carbon-fever – 4- lights & electronics

Compared to most of the other mods out there, my light design can be described as „reduced“. No multi-colour bling, no large windows with flashing engravings and no… ok i think you got the point.

The light on the in- and outside is concentrated on thin (2,5mm) stripes or outlines. I use two colours, red and white, but only one at a time. The colours are changed either manually on the remote control or switch automatically to white when only the aux psu is powered up (and no rc). This comes quite handy on dark lan-parties, wiring everything up or workin on hardware.

Maybe you came (like me) in situations where you had to connect the cables in absolute darkness. On my time as an active lan-goer, that really annoyed me and on this rig i implemented 2 sheets of styrene to help lighting up the slots on the backside. Finding the big power plug for the aux-psu shouldn’t be a problem.

Like the big light at the case top, this one is just white.

To light up the whole case i use a high-power LED (lumiled K1 1W warm white) . That saves a lot of space when wiring everything up, but you need to cool those devices. The setup in the upper right corner is just for testing. It was necessary to use custom made ones, because all i could buy were much too big.

On this picture you can get an idea of how small everything really was. It shows the red and white LED’s on the opposite site of the top panel.

All openings on the inside are surrounded by a glowing corona. looks kinda easy in this picture of the top panel…

but turn out to a real mess, for example at the HDD cooler.

And it’s not yet wired up

To crown it all, cables for slot lights, top panel and power/reset button run over this panel. Like everywhere on the case the idea of modularity is also realized here: All cables are connected via plugs.


The heart of this machine is down at the bottom of the case. Light and fans are controlled by a set of relay cards mounted on the electronics tray. Power itself is supplied by an old 300W ATX PSU, stripped to the bones. But be careful, open frame power supplies can be dangerous. In this case we deal with 230V~, so just mess arround here if you really know what you are doing.

Most lights are connected via normal plugs, i don’t need to remove them often or quickly. That doesn’t apply to the side panels.

I wanted a plugless connection and therefor the power rails are made of copper sheets.

The counterparts are placed on the inside of the sidepanels. Below the connectors, the space for the resistors is already marked.

The reason for this, the LED´s, are placed in pairs in a narrow canal inside the acryl layer .

the silver wire is the common ground for alle leds, even it looks a bit botchy, but it had to be bent very precisely.

But now the wiring really started to get messy, each colour needed an individual power supply.

„Each colour“ also implies an own wire for every single LED. In the end i even had to use a blank wire for the last connection to save space. The acryl sheet is just about 2,5mm thin.

All connections join at the bottom of the panels.

If you look back at the „exterior“ article you see there are just 2 buttons on the front. To keep the case clean, most of the buttons and switches are mounted on external control panel, or remote control.

Elements on the RC:

4 Switches for lights and 12V fans, a potentiometer for the 220V fans, a bargraph to visualize the speed of the big fans and at last the power button.

I couldn’t use an ordinary knob for the potentiometer because the poti for the fans runs on 220V and the one for the bargraph on 12V and both needed to be connected to the knob. To solve this problem the knob transformed into a wheel. Now vertically mounted i could attach 2 potentiometers to the axis.

The bargraph was also custom made.

The buyable ones can show just one colour, but i wanted to implement the 2 colour-theme here too and of course you can’t get high brightness versions from stock.

To „translate“ the analog signal of the potentiometer into single steps, the LM3914 controller provides a very easy solution .

The RC is connected with 2 cables to the tray. A parallel-port cable ( just using 15 of the 25 lines) for the low current and low voltage rails and a separated cable for the 220V rail.


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in einem Wort: DIY
Selbermachen aus Prinzip, aus Spass oder einfach weil mans kann. Ganz grundsätzlich dreht sich hier alles rund um Elektrotechnik, Mechanik und wie man seine Basteleien hübsch verpackt (aka Design). Für die Naschkatzen gibts die Kategorie "Köstlichkeiten", selbstgemacht ist hier natürlich auch das Essen!


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