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Basement Stair Rack Project - Node Zero

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Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
Bear with me as this project will span some time.

So I’ve been playing around with servers in my free time(which isn’t much) and finally decided it’s high time to get my house wired up properly. It’s also helpful now that I actually own a house that I can modify to my liking.
So here’s the current mockup of what I’m heading towards.

NodeZeroPlan.JPG


On the left side, the two 2x4s are spaced just over 21” apart, this is close to what I need but just a bit too much. I’m going to have to install a spacer to reach the proper 19” width of my rack. On the right side is just enough space between the studs to install slide out shelves to hold up to 2 ATX tower cases. Until I start acquiring actual server boxes, this will be my server platform.

The Plan:
- Wire the house with CAT 6 cable to enable connectivity growth for present and future applications.
- Build stationary rack and tower case shelves using existing framework of staircase to basement.
- Purchase a quad or dual NIC to finish PFSense build and get it configured/installed.
- Purchase patch panel and switch to fit in new rack.
- Set Wireless router to AP mode, check old router for same functionality.
- Move file/backup server to sliding shelf.
- Move PFSense build to second sliding shelf
- Run coax cable from cable box to modem in basement
- Purchase remaining Node Zero equipment.
- Install NZ equipment.
- Install XMBC on old laptop to co locate with living room TV as server/media center.


Materials:

Have
- File/Backup server in Full Tower ATX case
- PFSense build(minus NIC) in mATX eMachines case
- Sliding Shelves Hardware and wood for shelves
- Netgear AC Wireless Router
- TP-LINK 5 port switch
- Netgear Wireless Extender
- Old ASUS laptop to use as media server
- Surge protection power strip

Need(list will continue to grow as planning continues)
- 16+ port gigabit switch
- Rack rails
- 2x4s to finish rack structure
- 4+ device KVM(USB)
- Slide out rack tray: Keyboard/mouse
- 1000’ CAT 6 solid copper cable
- CAT 6 wall plates and jacks
- CAT 6 patch cables .5 to 3 feet length
- 16+ port patch panel
- UPS Power Distribution

Well, that’s all the time I have right now. Stay tuned for updates as I get this planned out more detailed.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Very cool. Question: Will the monitor be too low if you have a lengthy need to work on it?
 
OP
Dalchi Frusche

Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
Very cool. Question: Will the monitor be too low if you have a lengthy need to work on it?

That's a good question. My thoughts are to either build a telescoping stand that the monitor comes out horizontally then flips vertically, or leave as is and be set at desk height with one of the many chairs/stools in the basement. This will mainly depend on how much room there is after I get the rack height where I want it to be.
 

Nebulous

Señor Senior, Senior
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Location
The Empire State
That looks great! Nice mock-up for sure. Question is will you have enough airflow given those servers will be under the stairs and there is very little to no airflow there.
 
OP
Dalchi Frusche

Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
That looks great! Nice mock-up for sure. Question is will you have enough airflow given those servers will be under the stairs and there is very little to no airflow there.

Thanks Nebulous. Will always be a work in progress... you know how networking is, always something to upgrade haha. But in order to answer your question on airflow, I had the idea of putting intake fans in the stair risers and exhaust grille at the top portion of the stair area. Sketchup adjustments below for the win.

Node Zero Intake.jpg

Node Zero Exhaust.jpg
 

Automata

Destroyer of Empires and Use
Joined
May 15, 2006
This is a really neat project, and I'm looking forward to the implementation.

I wouldn't put the fans on the stairs, as it will be way too easy to kick while going up, especially if you have narrow steps. If you have central heating/cooling, the basement will naturally have circulation. The servers don't put out that much heat and can put up with 90f+ intake temps. The fans will be going a bit faster, but its generally not a problem.
 
OP
Dalchi Frusche

Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
This is a really neat project, and I'm looking forward to the implementation.

I wouldn't put the fans on the stairs, as it will be way too easy to kick while going up, especially if you have narrow steps. If you have central heating/cooling, the basement will naturally have circulation. The servers don't put out that much heat and can put up with 90f+ intake temps. The fans will be going a bit faster, but its generally not a problem.

Thanks Thideras, now I really have to deliver since I've caught the attention of the big time :eek:

That's a good point about the fans on the stairs. I could always just put a few fans on wall behind the stairs, but far enough out of sight. I'm thinking one or two 200m fan to begin with. Once I get the central air and heat runs in during the finishing process of the basement, then I can change that up a bit. Right now the air isn't circulated well, but the basement stays about 50F all year +/- 5F. Getting a few fans to push air across the stack can't hurt... right? :)
 

Automata

Destroyer of Empires and Use
Joined
May 15, 2006
If the room is 50f, then you really don't have to worry about much. Even if the servers are circulating air slightly, its not going to be anywhere near their shutdown temps. If you want to make sure they don't overheat, put a fan pulling the hot air from behind the servers.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
I wouldn't bother with the fans. The basement will be cool and the vent on the back wall will alow any heat to exit. It looks like its all going to be open anyway so a few 200 mm fans will not make any real difference. My concern would be that those fan openings in the stairs would end up being an entry point for dirt and dust from your feet as you go up and down.
 
OP
Dalchi Frusche

Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
If the room is 50f, then you really don't have to worry about much. Even if the servers are circulating air slightly, its not going to be anywhere near their shutdown temps. If you want to make sure they don't overheat, put a fan pulling the hot air from behind the servers.

So the exhaust of hot air would be more important in my situation?

I wouldn't bother with the fans. The basement will be cool and the vent on the back wall will alow any heat to exit. It looks like its all going to be open anyway so a few 200 mm fans will not make any real difference. My concern would be that those fan openings in the stairs would end up being an entry point for dirt and dust from your feet as you go up and down.

Currently it will be open. But in the next few years I would hope to finish the basement, even partially, and that would most likely lead to the area being enclosed. With out proper ventilation I could see the temperature rising a bit even if the rest of the surrounding area stays cooler. Or am I just being paranoid?
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Mmmhmm! Subb'd!

I am really digging this project. Id love to have something like this one day :thup:
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
My thought is that you want the cool air to come in from the lower front (but most importantly) through the servers and then vent to the outside of the enclosure. I think that the fans in the servers themselves will pull in cool air and the vent on the back of your stairs will allow that heat to escape. Keep in mind that servers (actual dedicated hardware) can have very loud "delta" fans. If that is the case, you may want to consider where the noise is going.
 
OP
Dalchi Frusche

Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
You don't want the servers pulling in the air they just exhausted. As long as the exhaust mixes with ambient temperature air, it will be fine.

Yeah, I definitely wouldn't want a cycle of air.

Mmmhmm! Subb'd!

I am really digging this project. Id love to have something like this one day :thup:

Glad to have you aboard. Easiest way to have something is start small, if you're like me it just took finding a perfect location and making the wife annoyed with all the servers tucked away in closets.

My thought is that you want the cool air to come in from the lower front (but most importantly) through the servers and then vent to the outside of the enclosure. I think that the fans in the servers themselves will pull in cool air and the vent on the back of your stairs will allow that heat to escape. Keep in mind that servers (actual dedicated hardware) can have very loud "delta" fans. If that is the case, you may want to consider where the noise is going.

The noise issue is a great point. Thank you. On a DIY Rack page, I found that someone built a enclosed rack of wood and used insulation to muffle the noise of the fans. I might get some thin stuff to line the inside with, also the exhaust point would point into the bathroom area once finished. No worries about the fan noise in there.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Looks like you are really getting the kinks figured out. I look forward to the work log once you start to build. This has already caused me to think if I can do something similar under my stairs.
 
OP
Dalchi Frusche

Dalchi Frusche

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Location
Gardnerville, NV
Good morning all,

Well it’s that time, since today was my birthday I was able to pull the trigger on some wiring supplies with my “birthday” budget. So, I’ll be waiting for my Monoprice and Newegg orders to arrive. I lost some of my budget since I finally upgraded my GPU to a EVGA GTX 670 that I obtained for $60 USD.

Materials ordered:
Monoprice
MonoPriceReciept.JPG

Newegg
NeweggSwitch.JPG

So once that all arrives I can get to running cables. I do still need to pick up the wall boxes and conduit from Lowes. But I’ll wait until the heat from going over my budget dies down a bit haha. I need to get her desk built so she’ll forget the slight overspend.

So I’m getting closer to figuring out my cooling solution. It’ll go something like this I imagine:

12”x12”-> 6” intake, 6” duct fan(~250CFM), 6”duct, box made from fiberglass/plywood
CoolingPlanNew.jpg

Duct fan
066028000774.jpg