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The "K'nex-ITX"
By Alan Kilian, USA
Posted on October 6, 2005
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The final arrangement of the APs antennas.

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I made a very short Ethernet cable by chopping an existing cable and soldering the wires together matching the colors. A little shrinkwrap make things look nice.

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Everything is powered by a PW-60A DC-to-DC convertor. A little sawing and work with a file made a nice mounting spot for the socket.

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Depending on how many of the connectors you need to use, you can cover or uncover this entire area.

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Hard-drive (Really CF card) activity, power LEDs and a power switch were mounted using (shudder) Hot-Glue.

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The CF-to-IDE adapter was mounted using long bolts and several nuts. It's plenty secure and doesnt flex when inserting and removing the CF card. (Which is NOT hot-pluggable when acting as a hard-drive by the way)

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A view of the top of the EPIA-5000 motherboard, power-supply and CF adapter before the AP top gets attached.

Final Thoughts

After completing the case, and making some small revisions here and there, I'm very happy with the results. The fan less, disk less, DC powered server is completely silent. It's quite strange to power up the server and see all the boot up messages scroll by without hearing a sound.

The K'nex open structure provides ample cooling for the processor and access point.

I am running a modified version of ttylinux which boots, configures the wireless access point, starts a dropbear ssh server and a small web server. There is no keyboard, mouse or monitor attached to the motherboard. I set the BIOS AC-restore setting to boot, so I can simply pull the plug to turn it off, and plug it in to boot it up. With no moving parts, I hope it will be able to run for a decade without intervention.

I can connect using a browser and control the art project from a laptop down on the floor of the science museum.

The K'nex case is an open invitation to the kids visiting the museum to get involved in science and computing and try their hand at building something interesting.


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