Saturday, December 31, 2005

DIY: OC* Front Panel Connectors

I decided to make a short DIY about making a quick and dirty "front panel" connector buttons and LEDs. If you are clueless about what it is, or just have the time to read thru the fanboyism, then click away to read it...

All materials ©2005 by DM, reproduction by permission only
Target Audience: N/E/O/B (N=Newbie, E=Hardware Enthusiast, O=Overclocker, B=Budget)

A tweaker in the hay...

If you are an uber fan boy tweaker, chances are, you don't have your motherboard, cpu, ram, power supply, hard disk, optical drive, and whatnots inside a chassis. Yeah, that's right, you'll be oftentimes needing to tweak your hardware and removing and installing your components inside the chassis will become troublesome for you to do in a seemingly endless manner.

Or maybe, you're just like me, a laptop user, who have my desktop parts like processor, motherboard, and memory always stashed inside the box and never used them, only until a customer would like to see a demo, or I feel like tweaking, or I just get bored and decided to play a bit.

Or maybe you're just very patient to install/remove your motherboard, and you oftentimes ended up having your system out of the chassis for some tweak loving spree.

Screw the driver...errr

In any case, chances are, you're using a screw driver or a similar tool, to jumper the "switch" to power on the system. But doing this becomes troublesome when you are tweaking for hours and hours on end. It can be a pain, or just plain hindrance or just slows you down. So instead of using a screw driver, (or similar tool) why not just make quick switches to ease up and simplify the process.

The secret ingredients!

The materials are very easy to find, you can see and buy most of them at your nearest electrical parts supplier. You'll need some cables with jumper headers, and a button-type switch. Now, I don't really exactly know what these switches are, but just your normal push-button switches.

::Switches and Push Buttons and LEDs::

As you can see from the above image, I have tons of cables ready for my modding loving spree. Btw, you will need a soldering gun and lead as well, if that's not yet obvious to you.

The steps to enligthenment...

This is elementary already, but for those who are actually still clueless, this will be a very short guide to how you actually make a button.

  1. First, you cut the cable with header like so...

  2. Then you solder the cable to the push button. If you would like, you can use heatshrink tubes, so be sure to put it these tubes before you actually solder the connectors. In my case, I never used one.

  3. And you're done. The only step needed to do is to install it on your motherboard front panel header.

How about the LEDs...

But of course, this is easily accomplished by doing the same step. Only that, you use LED instead of push button jumpers. I will not repeat the steps since it's the same old banana. I'll just post up some pics to give you a clue if you're still that clueless.

::Image Gallery::

Some more twists...

I can't stress it enough, how important and at the same time, easy it is to make this simple buttons and switch. This is a very simple mod to do, and can lasts you a long time instead of looking for your tool to jump-start the PC. You can use the LEDs to quickly give you clues as to where the motherboard is at now, specially the HDD activity LED and Power ON LED.

I made several twists for this as well, which I actually sold to my bratty clients. It's a simple one as well: just make a break out box: a simple PCB to mount the buttons and LEDs, and solder them, then set it up inside a box. Then ensure your motherboard headers are long enough, and make a provision at your box where your cabels are going out. Instead of loose parts of LEDs and buttons, you now have a single box with motherboard header protruding out of it. I even made a custom made sticker so my bratty clients will not try to open it =)...not that it contains any special chip or programmable device, but hey, if you're a clueless noobie, you will never know what's inside the box and I can sell it for a good cash too! Another one is mounted on a PCI bracket, but it actually only has the CMOS reset jumper, so I don't have to open up the chassis everytime I messed up the CMOS.

Till then, have fun doing the simple mod and happy new year!!!
All materials ©2005 by DM, reproduction by permission only

OC* = "Outside Chassis"

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