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arm-push

Looking for an enclosure for espressobin

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I'm looking for an enclosure for my espressobin. I tried to find a suitable enclosure based on it's form factor Pico ITX, but couldn't find any.

Is anyone here using an enclosure for the board? Thanks.

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4 hours ago, arm-push said:

I'm looking for an enclosure for my espressobin

 

I was thinking about this for quite some time - need to replace a Cubietruck. 

A plastic housing similar to the one used for Helios-4 but half the size would be an option. But then you may need the fan.

I will buy a metal housing 120x80x45mm and establish a thermal connection between processor / switch and the housing.

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6 hours ago, ebin-dev said:

 

I was thinking about this for quite some time - need to replace a Cubietruck. 

A plastic housing similar to the one used for Helios-4 but half the size would be an option. But then you may need the fan.

I will buy a metal housing 120x80x45mm and establish a thermal connection between processor / switch and the housing.

 

@ebin-dev

How are you going to mount/place the board? using some plastic mounts? Thanks.

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6 hours ago, arm-push said:

How are you going to mount/place the board? using some plastic mounts? Thanks.

 

4 cylindrical spacers made of Aluminium and screws through them to fix the board to the housing should do the job.

To cut the front and back panels correctly is the more difficult task.

I try to find someone to produce and sell that with an obligation to donate 1 USD to Armbian per housing sold.

 

Edit: Something like this with different dimensions.

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8 hours ago, ebin-dev said:

 

4 cylindrical spacers made of Aluminium and screws through them to fix the board to the housing should do the job.

To cut the front and back panels correctly is the more difficult task.

I try to find someone to produce and sell that with an obligation to donate 1 USD to Armbian per housing sold.

 

Edit: Something like this with different dimensions.

 

It would be great if you can find someone who can build cases for the board.

Have you had experience with using these enclosures? 

The cylindrical spacers you referred are some thing similar to this I guess?

Thanks.

 

Edit:

I think I got your idea. drill 4 holes in the enclosure and install 4 spacers or standoffs to mount the board. Then use copper shims on the SOC and Topaz switch to use the enclosure as a big heat sink. looks like a good DIY project for me. :)

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You got it - but this is not my idea - only one of several alternatives.

But the part cutting the correct ports into the front and back panels will take some time if you do it manually.

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6 minutes ago, ebin-dev said:

You got it - but this is not my idea - only one of several alternatives.

But the part cutting the correct ports into the front and back panels will take some time if you do it manually.

 

Yep. That's true. Modifying front and back panels will be difficult. 

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I bought an enclosure, copper shims from aliexpress. Copper shims were placed on the SoCs to use the enclosure as the heat sink.

Final results are amazing. The enclosure doesn't even get warm. :beer:

 

So my conclusion is if anyone is going to build a casing for espressobin, The casing should be metal which can be used as the heat sink for the SoCs.

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6 hours ago, arm-push said:

I bought an enclosure, copper shims from aliexpress.

 

Do you have links to what you purchased? I'm still waiting for mine to arrive, so I can't take my own measurements. How long are your spacers and how thick are your shims?

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12 hours ago, chrisf said:

 

Do you have links to what you purchased? I'm still waiting for mine to arrive, so I can't take my own measurements. How long are your spacers and how thick are your shims?

 

Casing:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-piece-silvery-58-180-130mm-2-28-7-09-5-12inch-top-sales-extrusion-aluminum/1176445254.html

The casing is a bit large for the espresso bin. My initial plan was to attach a 4cm fan, but I think it's not required, at least for now.

 

Copper Shims: 2mm thick

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/10Pcs-15-15mm-0-4m-Heatsink-Copper-Shim-Thermal-Pads-for-Laptop-IC-Chipset-GPU-CPU/32807679528.html

I had to do some work on them.

Two surfaces of the shim are not identical. The shim has a very very small arc which is not visible unless if you put it on a flat surface and see whether you see light passes through between the flat surface and the shim.

I used 4 shims. 2 shims for the CPU SoC and the other 2 for the Switchs SoC. I had to use a small hand file to make bottom surface of the shims which touch with the enclosure flat.

 

I ordered spacers, but they didn't work out well. So I used 4 bolts instead of spacers. See the photo I attached.

I must tell this is the first time that I'm doing this kind of tinkering stuff and I'm not good at it. :P

Anyway if you have any questions, let me know.

espressobin.JPG

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We have produced a few minimalistic housings for the EspressoBin (120x42x81mm) with space for a 2.5" drive using a CNC molding cutter.

Passive cooling of the processor and topaz switch by thermal coupling to the housing works well (housing temperature 31 degrees, ambient temperature 20 degrees).

20171123_140528r.jpg

20171123_140534r.jpg

20171123_140539r.jpg

20171123_140552r.jpg

 

 

20171115_194325[1] (768x1024).jpg

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9 hours ago, tkaiser said:

Nice. How did you solve the problem of the stupid Molex male power connector? And do you sell these things?

 

The problem with the Molex male power connector was solved with a soldering iron :-)) - the male power connector at the end of a sata power cable was replaced by a female one - a not so difficult task, since the pins can be removed from the female connector.

 

If there is some interest in these enclosures, I will try to find a company to produce and sell them (with an obligation to donate 1 USD/ 1 EUR to Armbian per housing sold). 

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2 hours ago, ebin-dev said:

If there is some interest in these enclosures, I will try to find a company to produce and sell them

 

Sounds like a good idea to me even if I would prefer a somewhat different enclosure approach following your thermal design with a huge metal bottom plate (might even look like this) but combined with cheap 3D printed top parts.

 

Anyway, please keep us informed and if you come up with an enclosure for sale then it would be IMO worth to 'feature' this somehow...

 

Wrt the 'Molex problem' I did some research some time ago to find a cable with female Molex connector suitable to connect to a disk's SATA power port. My first hit on Aliexpress was even inexpensive but one person claimed the wires would be too thin which leads to 3.5" disks not spinning up. I really wonder why GlobalScale put the wrong Molex connector on the board...

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@tkaiser Thanks for your remarks and your support for this little project. 

 

With regard to the passive thermal design it is advantageous to have a huge heat sink to keep the temperature low. The huge metal bottom plate that you suggested would probably also be able to do the job. I am not sure how this would look like if combined with a cheap acrylic enclosure.

 

Regarding the Molex connector - it is actually not a problem if you have the proper cable. For some reason these power connectors are still popular - you even find two of them in the helios4 (SOM designed and manufactured by solid-run):

 

 

helios4_board_legend_c2abad4e-bb08-4581-a52e-b98cd9ff545f_1024x1024@2x.png

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1 hour ago, ebin-dev said:

Regarding the Molex connector - it is actually not a problem if you have the proper cable.

 

And guess what: I have a huge box here labeled 'PC-Schraddel' (PC junk), just checked it for those cables and to my surprise I found in there my EspressoBin and also the right cable with 2 female Molex jacks:

ESPRESSOBin_Barracuda.jpg

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17 hours ago, tkaiser said:

How did you solve the problem of the stupid Molex male power connector?

Looks like it can be easily solved by cutting a cable with 2 female Molex connectors from an old ATX power supply and then using a pretty common Molex male to SATA power cables or adapters.

You may also find a cable with both female Molex and SATA power on it, but AFAIK modern ATX power supplies usually have separate cables for Molex and SATA power, especially since "full" SATA power has additional 3.3V line not present on 4pin Molex connectors.

 

5 hours ago, tkaiser said:

I really wonder why GlobalScale put the wrong Molex connector on the board.

You can call it "wrong" but I did a quick search and I couldn't find a Molex female connector (of this type) for soldering on PCB. Of course you could use any other connector there or solder a piece of cable to the PCB with a Molex female connector on the other end, but I'm not sure if those are better options than the current one.

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I was going to say 6- or 8-pin PCIe power would be a good connector, but that would be contrary to the cable standard, adding 5V. Although, the cables are easy to get without chopping things up...

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21 hours ago, ebin-dev said:

We have produced a few minimalistic housings for the EspressoBin (120x42x81mm) with space for a 2.5" drive using a CNC molding cutter.

Passive cooling of the processor and topaz switch by thermal coupling to the housing works well (housing temperature 31 degrees, ambient temperature 20 degrees).

 

Wow. This is very nice. From my experience I can also agree with you that the passive cooling of the CPU and the topaz switch by thermal coupling to the metal housing gives the best result. This is very nice.

When I built my casing, I used copper shims between the enclosure and the SoCs. As I remember, you cannot just mount the enclosure on top of the SoCs as the soldering joints touch with the enclosure, so you need something in between the enclosure and the SoCs. What is your method? I would love to buy an enclosure.

 

A Suggestion,

I'm planning to attach a Mini PCIe to SATA 3.0 Expansion Card to the board. This will be a common use case for a NAS. It's great if you could consider another model where there will be (a) hole/holes to pass SATA cables in to the enclosure so that cables can be plugged in to the expansion card. Thanks.

Edited by arm-push
Added a suggestion

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10 hours ago, ebin-dev said:

If there is some interest in these enclosures, I will try to find a company to produce and sell them (with an obligation to donate 1 USD/ 1 EUR to Armbian per housing sold). 

 

I'm definitely interested!  I'll be watching this thread in hopes this becomes real.

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2 hours ago, arm-push said:

When I built my casing, I used copper shims between the enclosure and the SoCs. As I remember, you cannot just mount the enclosure on top of the SoCs as the soldering joints touch with the enclosure, so you need something in between the enclosure and the SoCs. What is your method?

 

We just use one Aluminium spacer (about 2mm thick) with thermal conducting paste on both sides.

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13 hours ago, arm-push said:

It's great if you could consider another model where there will be (a) hole/holes to pass SATA cables in to the enclosure so that cables can be plugged in to the expansion card.

 

The top of the enclosure is an Aluminium sheet - it can be removed entirely if you wish to access an expansion card.

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2 hours ago, ebin-dev said:

 

The top of the enclosure is an Aluminium sheet - it can be removed entirely if you wish to access an expansion card.

 

The expansion card will be like this. Instead of keeping the enclosure open all the time, it would be great if  we could have an additional hole in a slide plate which can be covered by a hole cover cap or something similar to that.

Screenshot from 2017-12-20 15-09-46.png

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1 hour ago, arm-push said:

Instead of keeping the enclosure open all the time, it would be great if  we could have an additional hole in a slide plate which can be covered by a hole cover cap or something similar to that.

It's Aluminium, so just drill in a hole, saw a bit, sand the borders and you're done. And use tape if not needed (yeah, I'm one of the guys who never care about the look of enclosures since I hate boring equipment being exposed. All of such stuff is hidden in closets/cabinets here)

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6 minutes ago, tkaiser said:

It's Aluminium, so just drill in a hole, saw a bit, sand the borders and you're done. And use tape if not needed (yeah, I'm one of the guys who never care about the look of enclosures since I hate boring equipment being exposed. All of such stuff is hidden in closets/cabinets here)

 

Yes, I thought about that as well. Since this has not hit production yet, I'm trying to push ebin-dev to consider this option so we will not need additional work on the enclosure. :D

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1 hour ago, arm-push said:

 

Yes, I thought about that as well. Since this has not hit production yet, I'm trying to push ebin-dev to consider this option so we will not need additional work on the enclosure. :D

 

No need to (arm-)push someone. Suggestions are always reflected :-)) .

I have contacted the supplier of the enclosure today - they can punch and mill almost anything. 

The next step is to send them the .stp files and ask for an offer (an extra slot could easily be produced too).

 

If you intend to use the mPCIe expansion card together with up to 4 hard disks actually the helios4 acrylic housing would be more suitable. I have test printed one enclosure on August 22nd but it was pretty expensive (and I do not like the fans):

 

Helios4_Gehaeuse.jpg

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11 minutes ago, ebin-dev said:

it was pretty expensive (and I do not like fans

 

Me too. If I would want to combine an EspressoBin with a bunch of big disks I would probably follow the GnuBee design https://forum.openmediavault.org/index.php/Thread/20053 (please check whole thread, the vibration discussion the GnuBee folks obviously also read, and how they came up with a different design then). One MDF piece as bottom, two large metal plates to attach HDDs and spread heat away from them (most HDDs are designed for this), top open or maybe a punched plate on it. And some vibration rings. Parts for a few bucks and a few holes to drill.

 

But since powering the whole setup becomes the most challenging part using an old multi-bay NAS enclosure (available for free at your local scrap yard ;) ) might be an even better idea. One of the nice EspressoBin details is that the board fits pretty nicely in almost any larger enclosure.

 

Some multi disk performance numbers with EspressoBin and single lane PCIe SATA controllers available here: https://forum.armbian.com/topic/4845-marvell-based-4-ports-mpci-sata-30/ (RAID performance will suck somehow but since playing RAID at home is stupid anyway this doesn't matter at all)

 

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54 minutes ago, ebin-dev said:

No need to (arm-)push someone. Suggestions are always reflected :-)) .

:P

 

54 minutes ago, ebin-dev said:

an extra slot could easily be produced too

 

:beer:

 

54 minutes ago, ebin-dev said:

If you intend to use the mPCIe expansion card together with up to 4 hard disks actually the helios4 acrylic housing would be more suitable. I have test printed one enclosure on August 22nd but it was pretty expensive (and I do not like the fans):

 

No, I'm not going to use all the 4 ports. Not going to implement RAID as well. Actually what I ordered has only 2 SATA ports. I attached the 4 SATA ports image to give you an idea about the requirement.

I actually have a IcyDock enclosure for hard disks. I have removed the original fan and attached a noctua fan to it to reduce the noise.

Therefore in my scenario, I need to connect the SATA cables coming out from the espressobin enclosure to the IcyDock SATA ports

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