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Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Penguin Palace Mod, Part 4: Lighting FX and System Specs

Ripple Effect Lighting Disk
The appearance of rippling water was created by carving grooves into the top of a ¼ inch plastic disk, then heat polishing the surface. The disk rotates on a tiny gear motor, distorting the light from blue and cyan LEDs mounted under the disk. A scrap molex connector is used to provide 12v DC for the LEDs and 5v DC for the gear motor. LEDs are arranged in series of three, with a current-limiting resistor for each group.


[caption id="attachment_51" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Step 1: Grooves are carved into a 4" disk of clear acrylic."]Clear acrylic disk for lighting[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_52" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Step 2: Polish the surface of the disk with a heat gun."]Heat gun[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_53" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Step 3: Mount the motor and LEDs to the circuit board."]LED light panel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_54" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Step 4: Create a frosty block to hold the wheel and hide the circuit board, and mount it in the case."]Completed lighting[/caption]


Additional Lighting
The waterfall and coolant hoses were illuminated by attaching two 15" ultraviolet tubes attached behind the front of the case and a third 12" tube at the rear. I found three cyan LEDs with a distinctive green tint, which I mounted behind the power button at the front of the case. I created an oversized power button with a couple of layers of clear plastic that I carved to look like multiple thin layers in a dome-shaped cover that snaps onto the switch shaft.

[caption id="attachment_55" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Cool Lighting: LEDs in the feet, power supply, and the front power button; Ultraviolet CCFT tubes in front and rear of the case."]Case with side panel open[/caption]


Cool Lighting: LEDs in the feet, power supply, and the front power button; Ultraviolet CCFT tubes in front and rear of the case.

System Specs
The penguin mod wasn’t intended to be my day-to-day system; however I still wanted it to be fully functional for whatever use I chose for it. I kept the required components to a minimum and didn’t install a floppy drive, modem or other expansion devices. If I need a floppy, I can always connect a USB floppy drive.

I did install a DVD-RW drive, a single 250GB SATA hard drive, and a USB card reader. The video card is an EVGA nVidia 8500 and the system board has the usual 10/100 LAN, serial and parallel ports, USB and sound support. The Intel Core 2 6300 CPU is water cooled as is the hard drive.

[caption id="attachment_56" align="alignnone" width="237" caption="Penguin Mod: "Case Closed""]Completed case design[/caption]


The DVD and card readers were originally black, so I popped the bezels and tray cover off to paint them a metallic flake silver. Initial comments on the case "picked" at the drive appearance, stating that they were too plain, and did not fit the overall character very well. I listened, and went back to update these with some more ice...

[caption id="attachment_57" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The drives are further concealed by adding some frosted acrylic to the front. "]Media drive details[/caption]


The Thermaltake hard drive cooler is brushed aluminum, so it did not need anything special to fit my designated color scheme. Instead of the typical black radiator, I used a blue one, and installed white Silverstone 120 mm fans on the radiator and in the front of the case.

  • System Board: ECS 570 SLIT-A

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 6300

  • RAM: 1 GB Patriot 3200

  • Video: EVGA nVidia 8500 GT 256MB

  • HDD: 250GB SATA

  • Optical: Samsung DVD-RW (painted metallic-flake silver)

  • Card Reader: USB 7-in-1 Digital Media Drive (painted metallic-flake silver)

  • Hard Drive Cooler: Thermaltake (brushed aluminum)

  • CPU cooler: Danger Den Socket 775 Water Block

  • Radiator: Swiftech Blue

  • Fans: Silverstone white 12cm

  • Speakers: Computer Expressions Penguin Speakers (modified)

  • Cooling Pump: Danger Den DDPDDC

  • Waterfall Pump: unknown (salvage)

  • Case: Unknown make (salvage)

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