mobile rig without a laptop

Discussion in 'Computing' started by imagineaudio, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio Active Member

    Nov 24, 2004
    I want to rack mount my pc.

    Not sure if its a great idea, as far as bumps and things that occur on the road.

    What I want to do is strip out a van that I can use as a mobile control room so I can record bands either where they practice or at a show. I would rather spend $1800 on mics and snakes and cables than a laptop, although I'm sure I'll move to one in the future.

    Anyone have any Ideas on this topic?
  2. trid

    trid Guest

    you can buy racks shock-mounted in a road case and depending what kind of computer case you have you might be able to get a rack mount for it. i know they sell rack mount adapters for G4s
  3. moonz

    moonz Guest

    Rackmounting a PC is not extremely hard...but there are several things that you must take into account...

    One important consideration is the case size.

    The case must be short enough to fit the rack enclosure you intend to use. You need to know the total "rackable" space of your rack enclosure, and get a rackmount computer case that is no deeper than this...the shorter the better.

    4U steel cases are extremely heavy, especially when you rack them along with other racked gear...cases made from aluminum are much lighter.

    Short 3U rackmount cases are not real easy to find, but they do exist...and if you look real hard you can even find short enough 2U, and even 1U cases, that will fit in most musical instrument portable racks.

    Once you get down to the 3U PC case level, and beyond, you'll be dealing almost exclusively with server parts...1U power supplies....smaller fans...half-height add-in cards...riser cards....low-profile cpu coolers...and in most cases, micro-ATX motherboards.

    A well-assembled rackmount PC is not all that delicate...there is really no need to worry about shock protection, unless you have gorillas handling your $*^t. There are shock-mount racks available, but they are not cheap.

    15" LCD monitors are cheaper than ever, and are perfect for mobile rack setups. You can even get a 3U rackmount drawer to stow it in.

  4. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio Active Member

    Nov 24, 2004
    thanks for the replies guys.....

    I'm looking at adapting a PC I already own, is there a way I can trick out the case without having to put everything in a new case? .....which leads to my next question:

    Does it put unneeded stress on the HDD or motherboard or anything else for that matter by changing the orientation of the pc (ie, mounting it sidways)?
  5. moonz

    moonz Guest

    A 4U size would be what you want if you are just looking to do a case swap. You could probably use everything, including the power supply, but you'd need to be sure the case was ment to handle an ATX-sized motherboard, if that is what you now have...I expect most 4U models you'd come up with would have no problem with this.

    The orientation of the motherboard in this type of case is no different than a full-sized desktop PC, which may actually be less stressful on the board than a tower-based setup.

    There are some racked PC cases that mount the hard drives vertically...I wouldn't suggest using one of these...get one where the drives are mounted horizontally.
  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Hey- I found your post after all- afriend of mine transferred one of his PCs to a rack mount box for mobile recording and it worked fine for him- not that expensive either, but you have to take your old computer apart and transfer everything. If you are computer savy, do it- if you are not, you might mess it up
  7. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio Active Member

    Nov 24, 2004
    thanks guys for the help, looks like I'll be getting another computer for this application, the one laying around just isn't going to cut it. Maybe ya'll could recommened something..... I'm looking for a 700-1ghz PIII, maybe I'll look at an XPC barebones or something similar.....

    maintiger....thanks for coming and finding the post. I sent you to the wrong one though......I was actually wondering if you had input on this.... (Dead Link Removed)

    Thanks again
  8. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    I ended up using an SKB shockmounted rack wich is cool but it was the only one deep enough for the rack mounted computer. ( unless I wanted to uplug everything all the time)
  9. moonz

    moonz Guest

    Short rackmount PC cases are not have to look around quite a bit to find one that is advertised as "short", and even then, it may not really be as short as you need it to be.

    You want be sure that you get a rack that allows enough room in the back of the PC case to keep all of your stuff cabled up when you mount the rack lids.

    It would seem as though this would be a no-brainer, but it is not, since musical instrument racks are not made with mounting PC rack cases in mind, and PC rackmount cases are not made with portable racking in mind.

    The thing to do is decide on the rack you are going to use (SKB and Gator both advertise racks that have about 18.5 inches of "rackable" space), try to be absolutely sure the rack has at least this much space (this is supposed to be the distance between the inside of the front and rear mounting flanges on the rack), and then go searching the web for rackmount cases that are shorter than this.

    Since there are people that actually sell rackmount rigs that support this forum with advertising I'm not going to make it easy and point to any one supplier of these short cases.

    They are out there, but they may require quite a bit of searching to find.

    When I first tried to rack a PC I had a fairly short PC case, but my musical instrument rack was an older SKB model, and the older models were not as deep as the newest ones, so I had the problem of not being able to put the lids on with everything cabled up...I seached around and finally found an old poly Majecal 12U rack that was just deep enough.

    A few years ago SKB changed the dimensions on their standard poly racks, and made them a bit deeper...the SKB shock-racks have always been nice and deep, but they cost an arm and a leg.


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