Welcome guest. Before posting on our computer help forum, you must register. Click here it's easy and free.

Author Topic: Pelican Game Rig  (Read 9646 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Pelican Game Rig
« on: December 03, 2015, 07:31:32 PM »
This is my first post here and I wanted to get a feel for the community and see what kind of advice you all can give outside of the CH chat. So with out further ado...

I have a project planned when I have the budget to build a painless portable game rig. The idea came to me while I was at my weekly Friday evening game night with some friends where I normally bring my self built  desktop and a backup laptop. I lug the desktop around in a circa 1991 soft suitcase which does not zip fully with my 20" screen feet poking out. Well this hasn't been very fun the past few months even though it's a short trip.

I decided on building a new game rig from scratch out of a pelican case. I would be mounting the motherboard to the case itself with stands so there would be some gap for airflow, cutting out holes in the sides for strait through fans (2 intake, 2 exhaust). I'd also be mounting speakers to the case with small drilled holes around woofers for audio, a small ups for emergency shutdown, and powerbutton on the outside. The general concept is an all in one box so that all I have to do is pull out the wireless peripherals and a screen mounted under the lid, plug the ups in to power, hit the on button and game on. Nothing really to unpack or plug in. I'm still in the concept stages not to mention savings. My rough budget will be $1500. I imagine it will take around 16 hours.

Here is my rough draft at a parts list on amazon: https://amzn.com/w/XE1GV1AJWT8B

Any thoughts from fellow SBCC members or has anyone done something like this before?

Geek-9pm


    Mastermind
  • Geek After Dark
  • Thanked: 972
    • Gekk9pm bnlog
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows XP
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2015, 09:20:59 PM »
Please check the link again.
Does not work for me.   :(

How would your compare your dream laptop to a custom built?
Would you settle for a 17 inch rather than a 20 inch?

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2015, 05:24:41 AM »
Please check the link again.
Does not work for me.   :(

How would your compare your dream laptop to a custom built?
Would you settle for a 17 inch rather than a 20 inch?

I changed the wishlist to public so it should work now, sorry. The laptop I was referring to is a 17" the monitor for the desktop is 20". I really don't like to game on laptops, I mostly use the laptop for a server when we play Artemis Star-ship Bridge Simulator. So I don't have a dream laptop, but this suitcase build I guess is my current dream machine.

camerongray



    Expert
  • Thanked: 296
    • Yes
    • Cameron Gray - The Random Rambings of a Computer Geek
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Mac OS
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2015, 08:27:09 AM »
I'd be very nervous of doing this, at the very least buy a proper case and modify it.  Trying to shove those parts, especially a big video card like that into a case like that is asking for trouble, it has nothing in the way of mounting or support for any of the components.  At the very least you will need to buy some sort of proper motherboard tray and mount that inside the case.

As far as the actual PC components, they all look fine apart from the PSU, get a well tested unit from a good brand such as this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0106RDI3W?keywords=550w%20psu&qid=1449242391&ref_=sr_1_7&sr=8-7

If you want to do it as a fun project and don't mind the risks then great, but if you want a proper usable machine for portable gaming, get a laptop or build in a small ITX case and a separate monitor.  For all the times you actually move the machine, is it really that big a deal to take 3 minutes to plug a monitor in?  I'm sure you could then construct some sort of case for transporting that system.

DaveLembke



    Sage
  • Inventor of the Magna-Broom 3000 =)
  • Thanked: 596
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2015, 08:56:43 AM »
Quote
At the very least you will need to buy some sort of proper motherboard tray and mount that inside the case.

You will want everything tied to a shared chassis ground as well, so power supply to the motherboard in this case you will want to add a ring terminal to properly keep the ground to the same potential vs having a floating motherboard ground. One short section of 18GA stranded insulated wire ( green jacket wire if you have it to identify ground, otherwise you can use any color of choice ) with ring terminals at each end to tie the power supply metal body and the metal ground ring surface on the motherboard mounting hole is best. Just make sure the ring terminal doesnt ground out anything you might have to bent it to a 90 degree angle to keep it of of other component legs ect. This is necessary to protect the system from a static discharge to the computer from frying it to redirect the discharge to ground instead of it seeking an alternate path of dissipation which could be through a component or couple of components destroying your system.

This case btw is going to be a very very tight installation. Before buying it all, I would stage it out with cutting up a cardboard box to the size shapes to scale and place the shapes onto a 20 x 12.5 x 24.3 inches area which hopefully is the inside dimensions and not the outside dimensions, in which the 20 x 24.3 is the area it has to fit within and 12.5" is the height in the case. You can then plan out where pieces will fit before buying it all and realizing you have a problem. Other ways is to play it out on graph paper which each block representing an inch square and use a ruler and math to plan out where everything will go.

I have installed motherboards into custom fit cases and its always best to have everything fully planned out before moving forward with it.

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2015, 10:19:47 AM »
I'd be very nervous of doing this, at the very least buy a proper case and modify it.

Cameron, I understand your nervousness but I have no worries. This isn't my first custom build and I probably should have spent more time explaining the details of my thoughts. I wasn't meaning that I was bolting the mother board right to the (plastic) case, the stand off I was referring to will be a small custom fit metal cage that will include support of other components; in essence a traditional case. There are no limitations to orientation of which components are where other than good cooling design and moving parts not coming into contact with anything so it will be an easy fit in the case I go with. The parts I put on my wishlist are definitely not set in stone, they are there more for me to not forget what types of components I wanted. As a visual person I tend to forget things and need a picture reminder. As for getting a laptop or small form factor kit that defeats the purpose of my project. Yes it would be easier but that's a lot like buying a new car vs getting and fixing up a beater. Sure the new one has all the bells and whistles but you'll always end up loving the beater better just because the effort you put in it. I want to build a machine on wheels that is tougher than a standard case, and to include speakers and a ups all in the case so all I would need to do is pull out my monitor, keyboard, and mouse, plug in one cord and press power.

You will want everything tied to a shared chassis ground as well, so power supply to the motherboard in this case you will want to add a ring terminal to properly keep the ground to the same potential vs having a floating motherboard ground.

Dave, thank you for your suggestion. I was formally a low voltage technician installing security, cctv, fire alarm, and access control systems in a residential and commercial environment which has given me good experience with open motherboards, grounding, and circuits. I definitely forgot to add the details about grounding so yes I will definitely be grounding the machine properly, 18GA would work find, but copper is copper no matter the  the jacket color, and yes stranded is preferred over solid for grounding. For the case sizing I do have more planning and might have to pick out something different but the idea is still there. I haven't decided if peripherals, and the monitor will be attached to the inside or outside of the case yet, that would determine if I ever had to open it or not at the risk of smashing the monitor. I could probably 3d print a good frame to custom fit the screen to slide into on the top or something and make pouch for keyboard and mouse. I'll be making some graphic representations soon I think, that will make it easier to visualize for all of us.

Thanks guys for all your suggestions so far.

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2015, 07:20:16 AM »
I threw together a rough MS paint graphic to better illustrate. I gathered some google images of random components, please don't criticize the choices as they aren't necessarily the parts I will use. The frame around the mobo was the best I could find in a short time, the one I plan to build won't be as bulky or as fortified as the one shown. It will also frame in the power supply and ups as well as the hard drives and sound bar. I think I would like to put a Plexiglas window at the top of the opening, maybe an inch down so that the contents are sealed even when the lid is open; similar to a viewing window I suppose and room to accommodate for lid items. In the lid section  I'll store the screen, keyboard and mouse, but probably not in the way pictured because that will probably be too thick to close the lid. The lid should be as tall as the keyboard is long so I can store it on the side. 

I would like the case to remain water tight and this is where I could use some ideas. for airflow I will be drilling a series of small holes where the fans and speakers are but the issue with that is the holes will need to be covered and sealed for transportation plus the hole for the power cord which I'll probably just use silicone. Any ideas for little doors or latches?

As I refine my plan I'll keep the thread updated, and when I start the build I'll keep the progress with pictures up as well. I'm aiming for January or February.

and apparently I can't upload my attachments on this network, standby for pics

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2015, 08:36:49 AM »
don't mean to make another post just to put the pics up but didn't see where I could edit. Anyway, I was also looking at water tight pop up floor boxes to be my interface for power, monitor connection, rj45, and possibly a usb or 2. Does that seem viable?

[attachment deleted by admin to conserve space]

Geek-9pm


    Mastermind
  • Geek After Dark
  • Thanked: 972
    • Gekk9pm bnlog
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows XP
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2015, 11:26:05 AM »
dictation...
Here is a thought that occurred to me. Years ago I worked as a radio engineer and one of things I was conscious about was unwanted radiation from electronic devices. No, not enough radiation to do bodily harm, but radiation that would interfere with a telephone or a radio operating in the same room. A.m. radio is especially subject to interference from computer-based electronic devices. In some cases the interference even spreads into the TV spectrum.
In any case, the permissible radiation levels are pretty strict as set forth by the FCC. If you do this as a personal project it will probably not make much difference. However, if other people start replicating your project and using it as a design base, you might get some flack from somebody about the lack of shielding to control unwanted RF emissions.
Now I am not complaining, in fact I like the idea. It's very appealing to make your own system and put it in the case of your own choice. If I were to do that myself I would worry about getting in trouble with other people if I interfered with their radio or television reception. But that is probably because of my background.

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2015, 11:36:21 AM »
That is very insightful Geek-9pm, I hadn't even considered that or even knew to consider it. Since you have some background in RF what is normally done in a case that isn't part of this design concept? Is it just the fact that it is mostly concealed by an aluminum? My very first pc I built was on a super tight budget and I bought the cheapest tower I could which ended up being mostly cheap plastic (you get what you pay for) and looked a lot worse in person than on pictures. Any ideas you have to offer are welcome, I'd like to be compliant if it isn't too much of a hassle, especially if people like the idea and want to make their own or want me to make them one.

Thanks

-mini

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2016, 07:04:57 PM »
It has been a few months and I have been re inspired to continue this project. I decided to just use my current desktop components to put in the custom case and upgrade them another time. Friday I found a case with some....character. Not only was it inexpensive but I've always found that you appreciate something more when I have to fix it up than just buying something. Hopefully I won't regret it. The link at the end is my google drive folder with pictures of before and after of the case. It is an old military fiberglass hard case labeled "LCS fluid kit" Not sure what that is but it smells like clp and all the foam was stained yellow. I stripped all the the stickers off, took out the glued in foam, repaired a little damage, and coated the whole box with flat black enamel and black plastidip. The rubber seals are in good condition as well as the locking mechanism. The only down side other than some damage is whoever riveted the label plates on the front, did it upside down lol. Comments , questions, and critiques welcome.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7bs8lZ5KNiLMVVZeHpucEQ2amc
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 07:22:59 PM by minigrowl »

DaveLembke



    Sage
  • Inventor of the Magna-Broom 3000 =)
  • Thanked: 596
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2016, 08:49:56 AM »
Quote
The only down side other than some damage is whoever riveted the label plates on the front, did it upside down lol.
Rivots could always be driled out and new rivots used after making label plate right side up.

Im kind of curious as to airflow and spatial relation issues within your case. Best case scenario would be a ITX board o the motherboard takes as little space as possible. BUT ITX boards unless used in a server application, generally are not high end performance. So if you going to be playing games etc, it will be interesting what your limitations are.

Online I have looked at all sorts of hardware mods. One such mod that I really liked was a guy who mounted a older AMD Laptop main board sandwiched between two aluminum plates with stand offs to keep the main board from shorting out and PASSIVE COOLING! No fans needed. Thermal compound was applied to the CPU and GPU tops and the flat aluminum was acting as a heatsink. So the case itself was a heatsink.

The most extreme mod I have ever done was taking an older IBM 5150 which was dead and gutting it and cutting and fabricating the inside to make it run with a Pentium 4 2GB, 80GB IDE hard drive, 1GB RAM with a mATX motherboard out of a free emachine I was given that was originally a Celeron 2Ghz with 128MB RAM. I even salvaged some of the old 5150 power supply so that the big rocker switch could be used still to turn it on. The massive 5.25" floppy drives I took a ban saw to the cast aluminum and gutted them mechanically. One of them I measured and mounted a laptop DVD-RW drive so that you can insert CD or DVD discs into the 5.25" floppy drive and it would run the discs. I ran out of room though when it came to the power supply. I measured and measured and tried to figure out how I was going to pull it all off. It came down to me taking the innards out of a old dell computers 300 watt power supply and mounting that inside where the original power supply was, some rewiring also to make use of the original 5150 power plug to be wired to the newer power supply. Then came the fun of the cards to be added. The card slots would not line up with the 5150 cards. Its not a 1 for 1 line up. So I left the 5150 bays in vs cutting the backside out of it and made my own extenders. The extenders brought the PS2, audio, Ethernet, and VGA to the original 5150 back panel. BUT to extend I needed to add extender cables meant for KVMs etc. So I had say a 3 ft extender for a VGA that I only needed 10 inches but had to coil up the rest.  Inside its quite a crammed mess or trying to fit everything every which way. To extend the ethernet I wasnt able to find a female RJ45 that would mount to a slot plate. So I took an old 10mbps ethernet card. Cut the PCB so just part of the PCB was connected to the slot plate. I then had to locate and cut all traces for the 8 pins of the RJ 45 jack on the remaining board to make sure it wasnt going to short since I just ban sawed the PCB. Then I had to take a Cat5 cable and cut a 12 inch section off the male end of the RJ45 plugs into the integrated NIC on the eMachine motherboard and then I had to wire one by one the wires of the cat 5 cable to the correct female pins on the butchered NIC card. Lastly was I needed a soft start push button. So I added a black push button to the left most 5.25" floppy drive and wired the red LED of the floppy drive to the HDLED FPanel connection on the motherboard.

This project took me about 3 months picking away at it. Hitting a modification road block and giving time to think about the best solution to keeping the 5150 to look as original as possible and yet run a modern OS and applications, and I didnt want to cheat the challenge and just stuff a laptop inside of it which would have been WAY EASIER but not as much fun!  ;D

Will check out the pics you shared when i get home, unable to check them out from work. Your project is interesting to me. Looking forward tio checking it out and helping with any mod suggestions you may need etc.

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2016, 10:27:49 AM »
Maybe in the future I would drill out the label rivets to replace but for now I think it does a good job for the look of the case. If I decide I don't like it I might have a custom aluminum sticker made to cover the plates. As for the space for the build the case is 2 cubic feet, one of my pictures show it right next to my current desktop build. The case is slightly smaller but is also deeper than a traditional desktop case. I plan to take advantage of that space when building the frame. Also in the pictures shows a plate I cut out of an old desktop I used to have. The plate is cut down for ATX size and will be what I screw the motherboard down onto standoffs which will be screwed into a shock absorbing frame. The first pictures shows the frame material I am using, aluminum "U" shaped rods. I have 4 rubber grommets that will be glued to the bottom of the case and the frame will be screwed to those. I'd like to have the frame supporting the hdd and ssd above the mother board but out of the way of airflow. Eventually I'll use liquid cooling. It will also be holding the GPU firmly in place similarly to the way a traditional case does. The more compact everything is the better with cooling in mind as well. For cooling I will be sticking two intake fans and two exhaust fans inside the case and drilling holes through the case for each. When not in use The holes will be covered on the outside by custom molded silicon that will have Velcro to hold it in place, and also to hold it out of the way. Attached is a picture of the interfaces I will have on the side of the case so that when I'm using the machine the lid can be close and setup is super easy. I think that covers the basics of the build. If I missed something let me know, I don't want to forget something or misinform you all.

Your build sound sweet, I love re purposing things even though it took 3 months I'm sure you were proud of it right? I agree with you about not getting a laptop because it would be easier. People have told me to but where is the fun in that? Maybe it's the engineer in me that wants to build things, or maybe I just like the challenge. A learning brain is a happy brain. Thanks for your interest in my project. My next step is to measure and make a detailed blueprint of the frame so my dad can help me weld it.  :)

[attachment deleted by admin to conserve space]
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 10:53:51 AM by minigrowl »

Geek-9pm


    Mastermind
  • Geek After Dark
  • Thanked: 972
    • Gekk9pm bnlog
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows XP
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2016, 07:53:55 PM »
Any computer may cause interference to Radio and TV reception in the near vicinity And that can happen even with rather basic low-power  designs.
Here is a reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_III
Quote
p... the Apple II which ... had to pass U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) radio frequency interference (RFI) qualifications for business equipment. In

You will see that the Apple company got into trouble with the FCC years ago because they had not thought about interference to neighborhood TV sets. It is not hard to contain the interference if it is part of ate design. But sit is very hard to retro fits something that has already been fabricated and mass-produced.

As a test, try using a TV set with an indoor antenna in the same room .

minigrowl

    Topic Starter


    Rookie
  • There's more than one way to fix a problem
    • Yes
    • Network engineer at:
  • Certifications: List
  • Computer: Specs
  • Experience: Expert
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Pelican Game Rig
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2016, 08:11:39 PM »
Last night I took apart the desktop to get a feel for the layout design I want. I could use some ideas because I want it to be as compact as possible but not overly cluttered to the point of restriction airflow. I added more pictures to my Google drive link that show the parts inside the case for a good size reference as well as a sketch of insideas dimensions (https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7bs8lZ5KNiLMVVZeHpucEQ2amc) Originally I wanted to have the power supply mounted above the motherboard to be compact but I also wanted all the parts to be lower than the centerline of the case so that I could put a plexiglass window covering all the hardware. The psu unfortunately would stick up too high if it were above thanks to the copper heatsink. The extra room where the psu sits in the picture js where i want a small ups and wireless router which by my measurements would fit if the psu was elswhere. I also thought about mounting the gpu sideways with a special pcie cable for connecting to the mobo to save room but the more I think about it the less I like that idea. What do you guys think? Your knowledge and experience is very much appreciated. The plan is to weld the frame Friday and Saturday so I need to figure out the layout before then.