33 Node Beowulf Cluster built with Raspberry Pi

rpi-beowulf-cluster

Not only did [Josh Kiepert] build a 33 Node Beowulf Cluster, but he made sure it looks impressive even if you don’t know what it is. That’s thanks to the power distribution PCBs he designed and etched. In addition to injecting power through each of the RPi GPIO headers they host an RGB LED which is illuminated in blue in the images above.

Quite some time ago we saw a 64-node RPi cluster. That one used LEGO pieces as a rack system to hold all of the boards. But [Josh] used stand-offs to create the columns of hardware which are suspended between top and bottom plates made out of acrylic. The only thing that’s unique about each board is the SD card and that’s why each has a label on it that identifies the node. These have been flashed with almost identical images; the host name and IP address are the only thing that changes from one to the next. They’ve been put in order physically so that you can quickly find your way through the rack. But functionally this doesn’t matter… put the card in any RPi and it will automatically identify itself on the network no matter where it’s located in the rack.

Don’t miss the demo video where [Josh] explains the entire setup.

[Read more...]

A custom monitor mount built from wood

[LuckyNumbrKevin] wanted an epic monitor array of his own but didn’t really have the desk real estate to pull it off. His solution was to build a three computer monitor mounting rack with a relatively small footprint.

The design started with some virtual test builds using SketchUp. Once he had it dialed in he began transferring measurements for the base onto some plywood. The rest of the parts are built using dimensional lumber. As the project shaped up he wrapped the edges of the plywood with some trim, and gave the piece a good sanding. After a few passes with a dark stain he was ready to mount the monitors he bought from Newegg.

[Kevin] left a comment in the Reddit thread about the parts cost for his design. Including the monitors, this came in under $300. That does not include the Nvidia graphics card which is capable of driving the trio.

Kilonode: how to test a huge Xbee mesh network

So let’s say that you’re a developer on the Xbee team. You need to test the extremes of what the RF radio modules can do when in a large network. But in addition to numerous nodes, you also need to test the effects of distance on the radios. Since it’s not reasonable to distribute hundreds of the devices (each with their own power source) throughout town, you build a test setup like the 1 kilonode Xbee rig which the project manager, [Jared Hofhiens] is showing off.

He’s holding one blade from the rack-mounted system. Each of those squares is an Xbee module, there’s 32 etched onto the board. On the edge furthest from him there are a set of connectors which mate with the rack connectors, hooking the blade up to a set of terminal servers. These servers allow developers to ssh into individual modules. On the near side of the blade there’s a set of attenuation adjustment circuits. They allow adjustments of 0-40 dB of attenuation in 10 dB increments to adjust how strong the RF signals are, simulating distance between modules.

Thirty-two of these cards are mounted in the three racks seen above to make up the 1024 module node. We really appreciate this look behind the scenes and think you’ll enjoy the video tour after the break. If it leaves you wanting more check out how one company builds cloud storage. [Read more...]

Modular synthesizer is rack-mounted and reconfigurable

[Dirk] let us know about this fantastic music synthesis experimentation setup (translated). Turn your computer speakers off (to avoid the auto-playing music when every page loads) and dig into the wealth of information in this repository. Literally dozens of modules have been built and superbly mounted on a rack system. Each can be connected with other modules into an incredible number of different setups using patch wires that terminate with banana plugs.

The module enclosures themselves are made to fit in a standard 19″ rack. The front bezels were designed in CAD, with the rest of the housing made mostly of aluminum. Since each module tends to be quite small several are ganged into one rack skeleton to save space. You can see in the images above that there are as many as eight modules per rack slice.

You’ll enjoy reading about the many different sound chips that are in use here. But it doesn’t have to end there. If this has whet your appetite for your own rack-mounted system you’re in luck. The download area has schematics, board artwork, and build information for most of the modules.

Converting from clutter closet to dreamy datacenter

[DocDawning] had a nice home network up and running, but the messy pit housing the hardware made him avoid that part of the house. In an effort to cut down on noise, and clean up the clutter, he built himself a very nice data center inside a small closet.

One of the biggest changes in the setup provides adequate cooling. He cut a vent hole into a wall shared between the closet and a hallway. This was just the right size for a few large cooling fans which suck air into the enclosed space. But cool-air intake must be accompanied by hot-air outflow so he added an exhaust vent in the ceiling. This also received a trio of big fans, and as you can see above, the integrated LEDs act as a light source for the server farm.

The final part of the plan involved machine-specific brackets mounted to the walls of the enclosure. These racks were built out of 1×1 white wood. They hold the hardware in place leaving plenty of room to run cables. The new setup even opened up enough wall space to mount power and networking hardware. Now everything has its place, and [DocDawning] can finally close the door on his noisy servers.

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