Raspberry Pi server goes 110V!

I rebuilt my RasPi server into a 110V powered box. This makes it a lot simpler to figure out how to connect it up. There is a power cord and a Ethernet cable sticking out one end of the Radio Shack project box.

RadioShack project case with Raspberry Pi and a power adapter inside.

RadioShack project case with Raspberry Pi and a power adapter inside.

I added an inline power switch for convenient shutdown. The modifications only took about an hour to carry out.

Tools needed:

  • Soldering Iron and Solder.
  • Screwdrivers to open PSU and to install the board mounts.
  • Drill with 3/16″ bit.
  • Crimping tool for header pins, can use needle nose pliers.
  • Wire cutters.
  • De-soldering bulb.

Parts needed:

  • Adafruit board edge mounts (7)
  • Adafruit 5.25V 1A USB PSU.
  • Radio Shack 3.25″ X 6.25″ X 2″ project enclosure
  • 110V/120V power cord 6 feet.
  • Leviton Inline rocker switch.
  • CAT5E Ethernet Cable 6ft.
Adafruit USB board (modded) and the Raspberry Pi board mounted to the aluminum plate of the project box.

Adafruit USB board (modded) and the Raspberry Pi board mounted to the aluminum plate of the project box.

The SD card sticks out the end of the box for easy access. The USB key in the picture is used as a swap drive, this protects the SD card from excessive writes.

The adapter opened up.

The adapter opened up.

The two red wires lead to the blades that insert into the wall outlet. The USB port was removed and a four pin (1/10th “) connector was attached to the four pin header on the RasPi. This RasPi has had both USB ports removed and replaced with 1/10th” pin headers.

As an added bonus power usage dropped from 6 watts to 5 watts. This is probably due to lower resistance in the 5V line between the adapter and the RasPi. It is only about 6″ long now. The 110V power cord is about 6′ long.

I will continue to work on this Server. I would like to be able to see the status lights from the RasPi and the power light. I may also decide to have external USB ports in the box. This system could also have a USB HDD inside. The Adafruit adapter will not support one at only 1A output. A different adapter at 2A would support a HDD.

Advantages:

  • Very easy to carry out maintenance.
  • Smaller overall footprint.
  • On/Off switch instead of unplugging.
  • Board protected from shorts.
  • Slightly lower power usage, due to shorter cable length, switching regulator.

Disadvantages:

  • Has to be opened to change any of the equipment.

Possible future upgrades:

  • Add 4 port USB hub internally.
  • 2A PSU to power the hub.
  • Light pipes to view status lights.

Richard

updated 11/14/13

As of 12/19/13 I moved to a 512MB Raspberry Pi board. I turned the board 90 degrees in the case so I can reach the USB and the SD card connectors on each side. This board does not have pin headers so I had to attach a micro USB to the internal PSU. It still uses a 512MB USB stick as a swap partition.

I had to reduce the Over Clock as the board was failing in boot. I do not think the OC works as well when the board is powered by micro USB rather than back-powered. Something I will have to investigate!

updated 12/26/13

Well the server has been running for several months now. Moving the PSU into the server box works very well. It has been very stable. I believe the back-powered boards over-clocked better than this board which has been powered by the micro USB. I am going to order a couple of the newer 512MB boards. I want to see if they are better than these Chinese 512MB boards. I still have some power problems due to the local power company. I need to get the setup onto a UPS system. It would then be 100% reliable. It is already pretty reliable now!

Updated 1/31/14

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