RFI shielded Computer Case

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by W8NGA, Apr 16, 2012.

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  1. W8NGA

    W8NGA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a computer in my shack and once and awhile, its affected by RF from my transmitter causing it to "lock up". I been thinking of repackage it into an industrial computer cabinet that may have better shielded than what I currently have. Any suggestions as to where I can find a old shielded PC cabinet made for industrial use?

    Greg W8NGA
  2. N4OGW

    N4OGW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are you sure the case is the problem? Usually this type of problem is from RF picked up on wires going to keyboard, mouse, network, etc. Try unplugging as many things as possible from the computer and see if it still locks up. Then you can try ferrites on the problem devices.

  3. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is true unless you have a case that is plastic.

    I would invest in some snap on chokes and try that fist.
  4. K7JBQ

    K7JBQ Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Actually, the first thing I would do is try to get the RF out of the shack. Have you tried a line isolator?

  5. AC0H

    AC0H Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it's a Steel or Aluminum case, and 95% of desktops are, you need to bond the case of the computer to the rest of your ground system, the shorter and heavier the better. That should knock a bunch of the RFI down. If it doesn't, start adding ferrites to all the lines coming into and out of the computer, all of them.

    What I did was ground the case to the single point ground buss in the shack, then went and bought several USB extension cables and audio cables. I bought some #31 mix 2.4" toroids and wrapped the entire cable about them so that they are as close to the computer as possible. For those cables that are too big to get a decent number of turns on the toroid I used snap-ons.
  6. K8MCN

    K8MCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    are you by chance using a USB hub? that was the culprit in my shack---a toroid around the usb cord from the hub to the PC eliminated the problem--before, just one bit of RF and i had to re-boot...........
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are some nice rack mount cases available, That typically have good shielding, and are used for Repeater control computers.


    Even the plastic computer cases have thin metal shielding.

    It would be best to eliminate the RF in your shack, than trying to shield the computer better.

    Sometimes a old Filing cabinet makes for good RF shielding, as long as you vent it for cooling.

    But as mentioned it is most likely something connected to your computer, and RF in the shack.
  8. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't make such a wide generalization. there are plenty of (read: cheap) "plastic" cases on the market that offer little if any shielding, and to make matters worse (at least from an RFI standpoint,) some older less well shielded cases get reused for newer computers. Shielding or filtering the cables coming OUT of (or into) the box can eliminate much of the interference.
  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the computer was sold then it meets some cert for RFI Generation, and has Metal shielding.

    It is better to fix the source of the RFI then to Fix the problems that it causes.

    Devices connected to a computer are the biggest problem for Generating and picking up RF, no question.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  10. KK4AMP

    KK4AMP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Make sure the case lid / door / whatever makes good bare metal contact with the rest of the case when it's whanged down, even on the industrial rack mount cases.

    Check the power supply 110v connector and make sure it's filtered. Back when I was doing OEM building for a living, we had to show DFI the "disqualified vendor department" as they suddenly stopped using potted filters/connectors, yet the power supply still had the same model and revision number. The only reason we knew is because we suddenly stopped passing our internal FCC Class A tests on our products (Yeah, it was that long ago, no DOCs.), and traced it down to that.

    If you're hellbent on getting a industrial case, these guys are pretty decent:
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