Locust

Locust water cooling

A while ago I was messing around with some unused water cooling parts and decided to build a poor man’s Koolance Exos. One the one hand, it cost me less than $5 to build (since I had the water cooling parts handy) so the “poor man” bit was correct, but as far as performing like the Exos, Heh heh heh…

 

The $5 reservoir. Made from a plastic jar from Tap Plastic, two 1/2″ OD PVC barbs with threads for two PVC nuts. Add some silicone sealant and let dry.

 

 

The radiator – an oil cooler from an Acura, I think it was.

 

 

View from the side. I took out the elbow joints because they restrict flow. I originally had placed them to avoid kinking, but when I get this hardware (or something like it) into a rig, I’ll probably use some Swiftech coolsleeves to prevent kinking instead.

 

The ad-hoc setup.

 

 

 

The poor-man’s Exos in operation. What a waste. Heh. It’s quiet and keeps things cold. That’s about it.

Locust current hardware

Specs/Stats:

Custom built laminated pine wood case
Antec 300w PSU
ASUS A7v266 Motherboard
a7v266

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ processor
Zalman CNPS6000-Cu Heatsink (with 92mm fan)
256MB Generic PC2100 DDR RAM
Creative SoundBlaster PCI 16 sound card
Adaptec AHA2940U2 SCSI Controller
Intel PRO/100B NIC
56x Artec CD-ROM
ASUS 64mb v8200 GeForce3
IBM DDRS-39130D SCSI Drive 9GB 7200rpm ULTRA2-LVD
Seagate ST34502LW SCSI Drive 4.5gb 10k RPM
Western Digital WD200 20GB EIDE Hard Drive
2x 120mm Global Win fans (87 cfm)

Locust gets more storage space

With the release of Steam from Valve software, a 9gb drive just wasn’t enough for OS files, plus a gangload of game files for Quake ][, Quake ]I[, the various Half-Lives, Unreal Tournament 2003, Medal of Honor – Allied Assault and Army Ops. So I plopped in a 20GB IDE drive I had around, using the same technique I used for adding another drive to Earthquake.

The guts of Locust now look like this:

 

Locust back up

Background:

Locust finally received some new hardware to make it a decent secondary rig, and in honor of it’s rebirth, I decided to give it a new look with some stain and basically do a better job of rerouting everything.

Here’s what the Mark I looked like:

The Work:

I started off by stripping the case of everything and then staining it a dark cherry finish.

 

 

I then started mounting the hardware, beginning with the CD-ROM and the floppy drive. I used regular 90-degree “L” brackets to fasten them to the wood.

Continuing down the front bezel, I mounted the LEDs and switches, two On-(On) switches for power and reset, and one On-Off-On for the 12v-off-5v fan switch. I had already soldered a length of wire to each pole to make attaching wires to the switches easier later on.

 

I then added the dual 120mm fans and screwed them into place.

 

The next step was to put in the motherboard tray…

… and mount the PSU and do some wore wrapping and routing..

 

Here’s where the first “oops” happened. The ASUS a7v266 motherboard is longer than the P5A motherboard it replaced in this case.

This turned out to be not so big of a deal, except that I ended up having to mount the hard drives vertically instead of horizontally between the motherboard and the fans.

As it turned out, the gap underneath the segment of motherboard that protruded over the edge of the tray was perfect for routing ribbon cables to the lower end of the board.

 

I was originally going to use two 2-position 3.5″ bays from the Antec spare part catalog to hold each hard drive horizontally in the stream of the fans for cooling, but the longer a7v266 motherboard made me rethink that. I instead opted to use a 3-position bracket to hold two drives.

Unfortunately, the sides of the bracket would prevent a good airflow, so out came the dremel to cut some air holes. The orange stuff under the rack in the center picture is some rubber matting to use as a vibration dampener.

 

The last things remaining were to screw in the drive rack, run the wires, plug everything in, mount the CCFL and Zalman heatsink and install the OS, in this case, Windows 2000 Professional.

The finished product, complete with green CCFL, some cable origami and wrapping, and the Zalman heatsink.

 

 

 

 

Locust Reborn

In making an entry to the Locust pages, I just noticed that It’s been about a year since I’ve done any mods or anything to it. Wow.

Anyway, I got to feeling antsy about my hardware so I bought a new mobo/processor combo off of ebay for dirt cheap and dropped it into Earthquake. EQ‘s mobo and processor are now headed for Locust, along with a new look to its woody, giving it a cherry stain so it will match EQ‘s case.

The plan here is to turn Locust into my secondary gaming box and turn Plague into a dedicated server that will live in a colo facility somewhere, serving up Quake 2 Devastation goodness and these web pages. In that vein, I’m also taking the Asus V8200 graphics card from Plague to run here.

I’m also rekindling my original watercooling setup for Earthquake, so I may be watercooling Locust or I might save the parts for my new Canterwood-based computer that I’m spec-ing out.

Locust gets a woody

Background:

Locust is my Frankenstein’s monster, an amalgamation of spare parts collected over the years to make a fourth computer that I could tear down and reformat to suit whatever I wanted to test at the moment, without losing any settings or data.

You can find it’s history here, but what has always bothered me was the ugly, worthless $30 case I bought from CompUSA to house it. It was cramped, hot and I’ve been meaning to get rid of it for some time, but never managed to find something fun to house it in.

It originally looked like crap

 

Then along comes the idea to build a wood case for it.

My design concept was constrained by a few things:

– It had to be small enough to fit with my other cases under my desk, yet large enough to be able to build the same design for all of my other computers, giving my computer pile a uniform look.
– I wanted the case to be properly cooled, but I didn’t want it to be a howling tornado. In fact I wanted the case to be as silent as possible, as I wanted to be able to leave all four of my computers on all the time and not go deaf.
– It needed to be functional but stylish.

So I set to work measuring components and playing around with them using Visio to create a blueprint of what it would look like:

 

For this design I used the motherboard tray and PCI card holder from the old case. I used the 3.5″ hard drive rack from the case as well to hold the two drives in front of the fans. In my next cases, I’ll be using parts from the Addtronics parts list found here.

I used 5/8″ pine laminate which is essentially strips of pine glued and pressed together to form a stripe effect found in chopping block tables and counter tops. It makes for a good looking case, and is relatively easy to work with and not all that expensive (about $15 for a 24″ x 48″ piece). The only problem with the laminate is that it tends to crack along its seams while drilling fan holes, so one must be careful about that.

 

 

 

The inside is set up as per the visio layout. The only real trick was in mounting the brackets for the CD-ROM and floppy. That involved some dremel work and drilling new screw holes in the brackets to line them up with the holes in the units themselves. The L bracket on the upper right corner was necessary to keep the CD-ROM in place, as I cut a U shape in the bezel for the CD-ROM instead of a hole.

 

To make the case quieter, I removed the outer casing of the PSU to remove extra passages for air to make noise through. Instead, I mounted an 80mm fan directly in front of the heat sinks to channel case air along the heat sinks and then out of the case.

Likewise I cut holes in the back of the case to allow air to escape, but I didn’t add fans, figuring that the massive amount of air coming in from the front would find its own way out the back.

 

A shot of the two hard drives in a three drive rack, allowing air from the fans to blow between them for added cooling.

 

The wiring of the case was the most fun part of the project. I used two momentary toggle switches for the power and reset buttons, and a two-position switch for my 7v-12v mini fan bus.

I ended up using a 1″ drill bit to drill positions for the switches through the thick wood, making sure not to drill all the way through. I then finished the hole with a smaller bit to allow room for the threaded tip of the switches to poke through the bezel.

The four LEDs on the right are, from left to right: Power, IDE activity, SCSI HD 1 activity, SCSI HD 2 activity.

 

All in all, it took me four evenings to complete this project:

1. Evening one was to cut the pieces and assemble the case.
2. Evening two was to sand everything and stain it.
3. Evening three was to mount the drive bracket, motherboard tray and PCI card holder, CD-ROM and floppy in their brackets.
4. Evening four was to do the wiring and mount the rest of the hardware.

The case meets my expectations in that it looks nicer than the old beige piece of crap, it runs quieter with only three fans running at 7v, and much cooler than it did.

In fact, with both 120mm 102cfm fans running at 7v the K6-2 processor with the stock heat sink posts the following results:

Low fan setting @ 100% High fan setting @ 100%
Old Case 50 degrees C 48 degrees C
New Woody 46 degrees C 42 degrees C

 

Diamond Viper v330 R.I.P.

I finally got around to rebuilding Locust, and in the process fried my v330 vid card (hence the crappy 2mb PCI graphics card in the specs). I was switching the blow direction of a fan while the machine was on and dropped a screw onto the v330. As I picked it up, it must have shorted out the card, because the screen suddenly blacks out and starts to flicker all weird-like.

I cycled the power, and the machine wouldn’t boot. Dead vid card for sure. Bummer that.

At any rate, Locust is now a SCSI machine with a 9gb drive for system and a 2.5GB drive for swap. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this machine just yet, but it’s fun to have.