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Old 10-18-2018, 11:02 PM   #1
momaka
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Talking The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

This was another interesting Craigslist find – I saw a PC case in the computer section for sale. It had only one picture, showing the case with the side off and the case stuffed with PSUs, optical drives, and other cables. The price was $1. This made me think it’s one of those listings where the seller actually puts $1 for the price on purpose just to lure people to click on the post, but then asks for a higher price. So I passed the post several times. Eventually, the post got taken down in a week or two.

After another two weeks, the post got re-listed again with the same picture. This time, however, I saw a PSU I was always curious to get: a HEC Orion HP585D, which is essentially the same thing as my trusty ThermalTake TR430W XP-550NP, minus the input EMI/RFI filtering. So I got curious and sent an email to the poster, inquiring about the price.

Turns out, the seller really did only ask for $1 for the whole package of stuff. He explained the only reason he did this is because he didn’t want to get bombarded with emails if he posted this in the free section (which actually really is quite common when posting things for free on CL.)

Long story… a bit less longer, I met with the guy and bought the case (with everything inside). I actually gave him $5, just because it felt a little more right than just $1. Not only did the case come with the PSU mentioned above, but there was also a 5.25” floppy drive in there! I’ve been looking for one of those for a while!

Anyways, I also asked the seller if the case was stored anywhere, where it could have picked up pests, such as termites, roaches, bedbugs, etc. Seller said no, but he said the case was stored in his garage where they did have mice before. So he said… (ok, RJARRRPCGP, you better get ready for this one ) … that there might be mice droppings on or in it, but otherwise it should be clean from other pests.

As soon as I got it home, I took it outside for inspection. Sure enough, there were mice droppings on the bottom of the case, and the case also stunk like old piss. Since this was back in December, I left the case outside to catch some “fresh air”. And with last winter’s cold temperatures (down to 0°F / -17°C), this was a good way to make sure there really wouldn’t be any pests inside it (though upon inspection, I didn’t see any.)

In February, we had a few days where the temperatures were pretty warm. So I took advantage of those days to clean the case (actually, it was more of an “upcycle” job than a cleaning.) I stripped the case down to bare metal. The plastics all got a soapy wash with dish detergent, followed by some drying under the sun (UV light does kill bacteria ). But for the metal parts… I really wasn’t quite sure what to do. It seems that the mouse piss and poop had caused a bit of corrosion.

With limited time in terms of warm days, I decided that the same soapy wash with detergent and water would be a first good step to disinfect the case. With this done, at least I knew I could bring it in the garage afterwards.

I used the garden hose to wash it, because the case was too bulky to clean in my utility sink. And because I felt it was dirtier than the plastics, I scrubbed it very hard with a cleaning sponge and plenty of detergent.

When it all dried out, this is how the metal parts looked:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580

Not bad, right? … until you looked closer inside, near the drive bays:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539921580

Yeah, that mouse piss sure did some damage. Two of the three PSUs stuffed in the case also had some corrosion from that. One of these PSUs was a fairly gutless ATX unit (probably will post it sometime in the future), so I decided to do a bit of experimenting on it.

From experience with my dumpster-picked and roach-pooped HP NetServer E-800, I knew that regular store-bought spray paint isn’t going to work well here. It seems that the regular sprays just don’t hold well onto metal – i.e. the paint easily chips and peels. I noticed this on the HP NetServer case even after the paint was freshly painted. And after several years, the rusts spots on it from the roach droppings came right back through the paint and made it flake of.

So with this ATX case, I decided to do something a little different – latex paint. I know latex paint isn’t exactly suitable for metal (nor would it look good when brushed/rolled onto the surface), but as long as it sticks to the case and doesn’t let the rust come back through, I would be happy.

Thus, I first tried painting the metal case top of the “guinea pig” gutless PSU mentioned above. After two days of drying, the paint stuck well and turned out looking alright (I actually tried several different colors on it.) Compared to the spray paint on my NetServer case, I couldn’t easily nick or peel the latex paint off – especially parts where I applied a thicker layer of paint.
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Old 10-18-2018, 11:10 PM   #2
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Talking The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

With these results, I proceeded to sand the rusted areas on the PC case as best as I could. I then gave the bottom part the same silver latex paint that I thought worked best on the experimental PSU. This is the result:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539922017

It probably looks better on the picture than it is, since I only took a low-res shot. But overall, it didn’t turn out too bad. Here is how the worst-affected areas turned out:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539922017
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539922017

I think I got really lucky with the paint color here, because it matches the metal color of the case quite well. Depending on the room lightning and the angle at which one looks at the case, it’s sometimes not even possible to notice where the painted parts start from and where they end (note: I didn’t paint the whole case.)

Because of this, I also decided to paint the removable motherboard tray (remember when cases still had those? ) It wasn’t necessary as it didn’t have much rust / corrosion. But at that point, I figured it would match the bottom of the case better.
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539922017
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539922017
As you can see from the second picture, the painted parts really do stand out at certain light angles. And it’s quite clear that I used a brush. I can’t say it looks terrible, though.

Satisfied with the results, I moved forward with assembling the case.


But being a cheaper case made from not very thick steel, of course the motherboard tray didn’t fit snug into place and rattled. Now, if there is one thing I absolutely dislike, it’s rattling noises from PC cases (I dislike it even more than PCs with tiny & very loud fans). So I took out the tray and tightened the metal tabs that held it. When I put it back, it went tightly in there and there was ZERO rattle.

While assembling, another item caught my eye: the small ventilation holes for the rear fan. A drill bit slightly larger than the existing holes took care of this.

While at it, I also added screw holes for a 92 mm case fan (shown in picture below).

Okay, let’s put the side panels back on…


And here is why I call this the PacMan ATX case:

- Yes, Mr. PacMan there assumes the duty of the power button. The little button to the left of that is Reset. And of course next to that are the PWR and HDD LEDs. I think that’s a pretty cool design! Shame the case is not made of thicker steel. But it does have properly rolled edges and stamped parts for reinforcement for the most part. So it’s not exactly a cheap bottom-dollar case either. On that note, I wonder who made it. A year prior to this, I saw the same case at my former job, but with white panels and white (beige) front.

Now, we all know PacMan is yellow in color. So perhaps I should paint that PWR button yellow? Yes, it probably will look tacky (but understandable, given the case design, no?) And while at it, maybe also paint the Reset button blue?? That way, when the PC is on, there will be the Red and Green LEDs, along with the Blue reset button, for a complete RGB color space. And with the yellow PacMan, that’s all the Windows colors too.

Of course, those are just some ideas. Not sure if I will do them, though. For the time being, I’m using the case as-is. Currently, it is housing an Asus K8V-SE Deluxe motherboard with an Athlon 64 3200+, 3 GB of DDR RAM, 80 GB HDD, MSI GeForce FX 5200 64-bit , and a 250 Watt Lite-ON PSU. Prior to this, that system was in another case that didn’t fit it well at all. While that’s a pretty legacy system, it is new enough that it has front USB 2.0 headers – a good match for the case, as it also has two front USB ports under a plastic door on the front.
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1539922017

And to finish it all off (for now), here’s a final picture:


In all honesty, this one turned a lot better than I expected. It’s been half a year now since I painted the case and the rust still hasn’t come through. It’s also worthwhile noting again that in places where I applied thicker paint, I cannot chip or break it easily. But on the bottom of the case, I applied a pretty thin layer and it nicks very easily.

So in conclusion, it seems that… YES, you can use latex paint on a PC case (and the thicker the coat, the better it will stick.) Since I have a lot of leftover paint in the garage and also a few more PC cases that could use this treatment, I might do this again. As for this particular case - I’ll update the thread if I do anything more with it.

Have fun modding!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PacMan case - painted (1).jpg (32.6 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case - painted (2).jpg (79.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case - painted (4).jpg (63.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case - painted (5).jpg (35.4 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case - painted (6).jpg (38.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case [painted and clean] (3).jpg (106.1 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case - painted (3).jpg (102.6 KB, 125 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case [painted and clean] (2).jpg (84.4 KB, 125 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case [painted and clean] (1).jpg (73.1 KB, 127 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case [painted and clean] (4).jpg (24.8 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg PacMan case [painted and clean] (5).jpg (34.2 KB, 127 views)

Last edited by momaka; 10-18-2018 at 11:12 PM..
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

The case front is like the case I bought on July 1, 2003! And had it until sometime in the later-2010s. My front was white and I painted it a certain shade of red. I also had corrosion similar to that, despite I didn't recall a mouse even getting into my computer room. It was more likely arachnids and/or insects, LOL.

Spent most of its life with a socket 462 platform.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

Nice, but you disappointed me with no pictures of the 5.25" floppy drive
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJARRRPCGP View Post
The case front is like the case I bought on July 1, 2003! And had it until sometime in the later-2010s. My front was white and I painted it a certain shade of red. I also had corrosion similar to that, despite I didn't recall a mouse even getting into my computer room. It was more likely arachnids and/or insects, LOL.
Early 2000's sounds about right for these cases.

Yes, corrosion can happen from many things, including moist air + dust mixing together. In my case (literally! ), the mice dropping were stuck right on the corroded area, so there's no doubt they caused it, along with the urine. I just didn't take pictures of that as I figured... well, who takes pictures of mice droppings to put them on the internet?

The two affected PSUs also had lots of corrosion on their cases from the mice urine. In fact, I had to give the HEC Orion HP585D a wash, because some of that was stuck in the wires and on the primary-side heatsink, right on the switching MOSFET - and we all know that salt-water (which urine is similar to) is a good conductor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJARRRPCGP View Post
Spent most of its life with a socket 462 platform.
I guess I got you 1-Up'd there - the Asus K8V-SE Delux is a socket 754 mobo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Hansson View Post
Nice, but you disappointed me with no pictures of the 5.25" floppy drive
Sorry about that. I've been meaning to take pictures of it, along with testing it out as I'm not sure if it suffered from any corrosion too - I did clean it as best inside as I could, though.

I just finished a photo shoot session today with some older AT (PSU) "models".

Last edited by momaka; 10-19-2018 at 07:15 PM..
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

lol @ pacman case....I'm more interested to see what goes in it...
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Old 10-26-2018, 11:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

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lol @ pacman case....I'm more interested to see what goes in it...
Alright, one customer at a time, please!

Attached in this post are the pictures of the 5.25" floppy drive, as promised to Mr. Hansson. This is after I cleaned it up. I haven't tested it yet, still (lol). But I will soon. I'm curious if these fellas still work:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1540614123
They are close to 30 years old, I think (give or take a few years).

I can also snap a shot of the current build if you like TC, though there really isn't much to it now as it's still a bit temporary (at least the video card portion is, and possibly the PSU as well - will see).

Last edited by momaka; 10-26-2018 at 11:24 PM..
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Old 10-27-2018, 05:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

This drive appears to have been made in 1990.
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Old 11-01-2018, 03:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

That is awesome!
Never owned a 5.25" floppy myself, they are before my time.
Still use 3.5" floppies at work (I'm a service technician) to this day though, so there's always that
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
I'm more interested to see what goes in it...
There you go, picture attached:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1541371104

Like I said, not much to it yet. I plan on using a different video card (most likely a GeForce 6800 XT, when I finish doing a heatsink mod for it) and also installing only 1 or 1.5 GB of RAM. AFAIK, socket 754 mobos don't support dual channel, so I can mix-n-match sticks. Right now, there's 3 GB in the board, which just isn't necessary. The build also needs an optical drive and a rear exhaust fan. And I probably should recap the motherboard too - it has mostly OST caps (RLX on CPU low side and RLP on other small rails), along with Chemicon KZE 16V 1200 uF caps on the CPU input side. I can use those KZE caps in PSUs, so I'll probably swap them for Nichicon HN or Rubycon MCZ @ 1500 uF. In addition to that, the Northbridge heatsink needs to be swapped with a bigger one (and with a fan). Even though the chipset is a VIA, it does run warmer than I like to see chipsets run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Hansson View Post
Never owned a 5.25" floppy myself, they are before my time.
Same here. I remember loading 3.5" floppies into the computer as a kid, but never 5.25" ones. This is truly my first "own" 5.25" drive. I think I also know which (old) PC I'm going to put it in eventually.

And yes, I still use 3.5" floppies too, very occasionally. I had Killdisk on one of them and another low-level format utility on another. Also used a few to do BIOS upgrades on a few mobos that actually needed them (otherwise, I never flash newer BIOS).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PacMan case with ASUS K8V-SE Deluxe v1.jpg (315.3 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by momaka; 11-04-2018 at 04:54 PM..
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post


Now, we all know PacMan is yellow in color. So perhaps I should paint that PWR button yellow? Yes, it probably will look tacky (but understandable, given the case design, no?) And while at it, maybe also paint the Reset button blue?? That way, when the PC is on, there will be the Red and Green LEDs, along with the Blue reset button, for a complete RGB color space. And with the yellow PacMan, that’s all the Windows colors too.

Of course, those are just some ideas. Not sure if I will do them, though.
I support the idea of painting the power button yellow, nail polish should work well and it's cheap.
Nice work with the latex paint, as for the brush marks i wouldn't about them, they are on the inside and also, anything is better than rust
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Old 12-08-2018, 01:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: The PacMan ATX Computer Case - cleaning and painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
Alright, one customer at a time, please!

Attached in this post are the pictures of the 5.25" floppy drive, as promised to Mr. Hansson. This is after I cleaned it up. I haven't tested it yet, still (lol). But I will soon. I'm curious if these fellas still work:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1540614123
They are close to 30 years old, I think (give or take a few years).

I can also snap a shot of the current build if you like TC, though there really isn't much to it now as it's still a bit temporary (at least the video card portion is, and possibly the PSU as well - will see).
Looks like 1994. And one of the first ones with a part that's actually made in China, LOL. Around the time I expected GE clock radios to start getting made in China, LOL.
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