The "Tux Server Project"

or "Roll-Your-Own" Network Attached Storage Device

By Michael Charrier
Posted on October 4, 2003
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Building the Disk Array

The first step in assembling the hardware for the disk array is to do a bit of disassembling. Removal of the PC slot cover is easily done by removing two screws and nuts. The next few steps are very time consuming. Using a 15W soldering iron to prevent damage to other components on the controller, we carefully remove the two blue IDE connectors.

Now take two 44-pin to 40-pin laptop hard drive adapters and desolder the 40-pin male connectors. Also desolder the power wires.

Next solder on the 40-pin right-angle connectors and heat the IDE key pin and remove it with a pair of needle nose pliers. Resolder the power wires directly to the PCB.

Soldering the 44-pin to 40-pin adapters to the back of the SIIG controller PCB takes a great deal of patience. You may have to take a few breaks while doing this step.

Now things get back to being easy. First we add a cable-tie mounting base to the back of the controller. This is to prevent the PCB from touching and grounding out on the Ethernet/USB connector shield when the controller is connected to the motherboard via a right-angle PCI riser. Second, a small section of a Radio Shack PCB (RSPCB), the Multipurpose PC Board (Catalog # 276-150), is added by drilling holes in the controller PCB. The RSPCB is attached with plastic expander pins. To complete this step, solder a male floppy drive power connector to the RSPCB then the power power wires from the 44-pin to 40-pin adapters.

To complete the array controller, solder power wires for two 44-pin to 40-pin laptop hard drive adapters to the RSPCB. These will be used to connect power to the hard drives that will be connected to the motherboard IDE connectors. Note that one of the connectors has a 40-pin female to 40-pin female gender changer attached; this is for the secondary IDE channel on the motherboard. The other connector is for the hard drive that will be attached to the top of the power supply.

Two aluminum rackmount brackets provide the material for the mounting brackets for the hard drives. In the space above the power supply only 6 hard drives can fit due to the width of the Snap Server case. A quick run with the Dremel cuts the aluminum to the right height.