EASY NETWORK STORAGE

I though I should write a short post on my latest “technology project”. I needed an easy-to-access backup storage for images, my iTunes music collection and so forth, so I decided to buy myself a NAS.

The choice fell on NetGear’s ReadyNAS NV+, a four-bay NAS. The price is not too intimidating, roughly 2k NOK (excluding the harddisks, which are not included). I also bought two Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB discs. The ReadyNAS runs NetGear’s proprietary XRAID, which allows hotswapping of discs in case one breaks down. With two discs, the total capacity is currently 2TB. This post is however not about configuring the ReadyNAS. Configuration is very easy – the Wizard mode of the ReadyNAS was brilliant.

There is however two downsides with the original ReadyNAS NV+. First, it only comes with 256MB RAM. You notice its lack of RAM when you access the control panel (via your browser), and you are e.g. transferring files to the NAS. Second, the standard fan that comes with the ReadyNAS NV+ is outrageously noisy, and unbearable if you’re planning to keep the NAS in a room where people spend time.

The solution is obvious: Replace the original parts. Here’s what’s going into the ReadyNAS:

  • RAM: Crucial DDR SO-DIMM PC3200 1GB CL3
  • FAN: SilenX 92mm iXtrema PRO IXP-64-11, 11dB(A)

Replacing the RAM:
This is very easy. First, unscrew four screws on the back, two on each side and slide the side panels off the ReadyNAS. This reveals four more screws on the top side. Unscrew these and you will see the RAM module. Pull the clips on the RAM module aside and the module “pops up” to a 30 degree angle, ready to be removed. The new module is inserted all the way in, until the clips fit into the module’s tracks.

Replacing the fan:
On the backside of the ReadyNAS, four screws will allow you to pull out the metal frame holding the fan. Unscrew the four screws and pull the metal frame out. Remove the fan cable. Now unscrew the four bigger screws, holding the fan to the metal frame. Replace the frame with the new one (remember to put the fan in the right way). Reverse the process and fasten the fan’s metal frame back into the ReadyNAS. Fasten the top panel (four screws) before fastening the side panels (2×2 screws).

Result
After these simple updates, the ReadyNAS NV+ is more responsive and very quiet! The operation temperature has increased with a few degrees (roughly 40-45 degrees when stressing the device), but the noise level has decreased to levels below city background noise. The total cost of this update was roughly 500NOK and it definitely moved the NAS to the next level with respect to responsiveness and the famous “just work without being noticed” criteria.




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DONE!

It’s been a few days now, actually an entire week, but I’m done! I’ve finished my studies at NTNU and is now a Master of Science :)

I’m currently staying at my parent’s, relaxing, playing golf and beachvolley! Moving was completed in two days, including driving from Skien to Trondheim and back (10h each way). I was pretty exhausted after moving all my stuff.

I’ve found myself an appartment in Oslo, I’m going to live with Torbjørn. I think it’ll be great. The exact details haven’t been worked out yet, so more info to come.

I’m trying to play as much golf as possible, since I’m leaving for Wales and South Africa in less than a week. That will be great! Looking forward to that!

SNEEK-PEEK INTO NTNU NANOLAB

Well, Easter is just around the corner and work pase slows down a bit. Therefore I thought I’d make a post about the NTNU Nanolab.

What is it?
The Nanolab is NTNU’s state-of-the-art cleanroom, and also my main laboratory during my thesis project. My project is multi-diciplinary, so I spend time in different labs for each part of the work. At the Nanolab, I fabricate the devices I’m using to perform electrical characterization of single nanowires.

Below, I’ve tried to show you a bit of the Nanolab and explain what you see. Enlarge images by clicking them.

More text below the picture.

When entering the Nanolab, one start in the end of the corridor and work your way towards where this picture is taken.

Ready for action in the ISO5&6 areas (click to enlarge)

The procedure for getting dressed starts even before the dressing corridor. First, you must put on a hairnet and some dark flip-flops. Then, starting in the corridor, you switch to another pair of flip-flops – these are white.

Then you take on the hood, the body suit and then you put on the “booties” outside the white flipflops. Almost done, all that remains is your mouth cover and your gloves.

It’s time to enter the lab.
The Nanolab consists of an area for chemical methods and a cleanroom for physical methods (which this sneek-peek is about).

The physical lab is made out of a main corridor (seen in below image) and five arms containing different equipment. The first two arms are of clean room level ISO7, while the three inner arms are of the cleaner ISO 5 and ISO6 (about cleanroom classifications).

Main corridor of the physical methods area

The aim of my thesis project is to characterize semiconductor nanowires. To do this I need to make metal contacts onto the nanowires. A nanowire is typically 2-4 micrometre and 50-100 nanometre in diameter. Making such contacts is done using two machines:

I might explain the manchines in a later postm later, but lots of time is spent next to these two machines. Additionally, we use photolithography machine, resist spinners and of course the work benches. The machines can be seen  below.

Light is yellow’ish because of the light sensitive chemicals used in this cleanroom area.

I will try to explain my thesis project in more detail in a later post. Happy easter to you all!

The fourth arm in the physical methods area. This is where I spend my time in the Nanolab. The light is yellow because of the photolithography machine where we use material that are light sensitive.

A photomontage of some chemicals, resist spinners and the border between two very clean environments

MY RADIONETTE MENUETT

I would like to share with you my latest project. Nothing much, but it looks good and works fine. This post is the story of my Radionette Menuett HTPC.

History

The idea for this project started a couple of years ago, in 2007 I think. It started with some inspiration, an old Radionette radio at my grandmother’s that I have always found very pretty. I didn’t want to take my grandmother’s radio, so I found a similar one online. I ended up buying a beautiful 1951 Menuett radio from Radionette (Norwegian Wikipedia). I wanted to make it into a HTPC, something that could be a livingroom furniture and a computer. The radio I bought didn’t work, so I cleaned out the inside ending up with a nice future HTPC case.

Then the project stopped. I had lots to do and the whole project went to a halt for about two years. Fall 2009 however I restarted it.

Specifications

Since I wanted a HTPC and the fact the HDTV is becoming more and more normal, I wanted a machine that could play Full HD material. At the same time I wanted to keep the computer as cheap as possible, and simple to build. I chose a Zotac ION motherboard that includes NVidias PureVideo™ HD Blu-Ray/HD DVD acceleration and HDMI output. The CPU, a Intel ATOM N230, and 12VDC power supply was included with the motherboard.

What Product
Case Radionette Menuett 1951 radio
Motherboard Zotac ION N230 (Mini-ITX)
CPU Single Core Intel Atom N230 (included with motherboard)
Memory 2x 2GB Crucial BallistiX (DDR2 PC6400)
Harddrives 2x Western Digital 160GB (SATA)
PSU 90W 12VDC (included with motherboard)

Building process

The building of this project was very simple. First step was to remove all excess electronics from the old radio. Then I cut a hole in the side of the radio to fit the motherboard backside. The motherboard was then mounted on a metal plate, separated with spacers. The plate was then screwed to the case.

ON/OFF and RESET pins were soldered to one of the front panel buttons. Additionally I used the 12VDC harddrive output with a voltage regulator I made to power two light bulbs, lighting up the old tuner. And that’s about it. Keeping it simple.

Software

I installed the latest version of Ubuntu (9.10) and Boxee, a free media center software. Two problems were encountered. The first problem was overscan, thus that the outer parts of the output was not visible on the TV. This was solved by a setting on the Samsung TV. The second problem was that I had no sound through the HDMI cable. This was easily solved by unmuting the HDMI sound output in Ubuntu (alsamixer). Both of these problems were quickly solved by Andreas.

Conclusion

So, to sum up. My Radionette Menuett works perfectly, it plays full HD movies and is great for surfing. But the best thing, it looks great in the livingroom! Click the images to enlarge them.

Long exposure image showing the lit tuner

Motherboard connectors

Type and 1951 prize

Seen from the back

The backcover removed

Radio originates from Fjellhamar

On/Off and Reset