For the last few weeks I’ve been facing the harsh realization that I may have fallen prey to the dreaded ‘Euro-crack’. Or at least that my current Euro-rack modular enclosure was entirely filled and if I were to play with the toys that I’ve been dreaming of – I’d have to expand. I always knew this day would come – so I’ve had a few ideas on the drawing board for a while now.

The oldest concept was to make a massive 12u setup inside of a large rolling plastic enclosure – but that never came to fruition when I realized some of the inherent problems of the design, such as:

  • It would actually be massive.
    • Where on Earth would I put it, within my current setup?
  • It would weigh a metric ton.
    • The original plan called for two or three Linear Power Supplies from Condor and Power-One – and those individually weigh in heavy enough to kill a civilian when thrown from a second-story window.
  • Again – it would me massive. Almost half the height of a refrigerator.

So I went back to the drawing board – taking inventory of other enclosure options I have on hand. Back when I built the original ‘6u Suitcase’, I actually bought two suitcases – figuring the second would be good for general storage. After I uncovered the second suitcase – I thought ‘why not build a second, but build it better’. In order to improve on the original design, I had to decide upon a main goal:

Maximize the amount of usable space for modules.

In the original suitcase, the power supply was mounted just to the side of a vertical board that held the 84hp rails in place. If I were to run rails the entire length of the suitcase – I could achieve about 100hp per rail. In order to do so, I’d have to house the power supply in an external enclosure. After mucking about through the inventories of Mouse and DigiKey, I settled upon some military spec connectors and began to void the warranty of a spare ModularWorld power supply.

Power Supply - Top

A few weeks ago, a retiring electrical engineer offered me the contents of his basement – and one of the pieces of equipment was some strange German unit that was perfectly sized for re-housing the MoodularWorld power supply. With only slight modifications, it fit like a charm – including the use of every pre-drilled hole on the enclosure. The Green LED towards the top indicates that the +12v rail is functioning and the Yellow LED indicates the status of the -12v rail. The larger orange indicator light indicates that 115v A.C. is present. The grey CEE cord uses a socket with a 2A Fast-blow fuse and just below the switch is a 6-conductor military specification female socket.

The case uses a corresponding socket and a six-foot(ish) cable is used to connect the it to the power supply. For hardware, I used Eurobus Distribution Boards and aluminum plates from Low-Gain Electronics, two pairs of 3u mounting brackets made by Matthew Goike and plenty of trips to my nearby hardware store to tie it all together. In the future, I’d like to use the horizontal space at the bottom for a single utility panel that’d house any passive module expansions (see: switches for the 4ms ‘Rotating Clock Divider‘ jumpers and the Harvestman Digital Electronics ‘Sound of Thunder’ expansion for the Tyme Sefari). Until then – this is done. Though I have no plans to rid myself of the original suitcase – not only is it a good backup case, but maybe I have some emotional value assigned to it. But for now – look upon my works and despair.

New 6u Suitcase - Front