Re: Housing

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Author: Matthew Crews via PLUG-discuss
To: plug-discuss
CC: Matthew Crews
Subject: Re: Housing
On 7/18/21 10:15 PM, Steven via PLUG-discuss wrote:
> Perharps he was talking about turning an old laptop into a NAS? I've
> occasionally thought about pulling out one of my old laptops and turning
> it into a somewhat low power server with a built in battery backup good
> enough for the OS to go, "Oh bleep! The power's out, if I start now I
> just might have time to gracefully shut down." (I think my first laptop
> was down to about seven minutes of battery life when I gave up on it)
> Advantages:
> - You're not relying on the manufacturers choices of software and settings
> - As mentioned, a built in battery backup
> - You could run additional software beyond samba/nextcloud/syncthing,
> such as a git server, web server, or your own local database server
> Disadvantages:
> - Finding a good spot to put a laptop that's going to run 24/7
> - As mentioned, that built in battery backup is likely at low capacity
> on an old laptop
> - Most old laptops only have a single 2.5 inch drive bay
> -- Sure you could attach external usb drives but those are additional
> items taking up shelf/desk space

Using an old laptop as a NAS has its benefits, but you will need to
invest heavily in USB-to-SATA enclosures, a high bandwidth USB hub, and
enough wall sockets and physical space to hook them all up and store
them. That is unless you just want to use it for a very low capacity
(and very low redundancy) NAS. Hopefully whatever goes on it isn't

At the end of the day, its not really any more cost effective as just
buying an old tower, other than the limited backup battery.

Not to mention, depending on how old your laptop is, the battery or the
battery charging circuit could be completely dead. I once had a System
76 laptop where the battery charging circuit was completely fried with
no hope of repairing it short of a soldering iron and parts
availability. But even if I got it working, they stopped making
batteries for this particular laptop years ago, and even a new-in-box
battery (if they still existed) were past their usable life.

On the other hand, if you can forego the battery (not always possible),
and disable the screen, you can potentially have a very low power
system. Many laptops can run with only a couple of watts of power if the
screen is off, the CPU is nearly idle, and there's no battery that needs
to be charged. That's far, far less electricity than even the most
energy-efficient NAS (other than perhaps a Raspberry Pi) without
factoring in storage drives.
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