The Ultimate Off-grid SOHO Server Rack (MegaThread)

Levi

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Mar 2, 2015
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p.s I wouldn't install any solar installation myself, even though I could, for warranty (solar company), insurance (homeowners insurance) and logistical (hooking up with the power company, net metering etc etc) reasons. But that's me. It's your call.
more things to consider, though I will be far out enough that I won't even need a building permit (I hope).

I thought you wanted a rack?? :)
Oh, I can fit 2 towers in a full rack, I have done it before. I have also used some towers as a stand for a Poweredge before.

uhh...you'll be surprised. The fans in my pic are PWM fans (from Dell machines) and they rarely ramp up to full power. When I say rarely, I mean, I've yet to hear them ramp up from absolute idle (~20% duty cycle) at all in over a year. At idle speeds, all 3 of those fans combined, add about 2 watts to the power consumption. :)

While generally true, enterprise stuff has come a long away. A Dell R230 ii idles at <20w out of the box, and you can slap it into a rack right away. Dependeablity is as important as anything else, and while DIY is good, "bad DIY" is just that, bad. No taping drives please...
I mean if this is the case then I can go with enterprise gear. I just didn't expect it to be as low power under idle as a normal desktop. These servers have so many extra backplanes, frontplanes, LCD panels, DRAC and so many tiny loud fans and duel PSU's. I also haven't read any server reviews in ages and nothing from a power consumption perspective. Something I need to do lots of more research into.
 

Levi

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Mar 2, 2015
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In regards to home battery backup Ford has my attention with bi-directional power/charging to the home. Especially for those rural folks that can use a truck anyway. First I hope they follow through and this pans out. Next I hope this spreads to all electric vehicles. Seems like a no brainer as an option. Would be a great and more easily replaceable battery supplement to a solar home with a smaller Powerwall/battery back and maybe propane/gas/diesel generator as the 2nd/3rd level backup.



I have been following this for a while too. Since I knew I was going to need a truck and generator. They first released the Pro Power onboard option on the highest trim unit as a hybrid truck. It was like $60k to get the large battery. Now they got the new lighting models. I'm pretty sure they are out of stock everywhere and backed ordered due to supply shortages =/. I'm not sure I would want an all-electric truck, but I think the F-150 hybrid is one hell of a package. Very little gas usage on short trips, ability to take long trips, tow, a HUGE generator and battery bank? I just wish they would offer it in a base model trim at 40k.
 
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kapone

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more things to consider, though I will be far out enough that I won't even need a building permit (I hope).
Sounds a lil far-fetched. If you're in that remote of an area, I suspect "dual WAN" connectivity is not likely, but hey I've seen weirder things. :)

Oh, I can fit 2 towers in a full rack, I have done it before. I have also used some towers as a stand for a Poweredge before.
Sure, it can be done, but then, why? Just put em on a shelf.

I mean if this is the case then I can go with enterprise gear. I just didn't expect it to be as low power under idle as a normal desktop. These servers have so many extra backplanes, frontplanes, LCD panels, DRAC and so many tiny loud fans and duel PSU's. I also haven't read any server reviews in ages and nothing from a power consumption perspective. Something I need to do lots of more research into.
You've got some catching up to do, my friend.
 

Levi

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Sounds a lil far-fetched. If you're in that remote of an area, I suspect "dual WAN" connectivity is not likely, but hey I've seen weirder things. :)
I was thinking star link and 4g.

You've got some catching up to do, my friend.
I think it might be worth it if I run one CPU instead of populating both slots. Was looking at some specs from Dell R630. I still look at some of these chassis and see lots of silicon that needs powered.
 

Levi

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Starlink is certainly a possibility. 4g...in an area which doesn't even require building permits... I kinda doubt that.
I'm not sure which part of the country you are in but around the Appalachian region it's very common to have cell service but nothing else. Lots of large mountains for cell towers but people spread too thin to run cable/dsl.
 

kapone

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May 23, 2015
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I'm not sure which part of the country you are in but around the Appalachian region it's very common to have cell service but nothing else. Lots of large mountains for cell towers but people spread too thin to run cable/dsl.
I was thinking like the middle of Iowa/Kentucky or something, fairly flat, so cell signals are crappy in remote areas. (That's not where I am as such, I'm in the heart of DC metro). But yeah, mountainous areas would be more amenable to cell reception (assuming the towers are there).
 

newabc

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Jan 20, 2019
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Starlink's issue may be that it is not an always-on service as regular 4G or wired broadband, based on this reddit post, "the 5-20 second drops you experience every 10-20 minutes".

I think the dual-WAN or multi-WAN router, or the HA router pair has to handle this issue on routing with the balance of cost-saving and QoS.

Hi @Levi, does your area have fixed wireless ISPs? Their stability will close to the 4G cell towers. Even lots of the 4G cell towers will use fixed wireless equipment(or call "microwave") to connect each other in the rural areas.
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Keeping your core system online until you can start the generator can easily be accomplished affordably with basic UPS devices. I run two for my networking gear. One for router+WAP and one for other switches\office + another for cameras\POE switch. I can easily go 12hrs after years on the same batteries almost 24hrs on fresh batteries. Combine this with solar & batteries for solar and you can last days or weeks powering only networking and security gear.

If you're thinking of having a generator start automatically when you're not home and won't be home that day (or the next) I advise against this. Once you live on property you'll see why. Mice, squirrels, rats, etc make nests all over especially in generator sheds, in generator engines, they'll bring in insulation, leafs or pine needles, and more, the last thing you'll want is a fire when you're not there.

With that said it really sounds like you have a lot of research to do first, and should really narrow down your use case and specific needs there's not too many questions to help with until this is accomplished.

I plan to use pFsense for dual WAN with Starlink and ATT Fixed Wireless, but I'll likely do a setup where starlink is for one vLan with failover to ATT fixed, and ATT fixed is only on another vLan. This way my family won't affect my work-from-home and I'll have the fail-over for if\when starlink goes down. Around here it seems to go down when you lose satellites not random nor every hour, more like once every 12hr. I haven't tested it enough yet, but by next week I hope to as my sky is opening up :) and should be 100% obstruction free.
 
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