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Case Mod - In Progress Elektro-Apparate-Werke

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Aytos, 6 Sep 2020.

  1. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    This sparkled some positive reactions on Discord and I promised to upload more photos, so here it is.

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    This is mechanical chart recorder, it can take different power inputs and plot parameters of it using ink on paper - someone described it as pre-crt oscilloscope, which is kinda accurate. It was made by EAW - company from East Germany that share ancestry with AEG. I don't know when it was made - couldn't decipher part numbers that could contain date.

    External shots for every side

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    Chart recorder is unusual in itself, but what makes this device special is hermetic case made all out of aluminum. It was portable in nature. Leather strap is missing, since it felt apart from old age - you can spot catches on the sides of the case.

    Openings

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    Front is glass sealed and has very smooth opening. On top there are different connectors. On the back there is small compartment - spare paper roll, ink and cables were originally there I guess.

    Taking covers off

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    Top/bottom, sides and back are cast from one piece. Cooling will be tricky - water is way to go as far I see it. I could squeeze two double 80mm rads from Alphacool in back (oriented top to bottom) - this would be sensible as airflow goes. I'm also contemplating external rad, even semi-passive solution like Alphacool Cape Cora. I would welcome any ideas.

    Measurement

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    Device is pretty small and compact as you see. ITX or mini-DTX motherboard should fit inside. It will have to be mounted parallel to the front. IO should go probably up, where connectors are right now.

    Nameplates

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    Closeups

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    Hinges are just beautiful - I could stare at them for hours. I love checkerbox pattern on sides - anodizing it in color (gold/copper color) is what I see in my head. First I need to figure out a way of removing industrial lead/tin coating (my guess when it comes to external layer covering aluminum). Mechanical process is pretty much out of the question, since I don't want to damage details. I need to find right paint remover that would work on this coating and wouldn't touch aluminum.

    I wonder if I could reuse copper transformers as rads - they have similar shape to Alphacool Cape Cora. In worst case I could put one in reservoir tank as ornament. Pump/tank could be installed in back bottom compartment.

    When it comes to ideas, small thermal printer could be used for plotting temperatures in combination with EKG paper that is pretty cheap. Not sure tough is there will be enough space.

    Roadmap

    As you see I don't have any solid plans for adopting this case. I bought this device, since I couldn't resist myself. Don't expect any quick updates, since I'm in the middle of doing another mod - sharing this as favor to discord channel. I also need to start making some savings, since I have no budget for it right now - AM4 ITX motherboard and probably SFX PSU will be needed for starters. Then I need to figure out how to cool parts inside hermetic case, which won't come cheap I presume.
     
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  2. SnugglySocks

    SnugglySocks New Member

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    The hinges, the latches, those coils, the top connection panel, that window. Oh man that is a thing of beauty! Tight fit with a lot of pipe and cable planning needed!

    I'm looking forward to seeing this progress!
     
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    First, You should be able to restore the rubber seals with baby oil/mineral oil. You should keep the original paint. It and the wear is part of the charm. The cores of the coils are probably bakelite, not copper.
    I'd say add an external rad on the back with matching hammer paint. Open up that bottom compartment and get one fan in there for chassis air.
    You might be able to reuse the internal frame for a rad mount.
     
  4. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    Coils are bakelite - you right there, so everything from the back is throw away. Original paint will stay there for long, I'll just give bath to the whole case first - there are very few steel parts, so not risking anything. I would avoid drilling holes in the case at all cost. Creating route for IO on top, where connectors are right now seems like best bet to me - this would leave anything else untouched.

    External rad on the back is easiest, cheapest and most sensible solution. Then I have more crazy ideas in mind like putting three or four triple 40mm Alphacool UT60 rads stacked on each other inside the case at the back. They have connectors on every side, so chaining them should be doable. One cross flow fan on bottom and one on top should fit also - there are quite noisy, but available in different sizes and you can get 12v version. This way original vents could be reused and there should be some airflow. Not sure if this will be enough for cooling, but hooking external rad to the loop can be done at any point.
     
  5. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    Disassembly

    So I took everything unnecessary out of the case - the weight of it now makes much more sense.

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    I was aware beforehand that motherboard will be a very tightly fitted. Just to be sure I printed image of the motherboard in 1:1 scale - scaled photo provided by factory onto found diagram.

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    The motherboard in question is ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3. It doesn't make much sense to go after X570 ITX motherboard price wise right now, since B550 is on the market. What makes it special is monoblock sold by Bitspower - pretty much only option for AM4 ITX MB as far I know. I did also go trough photos without heat sink and it seems that some universal water block could be fitted also on southbridge if needed. With monoblock this shouldn't be necessary since radiator on chipset is connected via heatpipe to VRMs. This provides some room for cooling options, since there will be virtually no airflow inside the case.

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    I also printed IO shield in 1:1 scale, just for checks.
     
  6. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    :eeek::eeek::eeek: wow :jawdrop: that's a real great find :rock:
     
  7. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    You will want some airflow in there, even if it's a 40mm fan. :D
    It looks like a SFF psu could fit in the back chamber, with some grinding out of the sub-compartment.
     
  8. SnugglySocks

    SnugglySocks New Member

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    You are probably going to have to commit to some more holes and removal/grinding off all thosee coil mounting points at the very least. I'm with @Cheapskate, the case itself is going to be a bit of a heatsink so you'll need to shift some air inside or risk baking your components even with an external rad.

    That mobo 8-pin is going to be tricky to route too, you have a lot of work ahead, good luck!
     
  9. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    I didn't answer earlier, because I was going through several possible options:
    • Originally I was thinking about putting PSU in front compartment, beside the rest of the components. After some consideration I dropped the idea, since it would be least visual pleasing solution.
    • Back chamber isn't far from fitting normal ATX PSU. I did consider cutting into the front and putting the power supply this way. This would be most destructive solution, but also the cheapest one.
    • SFX could fit into back compartment without too many issues. Even SFX-L could be squeezed side ways into back chamber. This would require new PSU. One thing I was concerned about the most was airflow. This wouldn't be much of issue for normal ATX, since I have one that would be quite overpowered for this build. Going for the top-tier SFX power supply would be the most expensive solution.
    • Flex ATX mounted at back, where coils were before at the cost of laud fan. This would fit like a glove, airflow shouldn't be an issue and I could use the space that is otherwise quite problematic. I also searched for some 1U server power supplies, since there is enough room for those. I could get used Supermicro PWS-521-1H cheaply, but more cutting would be required than with Flex ATX.
    I ended up ordering Enhance ENP-7660B (600W Flex ATX power supply), shipment should take around month. This gives me a lot of flexibility and I could use this PSU in future build. I can use "coil" space for cable management and there is even enough room for 2,5" drive side by PSU. As for back chamber, current plan is to stick single 120mm rad there and drill the holes on the bottom. I think this will be decent space use.

    As for 8-pin I'll try to run cable under motherboard first. If this doesn't work instead of hiding the cable I'll do the opposite - run it in nice pattern on the right side of the case. As for luck I could use some - take for example winning lottery ticket. This project will strain my budget for sure. I won't be ordering any parts, before PSU arrives - this gives me plenty of time to run with different concepts.
     
  10. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    Very small update. I was going back and forth with different ideas. I pretty much abandoned idea of water cooling, since that would require extending the size of the case with external radiators, badly cutting the case or using small rads and tiny fans. In the end it probably would be still noisy, which kinda defeats purpose of water cooling and similar results could be accomplished with air cooling at fraction of the cost. This is small glimpse what I've in mind currently:

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    Front glass will have to go, there is no other way around it. On the bright side two 120mm fans fit almost perfectly. Direction and type of fans (pressure oriented) isn't accidental. I'll try to deshroud my GPU, hang in front of the case, where glass right now is. Fans will run in pull configuration, so the case doesn't become cooker - I know this was done before in some SFF builds. Not the best idea I guess, but compromises had to be done somewhere.

    As for forcing some air in, some mix of oddly sized fans like 50mm and 70mm will be used at the back of the case. This way I would avoid cutting too much, it will be more matter of drilling holes than removing whole sheets of aluminum.
     
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  11. Karrek

    Karrek Member

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    Looks like a fantastic project!

    Would the motherboard fit sideways in the case (along one of the sides) instead of the back? Then if the GPU fit along the other side, with fans where you have them in the window and fans in the back - allowing direct airflow through the entire case...?
     
  12. Karrek

    Karrek Member

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    Another thought - could you put the mobo and GPU at an angle inside... Something like this (excuse my crude drawing):

    Side view:
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    |........|__FAN__|......|
    |_ .................../----/ |
    |..|................./...../....|
    |..|............./...../........|
    |_|........../gpu/...___.|
    |..|......../...../...../...../|
    |..|....../...../...../...../...|
    |_|.../...../....../mo-/....|
    |.../__/......./..bo./......|
    |............./....../..........|
    |____/___/_______|

    ...with the PSU under the mobo.

    [edited because it didn't like the spaces in my drawing and I retried with periods]
     
    Last edited: 7 Oct 2020
  13. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    Thanks for thinking so, I will try not to ruin original case.

    I printed motherboard on cardboard-like material in 1:1 scale for this reason. I went LEGO mode for hours with it and tried different options. Sadly it won't fit sideways, it is 5-10mm (didn't even measure this properly) short of the glass, so case won't close. I was also thinking of putting motherboard at angle, but it seems like there are very few benefits of doing it and it would still require a lot of cutting.

    Bottom to top airflow would be for sure easiest route. After rising the case 180mm fan from Silverstone should fit underneath and two 80mm fans should fit at the top. I could end up still doing so, if airflow isn't good enough. The question is how much of original case I want to preserve?

    Current plan is to put motherboard at the back, but oriented in such a way, that IO shield ends up on the bottom - it will be accessible trough back chamber. This way I should be able to save whole top panel with connectors from original case, which adds up a lot of character to the case (I could reuse some of it for IO). By doing so I need to direct air differently: from back to the front. I will try to squeeze some oddly sized fans at the back as I mentioned in previous post. As for the front, air will go through GPU connected via riser cable - this is why I want to deshroud it and put fans on the radiatior in pull configuration. Two 120mm fans cover glass almost perfectly - remaining space at top I could use for small switches connected to power/reset.

    I didn't want to spoil whole plan too early, but when asked directly I don't mind it ;) I ordered some parts already, maybe some of it I will get this week. PSU seems to be stuck at customs, but I don't mind that right now. The first thing I'll need to do anyway is deshroud and figure out how to hang GPU at the front door.
     
  14. Karrek

    Karrek Member

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    Great to know - and no, I don't want to spoil your plans too much! :lol:
     
  15. Aytos

    Aytos New Member

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    Modding begins

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    Original glass on the left and mount for fans made out of polycarbonate on the right. I decided not to go for grill-like solution with small holes, but using whole fan space.

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    This is non destructive modification - original seal, screws etc were used.

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    About 10mm of space on top, which I could use for power/reset switches, maybe audio, for USB there could be too little space. Something for later.

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    With Noctua fans it would look better, but for time being those Arctic P12 fans should do. There are other cost to consider right now.
     
  16. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    It would look a lot better with the fans turned around.
    You got polycarb laser cut? Most cutters won't touch that because of the poisonous off-gassing.
     

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