Some system informations from my Win2k box is directed to a 3½" front-panel with 19 LEDs by different means.
Thanks to you guys for guidance and ideas. I am not really an electronics wizard.
[addition march 2006:] In these days a video probably says more than a thousand pictures: frontpanel.avi 0.4M, xvid
The light for the network activity is unfortunalty only lighting up for a short time. The knight-rider effect of several red LEDs lighting up at the same time can actually only be seen on the longer exposed video.
The used parts: as most people, I am fond of reusing scrap material.
This is where everything is flowing together: the circuit is placed in a frame of an old HD. This beast used to carry eight platters and needed and still needs the height of one and a half modern HDs. Thanks goes to Manfred Wurzer for that.
All parts plugged together. I tried to build it as modular as possible. Maybe I can use it in another box in the future. The toughest part was the mechanical realization of the front-panel. Right now I am not looking forward to do any changes inside of my box. There is so much cabling - it's insane. And the damn cables to my usb/sound front-panel are kind of too short. In German there is the saying: "Klappe zu, Affe tot" (free translation: "Box closed, Monkey dead") - maybe you get the idea. 8-)
Some action shot - something between 10 and 20% CPU load, the NIC is TX/RX data and the HD is active - the exposure-time was long enough, that all ten LEDs on the top were active during the exposure.
That was my last free front panel. ;-) Well, I can't think of anything else to put in the box.
The air flow was not improved by this mod.