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