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Installing a Strobe Light Case Modification

Author: Jason Dumbaugh
Date:  2007.05.30
Topic:  Case Mod
Provider:  TechwareLabs
Manufacturer:  TechwareLabs

Installing a Strobe Light Case Modification

Just when you think a case mod is done you find something that you feel will add an additional touch of customization to your machine. Recently a set of strobe lights from APC caught my eye at a local Advance Auto Parts. The rest is as we say "history".

The price tag read $5.45 before tax, so I had to pick them up. After all the only thing better than modding a case is doing it cheaply. Upon opening the box, here's what we're given:

Now to start our mod to include these strobe lights in our case we need some tools.

Always wear eye protection, but make sure you can see so you don't cut your finger off.

First I took the switch and a 3.5" floppy drive bay cover (where I want to install my switch) and cut out a hole for the switch using the Dremel tool. If you mess up and cut too far around the switch, use some of the black caulking left over from the Spiderman 3/Venom case mod to cover it up. We suggest you measure the dimensions of your switch and take into account the overlap that the switch bezel has before cutting out the switch hole.

Now take the 22 guage wire, bend it through the holes on the switch and solder them. You may want to use wires with two different colors such as black and red to stand for Ground and Hot or Power. After that's done, put some of your heat shrink tubing over it and heat it up for a tight fit. Heat shrink tubing does as its name inplies and shrinks when exposed to heat, we suggest using a heat gun or the shaft of your soldering iron to heat and shrink the tubing, do not expose the tubing to any open flame as this could easily cause a fire. Heat shrink tubing is used to cover electrical contacts and avoid shorts and possible shocks. We do not suggest using electrical tape as black electrical tape is not meant for long term use.

Put the floppy bay cover back into the case and thread the wires towards your power supply and inverter box. Your bay cover should look similar to the photo when completed. You may opt to center your switch, however, location is at the preference of the user.

One of these wires will be connected to the red power wire out of the inverter box, the other will be connected to your power source. Since I did the LEDs in the Spider on the Spiderman 3/Venom case mod, I just soldered the power into the same wire for the LEDs. Again, make sure you use heat shrink tubing.

At this point, the strobe should turn on, check this now. If your PC turns itself off or if you smell smoke or hear electrical shorting unplug the PC immediately and disconnect the main power connector on the motherboard before checking your wiring and heat shrink tubing insulation. If all works fine then proceed.

Using double sided tape , affix the inverter box to a hidden location that can be accessed to change the speed of the strobe. Advanced modders may want to affix the inverter box to the reverse side of the front bay panel so that you can change the strobe light at the same location as the switch to turn it on. Also use plastic cable ties and never use wire twist ties for organizing your wiring as wire twist ties can easily lead to shorts. Using plastic cable ties will keep the wires collected so they're not strewn about the case. Notice the wire that trails off towards the top right. I'm putting the wire through the power supply hole for mounting in the next step.

After spending some quality time checking out your handy work and staring at the strobe, decide where you want the lights to go. Make sure it's turned on so you can see where the strobe light is projected at certain locations. I opted for the back of the power supply, and just inside the middle of the fan on the front panel. Use the hot glue gun to make a dab on the bottom then stick it where you want it. If you do not have a hot glue gun you can use double faced tape that should be available from any hardware store. Once the hot glue has solidified and you are pleased with the locations and effects your modification is done.

Turn on your case and enjoy! Here's a picture and some video clips of how mine looks.

Click on the Image to see a video of our mod in action.

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