After getting the 19″ rack I wanted to fill it with stuff. It was mostly for the looks anyway so that’s what I searched for: things that make it look like one of those scifi movie server racks. I stumbled upon an old 48 port switch in my company’s electronics trash bin which I took home. It didn’t work anymore but I was going to destroy its insides anyway.
My first plan was to just hook up all the internal LEDs to a controller and make them blink randomly but that would have meant to trace their contacts on the internal board and reroute them to my own controller. Ain’t nobody got time for that…
Then, after opening it and getting all the stuff I don’t need out (while being careful not to damage the light pipes) and accidentally ripping some chips of the board (it was broken anyway so I wasn’t that careful when removing the heatsinks) a friend had the idea to try fitting an RGB LED strip into it and who would have guessed: The 144 LED / meter strip has the exact same distance between the LEDs as the LEDs on the switch board. PERFECT!
I fired up my heat gun and without further care removed all the original LEDs from the board to make room for the strip since I needed it to fit under the light pipes. Then it was just a matter of glueing it in place and connecting it to an arduino. Getting the two LEDs on the right to glow as well was less easy since their light pipe is mounted between them – but the little contraption I soldered together works quite well!
I installed a power supply and connected it to the original power connector of the switch and loaded a simple rainbow test sketch on the arduino nano that was driving the strip. That sketch is still running and probably will for quite some time until I get a better idea – So here we have it: The gayest switch there is!