Breathing Room

After stuffing everything inside, there needed to be a place for the air to go so I just left the top ‘game insertion’ slot open, with the fan near the holes where the original video connections were.  But, it was still getting quite hot in some areas when I put my hand on the top.  So the next logical step was to put the ventilation in.

However, as I was prepping for the ventilation, the bottom piece I had hot glued on popped up on one side.  I had anticipated this might happen in my last post, as has been my experience with hot glue before.  I also came to the realization that if the bottom piece were to pop off, the metal hard drive could come in contact with the underside of the motherboard – and that would be bad.  So I removed the whole thing – some spots were very difficult, mostly the areas where there was a bit of roughness in the plastic from other things I had removed.  I then re-did the piece and used sandpaper to rough up the whole area on the NES case and the acrylic piece I was putting in where they would come in contact and be glued.  And this time I used epoxy.  So it should hold quite well.

Note to anyone trying to remove hot glue: Rubbing alcohol works wonders! It made even the toughest parts come off with a little work.

I measured a pattern and drew lines on the inside of the case where I will be putting all the fan holes.  Then I got the dremel, and had at it.  It’s not the prettiest of holes, but here’s what the results look like:

Exhaust holes:

Exhaust Holes

Intake holes:

Intake Hole

While I had everything open, I decided to fix the LED light as well.  I previously had to cut a hole in the power LED/power/reset circuit board in order to mount the motherboard, and this disconnected the power LED.  I was going to just solder wires directly to the LED leads, but I realized I could pretty easily fix the board with just a single wire.  I scratched off part of the mask on the board to reveal the copper traces, and then just soldered a wire going from the LED around the hole to it.  The left side is without the wire, the right is with:

LED Fix

Now I can just use the connector as normal.  And I did, I reconnected the LED to the motherboard so it once again lights up when powered on.

Lastly, I attached all the fans using simple Velcro, and figured out where all the wires would be going.  Here is a shot of the inside of the case showing everything in place except the motherboard, and you can see where all the wires run underneath it.  The only thing missing is the USB hub and Teensy, which will go in the lower right area of this picture:

Under Motherboard

Now it runs cool.  The only downside is it is louder than I expected.  The CPU fan seems quite noisy – a lot louder than when the top is off.  But I believe it is not spinning any faster, it is just echoing through the case.  I will have to confirm this, and if it is so, my choices will be either to get a similar sized quieter aftermarket cooler, or just live with it.


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