Ammo Can Computer

My media center Hackintosh died unexpectedly after only 1 year of use and I decided that I wanted to do something more unique for my next media center PC.  The Shuttle K45 that I previously used wasn’t built all that well and I wasn’t very satisfied when it died after only a years worth of [...]

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My media center Hackintosh died unexpectedly after only 1 year of use and I decided that I wanted to do something more unique for my next media center PC. 

The Shuttle K45 that I previously used wasn’t built all that well and I wasn’t very satisfied when it died after only a years worth of use.  I wanted to salvage all I could out of the old machine to save on costs but some stuff I didn’t want to touch (namely the case or the extra crappy 100watt power supply) with a ten foot pole.

The motherboard was fried but I managed to salvage 2 gigs of RAM, an IDE hard drive, an e2200 dual core processor, as well as both a processor and case fan.  I bought an DG47MJ Intel mini-ITX motherboard that featured both a 775 processor socket and 2 RAM slots (apparently a difficult thing to find in a mini ITX motherboard) as well as a new 500GB SATA hard drive.  I also managed to use the inner guts of the old Shuttle case to hold all my parts together.

I found a 5.56mm ammo can at my local army/navy store that fit the inner Shuttle case almost perfectly.  I also procured a couple of new lights (for the front), a new upgraded 200watt power supply, a new switch, and a SATA to IDE converter (for my old HDD).  Below I’ve listed approximately what I payed in parts to get his machine running.

PARTS COST:

Motherboard: $80

Ammo Can: $15

Power Supply: $35

Switch: $4

IDE adapter: $20

Lights: $6

TOTAL: $160

The IDE adapter isn’t really needed so actually you could do this project for $140 with just a few extra spare parts laying around.  I chopped out the back of the ammo can with my trusty jigsaw and Nathan DiCloudio helped me clean up the edges with a grinder as well as drilled the holes for the switch and lights on the front panel.

I hastily spray painted the recycled Shuttle case olive drab to match the ammo can and I also sprayed touched up the cuts on the case with a little olive drab.  After I assembled the computer I began to load software but I wasn’t quite finished yet.  I needed to get the light and switch on the front actually working.  Luckily I was able to also recycle the old switch from the Shuttle case.

The PCB was was simply laid out so I was able to saw the board into three pieces to separate each light circuit as well as the switch.  The switch and lights were wired up and tested and the LCD were epoxied into the old removable bulb housing.  The power light is a classic orange style light I got from Radio Shack and the green activity light flashes when the HDD is busy.

The computer is now hooked up to the TV as a media machine and has been doing a great job streaming Hulu as well as acting as a network storage device with the new 500GB HDD.  In the future is a Ubuntu install as well as a possible attempt with OSX.  Overall it turned out to be a pretty cool little machine.

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Ryan Carden
208 Stonebridge Blvd.
Bremen, GA 30110

EMAIL: ryanmcarden@gmail.com
WEB: www.RyanCarden.com
PHONE: (404) 434-4221

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