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54 posts

Master Geek

# 41104 9-Sep-2009 20:32
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Hi All,

I'm going to try something ambitious.  I'm trying to install a HDD into a thin client I bought to try and turn it into a NAS box (instead of buying one, wheres the fun in that?).  I've got a HP T5710 which comes with a IDE slot with a flash drive factory installed.  I want to rip that out and chuck a 500GB HDD in instead.  I think I will be able to boot from USB to install the OS but I have a couple of questions regarding the physical installation.  I think I'll have to resort to a SATA drive so I'm eyeing up a SATA to IDE converter and I'm going to get a 2.5" laptop hard drive (which should fit inside the case without modification).

The question I have is what I do about power for the HD?  I'm familiar with installing disks in desktops and that they have a data cable and a power cable but do the 2.5" disks need power as well or can they pull enough juice off the data cable?  I've online that this task has been achieved before but they never went into detail regarding this.  Any ideas?


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  # 254526 9-Sep-2009 20:42
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2.5" disks still need power run to them.

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  # 254536 9-Sep-2009 21:03
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what you will find is the adaptor will have a molex power connector with them. I am not 100 percent sure with sata ones in what they look like but the ide ones have the molex power socket attached to it by wires. Good luck with your project though, very neat idea. Let us know how you get on!


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Master Geek

  # 254546 9-Sep-2009 21:29
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Ok, I think I see what you mean about the power supply being necessary Tony. Thanks for your input.

The converter I'm looking at is listed here:

Is one of the two SATA slots the power or are they just two different form factor connections similar to USB? ie am I going to have to look at taking power from off the board somewhere?

No probs about posting back about my sucess (hopefully not failure!). I have further plans for this unit if I can get this far...

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  # 258065 24-Sep-2009 13:27
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The smaller slot on that SATA connector is the data, larger slot the power :)

That looks like it'll slot straight into any 2.5" Laptop HDD?
The IDE cable looks to be at the back and I think that adapter will probably use one of the floppy drive power connectors, so make sure you have too, otherwise it's easy to convert a molex to floppy drive power :)

I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

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Master Geek

  # 258142 24-Sep-2009 18:21
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Hi vinnieg,

Thanks for posting - I'll let you all know where I'm up to.

The SATA to PATA adapter I got wouldn't fit the IDE slot on the board because it was a standard IDE and the board is sporting a mini (ie 44 pin laptop) version. I didn't think to compare the slot with an IDE cable that I had laying around!

So what I've done is get a hold of an external HDD enclosure. Its powered by USB so no extra power cables. The thin client is easily configured to boot from USB so I managed to configure an Ubuntu installation CD to run off my USB thumb drive and installed it on the external drive. It boots fine and I installed MythTV (not hard with Ubuntu anyway).

Unfortunately I had to install a GUI (Xubuntu desktop) because I couldn't configure Myth easily without it. I'll probably remove it once its all go as it uses heaps of processing power and memory.

I bought a Hauppauge Nova TD USB stick just the other day to install. Its a dual DVB-T USB tuner similar to my Nova T 500 PCI in my current Myth box. Anyway I'll post back when I've gotten further/finished.

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Master Geek

  # 263545 12-Oct-2009 19:37
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Hi all,

Well I did manage to get this to work finally.  I now have a 500GB thick client - is that the right term?  Here is what I did:

1 x thin client HP T5710 off Trademe
1 x 500GB 2.5" SATA HDD (seagate)
1 x SATA to PATA adapter
1 x 44pin to 40 pin IDE cable

The last two items are not necessary if you intend on using a PATA drive but I wanted to future proof the install.  The motherboard connector is a 44pin laptop IDE.  So I used the converter to conect to that end giving me a standard 40 pin IDE connector at the other end to interface the SATA to PATA adapter.  The benefit of the 44 pin to 40 pin connector is that it provides a 5V power supply which you can connect to the power connector on the SATA to PATA connector.

You then just connect the SATA to PATA converter directly to the HD.  This can be a bit confusing as not all the leads are keyed and it is possible to get things around the wrong way.  I had a friend with a multimeter confirm that the power lead was carrying 5V before we connected everything.  After that the only real difficult thing is getting everything to fit back in the case.  That's where it'd be great if you had a PCI expander addon (I didn't :-( ).

Once you've got the Hardware sorted you need to install an OS.  I chose Ubuntu Server 9.04 since I wanted it to run without a keyboard or screen and waste the least amount of resources.  To do this without a CD drive is a challenge.  The easiest way I maanged to figure out was with a USB key.  Most of the methods described to craete an install USB key for Ubuntu didn't work for me (the wiki needs cleaning up).  The way that did work for me was to use the 'USB startup disk creator' available in Ubuntu Desktop from 8.10 I believe.  You just select the USB drive to use and the ISO image you want to use press go and wait.

Boot the thin client from the stick after connecting a screen and keyboard and adjusting the Bios settings to boot from the USB and you are away.  Set up the install as you like my suggestion is that if you want to remotely access this that you install the SSHserver when offered.  I also added a LAMP server as I knew that I would need it.  Reboot and you are away.

I have loaded MythTV backend on my system and added a USB dual tuner so it can quietly sit there and record programs etc.  The CPU is pretty slow though and it ruined my recording of Top Gear because I was watching a recording as well as recording two channels.  So I probably have to take it easier on it.  I've still got to setup the file sharing securely.  I just loaded a bittorrent client as well.  Good times!

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  # 263808 14-Oct-2009 08:59
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Great job man :)

Looks like an efficient little system you've got there. I'd call it a mini HTPC now :) just like my ones at home.

Gutted about the top gear :( is there a PCI slot in your PC at all? maybe you could add in an HD2400pro or something cheap off trademe to help the HD encoding along?

I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 


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Master Geek

  # 263825 14-Oct-2009 10:03
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vinnieg: Great job man :)

Looks like an efficient little system you've got there. I'd call it a mini HTPC now :) just like my ones at home.

Gutted about the top gear :( is there a PCI slot in your PC at all? maybe you could add in an HD2400pro or something cheap off trademe to help the HD encoding along?

There is a PCI slot on board but you'd be pressed for space without modifying the case.  If I could get a hold of a case expansion it would be possible but they don't seem to exist for such an old model (if anyone knows where to get one I'm all ears).

Yeah I'm gutted about Top Gear too.  But I don't think its a problem with encoding as the stream coming from the tuner/transponder is already mpeg2 and there is very little processing required to record.  The biggest problem was the throughput.  Recording off two transponders and streaming a 1080i recording all at once was too much for the system.  I'm not sure where the bottle neck in the system is (CPU, IDE bus, HDD, NIC) but I'm used to being able to do all this at once so I've decided to not make this a Myth backend now.  I'm going to try putting FreeNas on it and use it for backup and streaming my music library.

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