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(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured

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  • #61
    My guy did some CAM tests in acrylic for the internal structure.

    Hot damn that looks good! So good in fact there's a small part of me regretting going black acetal for this. But, just like the cap head screws, however good this looks it doesn't fit with my overall theme.

    Devil says "Except for the fact the SSD covers are a brushed metal plate with an acrylic light ring, and with the brushed stainless plate on top of this, it would actually look like the SSD covers if you light it up."
    Angel says "Except the corners then wouldn't match because these are angled with a parallelogram motif and the SSDs are rounded rectangles."

    NO! I shall be strong and stand by my convictions! And stop talking to myself!
    ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

    Build log available here


    • #62
      Ooh! My pump top is in somebody else's video!

      ​​​​​​Many thanks to Lucas at Mp5works for his help, incredible work.
      Last edited by LePhuronn; 02-25-2019, 08:11 AM.
      ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

      Build log available here


      • #63
        Nerd level intensifies...

        ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

        Build log available here


        • #64
          Brief sharing of activity!

          I've planned from the start that the brushed aluminium backplate on the graphics card would catch and reflect all lighting in the motherboard area, but given the size of the Titan in the case it does act like an internal wall. So to prevent the motherboard looking like a small area just floating in the top corner of the case, I thought maybe use LED fans to create a soft under glow to give the main chamber a bit of substance, but wasn't too sure how well it work work given the fans will be in pull config and therefore the hubs are pointing downwards. Amazon has discounted the white LED Corsair ML120 Pros, so I pulled the trigger:

          It's not going to reflect quite that much once the aluminium bodywork is painted, but this has turned out a lot better than I expected it also means the beautiful custom DDC top actually gets some love too.

          Stainless steel plates on the pump top and GPU block reflect the fans nicely, helping with filling that area with soft light.

          Another step closer!
          Last edited by LePhuronn; 04-29-2019, 09:09 AM.
          ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

          Build log available here


          • #65
            My very first ATX crimp

            These are proper 18AWG Molex pins on thin-wall 17AWG wire but crimped using a cheap tool I bought purely for Dupont connectors. Annoyingly it looks like the crimp is perfect, but the tool makes a bit of a mess of my SATA pins and I was looking at doing a few double wire crimps with 16AWG pins which my tool won't do, so gotta buy one anyway

            But still, my very first ATX crimp
            ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

            Build log available here


            • #66
              Well crikey, could it be there's an update to be had? There is indeed! Time for some soldering methinks...

              So, rejigging the case layout to accommodate the 360 radiator means there's no space to use the stock front panel connectors. The original plan was to veroboard some switches and LEDs together, but about 18 months ago (I know, I know) I thought "let's just go all-in with this project and make up everything custom I can". So out with the veroboard, in with some custom PCB design

              If you're looking at doing PCBs, I strongly recommend EasyEDA. The online editor is just incredible for creating your circuit schematics, hooking in real manufacturing parts and generating PCB layouts with proper footprints. EasyEDA is in the same group as LCSC for components and JLCPCB for PCB manufacturing, so you have a one-stop-shop to design, make and populate your custom bits.

              4-pin fan headers and SATA power I sourced elsewhere, but the EasyEDA editor allows you to create your own component footprints too, so I grabbed the Molex specs and drew up the missing parts.

              And here we are! (Excuse the potato phone pictures, the room is very gloomy. Tidied up as best I can)

              No extra charge for black board, no extra charge for simmer board thickness, and 5 boards for very little money if you stay within a 100x100mm footprint. Winner.

              I know you're not going to see them once installed, but if Asus can put a ROG logo on their Thor PSU heatsinks then I can sure as hell brand my PCBs

              Combination front panel interface and PWM fan splitter

              The rightmost fan header connects up to the Maximus VIII Impact's fan extension control board with the other 3 for the ML120s. There is also a 2-pin header on the very right edge sharing the 12V input for the fans which I'll be using for a tiny LED strip. Fortunately the fan extension control board is actively powered so I don't have to worry that 3 LED fans and a 12V LED strip will burn a motherboard header

              All laid out...

              ...with a pair of tiny holders for the 1.8mm LEDs, also designed and printed by moi.

              4-way 12V splitter board, SATA powered

              1mm thick PCB rather than 1.6mm as it's mounted to the back of the hard drive plate, so there's only 8mm gap until the motherboard. The odd shape is to wrap around some large surface components on the back of the motherboard.

              Made me chuckle that JLCPCB threw in a magnifying glass as their token gift because that SATA power has 15 pins at 1.27mm pitch! My eyes don't work that small.

              So let's do this!
              ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

              Build log available here


              • #67
                Front panel and fan splitter

                I'm usually really ham-fisted with small, delicate work, but I'm really quite proud of this solder job, especially as it's been almost a decade since I last picked up an iron. Too much solder here and there, but nothing that can't be cleaned up with some braid later on.

                Gravity and through-hole soldering are an interesting combination, but complete nonetheless!

                Those LED holders look ace I must say. In retrospect I should've allowed for the 45 degree overhang in the design, but they were enough of a pain to print correctly at a mere 6mm tall without doing rounded bases and whatnot. Now, do you remember this?

                This is why I used a longer tactile switch at the end. The angle of the PCB and the recessed switch allow a few mm of movement for the aluminium tongue that forms the power switch. There will be a sliver of frosted or opal acrylic glued behind the power icon cutout which will just rest on the tactile switch. The 45 degree orientation of the LED then illuminates that acrylic sliver to give a nice glowy power icon when the system is running. Since nothing is assembled right now I don't have a picture, but a preliminary test works so very nicely.

                Also, the black In Win logo strip is illuminated too on the stock case, so I'll be keeping that motif with a small LED strip wedged in somehow and powered by the 2-pin connector behind the power switch.

                The other tactile switch and LED are reset and HDD activity, and it'll take a pin to activate that switch (by design though).

                Anybody would think I actually planned all this out

                LED power splitter

                I'll be honest in saying I made so much of a pig's ear of the SATA power I'm not going to show you so cute from above though.

                4 connections for 4 light sources. The SSD covers and motherboard light ring will hook into the bottom 3 headers, with the 4th spare just in case. Likely to be a small light source above the motherboard to give a bit of flood fill, but we'll see closer to the time.

                So all made up, but do they work?
                ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                Build log available here


                • #68
                  Testing it all

                  First test is the easy one. Knowing I'll only need the 12V supply, and I was likely to make a mess of the SATA power soldering, there are no traces for the 5V and 3.3V pins in the PCB, essentially giving myself breathing space if solder crosses over the connections. Also I can use the ground wire furthest from the 12V wire to avoid any short-circuiting there.

                  Hooked up

                  Sacrificial PSU, sacrificial motherboard (because I've lost my jump starter, don't have paperclips and don't have male ATX crimps to make one), Noctua fan to load the 12V rail, hit the switch and...

                  Success! Bright, blinding, flaring success!

                  I shan't put up another 3 pictures of the same blinding light, but suffice it to say all 4 headers work like a charm.

                  The bigger test is the fan splitter. Initial load works perfectly.

                  Full power going to the LED strip, nice and bright LED to glow that power icon. Didn't let it run for long as all that's coming off a single fan header on the motherboard

                  The crunch comes tying everything together with the Asus fan extension card. I'm going to use the CPU fan header purely to monitor pump speed, so the 4 radiator fans will come off the extension card, and in turn one of those channels will drive the fan splitter so the 3 ML120s all work in unison.

                  So let's set up a rat's nest of cables and boards.

                  The chunky braided cable is female-female PWM fan cable coming off port 1 of the extension card and into the fan splitter for the trio of ML120s on the 360mm radiator. Port 2 will drive a Noctua NF-A12x15 sat on the single 120mm radiator. There will also be a Barrow temperature probe hooked into the extension card too.


                  And a quick test with the horrendous Asus Fan Xpert shows the ML120s reporting their RPM correctly and fully controlled through PWM.

                  So, that's the PCBs covered in this neverending build log. Next up is to measure wire lengths for the proper fan cable and the front panel connectors and get those cable looms made up.

                  Thanks for reading as always, stay safe and wash your damn hands

                  Back soon
                  ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                  Build log available here