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MDD G4 "Glow" Mod
By: "G-News"
Posted: 9/26/2003

Being an organizer of LAN-Parties here in Switzerland, I get to see an enormous amount of casemods and self-made cases every time we host an event. Under the influence of all those cold-cathode tubes, neon tubes, LEDs, windows, water coolers, flashing fans etc, I thought about giving my G4 MDD a little "personal touch". Since the MDD was, from the very beginning, famous for its "blowholes" that are actually air inlets with a mirror-polished metal plate behind them, I thought about using that for some special effect.

The problem is that in order to have these backlit, you need a shorter 100mm cold-cathodetube, instead of the more common 300mm ones, which will not fit into a MDD case. It took me some time to find one, but I eventually got one from www.prozessortuning.ch. Originally the part came from www.icepc.com, however that site is aparently down.
Other online stores will surely still sell these parts. I got it at a special price of about $7, but I'd expect the normal street price to be somewhat higher. There are several colors available. Mine is red. A quick search on www.google.com yields prices between $7 for do-it-yourself kits and around $20 for ready-to-use kits. Note that the do-it-yourself kits will often not ship with a switch, nor with an isolated inverter, so make sure you get, what you want!

Those who have an MDD know that it pulls air into the case from the above mentioned 4 holesand from the opening under the case, where the case skeleton is riddled with holes, similar to the G5 case design. Ideal circumstances is to install the cold-cathode tube there, in order to have it shine out of the holes and the opening towards the ground. In the dark the red light would give the case a somewhat fiery glow.

So I installed the tube using double-sided, strong and translucent adhesive tape, inside the case cage. On the backside of the metal plate that forms the mirror for the holes I taped the inverter, which is necessary to operate the tube, since it requires very high voltage. The inverter should be shipped with the tube and should never be operated without it, or it will fry. Don't tamper with it either or you might risk an electric shock.
The inverter is then attached to a normal molex device connector, such as the one for the hard drives. If you don't have any connectors left, you'll need to buy an additional Y-cable for the power for a couple of dollars. This is how it looks after the installation:

Now, my tube shipped with a switch to turn it on or off, whichever you desire at any given moment. However, since I had installed the tube inside the case, I'd have had to open the case every time I wanted to switch the light on or off. Very uncool. So I decided to -most certainly- void my warranty and go after the grille with a sheet metal cutter. Cutting out a little piece of metal, I was able to fit the switch into the hole and fixate it. Now I can turn the light on or off by reaching under and into the plastic shell of the G4 (while closed and running) and pushing the button, not having to open the case anymore.
I warn you again though: installing the tube will not void your warranty, cutting pieces out of your case will!


Other MDD and Case Mod Articles: See the Systems page for other case mods/conversions and system related articles.

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