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NAS on Banana Pi - need advice on power supply


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I want to turn my Banana PI into a NAS. Since SSDs are still too small (or much too expensive for my purpose) I need to use a standard 3,5 HD and those will need that much power (on spin-on at least) that I can't use the Banana SATA to power up the HD, right?

 

Can those people that use banana pi et al. as NAS tell me what kind of external power supply they use with what type of connector? If you can recommend low-power HDs I'd like to hear that too.

 

Are there power supplys that can safely feed the Banana pi itself and the HD? Preferably without soldering the connectors?

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Armbian is a community driven open source project. Do you like to contribute your code?

I need to use a standard 3,5 HD and those will need that much power (on spin-on at least) that I can't use the Banana SATA to power up the HD, right?

 

Nope, it seems you've been fooled by the stupid guy who writes the 'documentation' for those Bananas: https://bananapi.gitbooks.io/bpi-m1/content/en/bpi-m1satainterface.html

 

3.5" HDD need 5V and 12V so you need a dual voltage PSU or a single voltage PSU with step-up or step-down converter. I followed Igor's recommendation of such a dual voltage PSU and am pretty happy with it (currently feeding a 3.5" SATA disk together with a Clearfog Pro): https://www.igorpecovnik.com/2013/12/10/micro-home-server/

 

Regarding the power requirements of your HDD you should also keep in mind that in the meantime more 2.5 HDD with more than 2 TB capacity are available (and happy with just 5V) and their spin-up, active and even idle consumption numbers are way lower compared with 3.5" HDD.

 

Also BPi has a design flaw and uses Micro USB to be powered which is pretty unreliable since the average Micro USB cable is crap. You can use the 'SATA power' connector to power the board but then you have to power the connected disk also directly from the PSU. Just search through the otherwise useless LeMaker forum. There are a lot of success stories available avoiding crappy Micro USB.

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I want to turn my Banana PI into a NAS. Since SSDs are still too small (or much too expensive for my purpose) I need to use a standard 3,5 HD and those will need that much power (on spin-on at least) that I can't use the Banana SATA to power up the HD, right?

 

Can those people that use banana pi et al. as NAS tell me what kind of external power supply they use with what type of connector? If you can recommend low-power HDs I'd like to hear that too.

 

Are there power supplys that can safely feed the Banana pi itself and the HD? Preferably without soldering the connectors?

 

I use a BPI M1 as file server. I use 2.5i disk because it doesn't need 12V, don't make noise, is less cumbersome ... and if I want better access time I use an SSD !

 

So, in order to avoid problems, I power the disk directly, that is : not threw BPI and I power the BPI through the disk power connector. Soldering is not a problem : you can use screw terminals. But you need the connectors and be sure of your polarity !

 

My experience with powering 5V boards and accessories is that you must avoid multiple connectors interfaces. Micro USB is not top, but USB-A is still worse and in fact there are very few connectors able to deliver peak power reliably on 5V. I use a PSUs with voltage adjustment capability and screw terminals and for a server, I use as little connectors as possible and I don't power accessories (USB or HDMI adapter) threw the board : only so were I able to solve stability problems.

 

In fact, I have had so many problems that from now on I will only use soldering and screw terminals !

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If you can recommend low-power HDs I'd like to hear that too.

 

 

I use a 2.5" 1TB Western Digital Blue on my CubieBoard2. It's powered from the CubieBoard2 and need no external power supply.

My drive use a maximum of 500mA. Each USB port can consume a maximum of 500mA and the board itself is supposed to use less than 600mA.

So your power supply should probably be more than 2.1A (a 3A power supply would probably do quite nicely, but it might also be expensive).

 

I STRONGLY recommend you NOT to purchase any of the cheap "12V" switch-mode power-supplies offered on eBay, Alibaba and wherever.

I purchased some for other purposes than powering harddisks, but when I measured them, some gave less than 12V, some gave more than 13V.

On most harddisks, there is a chip, which WILL BE FRIED if it gets much more than 12V and the drive WILL BE USELESS.

-I've heard several stories which applies to Seagate drives (in fact this happened to one of my brother's friends).

So if you want to play it safe, use a power supply from a PC or build your own if you know how to.

 

The WD Blue series are used in laptops; they're quite energy efficient and come in sizes up to 2TB (1TB is less than $100, 2TB is less than $200).

The WD Black series are performance drives, so they will consume a lot of energy.

The WD Red series are for RAID, and you do not want any of those either, because their hardware timing has been made specifically for RAID use.

-So if you choose a 2.5" Western Digital drive (which I've had very good experience with, never any problems, never a failing drive), then choose Blue.

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Owwie.  Not sure if I should respond to this FUD, but..

 

Please see http://www.seagate.com/staticfiles/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/desktop-hdd-data-sheet-ds1770-1-1212us.pdf

 

These common 3 1/2 drives wants +5v +- 5% and +12v +10%,-7.5%.

 

Let me do the math.  That's 4.75V -> 5.25V and 11.1V -> 13.2V.

 

Now, i don't recommend the cheap power supplies without a proper, non-forgery UL rating out of caution, but a hard drive is a little more resilient than some people think.

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Owwie.  Not sure if I should respond to this FUD, but..

Fear Uncertainty and Doubt ?

 

That has absolutely nothing to do with my post.

No, what you're actually doing is indirectly calling me a liar and thus you are offending me.

I'm providing information that will help people keep their data and avoid years of regret.

My brother's friend had ALL his photos (of his children and their early years) on his backup harddisk and when he finally connected this drive, a chip was fried on the board; I do not remember the name of this chip, but I do remember that he had all his photos on that drive, because he's me for help.

I had to direct him to a data-rescue company, he sent in the drive, but he does not want to proceed just yet, because it will cost DKK 11000,- in order to get the drive rescued (that's around £1222 by the way).

Most shops in Denmark ship their drives to Ireland (for instance here, here, here or here) and get them fixed.

I told him that he's lucky, because 20 years go, it would cost DKK 1000000,- to get a harddisk recovered.

There are companies living only of doing data recoveries, and the reason the prices are so high, is that it's a difficult procedure plus very few people can actually do it. I can say immediately: Forget the DIY approach unless you really want the bill to be expensive or your data isn't really important. Yes, I've attempted to do the swap myself using two identical Rhodime disks back in the days where they were only 270GB, but I failed miserably and had to throw both drives away; note: the Rhodime disks were bought from the same shop at the same time so it's likely they're from the same batch, but that didn't work for me This was in 1993.

After the Rhodime event, I started to back up my data.

-So wouldn't I be a bastard not to warn people against this ?

Yes, I know that people aren't that stupid that they only keep one backup of their important data, but the majority of people in this world do not even make backups! -And sometimes people can't really afford purchasing an extra harddisk for backup, because they simply do not have a high enough income; these people are the same people who would probably try and save money on a power supply, which is the worst place you can save money; you end up not saving anything at all - be that the harddisk, the data or money.

 

Besides, you can't guarantee that a harddrive can tolerate 10% overvoltage. The normal tolerance for electronics devices are 5%, so why would 10% suddenly apply to ALL harddrives ?

But seagate's motor driver in particular tend to get fried when it gets overvoltage, perhaps it can handle 13V on a daily basis, but one day, when the voltage spikes (because the switchmode supply from china does not have a "ceiling"), the voltage reaches 15V and the motor driver's very likely fried.

 

You can try searching google for these words:

harddisk motor driver overvoltage

I get around 33400 results, which should speak for itself.

 

Again, I recommend not saving money on cheap power supplies. They're tempting, but is it worth it frying a $200 drive by saving $20 on a power supply ?

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Just my 2 Cents: The dual voltage PSU Igor and me use shows pretty stable 12V even at spin-up (this is when the usual 3.5" HDD needs a lot on the 12V rail, 5V are usually used for electronics and the motor to position the heads so increase in 5V demand happens with a lot of (random) disk activity).

 

And regarding Western Digital HDDs I strongly recommend to do a simple web search first for 'wd lcc problem' to learn how/whether to prevent constant parking/unramping the heads. We usually use 2.5" Samsung/Seagate with small ARM servers and there the following (added to /etc/rc.local) leads to the desired behaviour (not parking/unparking the heads constantly and sending the disk to standby/sleep after an amount of inactivity):

hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda
hdparm -S 60 /dev/sda

(Please note that hdparm works only flawlessly when disks are connected directly via SATA but not always when accessed through USB -- always check the used USB-to-SATA bridge first!)

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I want to turn my Banana PI into a NAS. Since SSDs are still too small (or much too expensive for my purpose) I need to use a standard 3,5 HD and those will need that much power (on spin-on at least) that I can't use the Banana SATA to power up the HD, right?

 

Can those people that use banana pi et al. as NAS tell me what kind of external power supply they use with what type of connector? If you can recommend low-power HDs I'd like to hear that too.

 

Are there power supplys that can safely feed the Banana pi itself and the HD? Preferably without soldering the connectors?

 

A board like this can be used to power the Cubietruck and a 3.5" HDD, it does 5V output through the USB ports and takes 12V input through a standard plug (5.5mm I believe). I imagine it would work with any one of these boards - you'd have to be very careful about the polarity on the 12V connectors though, those are different sometimes.

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A board like this

 

Beware: CubieTech, LinkSprite, the Banana folks and Xunlong use all the same SATA connector for their A20 boards (same 2 pin JST header for power) but polarity differs between the former and the latter. So you can use this CubieTech step-down converter board with Cubieboards and pcDuino boards but not with Bananas or A20 Orange Pi without changing polarity on 5V supply cable!

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Could a 5V power supply and separate 12V power supply be wired directly to molex-SATA then be used to power a 3.5" drive? I am not sure myself.

 

Seems weird to have two plugs in the wall to power a drive or two... but would that configuration work assuming you wired the molex's four connections correctly? 

 

I have a half dozen UL listed 12v laying around and lots of USB chargers, im betting lots of people do as well. If this worked it would be a pretty cheap solution.

 

Cheers!

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Could a 5V power supply and separate 12V power supply be wired directly to molex-SATA then be used to power a 3.5" drive?

 

It can but take care that you keep GND separated (there are two GND connectors -- use the appropriate one for each voltage). SInce you mentioned 'USB charger' (I hate those since so much topics here about 'Armbian/software issues' are in reality result of using crappy USB chargers leading to all sort of instabilities) I would better take a good 12V@2.5A PSU combined with any of the recommended step-down converters mentioned at the end of this thread: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/3408-voltage-regulator-7805/

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No, what you're actually doing is indirectly calling me a liar and thus you are offending me.

 

I never called you a liar.  I was suggesting that making statements in BOLD like MORE THAN 12 VOLTS, WILL BE FRIED, WILL BE USELESS are not constructive.  I fend many comments from people who got back from the store with their shiny new DVM and immediately post "I JUST MEASURED MY POWER SUPPLY AND IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE 12 VOLTS AND IT IS 12.4312345 VOLTS!  I AM AFRAID!!"

 

I refrain from asking them not to post voltages to 6 digits and comfort them that 12 1/2 volts is fine.

 

I agree with you that it is silly to buy cheap, buy twice.  And that it is not wise to buy a cheap power supply.  That may be why I have a HP 6281A supply on the desk next to me powering my latest little board.

 

But, that does not mean I was suggesting you were telling a falsehood when I noted that modern computer equipment has a wider tolerance for input voltage than you indicated.  Due diligence and caution are justified.  Crappy power supplies are the bane of us all.  But can we please keep it to the level of appropriate caution and not try to entice uncertainty and doubt where not needed?

 

I bought a power brick a few years ago that provided 12V 2A and 5V 2A on a 4 pin molex plug.  I use it when I am running a hard drive on the bench with a usb->sata dongle.  I just checked and Amazon sells them for 15-20 USD.  Something like that might be a better choice for running a hard drive than combining two separate supplies, especially since that is what it is designed for.  There is nothing inherently wrong with using two supplies or using a regulator to drop 12V to 5V if you are handy and so inclined.  I just found it more convenient to have a single block plugged in to run power the drive instead of having two and a mess of wires to convert the outputs.

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I was suggesting that making statements in BOLD like MORE THAN 12 VOLTS, WILL BE FRIED, WILL BE USELESS are not constructive.

 

Alright, you're forgiven. :)

I simply used bold to make sure that part of the warning would be read (and I guess it worked).

 

I have 3 china-supplies here; all are with MOLEX connector ("5V" and "12V"), the one that used to output more than 13V now outputs 3V and 6V, which to me means: very unreliable.

 

I'm using one for powering a few fans for circulating heat in the living-room; I wouldn't use them on any harddisk, not even if the harddisk does not contain important data.

 

Here's the reason that I think they're unreliable:

Those chinese PSUs are made for 220V, which they have in China.

The power supply output is not protected against overvoltage or regulated; it's pretty much a fraction of the input voltage.

In Denmark, where I live, we officially have "230V", but as I live on an island, where the cables from the electricity company are very long (several kilometers under sea); that 3-phase cable powers the entire island and there's no NUL, only 3 phases, so the 3 phases are "balanced" on the island.

That means if some heavy machinery is started or stopped, the voltage in 1/3 of the sockets on the entire island will change.

I've measured voltages from 217V and all the way up to 247V.

That means ... if the power supply would ordinary deliver 12V on a 220V wall-socket, then it will now deliver 12V / 220V * 247V, which is 13.47V. Calculating with 5% extra on 12V, we'd have 12.6V, but even if the drive is guaranteed to withstand 10% extra, the 13.2V would be exceeded.

-This does not take the up to 300V spikes into account, which may occur when a refrigerator or electric motor stops.

 

What I do recommend is to get a power supply, which do have the correct markings (according to the laws in your country) - from an official electronics/computer shop (also in your own country). This still is not foolproof, but there's a much better chance for keeping your data and drives in a working state.

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Thank you all for your suggestions.

I have no idea how to handle voltage spikes, I always thought 230V would mean 230V, at least in Europe. Since fractal mentioned "UL rating" he seems to be american, so he sure can relax with only 110 V around.

 

I can't get the power supply Igor and Kaiser have, but I found a power supply from an old Sun Workstation with 2A on 12V and 5V. That should be reasonably good quality, shouldn't it? No idea how it handles spikes though ... 

The plug is a 6-pin mini-DIN connector like those used for PS/2 keyboards. I'd need to make an Y adapter with the right pins to connect to the Banana Pi and to the Banana Pi SATA cable.

 

1. Does anybody know what the power connector type on the Banana Pi and its SATA cable is called? I need the name to get the fitting counterparts.

 

2. Can I share the 5V output between Banana Pi and HD? 2A should be enough for both but will just connecting like Y work?

 

3. I can measure what's what on the power supply but which power should go to which pin on the Banana Pi and the HD (via the special SATA cable)?

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Sorry I forgot your first reply while reading through the rest. Having children around tends to break my concentration every 5 min and reading one page easily takes up several hours.

I found the connector name (JST XH in case anybody is interested) and I will read through the lemaker.org links.

Thanks again.

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