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Date: December 1th 2002
Article by: Burt Carver (News-editor & Hardware Reviewer)

 

In the course of doing hardware reviews, often times there are similar products that complement each other. For this reason, I decided to combine several case lighting products to form this "Case Lighting Review" Without further ado, here are the usual suspects:


One - Blue EL Lighting strip with adhesive backing courtesy of EL Custom Shop.



One - Green EL Lighting wire (double ended) courtesy of EL Custom Shop.



One - Badge Lite courtesy of GamerzStuff.com



The EL equipment came equipped with an inverter as shown below with sticky tape for mounting.


Another handy-dandy piece of equipment shipped was a 3-way splitter to be attached to the inverter. This would allow up to 3 devices to be run of this little badboy.


Let the games begin!


First of all, I decided that I wasn't going to sacrifice my machine to the whimsical gods of electricity if something went wrong. So… off to the storage rack. I grabbed my 'entertaining' computer equipped with a Pentium II, and yanked all the IDE cables out to isolate my drives and also to keep case clutter to a minimum. Below, the 'victim' case.


Clean? After a good blasting with a 120 PSI air compressor, YUP. Fast? Nope. But you don't have to be fast to glow in the dark.


First, the most mod-intensive portion of the review, the case badge. The case badge came with an adhesive backing and the power line was easily removed from the LED pins, so I decided to go in through the front of the case. A more adventurous person may have gone and ripped off the face plate, dremeled and sanded for hours. Call me lazy, my wife does. In my case, in all of 15 seconds with a cordless drill, the deed was done.



The finished hole. Don't worry about pretty… once the badge is on, you can't see the hole.



I managed to feed the power leads through my drive bay so it was a snap to install.


After that, it was a simple matter of reconnecting the badge and VOILA!


Remove backing, remove cover, stick and one completed case badge.


And onto the EL!


The inverter is a tiny piece of equipment but it has a bit of weight to it. I attached my inverter to the underside of my PSU, but I would think twice before attempting it on a more expensive case. I just don't trust adhesive tape, and if that inverter were to let loose in the middle of a good frag-fest…. Computer go bye bye. That being said, the power cable of the inverter is pretty short. If you do not have some nice long spare lines coming out of your PSU, I would recommend some zap straps or mounting the inverter on the top of something where the risk of it falling is minimized.


I attached the EL strip around the inside perimeter of the case, knowing full well that it would not be very visible. I was after a bit more of a 'glow' effect, and concealing it behind the flange of the case was an ideal spot for it.


The EL cabling was a bit more of a challenge. The cable has no provision for attachment, so I had to get inventive. Also, I wanted a unique place to attach the cable. Being a red-blooded Canadian, I pulled out my clear hockey sock tape and started to work. I attached the cable to the top and edges of the expansion cards, and used black hockey tape to conceal the runs of cable between cards. Here is the case on the first lighting attempt. Look Maw! No sparks!


I would like to thank my landlord for providing the most butt-ugly carpet money can buy.


And here it the case in the dark!


Ohhh… Ahhh… OOahhh!


The results are impressive. Especially since this took me about 8 minutes to assemble.


Here is the case badge in its reddish glory.


Red enough to give a guy a headache! The intensity of the case badge was outstanding. The yellow in the above picture is really a result of the light metering of the digital camera, not the true colour of the LED.


Ahh… the carpet sure looks good now that the lights are out!


Now lets have a look at the blue EL strip!



Again… brilliant glow! The green cable definitely outglows the strip… if I were putting a case together I would probably keep away from using both products in the same case unless the colours were either the same, or totally opposite. The cable drowns out the strip a bit, but in the above pic, minus the cable the strip gives a cheery blue glow.


The cabling performed beautifully too as illustrated below.


Rather effective! If I had the inclination I would have ensured that all the cable was razor straight. From more than 2 feet away, who can tell anyways?

Here is a nice angle shot of the whole kit and caboodle.




Not too bad!


Overall, I was impressed with the build and completeness of everything I was provided. I didn't need an electrical engineering degree or a soldering iron to make things work, and that makes me happy. The light from all the products was clear and constant, with little variation throughout the length. One concern with all the products received was the lack of a pass-thru power connector. I suspect that a passthru molex connector probably would cost pennies more but everyone who is running short of power leads would appreciate it. One or two lighting products and you may have invest in some 'Y'-plugs… and Y would you want to do that? The 'Y'-plugs contribute to case clutter.


In summary:


Pros:


· Easy, fast installation.
· Came as a complete kit… just add computer.
· Brilliant colours.
· Just plain cool.


Cons:


· Lack of a pass thru Molex connector.

 


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