Customising Computers

Computers can often be customised to suit the individual needs of the client. This can range from the addition of a second hard disk drive, to the installation of a new PSU (Power Supply Unit) to replace a non-standard perhaps now unobtainable unit. The existing case or unit may perfectly meet the clients needs, but with some careful planning additional or upgraded facilities may be added which are not available with off the shelf units.

A recent project involved an update to several old Dell Power Edge servers. These were fitted into a Dell equipment racking system and the client did not wish to discard this fairly expensive but working configuration. It was decided to strip out all of the existing components within each Dell rack mount case, and customise it to allow off-the-shelf modern day parts to be fitted. (At the time when this was new, Dell equipment was invariably non-standard as regards size and fitment).

The only original parts retained were the hard drive (SATA) housings and the triple cooling fan assembly. The Dell PSU was replaced by a 400 Watt standard compact PSU, which had to be modified to reduce the height of its enclosure in order to allow the Dell rack case lid to close!

The Dell Power Edge front panel l.e.d. and power switch PCB (printed circuit board) needed modification to connect to the replacement motherboard, and provide the usual on/off switch, system speaker connections, etc.

The original CD and floppy drives were both replaced with modern off-the-shelf units, and a 5.25" floppy drive tray was modified to fit on top of the CD housing.

Click on an image below to see it in full size.

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Dell Power Edge server before modifications
Server case completely stripped out
New motherboard backplate fitted
View showing HDD drive bays, and unmodified front panel PCB
Modifications required to original CD tray
Modified CD and Floppy Disk Drive trays
Top view of modified CD and Floppy Disk Drive trays
Front view showing CD and Floppy drives fitted into modified trays
Rear view of modified front panel PCB
Front view of PCB showing circuit modifications
Stripped out standard compact PSU with modified bracket
PSU showing fan now mounted externally
Front view of completed unit prior to fixing lid in place
Rear (fan) view of completed unit prior to fixing lid in place
Finished unit with lid open showing front and internal components
Finished unit with lid open showing rear and internal components
Rear view with lid closed
Front view with lid closed




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Last update: 14/06/2009