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Project: Packing SBC Goodness into a Mid-ATX Tower

Project: Packing SBC Goodness into a Mid-ATX Tower

Here at ameriDroid, we use the products we sell for our own infrastructure.

The Cloudshell2 running 2x 1TB hard disk drives (HDDs) that we've been using for a few years has gotten rather full, so we're building a higher-capacity solution with 2x 4TB HDDs. While we're at it, we're also installing a Clusterboard with SOPine modules to handle our intranet tasks, and in the future to run object recognition to tag our video surveillance clips for easier filtering.

Both our intranet and video surveillance already run 100% on SBCs (MySQL DB, Lighttpd webservers, network storage, surveillance cameras, etc.), so it only makes sense to compact them into a single enclosure for organization's sake. Also, we'll be able to build a second identical system to both increase capacity and work as a backup in case of any problems.

Below, you can see:

  • Clusterboard in the bottom center with 1 SOPine module (on the right side of the Clusterboard) with a 32GB microSD on the SOPine to hold Armbian as the OS.
  • The ROCKPro64 with dual-SATA card on the bottom right (we've since added the ROCKPro64 heat sink to it) - the 16GB White eMMC mounted on the RP64 holds Armbian as the OS.
  • 3x 4TB hard disk drives (HDDs) in the top right corner.
  • 8-port gigabit switch in the top left corner.
  • DC-DC power converter (to convert 12V from the ATX power supply to 9V for the gigabit switch) in the center left.
  • ATX Power Supply in the bottom left corner.

The back panel of the mid-tower needed to be modified slightly to make room for the Ethernet connector on the ROCKPro64. We drilled mounting holes for the ROCKPro64 in the case and used 44mm standoffs to hold it at the correct height for the mini-riser dual-SATA card. We used an L-shaped 5.5mm power pigtail to power the ROCKPro64 off one of the ATX power supply's old floppy drive power connectors.

To use the ATX power supply (PSU) in our case, we didn't have to use any of the load resisters that came with the Clusterboard. We simply had to cut the green wire from the PSU and connect it to one of the ground wires from the PSU in order for it to boot up.

    How We Power It All:
    • The 24-pin ATX connector goes straight into the Clusterboard to power it.
    • We cut off one of the floppy connectors and took its 12V wire (yellow) and connected it into the DC-DC power converter's input terminals to run the gigabit switch at 9V with the 5.5mm straight connector connected to the output terminals.
    • The black wires are all ground (-) and can be used anywhere where a (-) symbol indicates we need to connect to ground.
    • We took the 5V wire (red) from the same floppy connector and connected a 5.5mm L-type connector to it as well to run the ROCKPro64.
    • The ATX power supply already had SATA power connectors, so we used those to power up 2 of the hard drives. The 3rd hard drive is going to remain powered off in case we need to use it in the future to replace a failed drive in the RAID.
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