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Author Topic: Looking for ideas on 19" rack mount for Arduino  (Read 1351 times)
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I am looking at creating a simple server room monitoring aruino and would like to place it in a 1U 19" rack in the server room.

The arduino is obviously small, and I would like to have 4 ethernet connectors on the front panel. Possibly with an LED display, which may or may not include buttons to control the display.

On the back I would like a power connector, and maybe another 4 or 8 ethernet connectors.

So my question is simply how can I make or purchase a "cheap" 19" 1U rack montable box to house this in that looks great?

The dimensions are obviously small

19" wide
1U Hight
6-10" deep

Since I want to put ethernet connectors on the front and back I will need a way to punch/cut the holes out but I would like to make it a professional looking unit and not one with wiggly hand cut lines.

Has anyone seen any products like this? or maybe some sort of plastic box that would work?


Chris
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Dubuque, Iowa, USA
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You did say "Professional looking" and this would certainly fit the bill.
    http://www.protocase.com/products/index.php?e=Rackmount
Googling "rackmount project box" turns up additional results.

If you want to do it yourself then you want a "sheet metal nibbler". A manual nibbler will run ~$10 or pneumatic ~$40. Beyond that you would need to move to a milling machine or plasma cutter process. If your total case is light enough you might be able to replace the metal front with an plastic front (ABS or acrylic, etc.) which Pololu.com could cut for you.

Out of curiosity, what are you monitoring? Temperatures or power strips?
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I recall reading somewhere that when they replaced the computers in one of the Norad sites, that the new computers were smaller than just the console of the old computers, and the amount of empty space in the facility was rather large.  I would imagine an Arduino in a 1U box would look similar.
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You did say "Professional looking" and this would certainly fit the bill.
    http://www.protocase.com/products/index.php?e=Rackmount
Googling "rackmount project box" turns up additional results.

If you want to do it yourself then you want a "sheet metal nibbler". A manual nibbler will run ~$10 or pneumatic ~$40. Beyond that you would need to move to a milling machine or plasma cutter process. If your total case is light enough you might be able to replace the metal front with an plastic front (ABS or acrylic, etc.) which Pololu.com could cut for you.

Out of curiosity, what are you monitoring? Temperatures or power strips?

Thanks for that - I was thinking when I posted that if I would just get told to go google. But this is quite cool and even has it's own 3d Editor for designing the boxes.

I am mainly looking at Monitoring Temperature, Humidity but would like to get into Water Leak Detection as well

Chris
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I am mainly looking at Monitoring Temperature, Humidity but would like to get into Water Leak Detection as well

Are you aware that you can get USB dongles off the shelf that just plug into a handy USB port to do that sort of thing? It seems a bit over the top to add a DIY microcontroller and take up a slot in the rack just for that.
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I am mainly looking at Monitoring Temperature, Humidity but would like to get into Water Leak Detection as well

Are you aware that you can get USB dongles off the shelf that just plug into a handy USB port to do that sort of thing? It seems a bit over the top to add a DIY microcontroller and take up a slot in the rack just for that.

I guess we should not do anything then since everything has already been created!
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I guess we should not do anything then since everything has already been created!

Don't let them get to you smiley-wink

Let me guess, your boss would like for you to get your crap off of the the desk or other equipment?
How about:
http://ruggedcircuits.com/html/din_rail_mount.html
...you then can run chase for your Power and IOs (The even have wing-shields for screws) and away ya go.

(Okay, Rugged, where is my commission  smiley-twist )
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I guess we should not do anything then since everything has already been created!

Not saying don't do it. I'm saying if the reason for doing it is that you want the finished product and think DIY is the best way to get it, you should take another look at the alternatives. You can buy things like this that are inexpensive and user-friendly and don't tie up rack space. Making one because you want to make it, is fine - good fun project.

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I don't think I'd want a USB solution. Cable lengths, for one, and the general structure of datacenter wiring favors RJ45 connectors and cables.

Probably not a good practice to be hanging stuff off random servers in your datacenter anyways.
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I use 19" racks in a TV station - all you should really need is a blank panel and then modify it yourself. A little work with drills and a file and you can make anything you want. Have a friend with a small milling machine? learn some new skills there also. Or go to Lowes or Home Depot and get a 1-1/2 x 1/8 aluminum (aluminium outside the USA...) and make it all from scratch.

Do you know how to use a CAD program? you can design and print a template at 100% and use it to transfer your cutouts and holes. (DraftSight is a freeby that works like AutoCad) Some cad skills might be appreaciated as it would allow you to make some nice documentation of things around the data center.
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I use 19" racks in a TV station - all you should really need is a blank panel and then modify it yourself. A little work with drills and a file and you can make anything you want. Have a friend with a small milling machine? learn some new skills there also. Or go to Lowes or Home Depot and get a 1-1/2 x 1/8 aluminum (aluminium outside the USA...) and make it all from scratch.

Do you know how to use a CAD program? you can design and print a template at 100% and use it to transfer your cutouts and holes. (DraftSight is a freeby that works like AutoCad) Some cad skills might be appreaciated as it would allow you to make some nice documentation of things around the data center.

You might also want to check your local industrial park for a place that sells metal. Usually you pay per lb (much cheaper than Lowes or Home Depot), and some places can even cut more complex shapes. Aluminum costs more per lb than steel, but since its so much lighter, the price usually ends up about the same. I have found 16ga steel to be a nice thickness for making boxes and plates. I have spanned 12" x 12" gaps with it, without any supports. I think that converts to a thickness of about 0.0641" in Aluminum.
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I don't think I'd want a USB solution.

+1

USB in the data center sucks!  Cables are too short, for sure, but the big problem is that the connectors are friction fit, and come out too easily.  I've had no end of trouble with USB stuff coming unplugged at extremely inopportune times.  It's not as bad as eSATA, but very problematic.

-j
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