The "Accordion ITX"
By Lennie Moore
Posted on 25 May, 2005
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Final Installation

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Mini-ITX motherboard (top view)

Here I started the final installation of the computer components. The motherboard chassis and power supply were attached to the "button" side of the accordion frame, and the entire computer component assembly was connected together.

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RAID5 hard drives w/quiet fans (top view)

Jim used a RAID PCI card in addition to the motherboard Primary and Secondary IDE connections and placed each of the 4 drives as Master on each IDE channel. This would guarantee that the RAID5 array would work properly. I then carefully ran the loose components through the bellows, secured the chassis to the wooden base with nuts and bolts, connected all the wiring, and tweaked the lighting controller until the lights worked properly.

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Completed assembly (front view)

Here's the finished server on it's stand. I shaped acoustic foam onto the bases of the stand in order to keep the server steady as it laid on it's side at an angle.

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Case stand

For the stand I used a hinge and a 1/2" thick birch board to act as a swinging support which gave me more stability with the server perched at an angle. The stand base is birch plywood with 1"x1" birch strips acting as a stopper for the upholstered foam base and the swinging support.

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Lit up (front view)

The cold cathode lighting is set to flicker with the amplitude of the music played on the server. I think it's one of the coolest features on the system.

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User interface: main page

Jim programmed the user interface to work in any browser on my home network. I just run an ethernet cable from the server to my network router and then access the server by typing in the host IP address from any browser in the house. We also edited the hosts file located in C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc folder by adding the IP address followed by the server name. This allows us to just type in "enrico" in an XP web browser and jump directly to the user interface.


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User interface: library search engine and player

Here are several views of the library search engine and player Jim put together. See the Technical notes at the top of the page for more information on this.

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User interface: ripping and management tools

Jim also programmed tools to rip and convert music CDs into flac format (a loss-less compression scheme which doubles our hard drive capacity). The server can also play wav and mp3 files. Other tools are for moving music to and from our shared folders (in case we have to tweak or copy music files from any of the household computers), and a library status report which tells us the health of the server and where we're at with our hard drive capacity.