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Project ITX HTPC (Revived)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Sea Shadow, 10 Feb 2005.

  1. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    Edit: I have finally resumed this project. Plans have changed quite a bit but I think you will be pleased with the results.
    Links to progress
    This post is the original start of the project.
    Revival of the thread





    Greetings, I have been browsing the forums for awhile and have been admiring all of the creations that have evolved, now it is my turn to contribute to the forums.

    This is not really a mod so much as it is a creation from the ground up. I will be using the EPIA MII 12000 as my motherboard and will try to keep this computer as small as possible. Well, onto the pictures.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    As you can see this is a pretty small motherboard (that is my slot loading DVD drive next to it in the 2nd picture).
    [​IMG]
    This is the LCD that will be on the front of the case.
    [​IMG]
    These are some of the components that I will be using in this computer.
     
    Last edited: 25 Apr 2006
  2. deadly-app

    deadly-app What's a Dremel?

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    Case? Plans?
     
  3. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    There is no case as of yet, it is in the process of being constructed. As far as plans go, they exist in my mind. I am going to have the motherboard located towards the top of the case, below it will be situated all of the drives there will be one Slim line optical drive, one slim line floppy drive, a 4 GB slim line HDD to boot windows from, and finally a 120 GB standard sized HDD for music/file storage. There will also be some front connectors, including a headphone and mic jack, firewire, and 2 usb 2.0 ports.
     
  4. deadly-app

    deadly-app What's a Dremel?

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    Write down the plans, tell us what you are going to do, otherwise this is pointless :p
     
  5. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    I've got the 1GHz version of that board :) Can't wait to see where this is going. And where'd ya get the LCD? Just an HD44780 parallel setup?
     
  6. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    I got the LCD from ebay, and yes it is interfaced through the parallel port. Speaking of which, I just wired up the LCD cable :D
    [​IMG]
    The 3 remaining wires are a NC, LCD Contrast, and VCC (5v). Actually the NC wire isnt there anymore, ripped it off.
     
  7. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    Ports ports port, lots of little ports (and switches). Anyways I have decided to add a few more front ports and I am devising a way to hide them when not in use so as to keep the clutter to a minimum:thumb:
     
  8. zx2assassin

    zx2assassin What's a Dremel?

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    Is it just me or is that not a parallel cable, it looks more like a floppy cable to me :eyebrow:
     
  9. noCode

    noCode What's a Dremel?

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    The ITX motherboard have parallel connenction via a onboard header, not the usual backside connector. So that cable will probably go from those headers to the headers on the LCD.
     
  10. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Actually just that one, but yes it has a 2x13pin header on it. Which reminds me... I need to wire mine up, it's meant to act as a display-less mini-server for my room but at least some winamp info would be nice.
     
  11. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    Yeah one end of the cable is on a 2x17 plastic connector, the other end is a 2x8 connector. It was a realy boring task of finding the pinouts of both the LCD and the header on the motherboard, but it was worth it, keeps the cables nice and tidy.

    I havent gotten much work done today as I was touring Micron's Lehi facility, it was awesome!! Well now to work on the motherboard tray and drive enclosures :dremel:
     
  12. CaseyBlackburn

    CaseyBlackburn Network Techie

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    yes we would like to see some of your plans so we know what this is going to look like
     
  13. Blanbec

    Blanbec What's a Dremel?

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    I want more !
    Keep up the good work :thumb:
     
  14. sk8phreak88

    sk8phreak88 Minimodder

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    Holy crap, I never looked into ITX mobos! Those things are TINY!!
    Looks cool, more pics man.
     
  15. derbaum

    derbaum What's a Dremel?

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    woho. that lcd is big. 4x40 ? and by the way will this be a car pc?
     
  16. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    Well after many months and a little run in with some acrylic, I have decided to pick up the Dremel again and resume work on this project.

    After my little escapade with the acrylic double helix I decided that I would like to build a computer case using acrylic. I had plenty left over from the previous project, so I fired up my tools and got out my parts bin. Now please bare with me as the entire design was held in my head and very little of it was ever put down on paper. I apologize if things get a bit confusing, so feel free to ask any questions you might have and I will try to answer them as best as I can.

    I also appologize for the pictures being hit or miss, I was usually working on this from 1-4 in the morning so some of the pictures are a bit blurry.

    This machine will be multi-purpose and will serve many functions.
    -A jukebox of sorts: This computer will have a large amount of storage and will hold all of my music collection. It will have the proper connections to allow me to hook it up to stereo systems through RCA jacks or SPDIF. It will also have a small FM transmitter built in that I can turn on with a switch. This will enable me to listen to my music throughout the house while only needing a basic FM radio.
    -HTPC: This machine will also be capable of playing back DVDs and video files and can stream them to a TV over RCA or S-Video, possibly even VGA (unfortunately this board does not support Component or DVI out).
    -PVR: In addition to what is mentioned above the computer will have the ability to watch and record live TV, basically it will function as a TiVo and will store the video on a server in the house after it is recorded.
    -A computer: *GASP* what a concept a computer being used as a plain old computer :hehe: Anyways I want it to be able to accept both 3.5" diskettes and CDs/DVDs. As I often am transferring files back and forth from school computers to my home.
    -*there is one other tentative idea that will probably be done but for the moment will be left out of the log*

    [​IMG]

    First matter of business was to build a decent motherboard tray. I took some 1/4" thick acrylic that I had lying around and set my motherboard down on top of it. I then lightly traced and outline of the board onto the mask and marked the mounting holes. After I had an outline of the motherboard in place I added some space to the left and top of the motherboard tray. The space on the top was to give a bit of room for the IOs. While the space to the left will give me some room to run my cables to the various components.

    [​IMG]

    I then proceeded to cut out the acrylic, drill the necessary holes, and mount the standoffs.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the motherboard mounted to the tray, I apologize if it is a bit hard to make out the acrylic tray.

    [​IMG]

    Here is another image that shows the IO ports on the motherboard.

    [​IMG]

    Here an edge shot of the TV tuner card, it is a Hauppauge 150 MCE.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is the card along with the 1U Riser that I intend to use with the TV tuner. Unfortunately the use of a riser did nothing to help the fact that nothing was holding the card or riser in place. It was very loose and wiggled quite a bit. So I began work on a way to support the riser card and TV Tuner so that I wouldn't run the risk of it wiggling loose while in transit or use.

    [​IMG]

    My solution to help support the riser was simple, it consisted of two pieces of acrylic that were then fused to the motherboard tray. This would support the riser card from the bottom and would hold it perpendicular to the PCI slot. Later on I will fashion something to hold the PCI card itself in place.


    My next task was to build the hard drive cage. This presented a unique challenge for three reasons.

    1. I had two different sizes of hard drive to mount. I had a 30GB 2.5" HDD, and a 250GB 3.5" HDD.
    2. I had a very limited space in which to work, yet I had to make it so that there was at least a little bit of airflow around the hard drives so they wouldn't heat up so much.
    3. I had to make it so that I could upgrade the hard drives. This meant building the case and cage in such a way so that I could detach the hard drives and put in new ones at a later time.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the cage with just the frame built, I had not yet constructed built the mounting points for the 2.5" hard drive. Nor had I drilled any of the holes to mount the larger 3.5" hard drive. I will have the hard drives set up so that the master drive will be the 2.5" HDD and the slave will be the 3.5" HDD.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the completed hard drive cage, while this image looks nearly identical to the one above there are subtle but crucial differences. First of all both hard drives are now secured to the cage, I only put screws on the left side of the 3.5" hard drive due to how it was going to be mounted into the case. But I did affix both sides of the 2.5" hard drive to the cage. I also modified the IDE cable so that the cabling would be neater and easier to deal with. I tested the cable and it works fine, both drives are recognized and I took the opportunity to install an OS onto them. This cage will be fused to the bottom of the case using an acrylic solvent.

    [​IMG]

    Here I have already cut out what is going to be the bottom of the case and have peeled off the top layer of mask. I have also attached the 3.5" diskette drive as well as its adapter that enables me to interface with it using a regular floppy cable. Later on I had to shear off the standoffs that held the adapter in place so that I could reattach it on its side. I found that the way I originally had it was too tall and got in the way of other components.

    [​IMG]

    I then proceeded to attach the other drives, I fused the HDD cage to the base plate as well as the mounting device for the DVD drive and its adapter.

    That is all for now.
     
    Last edited: 25 Apr 2006
  17. zachjowi

    zachjowi What's a Dremel?

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    where did you get that very nice motherboard?
     
  18. Captain Slug

    Captain Slug Infinite Patience

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    I suggest sourcing ITX parts from http://www.logicsupply.com/
     
  19. Kumo

    Kumo What's a Dremel?

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    IF the 2,5HD is the master unit, almost sure the system will go slower, since usually slim HDs are 4200 or maybe 5400rpms max. Althought itsn't necessarily a problem because its a HTPC.
     
  20. Sea Shadow

    Sea Shadow aka "Panda"

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    Yeah, the HDD is a bit slow, but as you said it doesn't need to be fast. It is just streaming data and loading the occasional program. And because the OS install is stripped down it doesn't take any longer than usual to startup.
     

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