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Convert a PC Drive Bay to a Docking Station

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the ask-why-not dept.

Hardware 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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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007352)


finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007356)

a case mod worth doing !

the end of the world is nigh.

Re:finally (0, Redundant)

Teknogeek (542311) | about 12 years ago | (#4007474)

>> a case mod worth doing !

What about installing a coffee maker [] ?

Re:finally (1)

Xenographic (557057) | about 12 years ago | (#4007630)

It's not a good idea to install a coffee maker on someone's computer. When you take it in for repair & tell the techs that the cupholder is broken, you get a lot of funny looks...

"Docking" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007365)

You mean the act of placing one penis inside another? That's just what I'd expect from the filthy homosexuals that inhabit Shalsdot.

Re:"Docking" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007419)

i believe you are thinking of

Re:"Docking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007699)

I remember that site from like 4 years ago. Don't even jokingly suggest to your girlfriend to get one of those things. She wont like it.

Use that display (4, Insightful)

philipsblows (180703) | about 12 years ago | (#4007371)

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 [] 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 (2, Interesting)

merc_sa (35777) | about 12 years ago | (#4007398)

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*

Re:Use that display (2)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 12 years ago | (#4007443)

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.

Re:Use that display (1)

11390036 (158863) | about 12 years ago | (#4007710)


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 (3, Informative)

Brento (26177) | about 12 years ago | (#4007578)

Similar to this [] 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 [] , or for Linux try GiantDisc [] . 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.

Re:Use that display (1)

BitHive (578094) | about 12 years ago | (#4007891)

Jukebox looks like a nice concept, except it only works with serial cradles so I doubt anyone is even using it.

can't get to the pda (0, Redundant)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 12 years ago | (#4007379)

this is about useless what if I want to do something on the pda?

I guess with a linux and X pda this would be great as I could jsut export my display and run with it though.

Interesting... (0, Redundant)

Critical_ (25211) | about 12 years ago | (#4007382)

There are two problems with this mod:

1) I have a full tower case that is completely full of CD-RW, DVD-ROM, ZIP, a couple HD's. So I have no room.


2) I like to see the display on my PDA when I do certain tasks.

Sure this mod might clear up some desk clutter but think about, is the disadvantage of losing a slot and/or buying a bigger case worth not having a PDA on your desk? I find that my PDA tucks in nicely between the monitor and speakers.

Good comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007392)

What do you mean Redundant? Don't hack the guy for no reason.

I guess the world revolves around you.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4008151)

Seriously ... Your first reason why this is a bad mod is because you've run out of drive bays? That's the best you could come up with?

I guess whordes of slashdot users are jumping to relocate their PDAs between their speakers and their monitor.

7th FUCKING POST!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007388)


I have a feeling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007389)

that this mod will cost more than it did to get my PDA...

I have a feeling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007422)

in my pants. oh yea, it's your mom learning how to give l'arte bolognese

Nothing to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007396)

I'm going to construct a 5.25-inch bay insert to
house the PDA cradle, and I'll spend less than $30 doing it...

Despite all the wordiness of the article, it is little more than the act of fitting a peg (PDA) into a rectangular hole (5.25inch drive bay).

Yoshi didn't use an existing 5.25inch drive housing, and I don't understand why not? Even stripping a working 1x-12x CD-ROM drive just for it's exterior metal should be cheaper than the acrylic cost.

Personally, I don't understand why this article has made it to Slashdot. When someone manages to fit a toaster (for bread, not cd-roms), microwave or something equally weird into a 5.25 bay then I might have been interested.


Other suggestions for conversion (4, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 12 years ago | (#4007397)

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 ?

Re:Other suggestions for conversion (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | about 12 years ago | (#4007811)

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?

Re:Other suggestions for conversion (3, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | about 12 years ago | (#4008132)

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.

OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (3)

Peridriga (308995) | about 12 years ago | (#4007410)

Who the hell has an extra drive bay to waste??

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (2)

susano_otter (123650) | about 12 years ago | (#4007424)

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 :)

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (2)

flonker (526111) | about 12 years ago | (#4007478)

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 [] thing. hrmmmm...

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (2, Interesting)

kormoc (122955) | about 12 years ago | (#4007503)

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?

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (2, Informative)

flonker (526111) | about 12 years ago | (#4007557)

  • 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.

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (2)

Raptor CK (10482) | about 12 years ago | (#4010408)

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.

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (2)

flonker (526111) | about 12 years ago | (#4010510)

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.

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (1)

MayonakaHa (562348) | about 12 years ago | (#4008466)

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...

Re:OMG?.. Selfish waste of resources. (1)

FredMcGriff (560545) | about 12 years ago | (#4008814)

Seems like an answer to a question that no one asked.

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

TSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007414)

are a bunch of fags. their mods are stupid. i am drunk.

the only good thing about TSS is the semi-hot librarian-glasses-wearing broad. she is an eight beer broad. i'd bang her, but wake up in the morning and say "eewww".

CowboyNeal loves do dock in CmdrTaco's station (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007420)

I'm talking about anal sex incase you don't know.

Desk space vs. Bay Space (1)

Stackster (454159) | about 12 years ago | (#4007433)

If, as in my case, there is more room left over in my PC case than on the desk, this mod is actually _useful_.

I love the pictures they show. (2, Interesting) (598281) | about 12 years ago | (#4007444)

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?

Re:I love the pictures they show. (2)

bwulf (325) | about 12 years ago | (#4007469)

Maybe you should try clicking on some of the links in the article with pictures [] next time?

Re:I love the pictures they show. (3, Insightful) (598281) | about 12 years ago | (#4007492)

Dammit man! I dont' have time to be clicking on links. If the pictures aren't embedded in the article I'm not going to see them! =)

Good idea, sorta... (1)

niftyeric (467236) | about 12 years ago | (#4007456)

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. :)

Down With Slashdot (-1)

Rogain (91755) | about 12 years ago | (#4007458)

Slashdot Sucks!

Too bad it won't work... (1)

pediddle (592795) | about 12 years ago | (#4007472)

...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!

Subtle Flaw (2)

barberio (42711) | about 12 years ago | (#4007484)

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.

Re:Subtle Flaw (2)

Brento (26177) | about 12 years ago | (#4007569)

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.

Re:Subtle Flaw (2)

Ravagin (100668) | about 12 years ago | (#4007664)

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 (3, Insightful)

CaptCosmic (323617) | about 12 years ago | (#4007914)

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.

Re:Subtle Flaw (0)

dyslexia (96008) | about 12 years ago | (#4008532)

You could build something similar to the original NES. The only real problem there is having to constantly blow on the connectors to get it to work....

5.25" bay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4007501)

Geek speak for the anal rectum!

A solution to what problem? (2, Funny)

ascii (70907) | about 12 years ago | (#4007536)

"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.

Re:A solution to what problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4008123)

I was thinking maybe he should spend that time CLEANING HIS DESK, instead of building that. Why didn't he just mount it on the side of his desk, the wall, or on top of the computer?

Re:A solution to what problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4008439)

Because he's a big fat fucking idiot, as about 80% of the people who read this article picked up on. I feel stupider just having read this. Why don't I get a 10 bay super-ATX case and dock everything I own in a drive bay? I'll plug my electric shaver and my fucking Mr. Coffee into it, because I am a fat spazz who has never been allowed to touch a woman without paying cash in advance.

typical TSS mod: (1)

kingOFgEEEks (598145) | about 12 years ago | (#4007614)

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)

Re:typical TSS mod: (2, Interesting)

pimpybra (561963) | about 12 years ago | (#4007820)

Dude that's some hard core pansy talk right there. Warranties are for sissies.

Re:typical TSS mod: (1)

kingOFgEEEks (598145) | about 12 years ago | (#4008625)

Yeah, and sissies like me need them, since we dont have the financial resources of, say, Micro$oft. A warranty is cheap insurance when you have to work several weeks to raise the scratch to buy one.

Re:typical TSS mod: (1)

JET 666 (28153) | about 12 years ago | (#4010586)

kingOFgEEEks and you didn't build your own computer.

Instructions hard to follow (1)

Emil Brink (69213) | about 12 years ago | (#4007792)

The reason that the instructions are "hard to follow", might be that the site the article is on, TechTV [] , 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.

a handy replacement for floppy drives (2, Insightful)

Kusanagi (108244) | about 12 years ago | (#4008062)

Why not build this mod into the spot where the floppy drive used to be [] ? 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.

This is a neat idea. (1)

Proteus Child (535173) | about 12 years ago | (#4008235)

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.

Who ever thinks that looks slick is retarded... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4008344)

NO SENSE of any aesthetics AT ALL.

Great idea! (3, Funny)

Jethro (14165) | about 12 years ago | (#4008432)

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!

How about wood? (1)

banal avenger (585337) | about 12 years ago | (#4009308)

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 [] ?

bitch, bitch, bitch.... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | about 12 years ago | (#4009558)

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.

But I Use My PDA as a Desk Clock (2)

IHateEverybody (75727) | about 12 years ago | (#4010732)

With the "Stay On in Cradle" feature activated and using BigClock [] with a custom theme my Palm IIIc is the best looking desk clock I've ever owned.
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