Igor Kromin |   Consultant. Coder. Blogger. Tinkerer. Gamer.

Back in December 2017 I rebuilt my Odroid XU4 home media server because I was having some issues with the previous setup. Unfortunately that rebuild wasn't focusing on aesthetics or cable management, just functionality - that's because I needed the server up and running and didn't care what it looked like. Then in March 2018 I received my 34" curved screen monitor and cable management and aesthetics were back on top of the list, so I decided to do something about the server.

After some work, this was the end result...
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I'm not using a fully enclosed case, I like the look of the separate components being mounted on a single sheet of acrylic. It gives it that industrialised look. I would like to have a top clear sheet but I've not been able to find stand-offs that are tall enough to support one.

So the issue that I was trying to solve here was around cable management. I had two separate power supplies, one for the HDD dock and then another for the XU4 itself. This wasn't ideal, especially since I had to use an international power adapter on the XU4 power supply (US to Australian). It was messy. I wanted to use one power supply, but I needed two voltages - 12V for HDD dock and 5V for the XU4.

My solution was to use the 12V HDD dock power supply, and get a 12V to 5V DC-DC converter to power the XU4. The power supply could provide enough current for both. That resolved the voltage issue.

Next I had to get the 12V to the DC-DC converter. I already had a power splitter cable on the HDD dock that was powering the cooling fan and the dock itself so I wanted to reuse it, that meant rewiring the fan! This part was easy, I took apart the dock, drilled a small hole to get fan wires through and wired the fan directly into its DC jack. It was a total hack job but it did the trick.

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Now I had the wiring more or less figured out so I needed to get started on mounting everything in place. I had a sheet of 3mm black acrylic around so decided to use it as the base (after cutting it down to size). I used a whole bunch of black nylon standoffs to keep the XU4 and the DC-DC converter in place. I also used the same standoffs under the base, one in each corner and then a centre mounted standoff.

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To keep everything neat I wanted to stack the display over the top of the DC-DC converter. For that I used some nice 35mm red aluminium standoffs. The height worked out really well!
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Then it was a matter of marking out all the standoff positions and drilling holes for them.

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After securing the XU4 and the DC-DC converter in place I did the basic wiring from the power supply to the DC-DC converter and made sure the voltages were all correct. Once the voltages were verified, I finalised the wiring between the DC-DC converter and the XU4. The right angle DC jack came in handy here.

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After connecting everything, the server was ready to go. Sitting behind my monitor it looked neat and tidy. No cables all over the place. Mission success!
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The heatsink on the XU4 is not the original one by the way, I replaced a while back - more details here: Another Odroid XU4 standard heatsink and fan replacement.

-i

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