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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 03:39   #1
ferox
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"beQuiet"

Hi folks!

This is my first work log here at the forums, so please don't kill me if I'm doing something wrong!

Someone may find this log familiar since I originally posted it over at PheatonForums. But I really wanted to share it with you guys too!

Part ONE of the "beQuiet" work log:

The idea was to build a HTPC, complete silent, with no moving parts (HD, fans), therefore the name, "beQuiet". The plan was to passively cool an Epia-M 1Ghz, and use a CF card to store the OS on. All media will be located on a dedicated server in my home network. I will use a program called "98Lite, to tweak the win98 install to a minimum. It's an installer for win98 where you can tweak every part of the install process. I got my install down to under 100mb with this prog, suitable for my 512mb CF-card. I will use a heavily customized version of "myHTPC" as the default shell in windows. So that the computer boots directly into "myHTPC" upon start-up.

I have been working on this case for quite a while now, it's not far from finished, but a
true modder is never satisfied!

SPECS:
  • EPIA Mini-ITX Nehemia 1Ghz
  • 256Mb DDR PC333 RAM
  • 512mb CF card (used as HD)
  • Hauppage WinTV PCI FM
  • Panasonic Slimline Slot-in DVD/CDRW
  • 200W "Noname" PSU (heavily modded)
  • Ira-2 IR-Receiver
  • Wireless Multimedia Keyboard W/trackball



I started out, as usual, with a sketch, a sketch of a design lurking in my head for a couple
of moths. The magic word was "simple" and stylish! I also wanted it to blend in with my
regular Hi-Fi system, It had to be 42cm wide and not too tall.

Click on the pics to see them in 800x600!



Here's a sketch of how I want the final result to look like.







This sketch/CAD shows the parts separated and how I plan to place some of the components







After planning the whole design, I placed an order on all the parts and after a week or so they arrived. -Looking good! ;-)







This is a close-up of the CF=>IDE converter I bought, it works like a charm!







Close-up of the keyboard I'm using, its IR based.







Since I wanted the case to be as "clean" as possible I had to get rid of the unused IO ports on the MB. So I created a custom IO panel to put in the back of the case. The only connectors I wanted was Audio in, Audio out, Scart (s-video & audio out), SPDIF, Network and 2xUSB.






Here's the IOpannel-PCB finished, with the wires to connect to the MB, hanging out from the rear.






An early test assembly, just to check out how to place the parts. I later had to change the PSU due to an accident. -OUCH! ;-0






How I placed the IO-PCB in the back of the case.






Here's a shot of the bottom and the rear wall, before I had cut out the holes for the connectors in the back.






A close-up of the remote control, IR-receiver (left) and the Keyboard IR-receiver (right). I wired those two to internal connectors on the MB, I also had to mount the IR-transistors to a couple of wires so I was free to place them in a convenient place.






Here's another test assembly, this time with all the parts in place and mounted correctly. The big green card on top there is the TV-card. Note that I also had to get rid of that PSU too (another freakin' accident! ;-O).







Then the cooling elements arrived from Germany. -I just loooove them! ;-)






This is how I'm cooling the PSU passively. I mounted all of the freakin' hot transistors onto one of the cooling elements. Again you have to note that this was the PSU I did blow after a while!







This is the PSU I use now, I will try not to blow this one away!







After fighting with the PSU I had to do something else for a while. So I finished the back panel. The PCB will be pushed even further back so it perfectly levels with the back plate.







Next thing I did was preparing the cooling elements to be fastened to the rest of the case.







Then I fastened all the parts together for the first time. This was the time for my first "test-shooting" of the system. It fired right up, it all works, yea!







During the test I found out that this part (don't know the English word for it) did get extremely hot. I had to do some rearranging in there!






So I placed it on the wall with all of the other "hot-guys", with an extra cooling fin, keeping it seriously cool! :-)



PS: Sorry for anny misspelling and bad/wrong use of words, but English really isn't my mother tounge!


Watch out for part TWO!


Best Regards

Audun

Last edited by ferox; 11th Jul 2004 at 03:26.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 04:03   #2
TekMonkey
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Wow, it never occured to me to run a machine off a CF card....aren't the access times really slow though?

Case looks great, looking forward to updates!
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 04:13   #3
Bob 1234
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THis looks awsome! I am amazed by how it turned out. I am really jealous
@tekmonkey
The drive runs way faster then a normal harddrive due to there being no spindles to move and no heads to read. It is what is being used in a project to have a computer boot in 8 sec flat.

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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 04:44   #4
STellY
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wow im SERIOUSLY loving the look of this....

cant wait to see part 2 :P keep up the work
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 05:20   #5
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Impressive. Are heat sinks cool enough to touch over thier entire length?They must do a great job of cooling considering their size.

Last edited by scifikg; 2nd Feb 2004 at 05:38.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 05:46   #6
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Very interesting idea Should also put wireless networking and KB and mouse which will cut down the cables to just audio and power.

I'll have to keep track of how this Mod Unfolds keep up the good work.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 07:36   #7
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That ROCKS! Now I wish I can do that
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 09:00   #8
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Looks realy nice!!
reminds me of the hush case

BTW: Welcome to the worlds bes mod forum
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 09:10   #9
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very nice - looking amazing already. Can you say how hot it runs?

your English is very good too, I wish I could speak any foreign language that well.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 10:19   #10
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Wow, that's pro! Great work on the ports
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 10:59   #11
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wow, some very good ideas in there, kinda reminds me of ZapWizzards work, gonna have to keep a check on this one
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 12:18   #12
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Excellent work.

Looking forward to part 2.

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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 12:18   #13
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WOW! totally professional look its got to it! i like the huge heatsinks on the sides of the case, gr8 idea!

that is gonna look so sweet when it done!
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 12:28   #14
papeniglio
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Very nice!

Just one question: did you have problems with the PSU running with no fan? I mean, some PSU detects the current taken by the fan and if the fan is broken it doesn't switch on.... I'm planning to mod a PSU for my HTPC (don't worry, nothing to share with your wonderful mod!) and I'd like to remove the fan, but I don't know if it could prevent the unit to switch on.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 13:12   #15
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Are you gonna passively cool the CPU aswell?
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 13:28   #16
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WOW!
Thx for all the positive feedback, warm's a modders heart!

Now to answer some of your questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by scifikg
Impressive. Are heat sinks cool enough to touch over thier entire length?They must do a great job of cooling considering their size.
The heatsinks does a really great job, they turn quite hot, but the components stays more than cold enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ynema
Very interesting idea Should also put wireless networking and KB and mouse which will cut down the cables to just audio and power.
I will use a wireless IR keyboard w/trackball to controll it. I had to throw away the idea of using a wireless network. That's because it's still is too slow to stream a high quality movie over WLAN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzle
Can you say how hot it runs?
It runs in tottaly silence! It's quite strange to rurn it on, you are really not sure if it's on or not, not before the screen lights up. I have not yet been able to test it's performance thoroughly, but an EPIA 1 Ghz is pretty capable of handling multimedia. It even has an, hardware, MPEG-2 decoder with video scaling for high quality hardware-based DVD acceleration. That will ensure perfect playback of even the most stressing DVD scenes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by papeniglio
did you have problems with the PSU running with no fan? I mean, some PSU detects the current taken by the fan and if the fan is broken it doesn't switch on....
I did not run into any problems with this, and this is the third PSU i have given this treatment! The first ones was both produced by Fortron/Source, the one I use now is an Aopen PSU (I think).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic
Are you gonna passively cool the CPU aswell?
READ ON!

-Time for part TWO of this log:



-Once again, just click the pics to see them in 800x600!



I had to figure out a way to transfer the heat from the CPU to the cooling elements, what better to use than copper? This is an early sketch of how I needed it to be constructed, I later changed the design slightly (see further down




I did cut the main block out of a 50x50mm, solid, copper rod. The base plate is made out of 3mm copper.





I placed the components that I wanted to solder on my stove and heated them so that the solder melted.





Like This! Then I carefully joined them together and cooled them down.





Here’s the final result. I have moved the two fasten bolts outside of the block to prevent loss in the thermal conductivity.





Next step was to remove the original heat sink, note the crappy thermal pad that was used.





I spread out some artic silver on the block and fastened it to the MB and the cooling element.



With the CPU-cooling done I stared working on the front. First of all I wanted to make an custom power button. This was going to be a little mod for it self! And I named it “The MultiButton”





Look at all those great plexi peaces! Bought them at an household store. I want to use one of them to construct my “MultiButton”!





Here’s an early pic of the button, I’ve just cut it and placed a blue LED inside.







This is the “heart” of The MultiButton, one IR-receiver for the keyboard and one for the remote. The blue LED in the middle.





The two receivers and the LED was ….. on the back of the sanded plexipiece.






The button was then placed in a hole in the front panel (10mm alu.), and secured it with an bracket on the back. To the right you can see the black micro switch that switches on the computer, and to the left, the spring that gives the button the right “feel” when you push it! I later want to put an second switch behind the spring and use it as an “eject” button. So when I press the upper half of the button it works as a power button and when I press the lower it works as an eject button!






This is the front I will use, its 440x100x10mm aluminium. Here I have just drilled out a hole for the button.






A shot of the button when the machine is turned off, it sticks 1mm out in front.





And then you turn it on and it lights up! Looks good to! ;-)




And here’s a little shot of another test run. Hooked up to my old BO, this time, running “ShowShifter”.




That’s it for now folks, but hang on, I’ve got more! :-)




Audun

Last edited by ferox; 11th Jul 2004 at 03:29.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 13:34   #17
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looking even better! love the CPU heat transfer idea - couldn't you have used a heat pipe or something?

my question before was "what temperature does the CPU get to?"
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 13:51   #18
papeniglio
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Thanks for the reply! I have a Fortron PSU too, and I'll try to run it without the fan...

Really like how it's coming out.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 13:56   #19
ferox
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Quote:
my question before was "what temperature does the CPU get to?"
Oh! Eh!

I just left the "hot" part out!

-It keeps really cool, stays around 35-40C, I am really impressed on how the cooling performs. I haven't yet tested it under more stressed conditions (encoding, decoding, playing DVD ....), but I'm sure it will stay well under 50C!


Quote:
looking even better! love the CPU heat transfer idea - couldn't you have used a heat pipe or something?
I was playing with that idea too, but it would have had taken more space and been a bit more expencive and hard to do.

Audun
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 14:27   #20
t.n.
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damn, now you make me want to finish my HTPC that I abandoned months ago
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