Racking a Norco 4220

matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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After reading the Norco vs. other solutions thread, I decided to dump my "Frankenserver" for an RPC-4220. My old enclosure was build before the Norco enclosures were readily available (I think, not 100% sure of that). But anyway, it was a generic server that used the Supermicro 5-in-3 hotswap enclosures. Because of that other thread, I wanted to see how much improved the 4220 was over the 4020, and also tidy up cabling with multilane SAS cables, instead of a rat's nest of single SATA cables.

Anyway, other than being time-consuming, the rebuild was unremarkable... except for the racking! The old server used the (ubiquitous?) RL-26 sliding rails. I've seen other threads where people suggest that the RL-26 rails don't work with the 4220. And that seems to be the case for me.

How do you guys go about racking servers that use these rails? It seems like it's always a struggle, and requires all of incredible strength, magical flexibility, and three arms. I fought with it tonight for at least 30 minutes, working up a huge sweat, and still the server won't go in all the way. I even put a 2x4 across the handles, and pushed with my body while pulling the rack itself. It shouldn't require that much force! I've always struggled with these rails; they've never been smooth and fluid. But with this case, they just won't go.

Are there better rails out there that work with this case? I'm willing to pay more for something that's easy to use. At work we use a lot of 1U Dell servers, and the rails install in about 2 minutes, and the servers just glide right in, trivially.

Thoughts?
 

john4200

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Jan 1, 2011
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Is it a chassis width or alignment issue? If you take the rack part of the rails off the rack and just slide them individually onto the chassis part of the rails, will they go on?
 

matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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Is it a chassis width or alignment issue?
I'm not sure, but it seems like a chassis width issue. For what it's worth, my rack is the StarTech 4POSTRACK25. Previously I was using a Middle Atlantic ERK-1825. I've always had the same issues, with the Norco 4020, the (now retired) Compucase/HEC RA466A00, and now the 4220. So two different racks, two (arguably three) different chassis, and always problems. I've got a rackmount UPS, a 2U chassis, and an HP switch that all racked fine (but none of those are on rails). The common theme with my fit problems has been the RL-20 or RL-26 rails.

I'm starting to suspect that the rails themselves are too wide.

We've got Dell and HP servers and a SuperMicro case at work; I'll try to remember to measure them, and see how their width compares to the Norco.

If you take the rack part of the rails off the rack and just slide them individually onto the chassis part of the rails, will they go on?
I haven't had a chance to try that yet. I'm thinking that I'll try buying some RL-20 rails to replace the RL-26 I'm trying to use now. If that's no better, I might just spring for some pricier rails, just to see.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think I'm using RL-26 rails, I think I'm using Rosewill RSV-R26 rails. But I would be surprised if they aren't the same OEM as the RL-26. I've studied the pictures of all the "budget" rail kits on newegg, and I think they are all the same. Note that's just my guess, I don't know it for a fact.

This HardForum thread, Rails for Norco 4020, suggests that the Norco cases themselves may be wider than the spec. If nothing else, it's comforting to see that there are other people out there similarly frustrated. Doing a google search for "norco 4220 rails" yields more pockets of people with problems similar to mine.

Maybe we should start a survey:
- What chassis are you using?
- What rack/cabinet?
- What rail kit?
- How hard/easy was the mounting of the chassis?
- How smooth is the sliding in and out?
 

Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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So on the Norco cases being a bit wider... I was suspecting that they are. If I remember, maybe I'll look into that today.
 

S-F

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Feb 9, 2011
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If I remember, maybe I'll look into that today.

Please do as on Monday I may be getting a rack delivered (it's taller than I am and I only have a couple things to put in it but I'm getting a deal...so) and I'll be wanting to rack up my gear.
 

nitrobass24

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Dec 26, 2010
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I remember being frustrated when I first installed my Rl26s and I think I even complained about them not working in a thread somewhere.

However in my new Dell rack I have them installed with no issues using my 4020

Can you take some pics so we can see how their mounted?
 

Patrick

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Pics of the dell rack!

I looked at the RPC next to a SM case, looked like there was a very slight bulge at the middle fan partition.
 

matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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However in my new Dell rack I have them installed with no issues using my 4020
What rack did you have before the Dell?

Exactly which Dell rack do you have?

And, can you do me a favor and measure the width between the mounting holes?

Can you take some pics so we can see how their mounted?
The width of the Compucase/HEC RA466A00 is 16 3/4 inches (arguably 16 13/16 inches):


Compucase/HEC RA466A00 case width


The width of my old Norco 4020 is 16 7/8 inches:


Norco RPC-4020 case width


My new Norco 4220 is the widest at 17 1/16 inches:


Norco RPC-4220 case width


From outer-edge to outer-edge of the square mounting holes on my StarTech rack is 18 11/16 inches (sorry, the pic is a bit dark). From center to center is 18 3/8 inches. Center to center on my old Middle Atlantic is the same.


StarTech 4POSTRACK25 Hole Width


Lastly, here are two profile shots of the racked 4220.

First, here is the 4220 (bottom) with RL-26 rails, and the 4020 (top) with RL-20 rails:


Norco RPC-4020 (top), 4220 (bottom)


And here's a detail of the 4220:


Norco RPC-4220 w/RL-26 rails


Note that there are no screws in the rail near the front of the case! Maybe I picked the wrong holes to attach the rails to the case, but all the others seemed even less appropriate.

So... I'm sure the RL-26 rails aren't going to work here; I don't think the RL-20 rails would be any better. I need one of the following:
  • Narrower rails - this is the best option, but unless someone makes a suggestion, I'll have to find them via trial and error
  • A new rack - expensive, and already I haven't been able to sell the old Middle Atlantic rack
  • A new case - expensive, and I really do like the 4220 - it's noticeably improved over the 4020, in my opinion
  • A sub-optimal solution such as using fixed mounting or L-brackets (as suggested in the HardForum thread I linked above)

Thoughts?

Thanks again,
Matt
 

nitrobass24

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Dec 26, 2010
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Ok I will look at mine when I get home Monday. Can you take A pic of how the rails are mounted to the rack?
 

matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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Ok I will look at mine when I get home Monday. Can you take A pic of how the rails are mounted to the rack?
You betcha. Hopefully these pictures do a good enough job illustrating how the rails are mounted.


4220 rail mounting detail - profile



4220 rail mounting detail - front
From the middle, facing the front of the case - pictured is the back of the front post



4220 rail mounting detail - front
From the front of the case, facing towards the rear - pictured is the front post



4220 rail mounting detail - rear 1/2
From the middle, facing the back of the rack. Pictured is the front of the rear post. (The case is pulled out.)



4220 rail mounting detail - rear 2/2
From the middle, facing the back of the rack. Pictured is the front of the rear post. (The case is pulled out.)
 

leagle

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Jan 1, 2011
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I've also had problems with RL-26 rails and Norco 4U cases (a RPC-470 in my case). I could not make it fit, no matter what I tried. Eventually, I swapped rails with a Chenbro enclosure and everything worked just fine. So the Norco rails work fine with the Chenbro enclosure, but not with the Norco enclosure. Unfortunately, I don't know the manufacturer of the rails I had on the Chenbro that ended up working with the RPC-470.
 

nitrobass24

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Dec 26, 2010
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OK well to answer your questions.

I had a homemade wood rack before.
Now i have a Dell 2410....CL FTW :)


OK on to your issue. This may not be the problem but its something i noticed. RL-20 rails are different than RL-26 besides being shorter. The RL-26 also has these tabs on each side that you must push down on one side and up on the other. See pic below.
 

matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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My RL-20 rails also have those tabs. So I'm aware of the tabs, that's definitely not the issue.

In the picture above, the 4220 (bottom) actually goes in farther than what I have pictured (I'd say it goes in about 2/3 the way). I just pictured it out farther because I thought it would be more illustrative.

Now i have a Dell 2410....CL FTW
Can you measure the distance from hole to hole on your Dell rack? I just measured the Dell rack we have here at work, and it's 18 5/8 inches from outer edge to outer edge. That's actually slightly narrower than my StarTech at home (but they are close enough to be called the same). I'm not sure what model of Dell rack we have here, it's a full-height one, and maybe three or four years old.

But anyway, my measurement suggests that my 4220 + RL-26 wouldn't fit in this particular Dell rack.

I also measured the width of our Supermicro case: 17 1/4 inches. That's wider than my 4220! No problems racking the Supermicro in the Dell rack.

Unless I made a mistake measuring somewhere, all signs point to the RL-26 rails themselves as being too wide.

Edit: or, I made a mistake mounting the server into the rails.
 

john4200

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Jan 1, 2011
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I also measured the width of our Supermicro case: 17 1/4 inches. That's wider than my 4220! No problems racking the Supermicro in the Dell rack.

Unless I made a mistake measuring somewhere, all signs point to the RL-26 rails themselves as being too wide.
Have you measured from the edge of the case to the edge of the mounting holes on the rail, when you have the rails (both pieces) installed on the case (but not racked up)? If you did that for the RL-20, RL-26, and Supermicro rails, then you would know the minimum width added onto the case width for each type of rail (actually, it would be twice the width added by one rail, obviously).
 

nitrobass24

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OK well here are some pics. I dont have a tape measure....or any tools other than a screw driver, no measurements, but you can be certain its not your rack.

I dont know what it is about these rails, but the first time i put them together it didnt work....took it all apart threw the directions in the trash, and started over and it worked.



Pics of the rack. In the second one with the side off, you can see how mounted my KVM switch in a Zero-U config.


Picture taken from front of rack/case. I used the L mounting brackets that came with the 4020. So from the head of this bolt, there is the Rack, Cagenut, RL-26, threaded L-Bracket.
You can see the bracket in the next picture.

Taken from Middle of rack, facing rear of case/rack. Can see the L-Bracket.

Profile View of the 4020, and how i have the rails attached.
 

Tun

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Nov 20, 2011
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Hi all,

Matt_garman, did you solve this problem?

Just a note on the rails and rack width.
Pictured from matt_garman is the Rosewill RSV-R26 rails, easy to see based on the pictures.
They only fit on chassis width up to 426mm (quote from the newegg link)

nitrobass24 uses (by the pictures in his post) the Norco RL-26 rails.
Norco states that these are 0.5" tick. (12.7mm)

The StarTech follows the EIA (RS?) 310C/D standard.
So the max opening width would be 450mm.

The 4220 is 433mm wide based on the pictures.
450mm - 426mm = 24mm
12.7mm x 2 = 25.4mm
So both the rail options would be too wide (457mm and 458.4mm)

Based on this, I'm inclined to say that 4220 won't fit with rails on a EIA (RS) 310c/d standard rack.
This is the standard, so any other rack will not fix the width problem of the 4220 chassis.

The reason nitrobase24 can fit the 4020 with RL-26 rails must be the fact that it's only 16.9 inch wide (429.26mm).
The math still doesn't add up.
429.26mm + 25.4mm = 454.66 (4.66 wider than the standard).
Which proves that the RL-26 either isn't 0.5" wide, or that it doesn't occupy so much of the available width as I think?
Or a third possibility, the Dell rack opening is wider than 450mm.

I guess a valid question is why Norco is going outside the EIA 310C/D standard?
Still, they have good margins left if they're ment to use only brackets, not rails.

So what are the options?
The Norco SA-3201 1U mounting brackets for open post rack?
http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail.php?categoryid=3&modelno=sa-3201#


I'm planning to buy a Norco RPC-2212 and the StarTech 4POSTRACK25.
Hence my interest in this thread.
But I'm told that the width of the 2212 is 435mm.
Based on the 4220 picture earlier in this thread, that's 2mm wider than the 4220.
And given all the numbers above, we know that it won't fit.

So what rails, if any, would be slim enough to fit this setup?
I would prefere rails for square holes (like the Dell Rapid Rails)

Or is there any other option to the Norco 2212 that would fit the EIA 310C/D and allow for rails to be used?
I'm looking for 2U/3U, 8 or 12x 3.5" hotswap bays with sas/sataIII.
I've seen that Chenbro got some, but can't find anyone shipping to Norway.
Chenbro might have the same problem as far as I know.
The RM21508B is also 16.9" (430mm wide) and also sold with rails (I don't have the numbers for the rails).
But if it would fit the StarTech 4POSTRACK25 that follows the EIA 310C/D standard I'm not able to tell yet.

Glad I found this thread, I was just about to order the 2212, but now I don't know what to do.
 

matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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Matt_garman, did you solve this problem?
Yes, I replaced the 4220 with a Supermicro case. ;)

Pictured from matt_garman is the Rosewill RSV-R26 rails, easy to see based on the pictures.
They only fit on chassis width up to 426mm (quote from the newegg link)
Yes, that is probably right. In my original post, I believe I was mistaken. Going by the pictures on newegg of different universal sliding rail kits, I assumed they were all the same (i.e., same OEM, just different branding). I'm still sure that some of them are the same, but last I checked the pictures were too lousy to know for sure.

Before I sold the 4220, I bought a set of Norco RL-26 rails. My understanding is that there are two versions of these rails. The newer ones (that I got) do not have ball-bearings; it's just greased metal on metal. But they did fit. What irked me, though, is that they didn't allow the case to come all the way out of the rack, only about 2/3 the way. IMO, that defeats the purpose of sliding rails: if you can't pull the chassis out all the way, it really limits what kind of work you can do on the system.

nitrobass24 uses (by the pictures in his post) the Norco RL-26 rails.
Norco states that these are 0.5" tick. (12.7mm)

The StarTech follows the EIA (RS?) 310C/D standard.
So the max opening width would be 450mm.
-snip-
The reason nitrobase24 can fit the 4020 with RL-26 rails must be the fact that it's only 16.9 inch wide (429.26mm).
The math still doesn't add up.
429.26mm + 25.4mm = 454.66 (4.66 wider than the standard).
Which proves that the RL-26 either isn't 0.5" wide, or that it doesn't occupy so much of the available width as I think?
Or a third possibility, the Dell rack opening is wider than 450mm.
Yeah, nitrobass24 has the 4020. I also have a 4020, and it is not as wide as the 4220. My 4020 fits in my StarTech 4postrack25 with a ball-bearing universal rail kit. I'm not sure which rail kit it is though, if it's another Rosewill kit, or the "old" RL-26 rails, or something all together different. I don't know which Dell rack nitrobass24 has, but we have two different Dell racks at work; I measured them and they are exactly the same width as my StarTech (which makes sense, as you said, it's a standard).

So what rails, if any, would be slim enough to fit this setup?
I would prefere rails for square holes (like the Dell Rapid Rails)
The Norco RL-26 rails will probably work, if you can live with a chassis that only slides out 2/3 the way.

The RM21508B is also 16.9" (430mm wide) and also sold with rails (I don't have the numbers for the rails).
But if it would fit the StarTech 4POSTRACK25 that follows the EIA 310C/D standard I'm not able to tell yet.
I would assume that if rails come with a chassis, that they ought to fit in a standard rack. If they don't, I think you have a solid case for a refund with the retailer or manufacturer.

Another option I read about over on HardForum is to just use fixed rails. I don't have a link, but you should be able to find the thread easily enough---it's basically a similar thread to this, where people are complaining about the lack of decent sliding rail options for the 4220. But anyway, at least a couple people gave up on sliding rails, and just bought fixed rails (basically long L-brackets that the chassis sits in).

I would have spent some more time with the 4220, and tried some different rail kits, but then the power button broke, and I said screw it. I decided it's worth spending a little extra for something to "just work", which is exactly what I got with the Supermicro chassis I bought.

It seems like Norco really took a sideways step when they released the 4220 (as the 4020 successor): they improved the drive tray quality, gave us nice mini-SAS connectivity, have the optional 120mm fan bracket, etc. But the excessively cheap buttons and weird case size effectively negate all those improvements. Perhaps they'll do one more revision, and work out all the issues once and for all...

If you can afford it, my opinion is that Supermicro is the way to go. You pay a lot more, but you get something that doesn't have questionable design and quality issues. You also have more backplane options (SATA, mini-SAS, or expander); included dual-redundant power supplies; included high-quality tool-less rails (just like Dell rapid rails).
 

Tun

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Nov 20, 2011
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Hi again,

Wow, didn't know that this "old" thread would be so easy to re-open.
So a big thank you to both of you for the reply to my rather long post.

nitrobass24,
thanks for clarify out that the 4020 was able to slide all the way out.

matt_garman,
you got me thinking and I've done some research on the Supermicro, more on that later.

Yes, you're right about multiple versions of the RL-26 rails.
But for the time being all my research point in the same directions, the Norco with rails is too wide for the EIARS-310C standard.
I'm talking about the extra wide chassis here now (and again, the number seems to vary, I got new numbers today).
I'm glad to be proven wrong here, if anyone have any solid proof of this.
And one thing that I'm not certain of is how things are lined up for meassure.
So for all that I know, I'm wrong thinking that 450mm opening is not the number to base the calculation upon.
It may be that I should use the 465mm (center hole to hole width).

Back to the Supermicro.
Not easy to get hold of here in Norway, they only sell pre-configured Supermicro servers.
But found a retailer that ships to Norway (USD 200 in shipping, well I hope it's worth it).
And I'm now considering the 2U SC826E16-R1200LPB chassis.
http://www.supermicro.com/products/chassis/2U/826/SC826E16-R1200LP.cfm

You mention questionable design regarding the Norco, I kind of like the design overall.
But I understand that the "non-standard" width and that kind of design is a big drawback.
The quality I can't say anything about, but after reading a lot of forum threads this weekend I think I know what you mean.

And I'm shocked (in a good way).
Dual PSU included, "rapid rails" for square holes also included, mini-sas 6Gb/s backplane included, many/all cables included,
SES-2 management included. And a statement that this will work with an EIARS-310C standard rack (the same as their own rack system follow).
Looking at the price, I can have it for ca USD 900 plus USD 200 in shipping plus USD 275 for the Norwegian VAT.
I still consider it reasonable, considering I don't need to buy the psu/cables/rails and so on extra.
Compared to the Norco it's about USD 470 more, that's a lot, but I can see why it might be worth it.
(I might get away with the 800W PSU, but can't find anyone selling it that ships to Norway).

Sorry for hijacking this thread a second here, but since you got a Supermicro chassis you might be able to answer this as well.
The SC826E16 (se link abowe) has 3 SFF 8087 connectors on its backplane.
BPN-SAS2-826EL1 (singel LSI SAS2X28 expander chip).
Is this 6Gb per channel, shared between 4 drives?
Or am I able to utilize the 6Gb to every drive?
Which this Intel card provides in JBOD mode if my research is correct, RS2WC080 http://ark.intel.com/products/43164/Intel-RAID-Controller-RS2WC080

Not an easy task to pick the right chassis.
And I'm still not writing off the Norco 2212, mostly due to the low price at this stage.
I was told that the new RL-26 rails would make it fit to the EIARS-310C rack standard.

If I end up with the Norco 2212 I'll get back with the mounting results in the StarTach 4POSTRACK25.
Just to let others reading this thread also know how it went.
 

john4200

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Jan 1, 2011
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And I'm now considering the 2U SC826E16-R1200LPB chassis.
In case you are not aware, note that the fans in those 1U redundant PSU modules are very loud. They sound like a loud vacuum cleaner. If you use the case anywhere near where people will be, the noise can be quite annoying. They are really intended mainly for datacenters.