Rack mounting a Playstation 2, part 1

I’m not sure exactly whether anyone will find this useful anymore, but I have the pictures, so might as well put them to use.

A while ago we had a use for some Playstation 2 consoles running Linux. Nothing fancy (it didn’t even take advantage of the special chips and such in the system), but they worked.

Sony used to sell but recently discontinued a linux kit for the PS2 — basically it came with the network adapter, a hard drive, mouse, keyboard, VGA adapter, and a Linux boot CD. (You supply the PS2 and memory card.) Since we had more than a couple, we decided to rack mount them.

Middle Atlantic sells custom rackmount shelves to fit almost any product; they’re the company that custom home theater installers use to acquire form-fitting rackmount
shelves for almost any electronic equipment out there — and if they don’t have a
template in stock for your item, you can ship it to them (insured) and they’ll
measure it and make you a custom shelf. We got ours locally, but SmartHome carries them too. Note that we got the clamp option; without the two clamps that go above the PS2s, they’ll slide around a bit every time you try to do something to them.

So, here is what we used, before assembly. One Playstation 2, One linux kit, and one Middle Atlantic PS2 rack mount shelf (in the cardboard box). Also one Sync Separator (to separate out the SyncOnGreen signal to the H+V sync lines present in normal VGA video), a USB extension, and a KVM dongle for our KVM switch. We didn’t end up using the keyboard or mouse, and only needed the controller for initial setup.

First thing to do is assemble the console parts. Start with the hard disk and network adapter:

Attach the network adapter to the hard drive. The hard drive has two sliders on the bracket which need to be pushed a certain direction (i forget which) — it’s marked which way to push. These sliders help lock the drive into the slot in the case. Once the sliders are fixed, push the network adapter straight onto the hard drive, matching up the power and IDE connector.

Next, remove the plastic “Expansion Slot” cover on the back of the console. This is where the network adapter and hard drive go.

Insert straight, push the connector on the network adapter into the connector on the PS2, and tighten the screws on the network adapter.

Next, move to the rack shelf. Here are all the parts laid out. Note the many screws and nuts, and the two L-brackets that will hold the PS2 towards the front of the shelf.

First attach the side braces to the front panel; the ears for the side braces slide under a couple of clips on the front panel.

Then add the bottom shelf, making sure to put the shelf above the horizontal supports on the side brackets, and not below. Attach with four screws and nuts.

One thing that the Middle Atlantic folks may have forgotten (though it may not be a problem in most PS2 installations where the console’s only used a few hours a day for games) — the air intake for the PS2 is the slots under the drive tray in the front. If the console were installed in the shelf as-is, the intake vents would be blocked by the front panel of the rack shelf. We ended up getting a “cut your own furnace filter” at the hardware store, and cut a small strip that would fit in front of the intake in the rack shelf. You can see it, green, in this picture.

Then, insert the PS2. It should fit well in the opening in the front panel.

You can do what you want at this point; we lined it up so that the front sticks out maybe 3-4 millimeters beyond the front panel of the shelf. This gives enough room for the filter for the air intake (which will suck air in through the USB cutout on the lower left and from the back of the rack on the right side), and makes it look nice as well.

See the next post for clamping info to hold the PS2 in place, and all the rest.

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