DIY project turning a 12-bay DL180 g6 into a JBOD

I just bought two proliant dl180 g6 servers (aka hp storageworks 4500 g2)
and I am trying to figure out which of these two options will be the least painfull:

  1. Hotwire the PSU to run without the MB attached
  2. Create and adapter to power the backplane from my ATX PSU

Because of the noise and size, I want to use just the drives with backplanes.
Problem is they use 2x 10-pin molex connectors for power.

Hotwiring the PSU, seems to require some extra steps besides the usual bridge on the 24-pin ATX,

My main concern right now is option 1. What would be the best way to adapt the power connectors from an ATX power supply?

This is the backplane in question, I already figured out the pin-out on the connectors.


Would this be possible to do a 2x molex 4p to this 10p version? I don;t really understyand why it would need that many 12v wires just to power 12 hdd’s
2 connectors = total of 8 12v wires


I have heard romantic stories about burnt HDDs with backplanes.

I wouldn’t hotwire anything if I were you. Either official manufacturer way, or do not use it all. I have HP workstation gear in my museum…they use special connectors…there are many adapters…there is even more burnt to ground buildings :wink: Just ask crypto kids that refuse to understand limits of SATA power connector.

I went SAS2 HBA + expanders way where you can simply use ATX 2.0 PSU

Your only problem will be the usual 20-25A limit on 5V rail.

So I go these two pcs dl180 G6 servers for cheap (25,- euro incl the rackrails), but now I want to turn them into workable Jbods.

Problem 1, they are way to big to fit into my rack (only 50cm depth).
Problem 2, they use proprietary plugs all over the place.
Problem 3, the included raid cards don’t support HBA mode.
Problem 4, the PSUs don’t fit very well back into the case after I cut the end off.
Problem 5, the fans make more noise than an airplane.

First I thought I wanted to use the original hp PSUs, but I scrapped that plan. My farmer already has a rm750x, so plenty of power there. If I add another psu, they will run below the efficiency curve.

So on to option 2, making a custom power (cable) from the rm750x to power the sas backplane.

My current plan is to use an eps12v cable for each drive bay of 12 disks. That gives me 4 pairs of 12v + gnd @18awg

As the backplane has 2 x 10-pin connector, I will need:
8 x 12v
4 x 5v
8 x gnd
Using two 10A buck converters and a screwclamp rails with crimp connectors to properly splice the wires to the original connectors.
kabelschema 1 eps 8 pin only

After cutting off the backside of the chassis, I will add a male 8-pin plug to the back side of the chassis, so the eps12v can just be plugged in/out directly in case I need to move or service it.
Shame I can’t do the same for the SAS cable, cheapest option for a female-female sas I have seen is $60…
4 x 80mm fan will fit the original fan bracket with some modding. I have some sata powered fan controllers lying around I can use for them.

With all this, these two Jbods will owe me about 70 bucks each + a new $25 HBA-card.
Hopefully I can sell off some of the parts of the servers and recover a bit of the cost. might take some time but should be able to get some money for those bits. So with any luck these thing will have cost about 30-40 euro each in the end.
Fingers crossed they actually end up working

Any thoughts, suggestion, glaring mistakes?

why not simply throw out backplane, and use SAS/SATA cables?

you will never get efficient with ATX >2.0 PSUs. I had 40 drives on single 1kW/5V@25A Seasonic high-efficiency PSU…still just 30% efficiency, while risking cable meltdown/fire during the cold start.

I even worked on a voltage regulator (Texas Instruments 92% efficiency…allegedly) so that I can convert 12 > 5V…it sadly uses/wastes more power than using two Platinum PSUs inefficiently.

Not really an option. You lose hotswap capability and need a ton of very long sata/sas cables that end up costing quite bit. Also need an extra hba/expander to connect all the cables to (the backplane has one integrated).

I’m using a corsair rm750x to power it. The buck converters are only there for the 12v to 5v. Maybe not great for efficiency but still ok enough, the 5v is only a small part of the power draw anyway.

Every Linux is hotswap :wink:

unmount, remove drive, connect, mount

I paid like 1$/cable :wink:

Every server has at least 4x sata or even 8x. HBA cost 50$ for 8 drives. Cables, voltage regulators, your time…you are more expensive than simple solution

If I could fit a server, I would not have cut the ones I have in half :joy:

A 12 bay sas expander on Aliexpress might have been easier. Your disks are the most expensive part of your operation. Don’t risk letting the magic smoke out of them because they won’t work again again and you will be sad farmer. Put your disks somewhere safe.

well yes :joy: but certainly not cheaper though.

It’s basically the same thing, you would still need cooling and a way to power it. So that’s why part of the old server case is actually useful. Those do have external SAS connectors which is more convenient.

Mine is looking like this now (and yes I know the fans are wrong way round, was just a test fit :innocent:)
Will still be waiting a while for the electronics parts to arrive from Aliexpress


It’s alive!! :sunglasses: my first baby Jbod is up and running

All it needs is a single SAS connector and an atx 8pin for power. 2U by 40cm deep for 12 bays.

Still can’t believe HP designed this backplane to need 2x 10-pin connectors (it really needs both), talk about overengineering things. That’s the same power potential as 2x sata + 2x pcie 8pin, all in 16awg wire of course…

Now it’s gingers crossed that those shitty 1,99 euro/pcs fans will draw enough air through to keep the disks cool


Wow…great job! I think this is so cool! I love stuff like this. Personally I think the hardware is more fun than the software and much easier for my old head to understand. Ha!

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An obvious question. Will that fit in the coffee table you built before?

Also, can I order few of those, please?

Super cool. Although, I still think that coffee table was the #1 project.

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Thanks! yeah the hardware part is fun, farming is quite boring haha

Yes they will fit, at least they do now after I cut off the back half of the chassis :sweat_smile: I will update when they are fitted inside, then I can finally clear up the cable mess from the external USB and Sata drives.
If I count the hours spend, I don’t think they will be very affordable haha. Besides, I’d have to find a good deal like that again where someone want to get rid of two old servers for $25 each.

One slight (ahum) concern right now. It works fine on both my corsair PSU’s (VX450W and RM750W) but the Gigabyte P750GM in my plotter refused to turn on at all with this Jbod attached.
I’m guessing there must be some weird feedback coming from those buck converters that trips one of the protection features., But both PSU’s seem to have the same protection features, if anything the corsair one is a bit tighter I think, so no idea what exactly is going on there.

You may want to get rid of that PSU :slight_smile:

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Funny how you can watch a video like that, and then see them show that particular scene in pretty much every video after that for like a year…and still buy one :rofl:

Edit: at least it’s not one in the serial number list that they offered returns for, but this does explain why it was rather cheap.

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Ok, no point trying to hide it, I’m feeling pretty proud right now :sunglasses:

Today it was finally time to upgrade my farmer and install the new DIY Jbod.

Upgrading your farm starts with…taking everything apart

But when all put back together, It cleans everything up quite a bit

And just to demonstrate the sheer efficiency of SAS drive bays vs USB and SATA, this is what a single 12-bay replaces with only one SAS cable and one 8-pin for power.

Still have to make the second Jbod so I can shuck the last two USB dives, and then I’ll have space to add 10 more drives as well.

My biggest worry was temperature, but it turned out fine. All the drives are around 35-40C even with the dust filer in front of it. And total power draw at the wall is down by from 165 to 155W. Happy days :grin:


Nice result! I’m not a fan of sas myself but this is just such an amazing recycling

I still think that if you flat-mounted something like that on the top of that case, that would realy look cool. No more wobbly monitor or mouse (maybe some soft keyboard would go with it to complete it).

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So after a few days I found that with the dust filter in front, temps got up to 42C on some disks, still ok but come summer time ambient will be 5-10C higher so that’s gonna be a problem.
Decided to take drastic measures and fitted a removable fan rig to the front. Will put dust filter in front of it and then should be all good, temps ar between 31-34 now.

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Looking at one of the very first pictures you have there, maybe the heat problem is mostly due to backplane blocking the air flow, thus not having a clean front-to-back airflow. The mounting plate for your fans has that big gap on the left and a smaller one on the right. It might be that your fans are partially recirculating air between those two back chambers reducing the airflow over the drives. I would take some clear tape and try to “seal” that mid compartment between the fans and the backplane, so the incoming air would need to be forced only through those holes in the backplane.

Also, there are at least two types of fans. Those with sparse blades are high velocity and lower air pressure, and those with more blades are the opposite. I have never looked at the difference, but maybe you need those higher static pressure fans there. Take a look at Noctua’s specs (ratio m3/h : mm H2O), maybe you need those with the highest mm H2O value.

By the way, what model of the buck converter are you using?