52PI Raspberry Pi Mini Tower NAS Kit

I’m really not sure what to say about this 3D-printed kit – I’m not sure what I was expecting but not quite this. I was going to do a video but the way things turned out, a series of photos made more sense as I was putting this together. Here is the link for this 52PI unit on PiHut.

The kit comprises a multi-colour fan/heatsink, a 2D-printed case with clear perspex front and back panels, a shield for an M.2 SSD (I for some reason thought it would be a normal SATA SSD), a “spare” fan not really referrred to in the instructions, in my case a missing Pi4 power supply (Mandy at 52pi.net sent me one later to be fair but I used my own initially), various screwdrivers and a shed-load of various screws and fittings – not to mention a USBC-micro-USB adaptor for the initially missing power supply.

At this point I’ve still no idea why so many screws and fittings (and why 2 SSD1306 displays, I didn’t at first understand either – but then I went off to one of the links they provide in the manual where there are examples of using two OLED displays at once – ideal for the experimenter) – in my case I just wanted an enclosure for the RPi4 and an SSD.

Also there’s a small, drilled, clear perspex sheet the purpose of which is still escaping me. I do like the range of tools provided – you can never have too many of those.

My first issue came when I realised the M.2 wasn’t included and I didn’t have any – thank heavens for Amazon Prime. I did of course have my own Raspberry Pi 4.

After putting the unit together (one screw on each side is loose – one of the 3D-printed case screw-holes is a bit large) I put in my home control software and the unit powered up – well, it would – it uses a Raspberry Pi.

To test the M.2 I ran my usual rpi-clone software to clone to SDA. WELL, it works – of course I had to clean-clone but this is fast enough when writing to an M.2 SSD – simple enough and now my home control is running in it’s pretty new box.

Now, this is a neat solution no doubt, but no miracles on, for example multiple SSDs – so really, NAS ? I’m used to a Synology NAS with RAID so this is clearly a different game, it is basically a pretty case for an RPI complete with coloured fan and M.2 internal capacity.

However, I’m a past master at adding SSD1306 to my RPi machines for status information and so that’s in my Node-Red software. At first it would not work on my S2Pi – blank display (both displays) but it turns out I’d missed off some library material – I read the links provided and everything worked (and works) a treat.

I’ve just seen the same product (same logo even) under the title of GeekPi on Amazon.co.uk but the Amazon version is blue, mine is black.

I’ve included a photo of the M.2 SSD but stress I bought this separately from Amazon.

So, minutes later the cloning was done – I pulled out the SD to see what happened… there was a flashing green light after power cycling… yes, as expected, up and running on the M.2 SSD – well, I guess I should be happy as this is faster than one of my 2.5″ SATA SSDs (I bought a 128GB M.2 SSD for £24 from Amazon for the job).

What do I instantly like? The holes for earphones, power and video are large enough to accommodate large plugs – that’s a plus. Overall despite being 3D-printed, the finish is good.

As you can see, the OLED display frame doesn’t look QUITE up to scratch – but not bad. I think my decision to use the extra fan is a good one – it would not be the first time a fan has failed one me if either of them stopped – so handy to have a back up as over the summer this will be unattended.

BUT the OLED is not the best fit or best finished around the edge of the enclosure at the display section and this was a big plus for me having the OLED as part of the enclosure. It gets held in place with thermal pads (provided) – I’m not convinced that’s a long-term solution.

As for the extra fan – at first, that made the whole installation too loud so I decided to run it on 3v3… problem solved.

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4 thoughts on “52PI Raspberry Pi Mini Tower NAS Kit

  1. Those aren’t “sticky pads” they’re thermal pads for on top of the cpu die lid. The display clips on.

  2. It does support UASP, which is required for decent performance over USB. I also got TRIM working, which is required for the long term health/performance of the SSD.

  3. I note that the SSD card says it does not support TRIM but does support UASP. I haven’t yet worked out if the latter obviates the need for the former. Anyone know?

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