Mini-ITX Emulator Box in an NES
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May 14, 2009, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Regina, SK
My System Specs
At the same time I decided that I was looking at the motherboard situation all wrong; if I had to put the motherboard higher, that gave me the opportunity to use the space beneath it, provided I could come up with a way to insure that nothing moved and shorted out. I mounted a 2.5” to 3.5” HD bay adapter to the bottom of the NES, glued a USB connection onto the bottom to feed the controller adapters (yes, I realize that I could have just spliced on a motherboard header, but this way things can come apart easier if anything dies on me), and put in an SPDIF bracket on the back to allow for digital sound output.
You can also see the two black legs in the top left and bottom right of the case, which function as the motherboard standoffs. They are, oddly enough, pieces of a DVD spindle center hub, which I cut to length and bored, before gluing in a brass standoff. The other two mobo mounts have unfastened legs; the one for the top right sits on the hard drive, and the bottom left sits on the top of the reset button’s blue case.
In order to solve the interference problem with the DVD drive, I bought two things: some Kingston Value RAM, and a 20 to 24 pin ATX adapter. Kingston has apparently begun making their value line low profile to save costs, which means it’s just over half the height of a regular module—suddenly my DVD drive cleared it. The ATX adapter (I could just have easily used an extension, but the pico was 20 pin and the mobo 24, so I thought “why not?”) allowed me to route the PSU underneath the motherboard, and the wires on the adapter were pliable enough to bend them down out of the way; problem solved!
Of course, this also necessitated two things in my mind: some basic airflow for the PSU (though most of the heat is apparently in the adapter, as it does the AC to DC conversion) and a way to secure it so that it didn’t short out on the bottom of the motherboard. Perforations via drillbit, and hot glue to the rescue! I glued not the PSU, but the 20pin side of the adapter to the bottom of the case and put holes in a discreet part of the case bottom. While I was at it, I also hot-glued both the controller adapters, and the motherboard standoffs, to ensure they stayed put (it occurs to me here that I didn’t chronicle the epic battle to make the controller adapters fit in the standard holes….but maybe I’ll just leave that for another day).
Finally, the motherboard was put in, and the backplate glued into the case (obviously I cut the hole somewhere in this whole mess, but I’m not sure when), and the only part I was left waiting for was the slimline SATA to normal SATA adapter. When Amazon finally dropped it off, my woes should have been over…but they weren’t. First, I found that I needed to trim the SATA motherboard connector on the adapter because it was hitting the DVD drive. Not a big deal, right? And it wasn’t…right up until I managed to sink the scalpel I was using for the job into my thumb. Nice clean cut…and a LOT of blood.
Additionally, though I had used a full-sized IDE DVD drive at one point for installations, apparently having the DVD drive hooked up caused regular rebooting, and the DVD drive to do nothing but click continually, as though it couldn’t spin up.
As the PicoPSU was capable of 90W, but only came with a 60W adapter, I decided the best course of action was to upgrade the adapter from the 5A to a 6.6A (~80W). Unfortunately, I could only find one in the U.S., which meant yet another wait, and some (hopefully) minor brokerage fees.
Last edited by vulcan500rider; May 14, 2009 at
My System Specs
Asus P67 Sabretooth
Sapphire 5850 Xtreme
64GB Crucial M4 2x640GB WD Black 1x 2TB WD Green
Samsung DVD-RW, ASUS Blu-Ray Reader
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