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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Ok, I broke down and bought a demo machine to see what I could do with it. I decided to try and make an Esata enclousure out of it. I wanted to save the hot swapping if I could, so went shopping for drive trays. I wound up getting some HP 9000 scsi drive trays that I modified to work in the MSS. They work but if I had it to do over again, I would still be looking. I had to slim down the rails and cut the them shorter. I had to cut the front off the trays to close the door on the MSS. Too much work, but they do hot swap and fit fairly well. I modified the stock MSS power supply to get 4 pin molex connectors on it. That was a fairly easy mod. I now turned my attention to something to plug the drives into. Many different options are available but I chose to take the backplane out of the CFI, mainly because I had it here and it has an integral port multiplier in the backplane. The backplane has the same spread, drive to drive, as the MSS and the CFI doesn't need a backplane because the drives are screwed in and can use a stardard port mutiplier with cables. I mounted the backplane and proceeded to test it. Much to my surprise it worked correctly the first time. Put a couple of 15mm fans in the MSS to gain more space in the back. Figured out what wires I needed to attach to the MSS board to keep lights going and slapped it back together. I now have a esata enclosure which matches the MSS and has plenty of space left for more drives, maybe usb.


Attachments:
File comment: All stripped and ready to go. I did wind up drilling out the rivets and taking the back off for more working space
IMG_0004.JPG
IMG_0004.JPG [ 110.68 KiB | Viewed 22081 times ]
File comment: 4 drive trays modified - it was a bit much
IMG_0007.JPG
IMG_0007.JPG [ 188.91 KiB | Viewed 22081 times ]
File comment: Modified power supply
IMG_0008.JPG
IMG_0008.JPG [ 157.67 KiB | Viewed 22081 times ]
File comment: Completed unit
IMG_0010.JPG
IMG_0010.JPG [ 190.34 KiB | Viewed 22081 times ]
File comment: Just an esata connector coming out the back. Need to learn how to surface solder or ditch the lights
IMG_0011 (2).JPG
IMG_0011 (2).JPG [ 175.33 KiB | Viewed 22081 times ]
File comment: Doors open on MSS PM
IMG_0013.JPG
IMG_0013.JPG [ 182.34 KiB | Viewed 22082 times ]
File comment: PM hooked uo to a test machine
IMG_0012.JPG
IMG_0012.JPG [ 122.25 KiB | Viewed 22082 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Why couldn't you just re-use the stock drive trays?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:35 pm 
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The Demo units don't come with stock trays and you can't buy them anyplace that I could find.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Here are both the MSS and the Port Multiplier, side by side with a screen shot of both in operation.


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IMG_0001.JPG
IMG_0001.JPG [ 138.69 KiB | Viewed 22051 times ]
esatabox.jpg
esatabox.jpg [ 100.75 KiB | Viewed 22050 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:53 pm 
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That's very cool, erail, thanks for sharing. Do you have more pictures of how the backplane ended up working in the case, and how the eSATA connector hooks into it? It also appears you left the HP motherboard in, is that primarily to power the fans and LEDs? The LEDs obviously have no smarts in them to change color, but it looks great to have them on of course. Lastly, I'm curious about your USB comment, there's no way to utilize the USB ports on the eSATA enclosure, is there? Except for powering ThinkGeek USB rocket launchers and fans, maybe. :D

Great mod, thanks for sharing! I was wondering how long before somebody pulled this off, and I have to admit it was longer than I thought it would be.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:12 pm 
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I'll take some pictures of the backplane the next time I have it apart, but it really, just is a circuit board with the 4 male sata power and signal connectors on the front and 2 female molex power connectors on the back with a normal sata connection in the middle back and of course all the port multiplier circuitry. The single sata connection on the back feeds the port multiplier which feeds the front sata connections. The board is just about as big as the bay opening and was a trivial task to mount. I just fashioned some brackets put the drives in so they attached to the backplane to get relative positioning and drilled some holes in the drive bay opening, using pop rivets to fasten to the drive bay. If you noticed, I put a 12v power runner on the power supply with 2 molex connectors - one drives a Y with L shaped molex males for the backplane and the other drives 2 SilenX 80mm x 80mm x 15mm fans. Works really well. I'm only using the standby wire with a ground wire off the 20 pin power connector to power the lights. I don't believe you can use anything else because the mother board is shorted out by the full solder flow without component insertion on the demos. I beleive you get back a bad power signal because when 20 pin is plugged in, the standby power works for the lights but you can't bring the full power supply on line by shorting the green wire(power on) with a ground. So, basically I just use the standby wire for the lights and the power-on wire back to a switch with a ground wire to bring the power supply on line and power the backplane and drives/fans thru the molex connectors. The sata cable is just a normal sata connector which plugs into the backplane and an Esata female connector on the back. I really don't need the motherboard at all except for the leds. Unfortunately, the CFI board has all the resistors on it and drive 1.8 volts to the led boards and HP drives 5 volts to the boards with the resistors on the led boards themselves. The CFI leds are thru pin leds while the HP's are really tiny surface mount leds. I'm not that good to change them out or bypass the resistors. The USB comment was more that I can run an esata connection and could run a usb connection from the server to the PM unit to utilitize a drive or a drive and a hub.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:43 pm 
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This is totally what I wanted to do to my extra case. Good job erail, I would love to see more pictures. any advice for when I try this mod?


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 5:06 pm 
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T-Bone wrote:
This is totally what I wanted to do to my extra case. Good job erail, I would love to see more pictures. any advice for when I try this mod?


There are 2 ways to approach this - 1. use a back plane out of a 4-bay esata box, I think they are all on the same stardard for separation bay to bay. If you go this way you must come up with some kind of drive tray. I used the HP 9000 trays but they were a real pain to prep each one for use in the MSS. Maybe there are easier drive trays out there to utilize. 2. Use an aftermarket port multiplier like the addonics 5-1 port multiplier. (the 4-1 doesn't allow individuals drives to show) and then hardwire the drives or make your own sata backplane. Right now the make your own seems like the way I should have gone but what is done is done. By the way the CFI box I used is now back to a PM esata box by using the an addonics PM and wires. That was an easy decision since the CFI box requires the drives be screwed in so a backplane makes no sense at all.

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 5:48 pm 
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erail, what do you mean by CFI?

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 6:09 pm 
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CFI is a Chinese manufacturing company, I beleive the Sans Digital 4 Drive Esata is the same unit just branded differently.

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 7:02 pm 
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So, where does one obtain this CFI backplane? Can it be ordered somewhere or do you need to scrap a CFI unit?

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 8:16 pm 
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JohnBick wrote:
So, where does one obtain this CFI backplane? Can it be ordered somewhere or do you need to scrap a CFI unit?

That was my next question. I have one of the demo units and was going to do something different but I may use it for this.

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 9:16 pm 
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I don't know if it can be ordered or not, I had a unit on hand and used that backplane. I know you can make your own backplane using parts and wire on a drilled radio shack board, but you would still have to get a port multiplier. The neat thing about using the CFI backplane is that it has the port multiplier in the circuitry of the backplane. I just ordered an Addonics port multiplier and put it in the CFI box, so I didn't lose anything - use the mediasmart/CFI on one machine and the CFI/Addonics on another. I haven't seen a Sans Digital up close and personal but just by looking at it, it appears to be a CFI box. Maybe Stanley knows a source of the backplanes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:10 pm 
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erail Hows the esata storage working for you now? you still happy with all the work you put into it? I mean do you wish you would have went a diffrent route? I am thinking about undertaking this venture myself in the next month or so. I need to build up some storage to prepare for the 2.5 official update installation. This will enable me to back everything up before I start.

Yakuza - Since you have so much experiance with the EX47x. I was wondering if you knew of a drive caddy that was closest to the media smarts drive caddy that I could use to complete this project? I would hope that HP either will make this part avail or have a part that is at least similar.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:39 pm 
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T-bone, it is working fine, seems to work better than the CFI if that is possible. I have had no problems powering down, replacing drives, powering up and keeps the drives at the same temperature as the main unit. In the CFI, the drives ran a little warmer than the mediasmart. Also the temp comes thru on smart data. I'm happy with it.

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