PC Build and Electronics Repair

Small Form Factor PC Build

Build components

Build components. These components had to be specially selected to fit inside of the Dan Case A4 7.2L chassis without generating too much heat.

Banana for scale (it's a small computer case)

The chassis. This is a Dan Case A4 sandwich-style chassis. At the time it was one of if not the smallest case in which you could still put a full powered desktop processor and 2 slot graphics card. Banana for scale.

Updating the BIOS

This machine was built right when the AMD 3700X had been released, and the B450 ASRock ITX board being used needed a bios update to support the new processor. An old AM4 socket processor was borrowed to perform the update.

cable end manufacturing

The cables which came with the modular Corsair power supply would not fit with the all-in-one liquid cooling being used for this build, which means manufacturing new ones. You can see in this picture that there's no way the side panel will fit with the stock heatsink.

ATX power supply pinout diagram

ATX power supply pinout diagram. Each cable was measured to fit, cut, crimped, shrink-wrapped, and tested with a digital multimeter with the power supply running to test for correct voltages.

Shrink wrapped cable pins

Ends before being inserted into the fitting.

Cables in small space

Cable run from PSU to the motherboard's 24 pin ATX power supply.

Cables with a heatsink

Cables with the stock heatsink.

Cables with an AIO cooler

Cables with the Asetek 645LT heatsink, the only all-in-one heatsink at the time of manufacture to fit in this tiny case and dissipate enough heat for the 8 core 16 thread 3700X CPU.

Graphics card side

This image shows the narrow tolerances for this case. This NVidia 2070 Super graphics card was chosen due to a combination of cost to performance, I/O (this is one of the few graphics cards with a USB-C port for the now defunct virtual link VR interface), physical dimensions, and acceptable heat output.

Desktop battlestation

The finished product at Alex's home workstation.


Examples of Electronics Repair

Upgrading power supply

Upgrading the power supply on an old desktop to give to a local student.

Wiring buttons

Connecting the chassis RGB to the new power supply.

Molex soldering

Connecting the chassis RGB to the new power supply.

Surface Pro 4 with broken screen Surface Pro 4 with no screen

Replacing the screen on a Surface Pro 4, which earned a 2/10 on iFixit for repairability.

Chromebook taken apart

Installing XFCE Ubuntu on a 2012 Chromebook required flashing the BIOS and flipping a write-protection switch on the motherboard.

Cat5e cables

Running CAT 5e cabling through my house.