Pibow case mod for 1.8" HD and reset switch


I thought I’d post here my mod of the Pibow case to fit a 1.8" hard drive to store my media. While I was at it I fitted a reset switch so if anyone is interested in that scroll to the end…

Note that this is really a double mod, and the whole thing requires two Pibow cases to assemble, but the second is only required to create extra space below the PCB. Using nylon spacers might be an alternative although not as neat.

So here is the drive I took apart, a Samsung S1 Mini 120GB… they are not too easy to get hold off at this point, but it’s the same HDD that Apple used to stick into ipods classic so you might be able to salvage one from one of those (and somehow hack a USB link).

Cracking it open (a simple affair, not much resistance from the case here):

To house the HD, stack pibow layers 7,6 and 5 on top of the bottom layer 0. Layers 6 and 5 needs to be modded however. Just cut off the internal branch as pictured below… I recommend melting the junction with a soldering iron and clean up gently with a hobby knife. You may be able to saw it off instead but be aware that the material is very prone to snapping!

and here is the result with and without HD:

from there on it’s just a matter of stacking the pibow layers in order, 1 and 2 + PCB:

if you are not interested in fitting a reset switch that is all there is to it, use layers 3,4 and the spare 5,6,7,8+top to close it up. You will need the extra long nylon screws available from pimoroni to accomodate the extra depth.

Here is a pic with the thing assembled for your viewing pleasure:

Next stop: reset switch!


Fitting a reset switch is quite easy and a 2 minutes job… however finding a suitable temporary switch is another matter.

After trying different options I ran across the perfect solution for the Pibow in my opinion, on a random visit to Maplin (my once a year visit or so, that is the last place I’d shop unless I wanted to pay over the odds for a ‘bargain’).

So here is the thing: http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/125v-05a-sub-miniature-push-to-make-switch-black-jm01b
(125V 0.5A Sub-Miniature Push-to-Make Switch Black Code: JM01B)

Then there is the matter of the pibow case obstructing the P6 connector. It’s a simple mod, and again I advise melting the junction rather than sawing it as that’s how I learnt the hard way how little the case material can be subjected to pressure. The following picture just shows the result of modding layer 3 to expose the P6/RUN pin holes:

the great thing about this switch is that its length is just the exact one required to fill the height of the pibow layers above the PCB (layers 3 to 8). In fact I haven’t even soldered mine as the top layer, once modded, will keep it secure in place, at least if you don’t shake the box like mad.

That said, YMMV, but soldering it from below should be a fairly easy job. What you probably will need to do though is compress the switch legs a little with a flat plier so that they get through the pin holes on the PCB.

Anyhow here are a few pics with the switch fitted, without the top layer:

As you can see the Pi display connector is a little in the way so the switch is a bit skewed in its resting position but that is not a great concern, no force needs to be used and once all assembled you’d be hard pushed (pun intended) to notice it.

The last step on the card is to drill a hole to give access to the push-on cap. Again, I used a soldering iron rather than a drill though the top layer should survive a 4-5mm drill bit action. I guess I just like those fumes to fill my lungs! (seriously, a well ventilated environment is a must):

If you are unsure where to drill the hole, temporarily add nylon screws on top of layer 8 then place the top layer above. This will help locate the correct spot without guessing or approximating measurements from the edge.

Anyhow, here is the result. Let me know if you have any questions!