How could I power the RP4?

I’m considering buying an Rock Pi 4 and I’m unsure how I would power it on my setup.
I have an 12v 10a PSU and an 5v 5a PSU powering my HDDs. I don’t wan’t to add a new power adapter to my setup.

So, I was thinking about plugging the usbc power pins (VBUS and GND) into the 12v PSU. Would that work? Plugging it directly on 12v without a PD or QC chip.

Or I could connect it to the 5v PSU…


According to the input power specifications you can do that once you are connecting in the Type C entrance.


For the connection I would recommend this adapters in case yours is 5 * 5x2 *1

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I was worried that the board would expect 5v since there isn’t a PD/QC chip on my PSU and that this could cause some problems.

Read. This. 12v transformer with 5.5mm barrel to USB C 3.1 adapter

The 5.5/2.1 ‘cctv’ barrel connectors unlike USB are really good power connectors but they have a huge array of switches, adapters, splitters and many products that take them.

For media storage they are Jmicron578 usb adapters that have a 5.5mm/2.1mm jack for powering 3.5" disks, so having 12v comes in really handy.

I have a 4x Sata port controller and have 5v inline bucks of the 12v so only a single PSU is required.
Could of made it a little more tidy and prob just gone to the black wire but used a coloured Molex as often my memory is bad.

The PD is a 5.1v to 20v buck and 12v no problems.

5v 3amp $1 and really tiny as you can see above.

With 10amp you prob need something like an 8 way :slight_smile:

I just have an inline switch to cut power when needed

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I have been using OMV!AocmAh35i26QiR-EAvY_MCIaT_eV

I have got the Allnet 4port sata m.2 pcie card which works great but afterwards wondered if I should of took a chance on a 5port as that extra could give you a ssd write cache option or a RAID6 posssibility.
I don’t think it has been tested by anyone but its very likely to work…

Same though just using the above pcie power string to female 5.5/2.1mm barrel for sata or just a splitter to USB.
I wouldn’t use USB for RAID and also would not use Sata RAID for large file media stores, but both work excellent for specific uses.
The 3.0 usb cards are really cheap but it is only a single pcie2.0 lane but they work but bandwidth is shared.
I am wondering if to give one of these a go but a bit pricey & with 2x usb3.0 already there is existing bandwdth.

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I am going to buy the 4 port sata m.2 pcie card as you mentioned so I can expand to more hdds. However I might buy a cheap board just to see how bad/good it can be.

Here is the board unfortunately I found just a few reviews of it.


Yeah I have 2 of them here, haven’t tested them yet.
The Marvell 4 port sata is the one to go for as its supports both FIS & NCQ.
The 5 port I mentioned before I am not sure if it supports FIS.

I am going to see how it goes also but got x2 just to see how it works with 2 drives with x2 port multipliers via 2 sata ports.
Many of the reviews bemuse me as they connect 5 disks and then criticise overall speed. A port multiplier is just a multiplexer and it shares the input port bandwidth.
So if you have 2x disks then the max you will get is 2x Sata2 on a Sata3 input.
4x disks and the max you will get is 4x Sata1 on a Sata3 input.
Sort of bemuses me it has 5 ports but still many HD run at less than sata1 max bandwidth.

I got mine on ebay but they are the same.

I am waiting for another sata chain as with x5 sata power I am still x1 short but hopefully tomoz and I will do some benchmarks.

Those x5 sata power chains sort of come in handy as in a 5 bay you can mount 4x HHD and a Port Multiplier quite neatly off a single chain.
Haven’t got enough disks really but with 2x on each I can create a raid and simulate a 4 disk benchmark that could scale up to 8 that way.
Pointless any more with ssd as the upstream port will likely bottleneck slightly with x2.
But the math is simple sata2 is x2 the speed of sata1 and sata3 is 2x the speed of sata2.

Do you think that for a Media Center it could work ok?

No as pretty pointless to go to the expense.
A media centre are large relatively static files with no need for speed.
Its cheaper and less limits on disk numbers to get USB Adaptors and use something like Snapraid that is just an asynchronous parity redundancy system.

Off a hub as snapraid can be configured to fill the drive with the most space left so movie files can be distributed over various slow disk and the parity is run by a scheduled overnight daily job.
Its a brilliant system for USB disks off a hub and the above take 5.5/2.1mm 12v so just run off a 12v splitter.

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As I’m wanting to build it in a desktop case it might be more organized if I use a m.2 to sata adapter. So as you mentioned it might be pointless to buy a sata multiplier, maybe if I buy


As I want to have more storage I also want to keep an organization. Hope these boards can work ok for 4k videos. Because it will be MUCH cheaper then buying the allnet m.2 four sata adapter.

I’m 90% sure that the first one wouldn’t work. If you look at the pins, it looks like it connects the pcie directly to the sata port, indicating that it is made to m.2 that support sata protocol, which the rp4 doesn’t.

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I have no idea if those work or not.

At a guess I would say no as they act like a m.2 sata ssd and m.2 sata ssd do not work with the work rockpi4.
I am not sure to be honest, so its your choice to try.

Also it depends on the age of your disks as if you are buying new quite few 7200rpm disks can manage 200MBs+ Seq w/r which you could bottleneck.

It all depends how you are going to set up and why in some instances Jbod parity systems are much better than RAID for certain applications.

If you are going to use RAID its going to be striping or mirroring and highly likely running all disks at once and 5 disks on a single 6Gbs when it comes to 5x is going to be 150MB/s per disk at the absolute best.

I will be testing those port multipliers prob later as I am not exactly sure how they will work in action.

But yeah @alpe just beat me to posting but was going to say the same.

I know its weird but a sata card via drivers will work but a sata interface over pcie will not and has to be nvme.

Its why I keep banging on about snapraid and mergeFS on OMV as just use USB as above and for a media server its the best low cost simple system.
Just use a USB hub and with 2 ports the number of disks is pretty huge and is you want to go crazy you can get another pcie usb3.0 host controller for about £8

Will give you 4 usb3.0 ports that you can have 4x USB hub/switches and a load of usb disks


@stuartiannaylor Do you know if this would fit without the M.2 extension? Using the large heatsink too.

Without the M.2 extension which is precision made but extremely simple it actually holds adaptor cards aligned and inserted but also at the correct z height.
If I am going to be honest the Radxa extender board should be m2 not m2.5 pillars and I think also they are 1mm short on z height, but maybe I am wrong but by eye it sort of didn’t look right.
Thing is the m.2 connector and the way its designed to create an extremely secure connection on extremely high density pin count works extremely well, but the current one points into empty space.

If you feel you can create a secure board attachment to provide the same then yes otherwise no.
Of all the accessories the m.2 extender is pretty damn cheap.

Personally I feel the design of the Rock[pi4 is absolutely amazing engineering that is near perfect apart from the m.2.

The whole m.2 design completely bamboozles me as if you deconstruct what they have done its a struggle to make sense of choice.
I am hoping we may see another revision where the m.2 is completely redesigned.

I am absolutely sure the person who designed the m.2 extender is not the one who created the great design of the rockpi4, but hey and I am only repeating this as the current Achilles heel of the Rockpi4 doesn’t need to be so.

Hopefully an evil genius like @Pypirock will come to the rescue and provide an external mount the fixes securely on the 4x pcb mounting holes.

Currently the 40pin FFC connector works fine but I am extremely bemused Radxa have chosen to use 40pin and strip out of the common ground lines that should separate all the signal lines.
It probably only works because the cable length chosen is extremely short but basically what we are doing is putting an old 40pin IDE cable onto a old 80wire IDE header which was the same with a separated common ground paths.

So if you can manufacture some sort of secure off-board mount do so as the Radxa design has a huge basic design flaw that could be extremely hard to diagnose, it may work, it may cause corruption but its only the extreme short length that makes it work so.

The choice of an FPC ribbon cable personally I feel is a great idea but it needed to be 50 pin and have those gnd lines and maybe a vcc coupling capacitor at the other m.2 end.
If I was going to design this thing myself I would question the whole need to go from m.2 to adaptor to fpc and just had FPC on board.
You could garner much space reduce rockpi4 cost but wow it needs to be 50pin not 40 by omitting crucial gnd shielding lines!
Also it prob should of gone somewhere near the GPIO and be along the same axis and there would be no problem with SD card and 2 boards side by side with the choice above or below is a much better format than the long string the current external layout would provide.
The cost of on-board m.2 and ribbon adaptor would then be totally negated by purely going 50 pin ffc native.

We do need @Pypirock to come to our rescue as yeah if you can make that secure mount system and make a little Rockpi4 m.2 train then do it as again with honesty the extender design totally sucks.
Thankfully they kept the m.2 connector its a pain that its sticks out length ways but if you do create a mount then it will work exceptionally well and also extenders of length with the correct cabling can be of use.

Currently the m.2 extender has an inherent design flaw, but it is a design flaw but is in desperate need of revision, by someone capable to do so.

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Maybe a heatsink with the built-in m.2 extender would be worth it projecting.

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Yeah there are various options, a resultant 3:1 form would be unusual but valid and extremely rigid and secure.
I find the resultant long form a bit unusual but passive heatsink require huge volume in comparison to active.
That is actually a good idea @blas and likely to be relatively cheap with radxa scrapping the m.2 extender until it has the extremely necessary gnd lines and just provide a choice of 2x heatsink forms.
Only prob is the m.2 cards are upside down and face the heatsink.
The heatsink with mods could provide a mount platform though with a smidge of design.
There are currently side slots and screw holes that some for of extension could be made.
Prob now is the actual onboard m.2 is slightly too deep for my sata card though.

I think it’s the biggest reason they made this (extender) to make the ssd not face the cpu and to also provide cooling for it. Also, they might have not installed the ssd on the top due to the usb and Ethernet ports.

I was thinking about the heatsink with the built in m.2 extender.

What came to my mind was this:

Sorry the dumb drawing skills, but the idea is to install it inside the heatsink. The top would connect to the m.2 slot, and the bottom in the ssd. Also, the heatsink would have a type of “rail” in the same size of the hitsink, so it would stay built in. Obviously we would also have to think about the heat, if it would affect the ssd and how much.

Dunno the SD card reader is either a huge problem or an extremely fine tolerance also.

Like I say currently its a huge design problem and the easiest fix is just to have a proper 50 pin shielded gnd extender that like any PC can cope with fairly long extension ribbons that allow placement anywhere.

Its why with lateral thought I can not understand the use and placement of the current m.2 connector as a 50pin ffc would of been far cheaper and also takes less board space.
Its only 2.5mm wider on each side or 5mm overall than a 40pin.

I will try to put my idea in a paper to better show it