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Convert a PC Drive Bay to a Docking Station 63

Anonymous Coward writes "The Screen Savers are featuring a case mod worth looking at. This article describes how to create a docking station for your PDA out of a PC drive bay. The instructions are little hard to follow but looks feasible and the finished product is pretty slick."
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Convert a PC Drive Bay to a Docking Station

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  • Use that display (Score:4, Insightful)

    by philipsblows ( 180703 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:21AM (#4007371) Homepage

    Why hide a perfectly good display on the PDA? Yes, this mod is slick, but I personally would like to see an attached display device show me info... much like LCD and other serial/parallel display case mods do now on the case itself.

    Similar to this [massworks.com] product, a PDA attached to a desktop machine (and a charger) could and should extend the usefulness of both. Maybe a game controller like that linked product, maybe a desktop clock, maybe weather updates, stock tickers, an mp3 playlist interface, etc etc.

    Like I said, a slick mod, but seems slightly counterproductive. Not that there are many satellite display apps that work with many PDAs available presently, but I'm hopeful. With bluetooth catching on, it might happen.

    • Re:Use that display (Score:2, Interesting)

      by merc_sa ( 35777 )
      part of the reason that I prefer the cradle on the desk is that I actually use the PDA while
      it's sitting in the cradle. And given my palmOs device is a treo270, I need to see whether an
      incoming call is from somebody that I want to talk to. Having the PDA stuck in a enclosure
      even with a display outside would prove awkward, since the display won't be close to eye level
      and will more than probably be under a desk.

      The idea is technically sound but lacking in the useability department. Now a cradle that's
      stable and clings to the side of the monitor like one of those page holders would save desktop
      space and allow the PDA display to be visible.. that'd be something I'd consider since it'd be
      convenient and lessen the chance of the cradle getting lost in the desktop clutter *grin*
      • Many PDAs now charge while in the cradle (not the Visor Deluxe in the article, though). While this doesn't prevent you from using your PDA, it means that many will need to leave theirs in the cradle, which (for me) is an uncomfortable place to use a handheld. I don't use it often, but the Palm Desktop software allows me access to all my sync'd data.

      • Agreed!

        The idea is technically sound but lacking in the useability department.


        Why use this?
        I can sync my palm to a laptop using infared.
        I don't have a charger.

        It does seem like a nice space saver though.
    • Re:Use that display (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brento ( 26177 )
      Similar to this [massworks.com] product, a PDA attached to a desktop machine (and a charger) could and should extend the usefulness of both. Maybe a game controller like that linked product, maybe a desktop clock, maybe weather updates, stock tickers, an mp3 playlist interface, etc etc.

      There's plenty of apps like that out there. If you'd like an MP3 remote control for Windows there's Jukebox [luminosity.co.uk], or for Linux try GiantDisc [giantdisc.com]. There's several others, but those are the best two - I've been doing a lot of research lately, since I'm building a in-car computer that uses my Kyocera 6035 combo Palm & phone as its remote control & main display.
  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:46AM (#4007397) Journal

    1. The conversion of mouse to paperweight.

    2. The conversion of old computer to doorstop.

    3. The conversion of mousepad to non-skid, multipurpose pad on top of dashboard.

    Anymore suggestions ?

    • 3. The conversion of mousepad to non-skid, multipurpose pad on top of dashboard.

      Neat idea, thanks! Since I've now got trackballs on most of my machines, I've got a pile of mousepads in a storage box somewhere.

      How do these hold up? Do I need to worry about my Dell mousepad melting all over my Chevie's dash when I have to park in the sun?

    • 2. The conversion of old computer to doorstop

      This one's easy:

      1. Set BIOS to boot from CD.
      2. Open CD-ROM.
      3. Insert Windows XP CD.
      4. Boot PC and follow on-screen instructions.
  • by Peridriga ( 308995 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:59AM (#4007410)
    Who the hell has an extra drive bay to waste??
    • I do. 3 External, 6 internal. And that's with 2 internal and 2 external drives already occupied. Just get a taller case, next time :)
      • Cases get filled, no matter how big they are. All it takes is time.

        I've got a machine with 6 PCI slots, all filled, three ISA slots, all filled, three internal bays, all filled, two 3 1/2" bays, only one filled, five external bays, all filled. And I had to take out some things, namely the 5 1/4" drive and (later) the CD jukebox.

        <sigh> I guess it's time to upgrade to a server case for my desktop machine. Either that, or do that spray foam [slashdot.org] thing. hrmmmm...
        • holy hell, What do you need all that for?
          I have in my case:
          1 video card
          1 nic card
          1 audio card
          I still have 3 open PCI slots
          I have 1 cdrw and 1 dvd drive and I still have 1 5.25 inch bay open, I have 1 floppy drive and I have 1 external 3.5 inch bay open. I have 1 40 gig hd and I have room for two more hds. What do you have that you need all that space?
          • Well,
            • ISA - sound card, NIC, tape backup card.
            • PCI - Two video cards, modem, TV card, USB card, & spare IDE controller
            • Internal bays - three HDDs, of course.
            • 3 1/2" bay - floppy, of course
            • External bays - Swappable IDE drive bay, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, tape backup, and a bay cooler to keep the whole mess from overheating.
            • Sweet Jeebus!

              Two video cards *and* a TV card?? And a tape backup card on top of an IDE controller?

              Modern video cards and SCSI are your friends, man. The modem should be excessive these days, but then again, I still keep an external around, "just in case."

              Even so, I don't think I'll ever completely max out a case/motherboard like that.
              • Huh? Someone wasted mod points on my post? I thought it was off-topic enough that it didn't deserve my karma bonus.

                Anyway, much of it is legacy stuff. The TV card is a dedicated TV input card. And I could probably get rid of most of the HDDs if I actually bought a decent one instead of scrounging 20 gig drives.

                Plus it's gotten to the point that it's taken on a live of it's own. It's rock solid and runs much faster than any comparable machine. As a matter of fact, it runs faster than some "new" machines I use that are 10 times the MHz. And it never complains about lack of memory. It's truly a wonderous beast.
    • I'm not sure on how this can be called selfish.

      I mean it's not like if I used an empty bay for this that people would be pissed off at me for not sharing it and letting -them- install something in it...
    • Seems like an answer to a question that no one asked.

      Did anyone notice his other drive bay was converted to a bagel toaster?

  • If, as in my case, there is more room left over in my PC case than on the desk, this mod is actually _useful_.
  • Oh wait, they didn't show any. In all honesty, a PDA docking station doesn't take up that much room, it's no worse than one of my speakers. Why don't they just go back to making fish tanks out of old Mac monitors?
  • While I see this as being a good idea, I often do things on my PDA while it is in the sync cradle. On top of that, I have two PDAs (Visor and iPaq) and only one free drive bay. :)
  • ...with a Palm m505 (possibly others). The newer Palms don't just slide onto the cradle; they snap in, and removing them from the cradle requires pulling the Palm out horizontally a couple of inches. With the cradle mounted the way it is in the mod, you would have to pull the Palm up, past the boundries of the slot.

    Besides, I like to sit my Palm on my desk and still have access to the screen. But at least the mod looks cool!
  • Theres a small flaw in this design. Handspring and Palm cradles are designed so that you push the PDA in downwards then backwards to 'lock' in place. Not locking the PDA in place leaves you with non-secure connectors, and I've had computers reboot because of static discharge over 'not quite conected' PDAs in cradles. Since the 'bay' design only allows you to put the PDA in sideways without 'locking' it, this is a major problem.
    • Handspring and Palm cradles are designed so that you push the PDA in downwards then backwards to 'lock' in place. Not locking the PDA in place leaves you with non-secure connectors

      I've got an M105 and a Kyocera 6035 combo Palm & phone, neither of which function like that. They just drop straight into the cradle, and you can lift them out with two fingers. Seems like it's the same as the bay design.
    • Eh? I've had a PalmIII form factor device of one sort or another for three years and never encounted this kind of cradle....
    • Re:Subtle Flaw (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CaptCosmic ( 323617 )
      Not all of the Palms have this style cradle. The older palms had a simple drop in cradle which did nothing to lock them in. I know, I've knocked my Palm out of the cradle while it was syncing before.

      The new palms (at least the m130 and m550) *do* lock into the cradle. They slide straight in and metal locking clips hook on to them. In order to get them out, you have to pull it forward to release the locking clips, then pull it out of the cradle.

      Using this mod on one of the new Palms would be difficult, if not impossible.
  • "An external docking cradle for your PDA is good for portability, but it's a waste of valuable desk space. "

    If a PDA dock roughly the size of a 3.5" disk counts as valuable deskspace that you'd go through the troubles of building the Quasimodo of all mods wouldn't a more obvious solution to the problem be to have gotten a bigger desk in the first place? Ofcourse you may have a hard time finding a desk at $30 but none the less - my Visor dock tugs neatly away underneath my monitor stand.

    Pardon me, but this sounds more like a geeky excuse to get to mod things than the solution to any problem you may think of. Which ofcourse is fair enough; modding can be a fun activity.

    The next thing: modding filecabinets to fit employee's (horisontally) because employee's are simply a waste of good valuable space.

    Sorry for being lame.
  • Sure, it's cool, and it might make your tower the Swiss Army knife of home computing, but have they ever heard of that little thing called the (gasp) warranty? I know that i might be ranting about something that expired a year ago, but to me, warranties are worth their weight in gold. (probably because i have the tendency to break things)
  • The reason that the instructions are "hard to follow", might be that the site the article is on, TechTV [techtv.com], is a network video broadcasting site... So there's a video show, "The Screen Savers" (Weekdays 7 p.m. Eastern) that's going to be showing more about the project, I assume. Further, I guess that's almost impossible to figure out if you're a Slashdot editor (or, now that I've started to bitch, a story submittor). Heh.
  • Why not build this mod into the spot where the floppy drive used to be [slashdot.org]? I just tried it with my Cassiopeia E-125 (which is about the thickest PDA released in recent years) and it fits just fine. The cradle is a bit bulky but it hangs over niceley behind my hard drive, which is in the bay immediately below.
  • I would have modified a 3.5-to-5.25 inch drive bay sled to hold the hotsync stand but that's just me... the acrylic gives it a certain look of class.
  • Great idea! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @01:35PM (#4008432) Homepage
    I've been waiting for my Palm IIIc to die for AGES so I could upgrade to a Clie, but the damn thing's rock solid, even though I overclocked it to 40MHz! I figure if I overclock it, stick it in a really hot PC case right between two 7200RPM drives (docked so it doesn't turn off) and then do a find / -print, that might do it!
  • Although some may not realize it, this appears to be a hack intended for Joe Blow the average user who doesn't do anything (technical) with his computer. In that spirit, how about the wooden iPod docking station [mac.com]?
  • Man, all I see are complaints from the /. crowd, and this is one of the coolest things I have seen here in a long time. Granted, it could use a few tweaks, but this looks like something that anyone with $30 and a spare afternoon could do. I say this is a damn neat idea.
  • With the "Stay On in Cradle" feature activated and using BigClock [paessler.com] with a custom theme my Palm IIIc is the best looking desk clock I've ever owned.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley