Take The Train: Lian Li PC-CK101, Built, Tested, And...Driven?

The Motor's Power Supply And Switch

In order for the train to reverse direction at the end of its 10-foot track, a reversing switch is needed. A power cable with a USB plug is connected to the battery pack at the back end of the train. I wouldn't suggest plugging the USB cable into a motherboard header, though. First, the motor draws more than 500 mA, exceeding the USB 2.0 spec. Secondly, a commuted DC motor feeds all kinds of electrical noise back into the power source, and this could affect audio quality during music playback.

There's a tiny metal bracket on the first and last piece of track, which is responsible for tripping the switch on the bottom of the tender. The polarity of the cable connections is absolutely critical if you want the reversal to work correctly.

Mounting the switch is easy, but it needs to be correctly oriented.

Finally, the motor's on/off switch has to be installed at the back of the tender. It's not positioned ideally; when the locomotive is lifted up, flipping the switch inadvertently is too easy. So, you'll want to make sure to keep the battery pack's switch turned off before transporting the train.

With cables run between the switches and battery pack, it's time to put the locomotive on the tracks for a test run. But what's the point of having a non-working PC moving around? Thus, I decided to replace all of the system's cables (except power, of course) with wireless connections.

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  • Trueno07
    I am so jealous right now, this looked like it was a blast to put together!
  • slomo4sho
    I am surprised you didn't use the model with the moving train!
  • bit_user
    Not the first time I've seen it, but I still think this case is just an exercise in sheer ridiculousness.

    But since the PC era is coming to an end, who can blame Lian Li for having a little fun while they still can?
  • edogawa
    This thing is so awesome...if it wasn't for the noise I would get one...I love trains...
  • ASHISH65
    awesome! i want to drive that train
    The Little Engine That Could...
  • g-unit1111
    *Ozzy Osbourne Voice* ALL ABOARD!!! HA HA HA HA....
  • bambiboom
    Just brilliant. Finally, a computer case with a bit of style suitable for grownups.

    Taking the mobile computing theme further, and addressing the limitations on computing power, if you had a Dell Precision M6600 or 6700 laptop with a broken screen, how about mounting the components, motherboard , PSU, batteries, drives, Wifi and all? Then, there could be an i7 CPU and a Quadro 4000M, all very quiet and still getting more air than it's used to. And, appropriately, no power cord!

    The idea of a serious, self- propelled workstation steam train model seems the best use possible of this fantastic enclosure idea. That the computer is itself the game is on the borderline of being art.

    And congratulations to Igor Wallossek for an excellent description of something so wonderfully out of the ordinary.
  • shikamaru31789
    I remember when I first saw this on Newegg. I thought I'd lost my mind for a moment. It's definitely a unique case.
  • ojas
    Tom's Hardware's German team has a lot of fun, i can see :D

    Really enjoyable read, Igor! Also got to know about that Gigabyte wireless streamer, should prove useful!

    Nice house btw :)
  • flong777
    How fun and what an interesting idea from Lian Li. Kind of a pain in the ass to set up but still it is really interesting.

    Great Article!
  • Tran Khanh Vinh An
    Ugliest case ever, if they want to make a locomotive case, at least make it with all same down scaled ratio. Has LianLi really been far even as decided to make even go want to do look more like?
  • christop
    Looks like a fun build...
  • fimbulvinter
    Tran Khanh Vinh An Has LianLi really been far even as decided to make even go want to do look more like?

    Possibly if even then yes like more go.
  • warezme
    Far better than that one that shaped like a conch or shell.
  • doct3rphil
    choo choo motherf*ckers. time to boot up train simulator 2013
  • englandr753
    Tran Khanh Vinh An Has LianLi really been far even as decided to make even go want to do look more like?

    fimbulvinterPossibly if even then yes like more go.

    You both destroyed thousands of my brain cells processing that, lol.

    My 4 year old son who loves Thomas the Train would have a fit over this, especially if you could get a thomas the tank version. I'll have to admit, I'd love it (and my wife) just as much watching him with it and I would have an excuse to work on computer stuff for a few hours. =D

    I do see this as a possible future purchase! Great article and awesome product!
  • FormatC
    My own son Thomas (14 months) loves this train too.

    I'm using this mostly as HTPC now but I've programmed for him a special distance control and a small game to play with animals, colors etc. (like memory game). In this age he knows all basic colors (and pink :D ), more than 20 animals and a lot of other things. Each day only 15-20 minutes are enough. And he loves Thomas the train and Shaun the Sheep + Timmy.
  • Vorador2
    This is pretty cool. Good job.

    Now if you get to install a third rail and make it completely wireless, it would be absolutely amazing.
  • lilcinw
    Wow. Can you get a steam kit for the stack? How about some sound effects from the piezo speaker?
  • FormatC
    My intention for this review was my little son. Ok, he is very young but all this technical things are for him more interesting as all the expensive toys in his room. We were together in the museum and I saw his eyes :)

    My lab is for him the paradise on earth. Cables, computers, a lot of monitors and other things. My grandfather had a large workshop and I also grew up between cables, batteries, screws and tools. I remember this.
  • dalethepcman
    First off awesome photos, it looks like you guys made a great field trip out of this build! I was looking at purchasing one of these, but before I did I have a question for anyone that might be able to answer.

    Can you purchase additional tracks / mod the existing tracks to make this run a circular course?

    I would love to set this up 100% wireless and have it run in a tiny circle around my office. :)
  • lp231
    Is this the new version of the train case or the original? The original even has steam coming out of the funnel. From the pictures, it looks like this funnel is blocked.
  • lowguppy
    Oh there is totally room for at least a low profile video card if not a shorter full height card. You'd have to cut holes for the output connections, but it can be done. Also, if it fits a 120mm exhaust fan, it will fit a closed loop liquid cooler.