Mod'd Intel dual-NIC for front-panel leds
I built a custom box for my pfSense router/firewall a couple weeks ago and had LED's on the front for interface traffic, but no way to initially hook them up.
I figured at some point I'd see if I could hack up the NIC card a bit to accommodate the front leds. This is the result:
I started by using a small flat-head screwdriver to gently pry the rear NIC-socket activity leds from their spots and bent them back and forth in there until the leads snapped off. The leads on both sides conveniently snapped off even with the plastic tunnel that shields them so a short was out of the question. I may have been able to leave both sets of LED's active, but I was afraid having 2 leds connected simultaneously (the original ones at the socket, and the newly-added front set) would overload the supply circuit.
Next, I soldered 4 leads onto the pins coming through the card originally for the socket activity leds. The small header in the pic these leads solder onto with pins on the other side is a hacked up 2.5" 3.5" HD adapter. I used this so i could have standard pins on the other side to connect LED leads to for easy removal. All solder points and bare metal was hot-glued over to insulate it and keep everything in place. The small header is also hot-glued to the back of the dual-NIC.
Here's the card installed back in my custom box:
Pics of the whole build can be found here if you missed it before:
The front-panel LED's work great and now I can see interface activity without looking around the back :)