Part 5: Electrical - Front panel switches and lights
The time to think about any lighting effects, switches, or other connectors you want to make available through the modified shell is during its rough construction. If you wait to run wires after you start finishing the surface, you may have problems getting the wires concealed or run where you want them to come out. The best solution is to plan wire runs while you are still gluing the foam or add tubing or channels to run wires.
For a power switch or reset switch, remember that you do not need to limit yourself to the momentary contact switch buttons that came with the case. As long as your switch is "off" in its normal position, you can use it as a replacement for the typical front panel computer buttons.
[caption id="attachment_251" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Any n/o (normally open) momentary contact switch will work as a power or reset button."][/caption]
Some of the switches I had to choose from include an LED-lighted pushbutton, the original front panel buttons from the RaidMax case, a keyboard style switch, and a doorbell switch. Any of these could be used to power-on or reset the computer. I selected the keyboard style switch for its square design.
[caption id="attachment_252" align="alignnone" width="269" caption="Two of the switches are hot glued to the back of the front panel. The key caps are just flush with the front surface."][/caption]
Playing around with some different styles of buttons, I decided on using a set of generic square-keyboard button style switches, and then hot-glued some additional key caps to the front panel to repeat the pattern. To make the switch caps all the same color, and to fit in with the new case style, the caps have been blacked-over with a little acrylic paint.
[caption id="attachment_253" align="alignnone" width="276" caption="Additional key caps are glued to the front to repeat the pattern."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_254" align="alignnone" width="264" caption="Cardboard is glued over the Styrofoam to prepare it for the paper mâché coating."][/caption]
Two large red LEDs are installed in the eyes to signal hard drive activity. Inside the mouth, I installed a single red LED Meteor Light kit that had been removed from its plastic tube and reconfigured into three side-by-side segments.
[caption id="attachment_255" align="alignnone" width="171" caption="The control buttons for the Meteor lights can be seen on the back of the head and in one of the expansion slots. The controller for the bottom LED strips is the small blue box stuck to the back of the case."][/caption]
The control circuit for the mouth light and the wiring for the eye lights are embedded in the back side of the head, with a removable cable running into the case for power and the HDD pin connection. Inside the bottom of the side panels, I mounted two of the red LED Meteor Lights with their connections extending out the rear of the panels to connect to a second control circuit.
[caption id="attachment_256" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="A view of the case showing the red LED Meteor Lights in the mouth and with the red LEDs (HDD activity) in the eyes."][/caption]
Mutant Mods Red Meteor Light Kits are case lighting kits that use low-voltage LED lights (12 in a tube) with a electronic controller that can generate multiple lighting effects such as sequential fading or blinking.
Next time: Skin of the beast -- paper mâché surface texture and coloring
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