What the New Side Panels Will Do
The whole point of going backwards in the install -- back to making new PC chassis parts -- is to eliminate the cable hassles. It's just too hard to get the PC into its bay and be comfortable that all is well. I don't like operating blind, like I had to do when I installed the system as I built it. I couldn't see what was happening back inside the dash, and I wasn't comfortable just applying more force to push the chassis in.
I found myself finding other things to do, rather than tackle installing the PC in the dash. When I realized I was putting it off because the process was misery, it told me I needed to do a redesign.
There are three issues here:
The new sides should resolve those issues.
- When I turn the power on, I don't want to hear "Bzzzzzzttttttt".
- I want to install the carPC, not cram it in a hole and hope it will work.
- I want to enjoy the installation, not dread it.
With the redesign, I've raised the mainboard -- which sits about halfway up in the chassis -- about 1/4 inch (~6mm), so it rides slightly above the notch (see the photo in the post above). I've raised the bottom panel and the attached hard drive about 1/2 inch (~13mm). The sides are the same height, so there's 1/2 inch of space below the bottom panel. I'll need to reduce the depth of the bottom panel 1/2 inch to give the cables a place to enter the chassis. I'll pad the edge where the cables rub with some split tubing.
At installation time, I'll pull all the cable ends out so they're hanging out of the PC bay. I'll slide the case in over them, fasten it in place, and attach the cables to the mainboard. The cables will all do a 180 degree turn to get into place; they're all capable of that -- I've checked.
When the cables are all attached, I should be able to swing the back panel of the chassis down on its hinge and mount the touchscreen on it. With that accomplished, I'll be back where I was with the original design, but with a PC system that's far more maintainable, changeable, and upgradeable. I'll still have to pull the chassis out to add memory or change jumpers, but that wouldn't happen very often. No matter what, installing the chassis should a far easier and faster job, and not one I dread.
We'll know soon . . .