behind. Time will tell. I can see myself spending some time in the Raspberry PI section of the forum at some point, I guarantee this won't all be as simply plug n play as I'm hoping :lol:

    Something different though. Looking forward to it.

    s-l640.jpg
     
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  5. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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  6. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    So I have the new PSU wired up to the amp. Just like with the old brick, it worked perfectly for a couple of seconds, then started this horrible noise again.

    I'm suspicious of my dodgy homemade source cable at the moment, though it could of course be the amp itself.

    My dodgy source cable.. I can't see any crossed or touching wires, not really sure what is happening here. I'll try remaking it a bit more professionally, and if that doesn't work, I guess I have to start looking at the amp itself.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


     
  7. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    The Raspberry PI Zero W for my stats display arrived today.
    I was pretty amazed by the size of it. About the same size as a stick of SoDimm ram, and not much (if any) thicker.

    2 micro USB ports, a Micro SD slot, a Mini HDMI port, and Wireless. What will they think of next? :lol:
    It even has the facility to add a ribbon cable to run a camera from (right hand side in this pic), although I won't be doing that.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    I've decided that I've bought the wrong PI. The issue is the HDMI interface. Ever tried to buy a mini HDMI to HDMI cable only a few cm long? Even if I can find one, it's not going to be cheap and still somewhat of a clunky solution.

    It's not a major issue though, all I need to do is add GPIO pins to the PI I've bought. That's where I've gone wrong, I bought one with no GPIO pins preinstalled. By using GPIO pins I believe I can piggyback the PI straight off the back of the display and dispense with the HDMI cable. The only cable I'll then need is a Micro USB cable for power, from which there would be no escape anyway, but at least I won't have to loop a tiny HDMI cable between the PI and the display first.

    I have a couple of options when it comes to adding GPIO pins. They can be bought as a premade set, either to be soldered to the board or even better, a 'hammer in' version which has expandable pins and is pushed into the GPIO holes (the long line of 40 holes down one edge) instead of being soldered. The soldered version can be had for under 3 bucks, the 'hammer in' complete with an acrylic jig to make it easy to fit is about 12 bucks. I would have no problems soldering it, not a hard job, but the elegance of the 'hammer in' version appeals to me as well.

    What I do have to do is stop doing is buying shit before I know what I need to buy :lol: so I'll wait for the display to arrive and look carefully before I leap. For instance, if I add extra functionality as I will explain below, this board might become one of the sensors, and I'll use a 'full sized' PI on the back of the display instead, which will come preinstalled with GPIO pins (I'll make sure of that !!).

    I'm now looking at adding extra functionality. In for a penny, in for a pound?

    Since the PI will effectively be a WiFi hotspot which the computer connects to, I see no reason why I couldn't also make a couple of wireless temp sensors, with other PI Zeros on batteries outside in waterproof enclosures and in strategic areas inside the house, that also connect to that hotspot. A full weather station even occurred to me, but really I can just look outside to see if its raining, I probably won't go that far.

    Since the PI and display will already have a home within the case and receiving wirelessly, no physical changes will be necessary as such if I want to increase the scope of the display. It will simply be a matter of Python scripts in the other PI's which will be part of the sensors and on the PI running on the display. Perhaps I'll need a more powerful PI on the display, and repurpose this and other PI Zero's on the sensors, I don't know. All things I'll have to look into before I buy more shit, including learning to write Python or at least how to implement other peoples scripts within my own setup.

    This is all way out of my skill set. Time to learn some new skills :thumbup: Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? I'm actually quite looking forward to it, my once active and intelligent mind is becoming atrophied from lack of use or new challenges.


    Also, I've begun drawing up plans for a redesigned case in 6mm acrylic. I have a supplier who is willing to supply CNC cut pieces etc., I just need to submit proper cad files for a quote. Its a contingency plan, not sure on what I will actually do for now. I'll see what the quote is.

    The one thing I'm sure of at the moment is that I cannot for the life of me get veneer to stick to MDF without bubbling, and I am over it. A new aluminium, acrylic or real wood case is coming. In the meantime I'll continue messing with my MDF one as a template/proof of concept and just paint the damn thing black until I come up with Mark XXVII :lol:
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  9. DSTM (Dougie)

    DSTM (Dougie) Member

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    If you get Acrylic pieces, how are you going to hold them together, glue or brackets? Ratzz
     
  10. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    I'm thinking countersunk allen keyed screws at the moment, hence the 6mm thickness. Probably screws into brackets. That's IF I go in that direction, I'd still prefer wood but I am running out of fucks to give at the moment.

    Wood I can do myself but I need energy, something I am severly lacking in. Acrylic I would get basically a precut flatpack which I can simply assemble, but that would depend on cost. Another possibility is 3mm aluminium, again precut in a flatpack.

    Honestly I don't know. I'm doing 3d drawings of all possibilities, when I have finished the 6mm acrylic drawings I'll do 3mm aluminium drawings as well. In the meantime I'll soldier on with the bare MDF, just as proof of concept and to experiment with what I will and wont integrate into the design.
     
  11. /invariance\

    /invariance\ Member

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    I found some for you

    [​IMG]
     
  12. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Minor delay on my rig at the moment while I fix Eva's. The damn thing has been doing some bizarre stuff for a week, I've tried everything including changing SSD's, reinstalling Windows, stress testing CPU and RAM, you name it. Random freezes, pages dropping out. It's an MSI B450i in a little Antec ISK-110 vesa mounted to the back of her monitor, Athlon 200GE with 2x4GB RAM and onboard graphics. Nothing special, just a facebooker.
    The ISK-110 has a built in PSU, running off a power brick. So I was messing around under the desk earlier, moved the power brick aside.. and the damn thing literally exploded. OK, I think I've found the problem :lol:
    So now I need to move her rig into another case with PSU to make sure nothing else was damaged. I used another power brick to test the PSU, no life at all, so the brick has at the very least taken out the PSU board. Hoping it hasn't taken out the motherboard at the same time..

    Fucking hours I've spent chasing this down, the PSU didn't even cross my mind for some reason. Hopefully its just the brick and PSU that are dead, I'll found out tomorrow when I hook her board up to my PSU out of the case. In which case her rig is out of commision for a few weeks while I source a PICO from China.
     
  13. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    The litte display for PC stats arrived today. Proves my previous statement, don't order stuff until you actually know what you need :lol:
    I won't be needing any GPIO pins if I stick to just displaying PC stats on this screen. The included 180° HDMI adapter, in combination with a HDMI to Mini HDMI adapter, works out rather nicely connected to the Pi Zero W.

    The display still has its protective plastic peel on it. Power is via a Micro USB cable.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Tomorrow I'll pick up a Jiffy box from Jaycar, I've found one that looks just about perfect for the job, and a Micro SD card from Officeworks for the custom ModBros software.
    Hopefully tomorrow night I'll be able to post a demo of the software in action on the new display.
     
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  14. mad_mic3

    mad_mic3 Member

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    looking good kev:)
     
  15. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Thanks mate, yeah I am pretty impressed with it. Should look the ducks nuts just displaying PC stats. The whole assembly, not including the cable, fits inside a cigarette packet. What will they think of next? :lol:
     
  16. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    I'm having some trouble getting the Pi to work as expected, although I have it displaying script on the display it doesn't get to the config stage as yet. I've asked the Gurus in the Raspberry Pi thread, and I'll also email the ModBros who designed the software.

    In further news, the replacement amp has arrived. This one works, and oh fuck yeah it works. The performance of this tiny little amp is nothing short of spectacular. I had a 5 minute test run of it this afternoon when nobody was home, so I wouldn't bother anyone, and the next door neighbor came over and complained instead !!

    I'm only pushing the same little 5.25" JVC speakers, but fuck what a noise. And a very nice clean noise at that. I had the media player running at 70% and the system volume at 70%, so plenty of room for even more volume. Far more than I'll ever be permitted to use at home :lol:

    A surprising amount of bass considering the size of the speakers too, I think I've lucked onto a perfect sized speaker box.

    I had high hopes for it but it has exceeded expectations by several magnitudes. I'm using a 24v 5A chinese PSU (although I plan on getting a better PSU as recommended by our electronics gurus in another thread), total cost not including the $60 speakers is under 30 bucks. Very, very impressed :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  17. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    I've rejected the chinese PSU. I've heard all the experts in the electronics thread tell me what a bad design it was, contrary to youtube electronics experts who thought it wasn't too bad at all. Overall, not worth taking a chance with I think. The final straw was that the PSU was causing a low hum in the speakers, barely audible except late at night with no background noise if there is no audio signal. Enough to annoy me and adds to the 'suss' feel about the PSU.

    So I've ditched that, and gone to the other extreme. The amp is now running on a pissy little 12v 2A wall wart, the only half suitable one I could find in the shed which I was willing to cut up.

    A major drop from 24v 5A but it still has plenty of grunt, enough to get the speakers making some decent bass (given that they are after all just 5.25" car speakers, but 92db sensitivity helps) and more volume than I am allowed to use when Eva is home anyway :lol:. And the hum is gone.

    I'm so impressed by the little 3116 D2 amp. I'll upload a sound test when a suitable time comes around that I can turn it up a little.


    I've placed a push on/push off switch inline on the +12v feed wire for the amp, and I am feeding a blue LED from the amp inputs as an 'active' LED.

    Of course this is all temporary, as the case is going to be remade, but it gives you an idea of the basic plan. I've given up on making this thing look pretty for now, concentrating on design rather than execution. Hence the lack of proper trimming around the USB hubs and clock.

    Imagine if you will the 3.5" PC stats display (Raspberry PI connected via wifi to software on the PC) positioned between the clock and the switches/LED's... or even better, imagine a 5" display, as my 3.5" display was chosen for its small size and high definition, but everything is too bloody small to read, so I'm switching to a lower definition and larger screen. Still some bugs to work out with what stats are displayed as well, but I think it will look pretty cool when its all done.


    [​IMG]

    The square switch is for the amp, the red momentary button is PC power.

    Blue LED means the amp is switched on, the red LED is obviously PC power on, and the green LED is HDD activity (I had to take about 20 pix to time it right to show the green LED :lol:).

    At this stage the LED's are too bright, I'm going to have to add more resistance. Its not conveyed in the photo, using the flash on my phone, but definitely all WAY too bright.

    The Blue (6500 MCD) LED is getting 12v from the amp inputs, has a 510Ω resistor in it, the red and green are getting 5v from the motherboard pinouts, the red (9600 MCD) has a 150Ω resistor and the green (7500 MCD) has a 75Ω resistor.

    The Blue, despite having the lowest MCD rating and the strongest resistor (because 12v of course, unlike the other 2), is insanely bright. The red also a lot brighter than I'd prefer and the green just a touch too bright.

    I think I'm going to add another 150Ω resistor to the blue, and an extra 75Ω resistor to both red and green. See how it goes.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  18. /invariance\

    /invariance\ Member

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    Multi-turn cermet trimpots might be useful for adjusting the led brightness.
     
  19. OP
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    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    But they don't need to be adjustable. Just less bright..
     
  20. /invariance\

    /invariance\ Member

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    I was thinking they could be used to adjust the brightness down to your preference, either by
    1. having one on each led or
    2. using just one trim pot on an led to get the brightness you are after, take it out of circuit, measure the resistance and put a resistor of that value in its place. Then do the same for the other less.
     

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