For the futuristic look, Shiuming
Lai adds some ice-cool lighting...
Every time I open up my Falcon for
a service, I manage to find some way of improving it,
no matter how large or small. I've trimmed and re-crimped
ribbon cables, split them for lateral flexibility, upgraded
capacitors on the power supply and fitted line filters
among other things. Most recently, a simple internal
cleaning job ended up as a full day's labour with my
metal-work tools, making precision heat-sinks for various
chips which are running at high specification.
A significant challenge has been keeping
these tweaks within the slender confines of the C-LAB
MKX case, without obstructing other components, locking
myself out of maintenance access or compromising its
beautiful appearance. Thus, we come to the subject of
this article. Since the majority of my modifications
have been purely functional and hidden from view, I
sought to make the outside look special, somehow.
By chance I found a nice item in an
electronics catalogue, a relatively new development
and once considered holy grail of an existing technology:
the blue LED. Prototypes were first heard of in the
early 1990s, though now they are reliable and affordable
enough (even at over 10x the cost of equivalent "normal"
LEDs) for general-purpose consumer applications.
My immediate thought was to replace
the bog-standard green activity LED in the floppy disk
drive, a stylish black version of the excellent Teac
FD235-HF (still a highly popular drive today). Blue
would look great against the black and gun-metal grey
scheme of the MKX, I thought.
Blue LEDs come in one of two types
of packaging, water clear or tinted diffuse. The FD-235HF
already having a (neutral) diffuse LED window, it's
best to choose the clear type with its better focus,
because diffusing the light twice drastically reduces
Opening the FD-235HF to replace its
LED is very straightforward, just one bottom plate held
by a few screws to remove. Inside is a common 3mm device,
which I substituted with part JA28F from Maplin Electronics.
This is an inexpensive 3mm clear package blue LED with
maximum forward rating of 3.3V, 50mA. It took about
five minutes to change and re-assemble. I'm very pleased
with the result.
Some bits of aluminium complete the chill
Shame about the wallpaper.
Formatting a disk has never
looked so good.