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Modding outside the box
Integrating a switch plate into a desk to control fans
By Red Squirrel

There are all types of mods out there. Windows, cold cathode lights, purely transparent cases and more. But in today's mod, we think outside the box and we mod not only the existing modded case but modding the desk. Yes that's right the desk.

On my case I already have 3 switches, 2 to control separate sets of fans, and 1 to control the cold cathode lights. But I thought it would be awesome to have a secondary switch on my desk so I can switch stuff from the comfort of my chair, and no need to bend down, taking the risk of cracking my skull open while coming back up, as I bang my head on the keyboard tray that I swore I had closed. This also makes it faster to shut off the loud fans if I overhear my name in some conversation in the living room.

So in order to do this, here are the steps required.

1) Decide where you want the switch box
I wanted it on the side of the desk and not on the surface, as I did not want to loose surface area for putting junk on, and it so happens that the side is near my bed so I can even access it from bed if I need to (can't see why but at least that option is there)

2) Decide how you want the switchbox panel to be, and how many switches
In my case I figured the easiest way was to install an actual household switchbox, and get a blank switch plate to drill holes for small toggle switches. I only have 3 switches but made room for future expansion and I can put 4 more if I space them out correctly. The 3 existing ones were spaced out evenly on top of the plate not allowing for another, but I doubt I'll ever need more then 7. I could put 2 to eject both CD-Roms and maybe 2 for power and reset, or something.

3) Decide on how to hook it up
I wanted to make it possible for me to remove the case from my desk, in case I ever need/want to bring it somewhere. I also wanted the fans to still be controllable without this mod, so obviously keeping the existing switches wired, and simply wiring the new ones in parallel. Using a printer cord was the best solution for wiring since there are plenty of small wires inside, they are color coded, and I can unplug it easily.

4) Test!
Make sure to test stuff prior to soldering, make sure that you are playing with the right wires at both ends (at the PC, and at the wire box). A printer cord has more then the same color of wire, but some have a white or a black line in them (sort of like Ethernet cables)

On the next page we will go into further details on construction.

Next Page
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Latest comments (newest first)
Posted by syb on August 08st 2004 (22:13)
Nice job red. Never thought of that.
Posted by Red Squirrel on August 08th 2004 (17:58)
I sort of forgot to put a pic of the whole desk with it. But basically before would be just black, and after would be with the panel. The looks of it is very simple, this is more of a functionability mod then anything and just an introduction to the concept. I'm hoping to do other mods like this such as integrating speakers in the desk, but not sure if I'm brave enough to do that much cutting. (my parants would kill me if I screwed up)
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