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One day I asked myself what it would look like if I put a window in a steam link. I don't ask WHY, but HOW. I created the guides as part of my YouTube channel, but i'm going to break it down into steps for the readers. Before I begin, here are the videos from my channel. They're separated into 2 parts, around 10 minutes each. I tried to keep them interesting. :happy:

Part 1


 Part 2

 

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Sorry for the delay! 

Project Goals

  1. Take the Steam Link Apart
  2. Cut a hole in the top of the Steam Link for the window
  3. Make an etched plexiglass window and glue it in
  4. Wire LEDs to the window


Taking the Steam Link apart
To get the screws out, I peeled back the "rubber" part on the bottom of the Steam Link. I used a T6 torx screwdriver to remove four screws underneath the four corners. Now you can use a pry tool to separate the clips that hold the Steam Link together. These clips are tough, so I had to use some force. Don't be afraid, these clips won't break very easily. 

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Once the Steam Link is open, you'll see a big piece of metal in the middle (aluminum? :huh:) This is your chips heat sink. We won't need this anymore, so remove it. Underneath, you'll find a thermal pad attached to the metal cover protecting the main circuitry and processor. I pried it off with a flathead precision screwdriver.

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I added a copper low profile heatsink in its place. I had to reuse the thermal pad to make it stick to the processor properly. The adhesive that came with the heatsink would not hold. I cut the arms off to expose the circuitry. If i'm putting a window in, I want it to look good.:S

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Cut a hole for the window
I used a Black and Decker rotary tool with a Dremel fiberglass reinforced blade to cut a circle. Thanks to @Bill Owen for the circle cutting tutorial on YouTube. I used a lens cap to trace the circle on masking tape and cut the circle. 

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Make an etched window out of plexiglass
I'm not fortunate enough to have access to a CNC router, so i'm creating a stencil and spraying over it with Rustoleum Frosted Glass (as opposed to sandblasting). I printed out a Steam Logo and cut it out to make the stencil. I glued it down and then sprayed over it with about 5 coats of Frosted Glass. This stuff gives you a translucent effect, but the clear parts should come out more vividly with blue light. I peeled off the stencil, but I wasn't happy with the effect, so I printed it out and started over again. 

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This time I reversed the image so that the painted side would be inside of the Steam Link and not exposed where it could be damaged. I peeled it off with an x-acto knife and a plastic razer blade. There was still some haze left from the adhesive, so I cleaned it with isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip. Then I cleaned it with ArtiClean bottle 1, and finally polished it with Meguiar's PlastX (the headlight haze cleaning stuff). After a lot of elbow grease, I finally got it to where I wanted it (sort of :unsure:). 

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The legs of the Steam Link that hold it together with screws would get in the way of the window, so I cut the legs off with my rotary tool. The plastic clips should be strong enough to hold the device together. I drilled a hole in the right side of the steam link wall to put in a slide switch. I wanted to be able to turn the light on and off so I can sleep. I started with a 1 mm bit and moved up to a 4 mm bit. I hot glued the switch in. I also hot glued the corners of the outside of the window to the Steam Link top and pressed it down. Window assembly is complete, time to wire LEDs. :S
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Wire the LEDs to the switch and power
I ran into a dilemma with the LEDs. It would have been easier to run a strip of LEDs inside the Steam Link. The problem is that these strips are designed for 12V DC power. I measured the input voltage of the Steam Link @ 5.1V, which is not enough. If I were to wire the LEDs in parallel, they would only require 3V total (series v parallel: series you add voltage, parallel you add current). So I wired three LEDs in series with their own resistors. I desoldered the LEDs from the RGB LED strip, hooked up LED and wire to the terminals corresponding to the blue LED, and glued it together with hot glue and secured the wires with heat shrink. I hot glued three leds onto the window so that they would light up the window (edge lit). 

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I connected all of the positive and negative leads together. The positive leads were soldered to the positive terminal of the power adapter input. The negative leads were soldered to the switch and another wire was soldered from the switch to the negative terminal of the power adapter input. Heat shrink was added. All that was left to do was to carefully put the Steam Link together.

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Bonus Content
Some extra photos I took., including the test LED I soldered to the board, the proof-of-concept LED test with an early version of the window, an LED array I constructed, and the final product. 

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