home server rack : how to mitigate the fire risk ?

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1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
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Hi
I've been running / building my server rack in the garage for a while - no problems. I will shortly start run heavy compute loads which likely will consume more than 4kw - so the power and heat is going to be a potential fire risk.

I think what I am looking for is a stand alone device that will monitor the cabinet environment (mainly temperature and smoke, perhaps humidity etc) and provide the data over e.g. web or serial interface so that the servers can monitor status and execute graceful shutdown (via custom scripts) if required. One critical risk is the cabinet fan - if that shuts down temperatures will rapidly rise - I need some way to monitor the health of the ventilation way before temperatures have soared. If the environment monitor measured airspeed that could do the job.

If anyone has product recommendations or if anyone has experience of deploying such sensors and integrating them into server controls I would be very grateful for any recommendations.

Richard.
 

i386

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Mar 18, 2016
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Some apc ups skus come with a probe that can measure temperature and humidity, the ups software should be able to issue a shutdown command if certain values are reached.
 

1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
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thanks i386, ups is likely out of my budget, i would prefer to spend on something dedicated to monitoring temp/air speed and smoke.
I might be able to adapt a retail wifi weather station to do temperature and air flow, and do smoke separately. I think these could be cost effective.
 

zunder1990

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Nov 15, 2012
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If you dont care about a graceful shutdown of the OS, and would like to to some home automation.

1. build wifi esp 8266 based temp sensor ~15$ in hardware DHT Temperature+Humidity Sensor
2. Now that you have temps you need a way to kill power, with both of the options they are wifi based and can also monitor power usage
tp link hs110 ~$30
shelly PM Shelly 1PM | Shelly Cloud ~20$

Note shelly also has a wifi based smoke and temperature sensor too if you wish to say in the shelly family.
 

1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
12
7
3
If you dont care about a graceful shutdown of the OS, and would like to to some home automation.

1. build wifi esp 8266 based temp sensor ~15$ in hardware DHT Temperature+Humidity Sensor
2. Now that you have temps you need a way to kill power, with both of the options they are wifi based and can also monitor power usage
tp link hs110 ~$30
shelly PM Shelly 1PM | Shelly Cloud ~20$

Note shelly also has a wifi based smoke and temperature sensor too if you wish to say in the shelly family.
Thanks zunder1990, I do care about graceful shutdown - I was planning on scripting that once I have access to the sensor data - e.g. via http or whatever. Thanks for the Shelly links - looks like a great product range - the smoke sensor I understand has temp sensor too - but is not out yet.
DHT and ESPHome stuff - not sure i have the time to do these projects - but they do look like you could do something very cheaply if you have the time - thanks for that.
 
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1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
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So all your critical equipment/data is in a non-environmental, non-access controlled location?
It's not in a datacentre, it's in my garage but it does have a purpose built room and ventilation - I use a large hydraponic fan.
 

1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
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Hopefully, it's up to building code and your insurance company will cover if anything happens.
Insurance is a good point. I did get a electrician to provide compliant power cabling so I am not concerned about that. Can you advise on what other build codes I should target ?
 

1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
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Photos would be cool.
I've now added temperature and wifi smoke sensor. Exceeding temperature threshold will shutdown all hosts, if the smoke sensor blows it will notify my phone. Temperature from : USB Sensor Thermometer , wifi smoke detector : X-Sense wifi smoke alarm
I am tempted to leave it at that - but it would be good to trigger all host shutdown if the fan stops - as I am not sure how quick the temperature will rise. I will at least have redundant host shutdown when temperature rises - I might get this one too : Nano temp sensor accessible over ethernet and have redundant shutdown script.
 

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1rich

New Member
Jul 31, 2021
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If you're concerned about the fan failing, a simple solution is to get an additional fan.
The fan takes up a third of the cabinet - there isn't room - see big black box in GarageRack-04.jpg. I had originally tried a smaller fan but it was of course deafeningly loud. The biggest challenge with large home rack is to keep the noise down for residential setting whilst maintaining adequate ventilation. The quietest fans with high throughput are very big. Not visible in the fan section of the cabinet is a silencer 1m long x 50cm diameter.
 
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