Homelab Pi Rack upgrade, just in time for AnsibleFest 2022

AnsibleFest is fast approaching, and this year it'll finally be back in person, in Chicago. Since that's a short jaunt from St. Louis, I'll be headed up to talk about my Homelab this year!

More specifically, I'll be giving a talk titled Ansible for the Homelab, and I'll walk through how I have at least part of my sprawling homelab environment automated using Ansible.

Raspberry Pi Rack Pro by UCTRONICS

Two Macs in my Rack: Mac Studio rackmount review

No stranger to rack-mounting Macs that were never meant for the task, I reached out to MyElectronics to see if they had a rackmount solution for the Mac Studio when I bought mine in March.

They said they were already working on a Mac Studio Rack Mount system, and they'd gladly send me one to review, since they knew how much I loved rackmounting my M1 Mac mini and all the Raspberry Pis I run in my homelab.

MyElectronics Mac Studio rackmount with M1 Mac mini

ASUSTOR Lockerstor 4RS Review - 1U 4-drive NAS

Over on the Geerling Engineering YouTube channel, my Dad and I just posted a video where we installed the ASUSTOR Lockerstor 4RS - AS6504RS at his radio station, to increase their raw network storage capacity from 4 to 16 TB:

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In the video, we focused on the installation, though I highlighted the unit's top-line features at the beginning.

In this blog post, I'll quickly recap the main features, then give more impressions of the unit from our experience setting it up, and my Dad's use of it at the station since we recorded the video.

Review: MyElectronics Raspberry Pi hot-swap rack system

MyElectronics Raspberry Pi Rack mount system

MyElectronics, a small business in the Netherlands, specializes in small computer rackmount solutions. They sent me these two racks (a 1U and 2U Raspberry Pi rack) and asked me to test them out and compare them to the 3D Printed Raspberry Pi Rack I built earlier this year, based on a design by Russ Ross.

They also have a 3U Raspberry Pi rackmount unit, but I won't be reviewing that here.

The contents of this review are summarized in this video I posted on YouTube:

My 6-node 1U Raspberry Pi rack mount Cluster

Now that I have a half-height rack and a 3D Printer, I figured I should finally move all my Raspberry Pis from sitting in odd places in my office to the rack. And what better way than to print my own 1U Raspberry Pi Rack mount unit?

6 Node Raspberry Pi 1U Rack Mount enclosure - 3D Printed for Pi 4 model B

The rack unit you see above was assembled from 6 'frames', 6 hot-swappable Pi carrier trays, 2 rack mount ears, and a couple lengths of threaded rod for rigidity.

It was printed from these plans from russross on Thingiverse; Russ Ross also made an assembly video, and shows how you can build a 2U 12-Pi enclosure using the same basic design, with interchangeable Pi trays!


There is more detail and a full walkthrough of my home rack in this video:

Taking control of the Pi PoE HAT's overly-aggressive fan

I am starting to rack up more Pis (quite literally) using the official Pi PoE HAT to save on cabling.

The one thing I hate most about those little HATs is the fact the fans spin up around 40°C, and then turn off a few seconds later, once the temperature is back down to 39 or so, all day long.

I'd be happy to let my Pis idle around 50-60°C, and only have the little whiny fans come on beyond those temperatures. Even under moderate load, the Pi rarely goes above 55°C in my basement, where there's adequate natural convection, so the fans would only really be necessary under heavy load.