Monday, March 25, 2013


Couple of years ago I bought a supposedly broken EEE 901 netbook motherboard for $5. Not really sure what I wanted with it. Could've been during a time when I wanted to practice soldering BGAs or maybe I just couldn't pass it up for the price. Either way the motherboard turned out to function perfectly. What now?

The thing ended up at the bottom of one of my junk boxes surfacing from time to time to help test the odd monitor. Then around two weeks ago I realized I have enough junk lying around in random boxes for a functioning PC.
While not doing a very good job at it I'm constantly trying to do something with stuff that's just taking up space and doing nothing because it annoys me. Combining them into a single piece is one way ease that so I finally broke down and decided to build a Trash PC.

The aforementioned EEE motherboard
The cheapest Chinese mSATA/SATA converter card I could find (that I had to ghetto-solder a SATA-cable to because it wouldn't fit into the mobo with the connector in place)
Samsung 20GB 2.5" HDD (this was inside a Chinese Xbox HDD. Sold the enclosure for a profit, kept the hdd. Result: 1 (almost) Free HDD!)
Intel 4965ABGN miniPCIe wifi card from a Lenovo laptop, that was the main reason for the previous article.
Antenna connector/cable from a  miniPCIe PCIe WLAN adapter card
3 random heatsinks from the junk-box
Random fan from the junkbox
VGA breakout cable from previous scrapped case-build project
The case of an ancient Amstrad Satellite STB from the dumpster
A piece of veroboard and a switch from the junkbox (power button)
A chinese USB IR PC-Remote (actually not bad for $4.38)
A KIS3R33S based 5V reg built on a piece of veroboard (power supply for the HDD)
Random salvaged wires, mounting screws, nuts, a piece of PCB, zipties, epoxy and hot glue!

The idea was basically: The simpler/easier the mounting option the better, the less holes to drill the better, the less time it takes the better. As long as it stays in one piece everything goes.

The end result is inevitably kludgey and trashy but in the end it works, doesn't fall apart from a jostle and only looks as hideous from the outside as the STB case did to begin with so.. All good!

I didn't take any pictures during the build because I wanted to be done with it ASAP that's why there are only ones of the finished box.

With a $13 VGA/Composite converter it might even see some use on an old CRT TV as an IPTV and media player box now. The 900Mhz Celeron CPU is enough for SD streams and SD content.

I measured the DC power consumption on a whim:
Standby: 1.4W, Idle: 16W, Peak: 22W