shrabok

Repurposing old hardware - HP Mini 5103 Xpenology Device

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Posted (edited)

There are no real questions here, just sharing my experience of trying to repurpose old hardware and bring it new life. Hopefully you can too! 
I came across an old HP Mini 5103 Netbook I had unused. It wasn't capable in running light weight linux OS's very well but didn't want to throw it out. I checked the specs:

  • Intel Atom N455 Processor (1.66 GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 667 MHz FSB)
  • 2GB DDR3 1333 MHz SDRAM
  • Dedicated 10/100/1000 NIC
  • 250GB 2.5" 7200RPM HDD
  • 3 USB Ports
  • 1 SD Card Slot
  • 6-cell (66 WHr) high capacity Li-Ion Battery
  • Low power consumption (approximately 15w on average)
    ...

 

I realized this is really a close match to most entry level Synology NAS devices. My only concerns were the lack of additional SATA ports (1 hard drive).

I thought I would give it a test with the latest xpenology, and it works remarkably well. I found it responsive in the UI and strangely more responsive than my current (higher performance) device.

 

This led me to question, Can I get a couple hard drives on here? We'll we only have one 250GB Sata 2.5" 9.5mm drive.

I have a 500GB USB drive laying around and thought, this drive is USB, but could USB drives be added to an SHR Raid?

With a google search I found this video of xpenology interpreting USB drives as regular HDD's by changing some settings in /etc.defaults/synoinfo.conf: 

 

I found this useful in proving the point that you can add USB drives and interpret them as internal SATA drives.

I made the following changes to my config
 

/etc.defaults/synoinfo.conf

### Increase disk capacity
#maxdisks="12"
maxdisks="24"
###

### Disable esata port discovery
#esataportcfg="0xff000"
esataportcfg="0"
###

### Increase internal drive discovery
#internalportcfg="0xfff"
internalportcfg="0xffffffffff"
###

### Enable synology SHR
# Ref https://xpenology.com/forum/topic/9281-synology-hybrid-raid-shr/?page=0#comment-79472
#supportraidgroup="yes"
support_syno_hybrid_raid ="yes"
###

### Disable usb discovery
#usbportcfg="0x300000"
usbportcfg="0"
###

Once I made these changes I could restart and see any USB drives plugged in were viewed as internal drives

image.thumb.png.3de7700c264d04ac9b1ccd73ca34fe92.png

 

Now I created a Disk group and Volume that was SHR for mixed drive sizes to get the most out of them.

 

I found after a restart I would have a Degraded Raid, I think this may have to do with the USB being slower to discover and looks like a drive was removed and added on boot. I can rebuild the raid and its good again. But this is something to consider regarding stability.

 

My next attempt is to get 2 external hard drives and raid them without the internal SATA drive, they may be more consistent being the same connection and handle a reboot with out a degraded state. If thats the case, I think its a real winner for repurposing old hardware.

 

I also came across an old 4GB SDCard, and thought, instead of the USB, why not use the SD for booting and that would be 3 free USB ports for External HDD's. I found this post 

I followed the same process, inserted the SD Card into the Mini, copied the PID and VID and setup the boot loader on the SD Card. After that, I set the bios to boot from SDCard and restarted. When going to the URL it sees the device as a "new hardware" and you "recover" the device. After that SD Card boot was all good.

 

If all goes well with the USB HDD Raid where it can handle a reboot, I may consider getting some big external USB HDD's and raid them.

Some use cases for this would be:

- a backup location for my primary xpenology box (good to run upgrades on before doing the primary)
- store media files that are network shared (movie streaming, music etc) that aren't a major concern of losing and don't require massive disk performance

- with a working battery (mine is dead, but may consider getting a replacement) it has its own build in UPS, so it could handle power outages etc. and could be used in remote places like your parents house for remote access and other centralized services you manage for others

- home automation box

- the list goes on.

 

This setup is probably not recommended for stable use but more of a stretching the boundaries of what can be done with xpenology when your hardware is limited or your use case is experimental.

 

 

*** Edit ***

Ended up going with an internal 2TB HDD and 3 external 4TB HDD's for a total of 9TB usable space with SHR. Velcro attached the drives to the lid and strangely enough the metal finish was a brown tone like the HP case, this was a coincidence. 

 

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20180612_173953.thumb.jpg.ed04772200e1fccc45e9250835f6c41a.jpg

 

20180612_174448.thumb.jpg.a79feacccca92e8fa9f91d406c0f174e.jpg

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20180612_180336.thumb.jpg.56c0784ce9a9828afe4006cd9a1c7e8f.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by shrabok
Added pictures of end result
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Great topic and thanks for sharing your experience. I moved the topic to the Hardware Modding section where it is more suited.

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