Build Your Own NAS/Router on a Budget with the Banana Pi

Cabe Atwell
a year ago

Having an NAS (Network Area Storage) connected to your home network is great for file sharing and other applications, but they can be a little high priced. Not wanting to pay those exuberant prices, creative hacker Blake Burkhart decided to build his own but with several goals in mind — it had to cost less than a cheap commercial two-bay NAS, have low power consumption, have some router functionality, and maybe run some IoT things.

Burkhart designed his NAS/Router using the Banana Pi BPI-R2 SBC, which features everything he needed for the build, including a pair of SATA connectors for the hard drives and Gigabit Ethernet for network access. For the enclosure, Burkhart used a three-bay hot-swap HDD module-2X for storage, and the other used to mount the Banana Pi, which he then crafted an acrylic laser-cut side panel to access the Pi’s ports.

Since the case was meant to be mounted inside of a computer, it uses either Molex or SATA connectors to provide power. For his project, Burkhart bought a used Jentec JTA0512 power supply that offers only one 6-pin connector, which he chopped off and reterminated it with a modular SATA cable, offering both 12V and 5V for the Pi and a pair of WD Easystore 8Gb HDDs.

All in all, the NAS/Router is an affordable ($153 excluding HDDs) DIY NAS that anyone can make, but Burkhart states there are several drawbacks using the Banana Pi, as it’s slow even though it uses a 32-bit quad-core SoC. It also has limited SATA bandwidth (300mbps), limited RAM (2Gb), and a terrible WiFi chip. Minus any wireless applications, Burkhart considers his build success and states it works well as a standalone NAS platform.

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