PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys

Posted by: Night_Sailor

PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/18/08 05:21 PM

I thought you folks might find this interesting. I wanted to start my own video editing company and began with a 8 core Mac Pro 3.2 GHz--base system with 2 GB Ram and a 320GB Hard Drive. My goal is 27 1TB drives in two enclosures--without any rack mount, and with quiet operation.

Here is how I started.

I next upgraded the four drive bays in my Mac Pro with (4) Seagate 1TB hard Drives. I pulled the memory and sold it on eBay. I put in (4) 4GB Memory boards for a total of 16 GB. I chose this size memory board so I'll have room to upgrade to 32GB as memory prices drop. So far, it seems like 8GB is as much as I've used, but then I've hardly tried video editing yet, so it remains to be seen how much memory I'll really need. I'll probably max it out at some point, just for grins.

My next mod was to disassemble much of the machine get at the two spare onboard SATA connectors. Presently these cables are run to a card slot. I can post pictures of how to take the computer apart in another forum post, if anyone is interested.

But as I expect to fill up all my card slots, they will be moved and used internally. I am holding off on most of the internal mods until my warranty gets a bit older.

I was using one of these Sata connectors to hook up a single drive in a double drive enclosure--a 3.5" Mercury Elite Pro. I felt this would never be able to satisfy my storage needs, so it was probably a waste of money.

I plan to build a mod to add three drive bays to the 2nd optical bay. One will be my OS 10 boot disk, one will be a windows boot disk, and the third will be a Solaris 10 boot disk. My other four drive bays will be a RAID 0 Stripe Set served by an Apple Raid Controller.

Still I needed more storage, so I bought a used, slightly banged up, G5 Power Mac case on eBay. This is a pretty big box and I knew I could stuff 20 drives in it, if I planned it right. My over all plan is this. The box has two (2) drive bays already to go. I figure I can fit 4 more drives in the single optical bay. I have an old drive cage that will hold 4 more, that's 10. I picked up (2) five drive hot swap bays (That's 20 bays), a cage, power supply, power splitter, and two addonics sata port multiplier, along with a Sonnet Temp (Software Raid) four port Sata card. All I need are two more port multipliers and a bit more sheet metal and I'll have everything I need.

Are you ready for some pictures?
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/18/08 06:02 PM

I had a little trouble posting pictures and can't delete this post.

What else can I tell you. I just thought it would be cool to have a second box that looked a lot like my Mac Pro, to hold a bunch of RAID Drives! Skip down to the next post and last picture to see what it looks like.

I'm pleased as punch and will start installing the four bay drive cage above the power supply tomorrow. After that I'll start wiring it up.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/18/08 06:38 PM

Just getting the hang of sizing and embedding these images. here is the bare case.



Here is the donor RAID box.



More internals to be moved over.




Port Multiplier



Cutting the front to make an access door to the 10 Hot Swap Bays.




Here is the front switch assembly with USB and Firewire ports. I have the connector that fits into this. I may try to use this switch and make the firewire and USB ports active. I don't see that I will use the USB ports, and I'll only be using firewire to transfer data into the computer. So i don't think I'll need more of these. It all depends if I have time on my hands. It would be nice to get the switch working.



I ground off all the mounting posts. I should have left a few--it would have come in handy later. At first I wanted to see if the whole RAID enclosure would fit inside. Then I decided to cut it down the middle to section it, and only use the front half.






I cut whole in two blank card slots covers with rectangular holes to take the port multipliers. I can't find the pictures so I'll post them later. I put them back to back so the cables will fit. These port multipliers are available built into a card cover. The problem of not enough space for the wires remains.

Using a combination of pop rivets and nuts and bolts i secure the power supply to the base of the G5 case, and then the break-out board for the power cables. Finally I mounted the drive age assembly for the 10 hot swap drives.

At this point I reinstalled the base of the front, and press fit the cover to see what the final product will look like. I do not have the wires hooked up yet, nor are the two four bay drive cages. One will be easy, the other (for the optical bay) more difficult. I may have to mount the next two port multipliers on the back of the case, simply because I don't think the wires will fit if I mount them next to the two others.

Here is how it will look when complete.

[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/MAC%20PRO/IMG_4896.jpg[/img]
Posted by: soundmann18

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/18/08 09:42 PM

nice work! that looks like it'll be pretty sweet and you will have a ridiculous amount of storage. I was pretty excited when I bought another enclosure for one of the hard drives I had lying around to add 120 gb onto my system, i've got 300 total now, you have nearly 100 times more.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/19/08 03:56 AM

Originally Posted By: "soundmann18"
nice work! that looks like it'll be pretty sweet and you will have a ridiculous amount of storage. I was pretty excited when I bought another enclosure for one of the hard drives I had lying around to add 120 gb onto my system, I've got 300 total now, you have nearly 100 times more.


Don't get too excited. I only have 5TB right now. This whole enclosure only has one drive in it right now--a 320GB drive--the original one I had in my Mac Pro. I tried selling it twice on eBay and had no takers. TB drives are getting cheaper, but at $250 each, ten of them would set me back $2500--oouch. So it will be a year or two before I fill it up.

My plan is to start adding drives as I have money, and learn how to edit. I'm going to Manhattan Thursday night--an Apple Final Cut demonstration. I need to start meeting other people in the industry. I've picked up a few books, but finally decided I'll go with the Apple study program.
Posted by: gthicjohn

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/19/08 03:31 PM

I have always wanted to something like this for the past 3 years but I never have enough money to do it.

+5 awesome points for you
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/20/08 10:28 AM

Since I acquired the G5 case somewhat banged up, I have not be to concerned about making this a beauty queen. The case looks fairly good, even with a few scratches. The bottom line it I'm more concerned with function and maintainability on the inside than I am making everything look perfect. I don't want to put weeks of my time into this project. I want it done!

Here I am mounting a 4 bay drive cage. I have only one more 4 bay mount to build, which will go in the optical bay. These won't be hot swap drive bays. So, the idea was to make it removable on slide rails for service. Pictures show two 4GB SCSI drives, which will be removed. For now they keep the drive bay square.




This shows one set of rails installed.


I needed to nip a piece off the drive cage to give some of the existing wiring room to breath.


Drive Cage Installed.



Note the existing drive bays on the top right of the full case photos. I thought I'd need special drive bay rails. It turns out, I only need round head screws and maybe a couple of washers to mount two drives there.

Posted by: oojacoboo

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/20/08 10:38 AM

Very nice mod. What kind of connectivity are you using to connect to your main rig?
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/20/08 02:06 PM

I don't think I mentioned how I picked the name of the machine. Well, I'm a Pisces and I chose that name for my new Mac Pro. I figure I'll be keeping it a very long time, since I paid so much for it. Hopefully, software will be written to better utilize all 8 cores, and it won't go obsolete any time soon.

Later when I started looking at external drive solutions I began thinking how many drives I could fit in one of these cases. Other options were either too pricey, not very nice looking, or a combination of the two. So I decided to build my own. I'm calling the second G5 case--Pisces II, which if you know the symbol for Pisces, you will know it looks like a Roman Numeral II only joined together at the top--sort of like my two cases--they will be joined by a few cables.

The two 5 bay hot swap enclosures I have installed, came with a 450W power supply. According to my calculations I'll need an average of 12W per drive plus 3W per fan. Max draw is 30W per drive. I suppose this is during start up. In which case I'll need 600W for the 20 drives. The case comes with two fans, each drive enclosure has a fan. I plan to add as least one more 90mm on the back. So that is at least 5 fans @ 3w each= 15W. If I add in some LED's--say another 10W. I'm up to 625 watts for start up. If I use a 1.5x safety factor, I'll need somewhere around a 937W Power Supply. I'm not going for redundant power supplies. There is nothing that I will be doing that can't wait a day or two to replace a power supply.

After speaking to a sales rep for a power supply company. I've been advised that 750 watts should be plenty big enough. I'll be ordering that tonight.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/20/08 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: "oojacoboo"
Very nice mod. What kind of connectivity are you using to connect to your main rig?


I am using four Sata cables via a Sonnet E4P Software Raid Card PCI [Express 4x]



For more information on this software RAID product.

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/tempo_sata_e4p.html

Comments are welcome.

I'm not sure what the real world through put will be. So for a scratch disk for video editing, I'm leaning towards four [4] 320GB SAS drives in a Raid 0. With the Apple RAID card, that will allow me to edit one stream of uncompressed HD Video. So the external drives are mostly for long term storage.

Well here is my current plan.

Bays1-4 RAID Stripe Set via Apple Hardware RAID--This are my scratch Disks--Raid 0
Bay 5--Boot Disk OSX--needs an IDE to SATA conversion board.
Bay 6--Boot Disk Windows XP 64 [uses spare on-board [#5] SATA connector]
Bay 7--Boot Disk Solaris 10 [uses spare on-board [#6] SATA connector]

Bays 8-12 Raid 5 Video Storage
Bays 13-17 Raid 5 Mirror of Bay's 8-12 Video Storage [RAID 5 + 1]
Bays 18-19 (existing P-II Bays) Personal Music Archive [Backup is on Mac Mini external Drives]
Bays 21-24 21 --Picture Files, 22--DMG Files, 23--Windows back up files, 24--spare OS X boot
Bays 25-28 25--28 [Concatentation all four drives for Time Machine Back Up's]

Throughput is supposed to be 3.0GB/s. Going through the port multiplier, I have my doubts if this will be feasible.

After installing an Apple RAID card, I will still have one PCI Express card bay for some sort of of card interface to stream in video and audio.

The only other question in my mind, is how other computers on my network will be able to access these files, if I want to job out the various editing tasks using a work flow process. That will be my principle question for the conference on Thursday.

My next project is to build an editing workbench in the basement. A work flow process seems to be the wave of the future. I don't know enough about the requirements yet, but I think that if I want to add one or two more people to my one-man shop, 3Ghz iMac's might work--perhaps we shall see quad core processors by the time I get that sophisticated.

My network is a single 16 port Gigabit switch with three wireless G access points. My house is wired well--I used to work as a telecom consultant. My office has 5 drops and I'm adding two more so I can get my printer and wifi access point off my desktop. Moving files between my Mac Mini and Mac Pro on the hard-wired LAN has been slow--at least it seems so with really big file batches. So, from what I've read, perhaps Firewire 800, with no overhead, will work out better for sustained data transfer between an iMac and the Mac Pro file system. Firewire cables can be run fairly long distances to directly connection machines.

Jeez, when I think about my first 286 PC with 640kb of ram and a 30GB HD, I am stunned by the all the new technology. But I'm glad I'll be able to set up a Video Production company, with cash out of pocket, bit by bit, while not long ago, it was a process that was priced out of reach of the common man.
Posted by: Edgefox

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/21/08 09:45 PM

If you've got that setup and some free time to learn editing you might want to check out opencut.org for 25 bucks they give you 160gb of 4k footage to cut however you want you could even win an aja io-hd which is a fun little toy as well.

Good luck in your editing career the best way to get better is to keep doing it and keep talking to people, and having a screaming fast mac-pro and 27tb of space doesn't hurt either...
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/22/08 01:48 PM

Theoretically, Firewire 800 is not faster than gigabit ethernet. Its 1000Mbps vs. 800Mbps. Beyond that I'm not the expert I should be (Physics degree). I should be able to talk about attenuation and the (possibly) different speeds you would get with a direct firewire link, a firewire hub or an ethernet network but I'm afraid that would require alot of revision, then research on my part. I will suggest that based on the fact gigabit ethernet is a much more common medium than firewire 800 in networking, it should be better refined and therefore faster. Remember they are using the same TCP/IP protocols, so only the infrastructure between the cables (or the quality of the cabling which I have no reason to doubt) should really make any difference.
If you need top speed, you need fibre channel. Better take a loan out.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/23/08 01:10 PM

Fibre channel is out. Too pricey for me. I'll try the Gigabit ethernet. I think it will work ok. I visited the Final Cut Pro Tour in Manhattan tonight and the people I talked to told me that what I was building would work fine. No one recommended anything better. Of course I skipped the "Promise" guys because those drive arrays are crazy expensive.

Apple offered attendees 20% off all training courses, but their course are very expensive. I'll stick to the books as I think the software is very easy to use, from what I've seen and what I've learned talking to editors tonight.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 05/26/08 10:48 PM

Originally Posted By: "Edgefox"
If you've got that setup and some free time to learn editing you might want to check out opencut.org for 25 bucks they give you 160gb of 4k footage to cut however you want you could even win an aja io-hd which is a fun little toy as well.

Good luck in your editing career the best way to get better is to keep doing it and keep talking to people, and having a screaming fast mac-pro and 27tb of space doesn't hurt either...


Thanks for the tip on opencut.org. It looks very cool. I'll be taking a course on FCP real soon so that might be a nice option to practice on. I've also got a bunch of video I've been storing up to practice on, over a TB of files.

I'm shopping for a camera now, and like the new Panasonic HVX-170. I like the Red camera's also. But I'm not sure I can afford one right now.
Posted by: Fazer

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 07/24/08 04:54 PM

wow. very nice updates and pictures. Looking good.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 12/23/08 08:54 AM

I've been working in England for the last four months, so naturally, I have not made any progress on my Second Case--Pisces II. Well, I'm home now and I just started opening up the power supply I bought and I'm trying to decide how much I want to modify the power supply.

I have three options:

1) One thing I'd like to do is use the original power switch on the front of the G5 case. That will take a little circuit design. Most elegant, but it will take the longest. At the same time I could put a USB hub in the box and make the front USB Ports active. Frankly, this whole box does away with the need for USB drive--which I never use anyway. Also I have about five free ports now between my keyboard, monitor and my Mac Pro case--Pisces.

2) Move the existing power switch from the back to the front. Fairly easy job. It would mean I'd have a live AC circuit in the bottom of the case. I'd have to shield that and I would not want any stray E-M fields mucking up my bottom hard drives.

3) Leave it on the back. This still requires some changes to the case. How often will I be turning it on or off anyway. I like this option least. I hate going behind my cases to fuss with wires. I might knock something loose if I move it. There will be four eSata connecting cables--these I will bundle together, one power cable, and perhaps one USB 2.0 connector--three groups of wires. I can manage reaching around to switch on.

I'm going to see if I can figure out the circuit that is attached to the G5 power switch and perhaps hook that up to a relay for the on/off switch.

Another thing I need to research is the Apple power cord and connector. I'd prefer to use this on the case as it would mean fewer modifications to the case. I will have to check on eBay, and with Apple, to see if I can find a power cord and a female connector.

Other news.

I started designing a tray for the optical bay. But I recently learned that there is a company making a mount for this--the catch is they don't show a picture of it on their web site. I'll have to call them after the holidays to find more information on that. That will be the last of the fabricating needed to mount the last four drives. I'm eager to get this finished, and the drive bays populated as drive prices for TB drives have dropped 50% in price since I started this project about six months ago.
Posted by: TCPMeta

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 12/30/08 10:42 PM

I think I just crapped myself. Very nice indeed.
Posted by: hyram

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 01/23/09 05:08 AM

Mr. Sailor,

Nice work. Just wondering how's it coming along. I think this might go in the "small world" category, but I think I bid against you for that case on ebay back about 10 months ago. If that was the same one, it's at leas good to see someone putting it to good use.

hyram
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 01/24/09 02:27 AM

I should add that it is possible to link two gigabit ports together for a 2Gb link. I know its built into OS X server, maybe not in the client though.
If you connect this 2Gb link via a switch, the switch will also need to support link aggregation.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 03/01/09 09:11 PM

I am on the home stretch. I've had a couple obstacles in my path lately. One was the fact that I've been traveling so much. The other was the fact that I wanted to use an Apple Power cords and an Apple Female connector. I called Apple several times, I walked into a store. I tried online. I could not find what I needed. My options were to buy a power supply and the price put me off. The other option was to go through Apple or a Apple hardware vendor. Apple was useless. The other hardware vendors seemed to think Apple parts were made of gold.

So back to plan B. Which was to relocate the existing power connector. Once I made that decision thing started moving rather quickly. Here are a few pictures of my last few days work.

Here is the power supply before I started work on it.



I started by unsoldering the female connector and the power switch from the power supply. I spent $0.94 on wire at West Marine. Their wire is made for boats--tinned, stranded wire--it is really the best wire I've seen anywhere--it has to be for a marine environment. Ok, so i used a small butane torch to unsolder the leads. It is not pretty. ha!



Ok, now the connector and switch have been removed. This is the circuit board with those components removed. Now I need to attach some wire to it.

Now I need to deal with the circuit board. I didn't want and stray AC shorts. I taped up the outside for some protection and tie wrapped it to the power supply case. This one shows how I added wire to the connector.






Should I mount the connector with the flange on the inside or the outside. Well, if it is on the outside, I'll have to de-solder to take it out. Bad idea. And it is the uglier of the two options. Why do I care what the back looks like? It is not like anyone will see it!



Here is the final on the Female Power Connector.

And test fitting the power supply into the G5 Case. I had to play with it a bit. It needed to be back tight against the Female Power connector. One reason I installed the connector first.

Ok, now where to put the power switch. At first I thought I'd put it on the back. But none of the precut holes for USB or Firewire were the right size. Then I thought, why not put it on the front? I thought about using the original switch, but that meant getting a relay and I just wanted to get this thing into service. I have a pile of external drives and I'm fed up with them.

Here is a view of the front with a template I cut to help me choose where to put the switch.


Here is the hole I cut in the front. I'm counting on the flange on the switch to cover up the rough edges. Lets see how it turns out.

[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII019.jpg[/img]

Not bad. Good enough for me.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII018.jpg[/img]

Ok, off came the switch and it was time to run some wire to this location. My piece was a little short, so I routed it back through the interior of the power supply, out through one of the vents and forward to this spot.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII011.jpg[/img]

I soldered on the connection. During this period I test fitting the drive cages.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII010.jpg[/img]

Now the drive cages are secured. It didn't take long to run the wires. This was a golden moment for me. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I still need to get a floppy type micro connector to hook up the upper bank of drives. I had just one of these on the power supply. I thought there were two. So for now, only the lower bank of five cages is operational.

As a bonus, one of the connector on the power supply hooked up to some existing wiring in the case that feeds the optical bay, and the double drive bay on back top area. I still have two old SCSI drive populating the slide out tray I build and described earlier. I did not build a new drive carrier for the optical bay, because I am now thinking of putting a second optical drive in there.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII009.jpg[/img]

So I need one converter connector to power the second Port Multiplier. I decided to hold off on buying a third and fourth port multiplier until I need the drive space.

Here is it late at night and I can't find any Electrical tape. I want to tape up the leads on the power switch before seating it into the case.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII008.jpg[/img]

I lay the LED power indicator in the front under the switch. It needs a tie wrap after I seat the power switch.

So here it is. Only the bottom five bays are functional. I'll have the rest done shortly after a few small parts.

However, I plan to put it into service tomorrow, and order a bunch of new drives. It just occured to me, that will 2TB drives being sold now, this case could hold more than 40TB of drive--but I'd never fill that up! And 1TB drives are so cheap now.

I'll be selling my old external drive cases on eBay this week. I'll post another picture with the two machines linked up later in the week.

What else? The door opens and closes well without a hinge, which would throw off the dot pattern. I may just put a little handle on the door and a latch. On the other hand, I like the clean look of no handle. Perhaps I;ll just do a latch.

I'm still debating putting a USB hub inside, and I thought a firewire connector to one or two drive--might be useful.

I like the LED's. The Port multipliers have led connectors so I could if I want run some nicer LED to the grill in the front. I may do that. I think I could drill out holes in the grill and press-fit them into place. I'll have to think about it. I'm not sure it is worth the cost.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/PISCES%20II/PiscesII007.jpg[/img]
Posted by: Night_Sailor

This picture deserves it's own post. - 03/01/09 09:16 PM

Posted by: Night_Sailor

Mac Pro Wiring diagrams. - 03/02/09 05:29 AM

It is a snow day here, so I have some time to kill. I thought I'd take another look at the G5 switch, USB, and Firewire ports. So I did a little research. Here is what I found for the Mac Pro. I am still looking for the G5, but I don't think things will have changed much. The G5 has only one firewire, and one USB port.


This diagram I find confusing as it listed as USB but shows a Sata Cable. ???
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 03/02/09 01:59 PM

Originally Posted By: "Waragainstsleep"
I should add that it is possible to link two gigabit ports together for a 2Gb link. I know its built into OS X server, maybe not in the client though.
If you connect this 2Gb link via a switch, the switch will also need to support link aggregation.


Thanks for the tip. I looked into that. I have a Linksys Business class switch--model SR2016. I've used this for about 2 years not without a hiccup. However, it does not support link aggregation. And I'd still need another machine with dual ethernet to make the connection work.

Also, I don't want to give up a PCIe slot for a 10GB network as none of my other machines support this without add on cards.

It is a good idea for some people. I have a few other ideas for speeding things up on my workstation--SSD drives when the price drops. I can get by with GB Ethernet for the next five or more years. It works OK for me. I will only need to move smaller files across the network--that goes fast. Bigger tasks like copying full TB drives takes 4-5 hours using eSata connections. That is slow, but I can live with it.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

The Two Fish - 03/02/09 08:28 PM

I discovered the screws securing the drive cages are too long and prevent installing drives on each side. I can use the middle slide drawers until I find shorter fine threaded screws.

I test fit an old 250 GB Sata drive to see how things worked and it is not being recognized. I tried it in another enclosure--same problem. It is an older drive in FAT32--it needs to be formated for a Mac and I've found I often need to install these in the main drive bay to format them--it is a hassle. I'll save that for tomorrow.

Also the fans in the drive cages are too loud. My 90mm fan in the back is nice and quiet though. In any event, I might slide in a variable resistor in series with the fan supply to cut the fan noise down, and/or else I can try some other brands. I am now thinking about remote switch for the fans or perhaps variable resistors for . A row of switches would fit nice along the top of the cage behind the front door. Also, I think a bit of sheet metal to control the airflow would be a good idea.

This is how the two machines look together. Pretty eh? I love the soft lighting. I can get more accurate colors using a flash, but I like the tint of natural light...

Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 03/06/09 08:44 AM

I decided to pull PISCES II apart to neaten it up some. There were a couple of things I did not like. For starters, there was too much wire. I decided I wanted to slide the drive cage back slightly to the position I chose originally. The amount of wire caused me to move it forward, and I could have lived with it, but it just bugged the crap out of me that there was such a mess on the inside. To make space I also wanted to run the wire straight up instead of out the front where it got real cramped.

So I pulled out the power supply, and cut a hole in the top. I moved the plastic edging that protected against chafe from the front to the top. There was still some exposed edges, and even after filing the sharp and rough edges down, I added a bit of tape to extra protection. I cut off several bundles of extra cabling I did not I need. I left one 12V bundle for fans and lighting--I'm not sure how or if I will use this, but it tucked away behind the drive cage for now.


Next I pulled the wire through.


And started shortening up some of the wires.



I found one connector that plugged right into the G5 case wiring. I kept that and shortened but will have to verify the correct voltage wires connect properly--I suspect they do not. If not I can always use the connector and I have plenty of like wire that was unused I can splice in any way I like. I'll worry about that later. I tucked it behind the drive cages also.

To move the drive cages back I had to cut off a bit more sheet metal off the drive cage assembly.


Next I found some shorter screws that don't interfer with the outside drive tray. I was lucky to find some of these short screws. They fit perfect and saved me a trip out. I suppose I could have used washers for spacers, but that is a sloppy look I wanted to avoid. Here is a view of the drive cage showing the screws, and a cut out I made with the dremel tool to make them fit a little better. There was a flange there that got in the way [bottom of photo], so I cut it off some months back.


More clean up work. I put some cover plates on the backplane. I want to find better screws, or if possible the thumbscrew setup my Mac Pro has. It is not terribly important to use the thumbscrews as I don't anticipate changing this much. Putting the cover plates on is important to keep the air flowing from front to back.


Here is a cool shot of the interior of the drive cage. The LED's are mounted on the printed circuit board in the back and the light is channeled forward using plexiglass tubes--smart idea-save on wiring! You can see the two types of power connectors. This worked out fine for me. I had a bundle of three of the old style power connector--one bundle for each drive cage--both shortened to get rid of the excess wire. And I had two bundles with the Sata power connector--each with three connectors. I nipped off the last Sata power connector on each of these two bundles and shortened them as well.


Here is the fan assembly from the drive cage--these are the noisy ones. Notice there are three wires. Is there a thermostat in there somewhere? I'm not exactly sure of the purpose of the third wire. I do know it is too loud. I left the top cage power disconnected for now. These drive cage fans are 80mm size. I'm glad I checked because I was about to order a couple of 75mm fans. I variable resistor in series out to give me the control I want. My next phase will be to add a few temperature sensors and build a fan control panel--this will serve double duty as a fan shroud, to ensure fresh air is pulled through the drive cages. I'm also going to pick up some metal HVAC tape to seal off any small holes later on.

I installed a new On/Off switch. I was worried someone might bump into the black switch I installed. I will use the later for something else, like a booster fan or lighting. Here is the new switch. Note the area above the drive cages. This is where the fan controls will go.


Before and after shots of the wiring clean up. Well worth the effort I think. I

Before Shot of Messy Wiring:


After Shot of Wiring--with bundles removed or shortened: [Note I forgot to install the other drive cage--Oops!]
Note I move the fan at the back to the lower position. This fan is quiet. I thought I'l buy one more for the top, and moving this will make the install of the extra easier when it comes in.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/MAC%20PRO/PiscesII020.jpg[/img]

Finally, here is a shot of my present drive configuration in the Finder Window.
I noticed that one of the two TB drives in my OWC Mercury Elite box is not visible in the Finder Window. It was working yesterday. I suspect a cable problem. I'm going to pull these drives out and install them in the bottom drive cage, which will fill it up.
[img]http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/Night_Sailor/MAC%20PRO/Finder.png[/img]

Next up is to order some fans and a floppy power connector from NewEgg. And I need to find some pots to control the various fan's.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 03/06/09 08:10 PM

Originally Posted By: "hyram"
Mr. Sailor,

Nice work. Just wondering how's it coming along. I think this might go in the "small world" category, but I think I bid against you for that case on ebay back about 10 months ago. If that was the same one, it's at leas good to see someone putting it to good use.

hyram


So what did you want a G5 Case for? Are you the fellow who built a gaming system in one?
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 03/08/09 10:09 AM

I thought I'd take another look at the front panel power switch, Firewire and USB connectors.

One issue I found was the door would not shut with the shield on unless I moved the drive cage over 1/4". I may do that as it is a simple change. Here is what the back side of the door looks like with the assembly in place.

With Shield


I tried removing the shield and reinstalling. This fits fine. I could probably fab my own shield with metal tape and plastic sheeting for insulation. But before I go to all that effort I need to find the circuit diagram for the connector.

Without Shield



Here is a look at the connector. It would be easy to cut off the other end and wire it into whatever i want--first I need to know what all these pins are for. I'll need to research that. So far I'm not finding any luck. I was hoping it would match the Mac Pro connector, but the are differences unfortunately. If anyone has the pin-outs for this connector, please let me know. Mostly I'm interested in the power connector. I might use the USB connector.
Connector



While the shielding is grounded, the components within seem to be isolated from ground.

Another option is to discard the whole assembly and use the three wire from the on/off switch. It would be easy enough to determine the function of the three wires and hook this up to a relay or electronic control switch. That eliminated the issue of finding the pin-out for the whole assembly.
Posted by: Night_Sailor

Re: PISCES & PISCES II -- 27 TeraByte Mac Pro Video Editing Sys - 03/17/09 10:09 PM

I ordered a USB 2.0 hub without a PCI connector to add a few more USB ports. I didn't think I'd need more USB ports, but I find that I want some more in the back out of the way. I'm thinking about doing a mod to this part I bought at NewEgg for $8, and making a cutout in the back of the case--where the USB ports are normally anyway. One long slot joining the existing cutout, and a couple of screws might work. I have a port multiplier bracket already fabricated that I want to put in a card slot, which means I need to keep that area open. I still need to decide where to put the fourth port multiplier connector--if I ever get that many drives.




So you see this board works perfect for me. I don't want a PCI connector. I want an external cable feeding it. I also want to eliminate power cords, and this just needs a floppy connector. I can cut one off an old power supply, or even an existing PC which doesn't have a floppy drive, and add it to my 750W power supply. Nice and neat. I add only one USB cable between the machines--and both will be in back out of the way. While I lose one port on Pisces, I gain four--a net gain of three.

I want to de-soldering one of the USB connectors and wire it to the port on the front. It would be simple to connect it to the existing cable or solder it straight to the front connector. I can try to ohm out the front panel cable and see what wires do what. I don't really need another USB port on the front, but making it work would be a nice touch, and an interesting challenge.

It would go to the middle connector here.


What prompted me to want more USB ports? A USB scanner.

This is the one I'm thinking about buying. This Canon scanner is USB bus powered, and it will fit on top of the two machines and combined with Pisces I and II, it make the top line of the Pi symbol--how appropriate!

Scanner Dimensions: (WxDxH): 9.9 x 14.4 x 1.6 in; Weight: 3.6 lbs.

It is a little short to bridge the top of both Pisces I and II, I can live with that. I'm glad it fits in between the gaps of the handles--12". It won't be in the way up there, it is light if I ever have to move it, and with and only one wire going to it, it will be neater.



What else?

I'm still trying to find a G5 optical drive mount. Does anyone have one? I can't seem to get any information about parts from Apple. They are such a PITA about small parts. I think I may go into business reselling small parts for people like me, who like to tinker.

And I'm still looking for a really thin piano hinge for the door. I found one but it is too thick for my door. I did find a nice magnetic latch which operates by pushing in to release--so no need for a handle on the front. I can cut off the two tie wraps I'm using for a handle. The magnet is weak and far enough away from the drives not to be a problem. I can hot glue the steel plate to the door. All this happens when I get my fan control and temperature panel completed--coming up!