PC Switch Box Case

KP1JBW has a great memory.  He remembered a post for the BITx40 that covered using cheap surplus PC switch boxes for cases.

He says “this one was perfect and cost only $4 from an electronic surplus store. My radio literally just arrived this afternoon so I quickly ran out to find a case.”

KP1JBW will add a plate on the back to cover the cutouts for centronics connectors that came with the case.

The original center switch hole is where the display naturally sits when plugged directly into the board. I will end up popping the front plate onto the mill to get a clean and square hole. This case is steel so I might end up going for something down the road that’s lighter. For the price along with a massive selector switch, wire, and a decent set of knurled machine screws, I cannot complain. I bought a larger case for $6 when I need to start looking at upgrades.

Joe KD2NFC made a smart comment about the challenges of wiring up all those cables to the Arduino Nano – there simply won’t be enough ports!

John AD5YE commented that these boxes were either serial or parallel distribution switches.  They take a serial port computer output (6 to 20 wires), or a parallel port (usually 20 wires) and transfer this to 4 different receiving ports. The most common use was to connect one computer to several different printers. They were quite common in computers before the advent of USB and (lately) wifi.

He suggests finding one nowadays at a decent price is a rarity. A few years back, they were very common and very cheap.  However, they make excellent radio cases though one usually has to redo the front and back parts.  John has several with double-sided PCB added as faceplates. In addition to the cases, you usually ends up with a 12P4T switch (which is fine for switching filter banks), and lots of #28 wire.