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Old 10-13-2010, 01:44 AM   #1
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Cannibalizing Computers

We have decided that the metal cases that computers come in would be a wonderful source for metal to make access doors on the bus body. David sets up the food cart in sight of a computer repair shop (the owner & his wife like our food and buy from us about 3X per week). The computer repair shop sets out monitors and old computers for folks to recycle and use. Today David brought home our first victim... a big Gateway tower. So, other than the metal case, what can we cannibalize out of a computer to use in the bus. I'm thinking we could use the muffin fans.. Can they run off 12vDC? A few muffin fans would work nicely to push the air along in the ductwork for the heater and the AC. We could use a muffin fan to keep the refrigerator compressor and freezer compressor cool. What else can we use? We have access to pretty much an endless supply.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

How about the power supply. A friend of mine uses a computer power supply to convert his 120v AC power to 12v DC power in order to run a small 12v pump that recirculates biodiesel fuel through a filter. If you have a similar need to convert AC to DC where the draw is minimal, then these might fit the bill. I wonder if you could string them together somehow to accomodate a higher power demand... do you like to play with electricity? You could get in touch with your inner mad scientist!
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

I can get all the computers that the shop puts out there... I have seen 25 or more at times. There times just one or two a week. The shop owner knows what we are doing and likes the idea that we are cannibalizing to "repurpose" rather than taking them to a recyling center (repurposing uses less resources).

I wouldn't say mad scientist but we do like to go to hardware stores etc and look for things to do what we need them to do that weren't designed to do that in the first place... it's fun but drives the store's floor people nuts!
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:08 PM   #4
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

I tore down the first computer last night. The power supply says 300 Watts continuous. I've got two nice "large" fans. Plus a smaller one that my daughter has claimed.... along with the RAM cards that were still in the computer ( she's getting two and I'm going to keep two.. I have an old computer that needs a CDROM drive replaced and could use more RAM... will use for "food cart only" stuff). The nice heavy metal casing will make nice access doors.
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:55 PM   #5
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

I'm thinking of using the power supplies as "dedicated" to specific things like using one to power all the Heater/Air Conditioner (PC) fans... another one for the 12 vDC lighting inside the bus... another for the 12vDC lighting in the bays.... that kind of thing. I'm thinking I may want to place a PC fan in the front heater blower as a pavement parking heater fan. I'll need to look and see if I can do that. Also I may want to add a PC fan to the blue flame/radiant heat heater in the fireplace.

I know RV furnace fans suck power big time... not sure about the ones on the bus heat exchangers. I may end up have to have a set up of PC fans to use when pavement parking. I do know that we will HAVE to run a generator since we will be usually doing that in conjunction with working the cart.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:45 AM   #6
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

If repurposing the power supplies, remember that they likely put out 12.0 volts, not 13-14 volts. This might be fine for powering things that only run when the generator is running. Do not connect a battery in parallel with an unmodified computer supply and the load, it will not charge the battery, but will let it draw down to 12.0 volts, which is about 50% discharged. I have seen at least one article on hacking spare supplies to power DC electronics, and some models were hacked by the author more successfully than others.

Also, the 300 watt rating is the combined power of all the +12, +5, and -12 volt outputs. Don't just divide 300 by 12 to estimate the DC amps available, look for the rating plate instead.

I haven't checked the power draw of computer fans, but I am also of the impression that they use electricity more sparingly than other types of air movers.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:45 AM   #7
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

I have access to a computer geek (albeit in England) that I can get all kinds of answers from and ask stupid questions of (Stacey's insignificant other). Plus I can also ask the guy we are getting the computers from. For now.. I'm collecting metal cases (all those access doors) and stripping the cases out. If I don't use some things, I just won't use them... other stuff I know that I can use, thanks to my accumulated trusty notes!
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

My "big" fans say "DC 12V 0.33A" . Over at Back Woods solar, they show a muffin fan (listed in catalog under DC Fans) that looks identical.. right down to the metal fan guard.. totals out to $18 each for new.

This is a link that includes a picture of the large fans... http://www.plccenter.com/buy/DELTA+ELECTRONICS/WFB1212M
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

Hard drive magnets are very strong. They can be used to hold many things to the metal of the body.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:51 PM   #10
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Re: Cannibalizing Computers

How to remove rare earth magnets from a computer hard drive.
http://www.computer-hardware-explain...e-magnets.html
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