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My Modem Mod

While at DMACC, I found a very old modem that was thrown away. It was a 2400 baud modem and it was very heavy. I took it home and after thinking about it, I decided it would make a great external hard drive enclosure kit! So I grabbed an old hard drive and got to moddin'! I took pics of everything along the way so I could make this page about it, click on each picture to see an enlarged photo. Here's what happened...

Start of Project
The 2 main components to this project, the old modem, and an old hard drive. (Started off with old hard drive just in case I blew it up).


The Hard Drive is a Maxtor 6.4GB 5400RPM. This hard drive should be dead, but it came back to life late last year, I'll give it another run for its money.


The front of the modem is shown here. Notice the name on the front "Super Modem 2400".



The side of the modem is kind of neat. It displays the "super" speeds that this modem is capable of.



The back of the modem shows the AC Adapter port, 2 phone line ports and a parallel port. All of this will have to go.



The bottom of the modem shows a vent for the internal speaker.

Dissection of the Modem
The first shot of the inside of the modem. Notice how the board takes up the ENTIRE space of the inside of the case!



Here's the top of the modem board. Notice the line of LEDs on the left side that I also want to use for this project. In the background you will notice the front and back covers of the case that just snap on to it.


Here's a pic of the bottom of the case and the front and back snap-on covers of the modem.



That's as far as I got till I got my special part from eBay. I ordered a USB 2.0 to IDE converter cable with power supply for $20. Took less than a week to arrive.

USB 2.0 to IDE kit
This was the box that I was waiting for. Notice what it says on the box, "Play and Plug". Those wacky Chinese people!



This came with the IDE to USB 2.0 converter cable, power supply and power supply cord. Also a small CD with drivers for older Win9x machines, bleh.


The Assembly
Everything can fit snugly inside the case as you can see.


Luckily, the plastic enclosure of the cable had screws, so I could easily take it apart and sodder wires to it.



I needed some extra wires, so I just cut and stripped some from these old USB cables I had from my old motherboard.



Here is the row of LEDs I'm now going after. I want to hook them up and have them running while the hard drive is in action. I planned on using half of them for power (on all the time), and the other half for hard drive activity (flickers when hard drive is busy).

After some elbow grease and a hacksaw, I got the row of LEDs off the board. I left them on their own "little board" so they will be easier to manage.


It's hard to tell from this picture, but all those little silver spots in two's will be the points where I will be soddering the wires to to hook all these LEDs together in a row.


This is the halfway point, and this alone took about 45 minutes. My soddering skills aren't as precise as they used to be, so it really looked like shit. But I didn't care, no one would see them and as long as they worked, it'd be all good.


This is when all the soddering was done for the little board. This whole procedure took the most time out of this entire project. I have them all grounded together, and then half of them to one positive lead, and the other half of them to another positive lead.

With most of the soddering done, I took a break from soddering, and drilled 4 holes in the bottom of the case so I could mount the hard drive to it (I couldn't use the mounts on the sides because it was too skinny). Notice my 4th hole didn't line up. Ah well, 3 is good enough.

Now hard drive is mounted and it's definitely not going anywhere.


After a little research, I found out that pin 39 was the lead for hard drive activity. So just a quick soddered wire to that lead and it will connect to my 4 LEDs that light up when the hard drive is busy.


Here's everything almost completely wired up.


I used a hot glue gun to get the side wires to stay in place, and to mount the "little board" with the LEDs. Now this way they will stay still and won't short out on the frame either.


Before I put everything completely together, I wanted to see if power worked fine on it. I plugged it in and the LEDs lit up and the hard drive was spinning. It seemed perfect. I took it to my PC, plugged it in and nothing happened. Power still worked, but PC couldn't detect the hard drive.

After looking it over again, I realized that I had a couple wires crossed on the power plug. Switched them around and tried again, but now the hard drive didn't power up at all. After looking at it again, and comparing to a real (untouched) power cord, I found the problem, switched it AGAIN, and then plugged it in for a final test...





I blew up my row of LEDs, grrr... As you can see in this picture, the 2nd LED from the left was split down the middle, and the other half of it flew across the room. After the smoke cleared and I gathered my senses, I decided to hell with the LEDs, I'll just get this working.

So I took out all the extra wiring for the LEDs and just used a regular power cord and put the converter case back together. After a strip of black tape across the inside of the case (where the LEDs where), you see the front of the case here.


The back side isn't the prettiest, but it works. Just have 2 cables coming out, USB cable and the power cable.


Here's a side shot of the completed project.

In Conclusion
I was disappointed that all that time I spent on wiring up the LEDs was blown, but what I was REALLY happy about was not blowing up my hard drive nor my new USB to IDE converter, especially after I just got it.

I think I put too much juice to the row of LEDs, and that's why they blew up. But after thinking about it, I think I did put that same about to them before, and they seemed to work fine. I was too busy moving wires around and wasn't paying attention and they blew up on me.

The good news is that it works. Someday in the future, I can still go back and install that row of LEDs if I wanted to, but we'll have to see. Maybe when some free time comes up, I spent all day on this and I should of been doing homework!


Copyright 2005 djdingo All Rig

Copyright 2005 - 2008 All Rights Reserved


The Modem Mod

Old Modems never die, they just turn into other pieces of shit.