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The Stealth Router: How to fit a computer inside an UPS case.

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Ever since I've started using Linux I've been obsessed with doing custom routers and trying to cram as much functionality in the less amount of space possible. 'Space' so far being hard drive space, so I set out to build me a new router to substitute the old P5-233 Dell that was working as my firewall. Like pretty much every other hardware project I've done, planning was absent in the process as I prefer to do things Mc Guiver-style and surprise myself.
 
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Step 1: Let the games begin!

I usually try to spend as little money as possible in projects, as such you can always find a good amount of "spare parts" in boxes in my garage. I already had a single board computer that was removed from a controller box, probably used in manufacturing. The power requirements were a bit troublesome for a SBC, but scavenging around found a power supply from a text terminal that would match the board perfectly (in terms of voltages at least).

Step 2: Giving it a body

The computer turned on ok and seems to be in working order. I left it on a few hours to make sure the power supply would not overheat. With that out of the way it was time to build a case. While looking for a power supply I came across a damaged APC UPS and noticed it's dimensions matched that of the computer and power supply. So I set out to gut out the UPS and try to fit the components inside it. It was a rather simple although tiresome process of bending, ripping and filing plastic. One hour later the motherboard and the power supply were mounted in the case.
Vitim3 years ago
awesome hack
Foaly75 years ago
Could You fit a Laptop Battery in this? You could make a portable web server with this if you know how. I plan to write an instructable on making a portable server.
Foaly7 Foaly74 years ago
Actually only if I can figure it out.
you can make the computer run at low power and use voltage regulators connected to a 24v battery (rechargeable of course) to run your various peripherals
Learndy5 years ago
Regarding the OS, ever heard of DSL - Damned Small Linux? Fits in 50 MB. I am running it smoothly on an old Sony Vaio 505 using it for uC programming.

virtuPIC
--
Airspace V - international hangar flying!
http://www.airspace-v.com
http://www.slitaz.org/en/

Even smaller, I believe it said 25mb when I downloaded it last week.
Damn, that beats Windows 95 as far as size.
My personal favorite is Tinycore. It sits at just 10meg. It has everything and after my experience of using both DSL and Tinycore, I have to say tinycore just has a better feel to it. "Tiny Core Linux is a very small (10 MB) minimal Linux GUI Desktop. It is based on Linux 2.6 kernel, Busybox, Tiny X, and Fltk. The core runs entirely in ram and boots very quickly. Also offered is Micro Core a 6 MB image that is the console based engine of Tiny Core. CLI versions of Tiny Core's program allows the same functionality of Tiny Core's extensions only starting with a console based system." If needed, there Microcore, a 6meg command line version. Just means no mouse cursor outside of programs.
holy shoot! those OSes are getting smaller! i won't be surprised if i can find an OS in the future that runs on 1kb
This is what i call ... STEALTH .
But some people might just mistake it for a real UPS , and plug their crap in .
And complain there's no power ...
Levi990e3 years ago
there are some usb network adapters
Minifig6664 years ago
One idea I had was to add a keyboard from a laptop to the top of the case.
But then you loost stealth like apperence. Also siloraptor, have you concidered small slits to cover your usb/vga/ps2mouse/keyboard extras?
Lance Mt.3 years ago
TIny speaker and you have yourself a fully fledged attempt at a desktop linux pc.
JermsG4 years ago
Darn, for some reason the large pictures don't show up for me in this instructable. I get thumbnails but that's not enough to figure out the details... Oh well, I'll have to haxor it if I ever come to do this myself.

The idea sounds good!
Would be great for a car
be better if it had compersit video out or s-video out to a 7" screen
Skater_j104 years ago
I Finally someone else using a CF card for a Hard drive....sweet! That's awesome that you found a unique power supply too, I've never seen someone use one of those. So I was looking around Instructables and found a few more people doing these kind of projects, so I ended up making a group that's called "Small Form Factor ". It's a group devoted to sharing info. on small DIY computer projects/concepts. Please Join if you are interested. I forgot to mention that I've added your instructable to the group along with a bunch of others. I hope you don't mind.
Wow i would buy this if you made more than one
tanmanknex4 years ago
With some practice you can get it on the first try? ROFLOL that's hilarious! I know what you meant, but that's still kind of funny! Sorry, just couldn't resist.
alpinedelta4 years ago
Great stuff, this would be perfect in my setup.
volto4 years ago
Very cool project! Reminds me of the computer I built into an old Dewalt tool box, which fit a full sized ATX motherboard just fine, just had to do some dremel work to cut out all the plastic dividers.
hg3415 years ago
well done i like thiss a lotguess what i have the same f!@#ing ups hahahahaha
Derin5 years ago
================================E
trident
THAT IS THE SICKEST THING IV'E EVER SEEN :D. All u need is a mini screen that tells you who is on the network lol. Nice ible
windows sideshow--- a secondary display in some new vista laptops
jj32x raykholo5 years ago
or because its running linux not vista it could have a HD44780/HD44100 display and it could use lcdproc
raykholo jj32x5 years ago
the other more important question is how to do this for either os...
the sideshow wiki has some good info -- SIDESHOW
i figure the best way to this is to use a bluetooth connection and an old phone for this --- easy power (usb), easy connect (bluetooth)
easy use (we all use cell phones)

but like i said, the question is how -- it might need some sort of extra internal hardware
jj32x raykholo5 years ago
basically if you used a HD44780/HD44100 compliant display you can wire it up directly to your parallel port and then control it with lcdproc in either windows or linux
Derin jj32x5 years ago
you could use a serial one and wire it to the serial port as well.
raykholo jj32x5 years ago
really? well i didnt get the idea of the link in your last coment, but i was still streaming for a color display and how that is done with sideshow
Sintax6 years ago
man you did a really wonderful job with this one, I never thought of modding a UPS before, looks like a good mod!
siloraptor (author)  Sintax6 years ago
Thanks, while not really stealthy it gets a good laugh a everybody who sees it :)
Ah yeah defiantly, I am currently in the middle of making a ps2 pc mod with a small mini itx via mobo, but the problem with it is I still cant find a good slim dvd drive but i will keep looking. I will make an instructable when its finished.
Derin Sintax5 years ago
why not use the dvd drive of the ps2?
jj32x Derin5 years ago
because (i think) it doesnt use a ide connector or a sata connector. (i think thats the case anyway altho i cant remember because its been a long time since i've opened one up)
altontoth5 years ago
As an electrician...I'm just gonna pretend I don't see that. Talk about major fire hazard! Nice job though! Thought of using a different mobo? A mini or nano-itx form factor instead? Give you more room in there too!
It is not a major fire hazard. Pretty hard to get a fire at 46 degrees and if it did catch on fire (not sure how) it would have a hard time getting oxygen to burn. Also how about calling it "The Black Box"
Solderguy5 years ago
Damn, I had a UPS case exactly like that but throw it out because it died.
bwpatton15 years ago
WOW :o U fit all dat into a UPS case. That is truly AWSOME!
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