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Project RISC PC - Real PC

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by c.cam108, 23 Oct 2004.

  1. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    Welcome to my first real project log. This case was finished two days ago and all the work was done in nine hours from 3:30pm till 1:30am, including installing XP twice.

    Anyway, on with the log.

    Project RISC PC to Real PC

    This project started with a discussion between my dad and me about building a new MP3 server to replace the current ex-school-owned 433. We had an Athlon 1600+ and a 512MB stick of RAM lying around, so all we needed was a motherboard and a hard drive, but more about that later.

    The main problem was a case. The old one would do, but it was too big and ugly. The solution – I suggested that the old RISC PCs had a very nice case, and would look good on the desk.

    The plan was to rip out the old RISC PCs innards and replace them with a modern PC, whilst keeping the original look. No cathodes, no blue LEDs, no blowholes, no nothing.

    After some thinking we drove to the school my dad works at and took a look under the stage in the assembly hall. Amongst the rubbish we managed to dig out a RISC PC from under two monitors, a BBC and a box of paper towels. Here it is after taking it home.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The case was in good condition and would only need a clean-up. Inside were standard IDE CD-ROM and hard drives and a standard floppy drive. I was glad to see that they used standard drives, because if they were non-standard there would need to be more dremel action. These would have to go, but at least now we knew that standard drives would fit.
    [​IMG]

    The case is made of plastic and is very well-built. Apparently it is made from the same material as police shields. Here you can see that the PSU takes up quite a bit of the space inside. Behind the floppy drive should be an expansion riser, but this one had gone walkies.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately there was no memory in the motherboard to boot it up, but my dad had a couple of old SIMMs lying about.
    [​IMG]

    We booted her up and were met after 3-4 seconds with the boot logo:
    [​IMG]

    Mmm, RISC OS 3.6! There was not much on the massive 425MB hard drive, except for the main feature of these machines: An x86 emulator with add-on processor card! The installed x86 OS was Windows 3.11.
    [​IMG]

    Installed were some really top games
    [​IMG]

    and a high-end office suite.
    [​IMG]
    (That says: Microsoft Word Version 6.0)

    Enough about software, what kind of modding potential has it got?

    _C
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2004
  2. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    The RISC PC is built in two layers, one for the motherboard and one for the CD and floppy drives. After ten minutes we got the top layer off.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Removal is actually very simple and should take ten seconds, not ten minutes. We just couldn’t find the clips!

    Under those IDE cables was the 425MB hard drive.
    [​IMG]

    After the hard drive and PSU were gone, we saw just how small the motherboard was in relation to the case.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the processor add-on card. It says when you load the software that it is a 5x86, but we couldn’t tell with the heatsink on.
    [​IMG]

    _C
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2004
  3. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    Once the motherboard was out we test-fitted the new hardware. We chose a micro-ATX motherboard and a micro-ATX PSU. We tried a few placements of the components, but found problems with most of them.

    This is our first attempt and was my idea (which is probably why it didn’t work).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I wanted the power supply to match up with the original socket to make modding this case easier. Unfortunately when vertical the PSU was too high for the case. The hard drive was also too tall when vertical. This is unfortunate, because the placing is ideal to provide space for components.

    This was the next combination worth taking a photo of. This is the placing we ended up using.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, this needed a hole in the side of the case for the power cable, but this wouldn’t be seen where the computer is going. One of the cross-bars would have to be cut for the heatsink, and this might cause loss of strength. Thankfully it didn’t.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The case floor was covered in standoffs and clips which had to be removed. A dremel made light work of them.

    Before
    [​IMG]

    After
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Lots of little bits of plastic left over.
    [​IMG]

    _C
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2004
  4. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    We then fitted the motherboard with a Duron 1000 and booted her up.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Something’s missing...... front panel switches!
    [​IMG]

    That’s better! Now we can boot this thing.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t work. After troubleshooting we found the problem to be very minor and insignificant. Not really. We had the motherboard lying on conductive paint. This was probably there to comply with shielding regulations or something (this is a plastic case, remember?). An anti-static bag later and it booted fine.
    [​IMG]

    That’s 4.3 ohms resistance over an inch. Nearly a dead short.

    [​IMG]

    After checking it worked by installing XP on an old 2GB drive it was dismantled again for cutting.

    _C
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2004
  5. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    The power supply needed a hole in the side for the power socket. This required a template and a brain, so naturally we struggled.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The screw holes were drilled and then countersunk using a grinding stone on the dremel.

    Getting long enough screws was a problem, but we found some that gripped the PSU by one or two turns.

    Next was a hole for the motherboard ports. I would have preferred to do it properly, but my dad insisted on cutting a huge hole. Here’s the result.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A bit of a botch job, but not bad.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Some plastic needed to be filed away from the top half above the parallel and game ports, but there are no pictures of that.

    Here’s a problem. Fixing the motherboard onto the case. But my dad came up with a solution. These things.
    [​IMG]

    They are sticky-backed standoffs. Bought in 1985, you would have thought the stickiness would have gone, but no, they still stuck fine. Simply push through the motherboard holes, peel off the protective layer and stick.
    [​IMG]

    Fixing the hard drive to the case was a big problem. There was no way of attaching it to the floor. The solution: get rid of the floppy drive. Only one problem though – we wanted the RISC PC to look original from the outside. So we did this.
    [​IMG]

    We simply hot glued the facia to the front of the case. You can’t tell the difference from the outside.

    The screw holes for underneath the drive had to be relocated to fit behind the false floppy front.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That’s the 40GB Maxtor that is staying in there for now.

    The last thing to do in this case was the front LEDs and power button. The LEDs would be easy, a simple cut and splice with headers. The power button on the other hand is a different matter. The original button was long enough to reach inside the PSU to turn on a mains voltage switch. Therefore, it needed shortened. A simple push to make fitted perfectly in the U-shaped hole already there. The shaft of the button was then drilled and hot glued onto the switch. Perfect.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Finally everything was installed and the lid put on.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Yes! Everything works, right down to the original LEDs on the front. The hardware all fits beautifully in the box. Just a bit of tidying up of the wiring and that should be it done. Definitely a mod well done in my opinion. What do you think?

    _C
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2004
  6. invader crack

    invader crack What's a Dremel?

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    looks tight, nice and clean witch is never a bad thing

    i dont think that case woulda looked right all flashy and bright its pretty much perfect the way it is.. the only thing i would add would be sum sorta of subtle glow coming from under it, few leds could take care of that or even a simple ccfl :rock: *just my 2cents :D*
     
  7. drinn

    drinn What's a Dremel?

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    Nice job :rock:
     
  8. Tulatin

    Tulatin The Froggy Poster

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    hmm, a high end videocard would be nice in here if you can get the adaptor.
     
  9. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    The agp slot is not obstructed at all, so a vid card that is not full-height would be cool and easy to install!

    Pointless though, as it is a server with a monitor that chokes at 1024x768.

    Thanks for all the positive comments. I'll get some more photos up later.

    Also, my dad came home today with a servo, so we spent the afternoon trying to find a way to control it....

    _C
     
  10. white modder

    white modder What's a Dremel?

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    clean man, this would be a great case for lans etc...
     
  11. scotty6435

    scotty6435 What's a Dremel?

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    Dude! I had one of those beasts back in '95! :D :D

    Mine had the spacious 750mb HDD, the top spec PC card (33MHz :p ), cannon BJC4000 and a 17" (!) monitor. Cost close to £3000, that's a lot of cash be todays standards. Ran like sh*t off a shovel :rock:
     
  12. Dinh

    Dinh What's a Dremel?

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    Very Nice work man, lol inspires me to get one for myself lol
     
  13. 114508534

    114508534 What's a Dremel?

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    looking very good , dont you want to paint the case ?

    i think that black will be great for it
     
  14. KingofHearts

    KingofHearts What's a Dremel?

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    Looking real nice. The only part I dont like is the power cord from the side. That makes it so you cant turn the pc on its side so the power button is near the top. Otherwise great job. :clap:
     
  15. RotoSequence

    RotoSequence Lazy Lurker

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    Very cool job :rock:
     
  16. bigal

    bigal Fetch n Execute

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    very slick, nicely dont, i have just ordered some of those PCB holders from farnell for a "normal" useage (holding pcbs...) :D
     
  17. Thrillseekah

    Thrillseekah What's a Dremel?

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    Nice mod nice smal :hehe: Are you going to paint it? or maybe even an window?
     
  18. c.cam108

    c.cam108 Minimodder

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    Aye, those were the days! 750MB!! :jawdrop: 33MHz!! :jawdrop: Are you made of money. These were from a school, so none of your fancy 33MHz crap!

    Thanks again for the positive replies. I won't be painting this machine, it must look tres original.

    I'm sitting here with a servo control circuit beside me and an order of QT110's on the way! :D

    Should be here nd set up by tuesday after school. (I hate holidays, they always end)!

    I'm going to get some sleep now.

    _C
     
  19. Brew

    Brew What's a Dremel?

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    Looking cool Double C, this is really similar to a project I just started retrofitting an old Dell Optiplex NX. Its even more cramped than yours :duh: Its cool to see more people resurrecting old classics :thumb: I cant wait to see this thing all togeather.

    Brew
     
  20. renimatorius

    renimatorius What's a Dremel?

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    Where is painting :worried:
     

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