NAS/fileserver project—RP64 in 1U ATX/ITX case (comments welcome!)
I've made a couple of NAS out of the RockPro64, first starting with a test bed described here:

When I first powered it I used a modified 650w ATX PSU to power both the RockPro64 board and the (4) HDDs pictured above. You have to trick the ATX PSU into believing it is plugged into an ATX board by placing a 5 ohm, 10w (or as I found a higher wattage) resistor across pins 3&4, and closing pins 14 & 15 with a switch or hardwiring them closed and using the power switch on the PSU to shut everything off.

Later on I switched to a 120w 12v well power supply meant for powering LED ribbon lights, and modifying the RockPro64 SATA power adapter by splicing it to another one to get (4) SATA power connectors. Note I did not split after the inline buck converters that come with the adapter! Rather I spliced between the 4-Pin header and the "y" splice on the premade (2) port adapter as shipped from Pine64. By luck the 120w power supply came with the appropriately wired barrel plug. The 4-Pin header on the RockPro64 board is straight through to the barrel plug. I also now use my own buck converters to power the SATA instead of the Pine64 SATA power cable.

I've since enclosed one of my NAS in the RockPro64 case and have another Frankensteined out of the above linked HDD rack that was salvaged out of a Rosewill PC case. The Frankensteined NAS uses the RockPro64 premium case ( which I cut slots into and drilled holes in to give access to the GPIO, the eMMC module, the 12v 4-Pin header, and the PCIe header to which is attached a right-angle riser to. Without a fan, the case dissipates heat satisfactorily, and is sturdy enough to be drilled into and modified as needed.

Since both of my NAS run headless, I wired a 3.5mm stereo jack to the UART pins on the GPIO and it works with the serial console for the PineBookPro and PinePhone. This aides greatly in troubleshooting. I also have a single-pole switch wired to the pin headers meant to be jumped should one want to use an SD card instead of the eMMC.

Since the crude NAS, I have also switched to a PCIe to SATA port adapter based on a JMB585 chipset instead of the Marvell 88SE9230 because it works with the Debian and Ubuntu based OSes I've been using. It also works with FreeBSD. I have spent more time trying out and configuring operating systems than I have with the physical hardware. A soldering iron, wire strippers, wire cutters, a drill, appropriate drill bits, a ruler and a metal scribe, and hacksaw, are all the tools that are necessary for doing the metal work and splicing.

To be certain on an ATX PSU conversion, the pinout on the plug meant to mate with the ATX board is as follows:


where the "u" represents the chamfered plugs and the "x" represent the square plugs. The above layout is for a 20 pin plug, there is also a 24 pin plug that has 2 pins placed to the right of the above drawing. Those can be ignored for numbering. as pictured the above header pin "1" is the bottom row, 1st pin in the 1st column to the left:

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

For our purposes the pinout numbering is the same on a 24 pin header except the 4 additional pins take up the 2 columns to the right of the #20 column. The 24 pin headers are designed to be backwards compatible with 20 pin ATX headers. They can often have the extra 4 pins easily broken off from the header, or come already detached.

Because the resistors get hot, I opted for running (2) 10ohm 25w resistors in parallel, which gives an effective 5 ohm, 50w output and capacity respectively. The type I used were "power resistors", that is to say they had aluminum finned casings, suitable to be attached to a heatsink. While my total wattage is excessive, I found using 5w and 10w ceramic resistors to be inadequate, they would very quickly heat up past their designed operating temperature range. Since I've stopped using the ATX power supply to power my NAS, it makes for a handy benchtop power supply, supplying 12v, 5v, and 3.3v. I took the case off mine and found all the three voltage ranges shared the same respective circuitry, and thus could tie all the voltage range wires together, and all of it shared the same ground. This may be different on other ATX PSUs so be mindful of that.

There should be no reason the RockPro64 doesn't fit nicely into a case, and if you are hesitant to drill the 1U case to place standoffs that fit the RockPro64 board, tie into one of the existing standoffs to secure the board, and use additional stand offs to support the weight of the RockPro64, you can purchase all female standoffs, and matching screws. The size that fits best is M2.5. Also, if you live in a dry environment, you may have to pay special attention to grounding, since the board will restart when "zapped". It gets quite dry in Minnesota, where I live, during the winter. Found I needed to make sure I was grounded before touching the board or case or my NAS would reset any time I touched them.
Linux is a hobby. I can quit anytime for good just like last time, I swear!

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