Almost a year ago. I read a forum post on another website of of a guy named xxredxpandaxx modding an old apple XRAID. Essentially Gutting the unit and painstakingly soldering sata through the mother board to allows the caddies to hold SATA drives. It was a great idea and it got me thinking of undertaking such a task. I however have no soldering skills. And with say 14X 8TB I don't trust my soldering when data is at stake. Also nothing on the outside was functional. It was just a case mod, nothing more.
Link provided https://forums.lime-technology.com/topic/29324-unraiding-an-apple-xserve-raid/
SO I had an idea, redesign boards for both the XRAID and the Caddies. So that at least the drive lights worked in front of the caddy.
If you are having a hard time picturing this I will provide pictures.
But basically my idea entailed making a Daughter card which would accept multple sata and power wires from a mother board and power supply and then transfer the leads through the XRAID style connectors (SCSI 80) into the Caddy and then back to a sata connector to use with sata drives inside the caddy. I wanted the lights to also be functional.
Again I hit a road block I don't know much about making PCB boards. So I enlisted the help and expertise of another forum member, an electrical engineer. Not only was he able to make new caddy boards for SATA, and make the large daughter board to accept the sata from a pc motherboard. He also was able to get the caddy lights to be functional.
So the caddies are done. We are now in the final stages of the large 17" daughter board. I will also have pictures of the progress.
The third task which will be started soon is getting the throughput lights to work in the center of the machine. My hope is to have it register network bandwidth. Also rewiring of the power button from the back to the front is also on the list.
The second part of this project is aesthetics and airflow. I again have no knowledge of how to cut aluminum or design mother board trays. So I enlisted help from someone in the UK. And let me tell you he designed the most beautiful pc tray and top. The tray will have holes for risers for mitx, or matx. and the top will have a cutout that will make it easy to swap cards out so you dont have to unscrew everything to get to them.
I will have more pictures and will be editing this post to make it a little bit more linear.
I think this will be the best looking NAS out there. Perfect for holding all your data and transcoding plex videos provided you buy enough horsepower under the hood.