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Friday, March 16, 2012

Egyptian Case Mod - Part 4 (Overview)

A scarab mouse and system overview

Building a better mouse? The Egyptian theme might be considered a bit ponderous
and dry with all of the historical references, no matter how fancy its jewels
or ornamentation. I'm not saying that adding a themed accessory will lighten
the mood, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Starting with a basic wireless mouse...

Bright blue hot glue is built up on the battery door and buttons. Since the
surface of the mouse button is rigidly attached at the back, and uses the flexibility
of the plastic instead of a hinge, I need a shield of clear plastic (cut from
the package bubble pack), to allow the buttons to click when I'm done.

Layers of hot glue are built up to create the shape, and then smoothed down while
the glue is still fluid. The edge of the glue gun is used to create the stepped
ridges on the wings (AKA battery compartment).

The blue hot glue used on the scarab-style mouse closely matches the color of

A left-over limestone tile has non-skid rubber glued to the back, and the inlayed
carnelian, malachite, lapis, and brass rods are added to match the door detail.

The completed case mod with guardian

Product summary:

Rock Solid: Back at the beginning of this article I gave the case weight
as 34 pounds. With the spiffy new limestone slab skin, the system now weighs
over 96 pounds! I have removed the side panels at times to move it from room
to room when a furniture dolly is not available. (Lugging the thing up and down
stairs is the worst...)

The system board is a low-power notebook style design in a standard desktop

Memory is SODIMM and the CPU is a low-power Mobile Intel Core Duo.

Motherboard used: AOpen i945GTm-VHL Core Solo/Duo 479 ATX Motherboard. This
board is one of AOpen's MODT series (Mobile On a Desk-Top),
and uses a low-power Mobile Intel Core Solo or Core Duo socket 479 CPU. It also
supports up to two 1GB DDR2 SO-DIMM memory modules, so is limited to 2 GB maximum RAM, and shares some of that with the onboard video. The board does include
some support of the new Intel VIIV platform, but only if you are installing
Windows XP Media Center Edition. This is not a high-performance gaming system,
but could easily work as a solid business or home entertainment solution. One
thing I do like about the board is the low-power operation and therefore the
minimal amount of heat produced. AOpen included a low-profile CPU heat sink,
although this board will take a standard socket 478 style cooler just as easily.
The result is a system that runs very cool and quiet, without having to resort
to huge heat sinks or water cooling.

What I didn't care for was that the floppy and parallel port headers on the
board are notebook-style small-pitch headers. This means the pin size is slightly
smaller and the spacing is closer together, so you cannot use standard off-the-shelf
cables; AOpen does not include a compatible cable or adapter for these devices.
I ended up making a floppy cable adapter from a 2.5" to 3" hard drive
adapter (works fine), and found an adapter for a Shuttle Computer that connects
to the parallel port header (which should work, but I have not tested yet.)
There are two standard 9-pin serial port headers on the board, so these may
be a little easier to come up with adapters for those of you who, like me, may
still use some legacy devices.

All five of the drive bays are filled with something. Wires to the hard drive
LED, Meteor LEDs and the power switch are visible with the lower door open.
The aluminum is painted brown in this image, I later covered this with some
stick-on vinyl floor tile that closely matches the limestome appearance.

The five drive bays hold:

  1. DVD-RW optical drive

  2. CD-RW optical drive

  3. Fan speed control panel (for front, rear,
    CPU, and power supply)

  4. Matrix MX2 LCD programmable info panel

  5. 3.5" floppy drive with a (red LED
    reset button on the left, and two USB ports on the right of the adapter

Matrix Orbital MX212 Blue LCD with Black Face. This is a programmable USB
panel similar to those used on some Media Center PCs. The software included
with the panel allows the user to program the display with personalized messages
displays of system settings, diagnostic monitoring, or current activity such
as Audio Track or TV Tuner details just for starters. I haven't played with
all of the features yet, but it also appears that temperature sensors are
available that can connect to several jumpers on the rear, and there are also
several fan speed control and monitoring connections as well.

Egyptian Case Mod: front door view

Egyptian Case Mod: hunt scene side view

Egyptian Case Mod: chariot scene side view

Egyptian Case Mod: theme view

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