case mod one complete

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New and improved: mod one continues to evolve.

Since I won the LCD unit in the contest at a (now sadly defunct) case mod site, I just had to get off my butt and do some modding. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I lost most all my “work-in-progress” pics due to a smartmedia snafu. Here’s a couple shots of the nearly finished article, just because I either have to get some mod pictures up here or take the mod section down.

front view

side view

Not much to get excited about mod-wise. A window, a paint job, blue LEDs, and an LCD panel. Nothing to get excited about spec-wise. I’m not even going to tell you what’s inside there. You might dislocate your jaw from yawning. But hey, I did it. And I have to admit, I’m hooked.

The paint job was a mixed bag: the metal case parts came out much better than I was expecting. The plastic bezel didn’t come out as well. I’m the one to blame, since I just ran out of patience. It could have been nicer. Cable management is good, but needs tweaking, and I have a small wiring job to complete in the lighting, since I didn’t have the right part on hand.

08/18/2001: Added neon
Well, I had to break down and add a neon light to my case.

neon is old school now

And what a modyssey it turned out to be. I was at the auto parts store, and they had neons in stock. I picked a 9″ thin tube model, thinking I’d be all sleek and low-profile. I raced home, ripped open the case, tore off the packaging, whacked the cigarette lighter plug off the end of the neon, just like everyone knows to do, built a quick and dirty wiring harness for it using a Molex and some wirenuts, flipped the switch, held my breath, and….


I was so bummed. I looked at the plug I had amputated, and it had a power switch sticking out of this weird bulge. The weird bulge, of course, was the transformer. That’s why I got no light. Since it was a low-profile “thin” tube, they stuck the transformer circuit in the plug instead of on the end of the tube like in the big ones. A minor setback.

Not to be deterred (I wanted to say “let there be light"), I removed the screws from the adapter housing and recovered the driver circuit. It was built on a little board about one inch square, with some of the lousiest solder joints I’ve seen, and a Chinese sticker. Right, this is the missing ingredient. But what about an enclosure? I couldn’t let that thing touch any metal, it needed a box of some type.

I was scouring the place for something I could use– a happy meal toy, an old remote control, whatever–when I spotted the ideal enclosure. An old film can. The perfect size, free (with ample replacement parts), easy to cut (X-acto time!) and with a removable lid that stays on. It couldn’t be more perfect, really.

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