The "Tux Server Project"

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

By Michael Charrier
Posted on October 4, 2003
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Bringing All The Hardware Together

It's time to bring all the subsystems together. The disk array and controller join the power supply and motherboard are already in the case. Notice the right-angle PCI riser card that is used to squeeze the controller in. This was to prevent the controller from interfering with the CD-RW drive in the other half of the case. The top of the power supply was removed at this point for mounting the seventh hard drive

Also seen in this image is the delta-shaped IDE cable for the hard drives on the motherboard's secondary IDE channel. The original cable configuration that used 40-conductor IDE cable had to be folded to line up pin 1 on the cable to pin 1 on the hard drives. The resulting "knot" of cable was so thick, the case couldn't be closed. The "delta cable" solved that issue.

In the half of the case for the CD-RW drive, we mount the red power button (on right), reset button (middle), and socket for the power cord (on left). A little work with a file and three holes were all that was necessary for the cord socket and the reset button.; the power button easily snapped into the opening for the original power switch.

At this point, I ran a temperature sensor into the case, closed it up, and ran the unit at idle for 24 hours to test airflow in the case. The sensor was placed against the heatsink on the CPU so I could get an idea of if it was cool enough. After 24 hours, the temperature stood at 65.6 degrees C (150 degrees Farenheit), well above the 45C to 50C range reported by several tech sites. I cut away another section of the Faraday shield and drilled holes in the case to improve airflow to the CPU. Another 24 hour run and the CPU heatsink temp was at 54.4C (130 degrees F), still above the 50C mark.

After a little investigation with a flashlight and peering through the air holes, I found that the cable to the CD-RW drive was being sucked onto the CPU fan by the fan itself. I put in a ribbon cable guide and ran the cable under the shielded power cord to prevent the ribbon cable from blocking the fan (visible in the next picture). After another 24 hour run, the CPU now runs very cool at 30.0C (86 degrees F).

Here's an inside view of the finished product. Every thing is connected and the system is loading RedHat 8.0 on to the drive on top of the power supply.

Front and back views of the unit closed. In the front image you can see the power, link, LAN activity, and disk activity lights are lit. In the rear view, you can see the power socket at the bottom left and how much of the I/O shield that was cut away for the socket to fit.

Here's my home network with the Tux Server (bottom middle) connected. The server is plugged into the UPS at the bottom of the image. The Tux Server monitors the UPS thru its single serial port.