The Pegboard Computer (PbC):

I was bored, I had the next day off and it looks neat.

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was at work trying to figure out the best way to spend my upcoming three day weekend, when it hit me. Then I forgot whatever idea had just popped into my mind. This is how my brainstorming usually ends, me forgetting what I had just thought of. Eventually I managed to fixate upon the idea of buying another computer. Then I thought, what would make my computer even better? No, not speed, who needs that? RAM? Not at all. What my new computer needs is to be a bulletin board!!! What could be cooler than that? Circuit boards look cool, so why shove them away in a case to rot in darkness? Eventually I came to my senses and realized that cork probably wouldn't be the best thing to be hanging heavy components. Push pins aren't all that strong you know. So, I decided pegboard would be good, it has holes to run wires through and it is pretty thin. So, with this in mind I set out to find a guinea pig I could experiment on. Lucky me, there is a computer store on the way home that sells used PCs and monitors (and as an added bonus: no Macs!). I grabbed Brian and headed on over.

     After a traffic filled drive with no air conditioning, we were grateful to finally arrive at the store. Inside, they had something like three hundred used monitors stacked all over the place and only around 20 used PCs for my target price of under one hundred dollars. We wandered around for about half an hour when I noticed a lone tower on the glass display case. It was the one! A Pentium75, 875MB HDD, 8MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM, Sound Card/Modem, and a 10 base NIC. A very nice combo for $80. I also picked up a mouse, and another 16MB of RAM (why not, it was only $17). With all of this bought, we drove to Home Depot and picked up a pegboard, after ogling at the power tools that is. After this, I took Brian home and carried all of my stuff into the basement, my computer's domain.

     After gorging upon some pizza, I set to work on my newest computer. First, I made sure the thing actually worked before I took it apart. I booted the thing up and behold, it did actually work! The setup was a little odd though, it had the look of having been reimaged with a generic ghost and yet, still had some data on it. Not sure what to make of that, since most places would wipe off old data first and reinstall Windows or an image or something... Although I had to reformat the HDD at some point, fun must come first and we can all admit that formatting a hard drive is not particularly fun. I laid the pegboard on the floor and went to work removing every screw I could find in the case. It turns out there are quite a few of them... After stripping the case, I laid the motherboard down and went to work with the wire. After attaching the motherboard to my satisfaction, I followed up with the FDD and the HDD which I elevated above the board with little cork circles to help keep the exposed circuits off the board. The CD-ROM was a little bit more of a problem. It did not have any clips on the inside to hold down a CD, so I had to place it on the board in a perpendicular manner. I placed straps around it, and then wired the side against the board to the board to prevent and slipping. Then I very carefully placed the power supply along the bottom of the pegboard. It is the most heavy piece of equipment on there and so I place twice as many wires around it. After this I had a great time trying to mount the PC Speaker and ended up just crossing some wires in front of it. I used a pre-existing plastic piece to place the power and HDD LEDs on the board. I inserted all of the PCI cards and then placed some grounding wires on the motherboard and the PCI cards. After staring at the thing for awhile, I noticed that it was missing something. Speakers to be exact. I had purchased a computer with a sound card, but no speakers! Lucky for me, I remembered some leftover Packard Bell speakers I had in a corner of the basement. I quickly bolted the speakers on (no wires here). They actually look pretty cool because they were originally designed to be mounted on the side of a monitor.

     I recruited my father and brother to help me hang the computer from a wall and set to work destroying the previous owners stupidity. I plugged everything in. crossed my fingers and switched the power on. To my delight, the lights came on and the HDD spun up! Woohoo! I booted off a Win98 floppy disk (no linux here, still playing with that on another computer, wanted to be fast since I'm impatient) and FDISKed the thing to get FAT32 on there. Care to guess what came next? That's right, a:\>format c: /s. After about 5 minutes the evil was destroyed and life was good. Next, Win95 is copied to the HDD and installed. During which I wrote the last few paragraphs. How's that for efficiency? BTW: the floppy drive looks pretty cool when in use, with the spinning and all. Maybe I should paint red and white spirals on it...

     There you have it, my fun with pegboard. I think in the future I may set up the "PbC" (Pegboard Computer, I hesitate to use PPC because that would sound like power pc, ugh.) to be a test web server or something of the sort. I think I am also going to add a fan over the processor and another keyboard that I can take apart, you know, matching set...


On to:

Click on a still image to view
the high-res image.

Slideshow of whole project,
or you could look below...

The original case.


Motherboard, Hard Drive, Floppy Drive, CD-ROM

All of it.


The PbC running (that's it on the monitor).

The whole computer plus speakers.

Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7

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