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Toaster RAID Returns, Better Than Ever

Finding The Right Power Supply

With the exception of Toaster RAID #1, the systems have all used an external "brick" power supply that is similar to what is used to power laptop PCs. Toaster RAIDs #2 and #3 had modest power requirements: 2.9 V for the CPU and 5/12 V leads for the drives, motherboard, and a small fan. Toaster RAIDs #2 and #3 are powered by a small 12 V supply that connects to a power distribution PCB inside the toaster that measures about 1.5" by 3.0" by 0.5".

Logic Supply, Mini-ITX.com, Polywell, and Mini-Box.com all have Web sites that offer a wealth of information about new compact internal distribution units and I quickly learned that Toaster RAID circa 2009 would need a more robust power supply. The power rating of the CPU alone was 45 W. There would be four instead of two drives, a high-RPM CPU fan, and a smaller fan to cool the Nvidia MCP78s chipset. A helpful technician at Polywell suggested I use a 12 V 110 W power supply with a new "pico PSU" internal power distribution unit. I also had a few 5 V/12 V Y-splitters and a couple of SATA 5 V/12 V HDD power adapters in hand.

This is the internal power distribution unit for the mini-ITX motherboard. It connects directly to the motherboard. A series of Y-connectors is attached to the 5 V/12 V lead to power the rest of the system.

The internal power distribution unit and the external 12 V/120 W power supply

Getting The System To Come Up

First I put Fedora and CentOS on the system. This was to make sure the system came up and the chipset, SATA, Ethernet, and other drivers were available, and that all the board components could be detected. This worked fine so I pulled down OpenFiler and FreeNAS. 

OpenFiler failed to detect the hard drives. FreeNAS installed fine, but failed to detect the Realtek NICs. Some quick Web research indicated that this was a known issue and could be fixed in one of the 32-bit daily builds of FreeNAS, which I downloaded and installed without issue. Using FreeNAS, I set up the system, created a RAID 5 array, and moved a bunch of files from my Mac and notebook to the new server.

  • I thought the idea in fitting a NAS into a toaster is that you plugged the disks through the bread slots!
    Reply
  • NateDawg80126
    "Is that Patrick Swayze!?" -Moses as he looked across the Red Sea.
    Reply
  • boostercorp
    ytoledano3I thought the idea in fitting a NAS into a toaster is that you plugged the disks through the bread slots!yeah it would ve been nice if you could just shove in two hot plug & play drives in there.
    Reply
  • gives a whole new meaning to "hot swappable" ;)
    Reply
  • Astara
    boostercorpyeah it would ve been nice if you could just shove in two hot plug & play drives in there.Imagine a backup-product like the various 'one-touch' backup offerings -- but in this case, you just push a drive into the toaster slot -- it begins the backup process, when done, it can eject** the drive. That sounds very sweet.

    **-raise drive, not physically throw it out of the toaster! :-)
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    Using the small 2.5" drives, there is easily room for eight to 12 drives.
    Then why not use some of the 640/750GB or 1.5/2TB drives?

    Any ways cool mod.
    Reply
  • ph3412b07
    ghetto-fab :D
    Reply
  • Here's a better one:
    http://www.embeddedarm.com/software/arm-netbsd-toaster.php
    Reply
  • arkadi
    Grate job, looks perfect mate.
    Reply
  • bustapr
    wouldve been cooler to put in a dvd drive in the bread slots.
    Reply