Picture of Adding a VU Meter to your PC
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Note - You will need basic mechanical and electronic skills to build the project in this article. Use this information at your own risk; do not complain if it doesn't work for you. Only use as prescribed.

Computers are functional tools. But sometimes a little glitz is nice too. Many folks modify their computer’s cases to include a transparent window, internal lights, and even glowing cables inside the computer. I wanted to add a digital VU meter.
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Step 1: The VU module

Picture of The VU module
I wanted to add a stereo LED VU meter to my computer. I found a nice kit which measures 1.5 by 4 inches, perfect for my intended use. Stereo VU circuits are extremely simple and if you want to duplicate this project it’s easy to purchase a kit or build your own VU circuit from scratch. The computer’s audio output drives the VU meter – any sounds sent to the computer’s line out jacks are “displayed” on the VU meter.

Step 2: Front panel jacks

Picture of front panel jacks
My motherboard has an AC97 audio connector. That connector is a 10 pin header on your motherboard which transmits audio to your computer’s front panel audio jacks. This project should work with the newer HD audio connectors too but I have not checked that out.

My case didn’t have built-in front panel jacks so I added them with a 5.25” all-in-one adapter. The Ultra Media Dashboard features various flash memory card readers, USB, SATA, and IEEE-1394 ports, audio in/out jacks, and a digital audio SPDIF jack. Several cables connect the Media Dashboard to your computer’s motherboard, including one for the AC97 connector. The key disadvantage to this unit is the USB jacks are not powered; it’s unfortunate the company didn’t decided to make it a fully powered USB hub.

If your case already has front panel audio jacks you can tap into the wires which go from the motherboard to those jacks.
raikut3 years ago

ou could also see mine instructable for an easy upgrade
pfred23 years ago
I think it looks good in copper too. I paint a lot of things myself and I always have some paint kicking around. I also have an idea what colors I'd like to paint things, but my ideas and my stock on hand don't always line up exactly either.

One example is a rusty pair of pliers I cleaned up then decided to paint, you know to keep them from rusting up again. they ended up metallic gold, which has since earned them the moniker, my Liberace pliers.

While those pliers may seem a bit flamboyant, they are clean. Which I think beats a dirty pair of rusty old pliers any day. Proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything looks better if you slap a coat of any color paint on it.

I like your electronics computer hacks too. I think you're really expanding the definition of personal in PC. 4 stars for you!