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SYNOLOGY NAS LIGHTING MOD

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I've got another non-pc modding project. This one was really easy. Just add light to the Synology letters. They're supposed to work as air vents, but the holes are big enough to shine light through. I used an electroluminescent light panel, wired to the power supply input, to power the 12V inverter. Light looks great, but high pitched whine is really annoying.

Start at 9:04 for the light mod. 
 

 

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This video started out as a FAN mod video. I thought if I replaced the fan in my Synology that I would improve hard disk temperatures. Spoiler alert: It didn't. The stock fan was replaced with a better Noctua fan. What I didn't realize is that Synology is coded to increase or decrease fan speed based on temperatures, so there was no temperature difference between the two fans. Also because the fans run at similar RPM and sound level, there was no noticeable sound difference either.

Determined to get some mod completed on the NAS box, I decided to light up the letters. Yeah, the whine is annoying but I usually have something playing on my computer so I don't hear it unless its really quit. It's likely a vibrating coil inside the inverter, like an inductor. I would have to take the inverter apart and glue it to reduce vibration, but that doesn't seem easy or really worth it. 

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On 3/9/2017 at 7:34 AM, Mosquito said:

foiled by smart fan controllers lol  

It was about proving the fan upgrading folks wrong with actual testing and temperature readings from the HDDs, whether realiable or not. 

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My first order of business was to replace the fan. I had seen on the SYNOLOGY HARDWARE MODS forum that people were replacing the fan for a more powerful one. The most powerful fan I could find was the Noctua NF-A9 PWM. It has a 4 pin connector, but the connector inside the Synology NAS is a 3 pin. They're still compatible. 

I wanted a fan that would replace the 92 mm Yen Sun FD129225LL-N fan that came in my DS214+. That fan produces 36.3 CFM of air @ 23 dB. It's already quiet and powerful. The Noctua NF-A9PWM was the only commercial 92 mm fan I could find that was more powerful and quiet than stock.

GOAL: Cooler HDDs temperatures during large file transfers without creating more noise.

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Here's where the problems started. There were little to no difference in idle temperatures. I remembered my Skylake Processor Delid video where overclocking produced greater temperature differences so I decided to compare temperatures while transferring a 13 GB folder of MOV files and images. This should test temperatures in sort of a real world scenario. No significant difference at all. The temps under the Noctua fan actually went up from 29 to 32 C. What I didn't realize is what Mosquito described above. Smart fan controllers.

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How could I prove it was fan control? I SSH'd (verb?) into my Synology NAS using PuTTY. I was looking at the file scemd.xml.

Quote

vi /usr/syno/etc/scemd.xml

Here I found the fan control protocol. Depending upon how you have your fans set up (Full-speed, Cool, or Quiet) in the Control Panel determines how your fans respond to temperature changes. For all of my testing, I had mine set to Full-speed Mode (for best performance, obviously!) in which "Fan operates at full speed, keeping the system cooler, but producing more noise." Fan speed is set by which temperature range you're in (I say range and not ACTUAL VALUE).

The only way I can retest this is with a real time temperature probe and something to measure fan RPM. I suspect that the Noctua fan is running at a lower RPM, but with similar RPM and sound level numbers, there's no audible difference. Between 31 and 37 degrees, fan speed should be at 40-50% of total fan speed, if i've interpreted the file correctly.

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Determined to save this project, I added electroluminescent lighting to the NAS! I had a blue EL panel that shines out though the holes in the Synology logo. I decided to go with EL because there is no room for LEDs inside and the even light coverage and glow that EL panels provide. 

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The beauty of EL panels is that you can cut them almost anywhere, unlike LED strip lights where you have to cut at the contacts. I cut the panel to size and mounted the inverted inside the chassis where it wouldn't interfere with other components, at least not physically.

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I needed a 12V power source and the safest place to get one is from the input jack (maybe not the smartest). I measured the voltage from the terminals and soldered my inverter leads. I'm leaving the circuit open for a switch and boy am I glad I did that!!

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Drilled holes and hot glued a switch on the back of the unit. Not my cleanest work, but quick and I wouldn't see it much anyway. Soldering iron and hot glue gun are possibly my favorite modding tools.  

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Here's the completed mod thumbnail from my video. I also attached a photo of the motherboard for anyone interested. Sometimes I take things apart just because I can. I like to see whats inside. Sadly, the RAM is soldered in on this model so I can't swap it out easily. I could watercool the chip I supposed, but there isn't much room for tubing. Message me if you want a higher res image. :)

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4 hours ago, Mosquito said:

Very nice, that looks cool.  I like that glow from it.  

And you're not alone on taking things apart just to see what's inside :D

I feel like i'm in the right place for taking things apart. :S

Yes the glow is why I like electroluminescence. LEDs are such bright light that the glow adds a different lighting effect. I plan to include EL lighting in more of my projects for that reason. 

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