Quad SATA Hardware & Software Issues

I waited for months with much anticipation the arrival of the Allnetchina Quad SATA kit for raspberry pi 4. I was a little disappointed in its implementation.

  1. First, the metal panels that hold the HDs in-place (at least the 2 I received, 1 with no cutout), sadly, were engineered as identical pieces, rather than mirror images of each other. Consequently the holes for the drives are off by 2mm. This makes the two sides of the drives to be offset, and consequently affecting how the top fan hat fits - making it very difficult to secure the case and top plexiglass panel, because it’s skewed and off center. In addition, since one of the metal panels I received did not have the USB ports cutout, it forces outward stress on the top USB port, making it almost impossible to fit the case down around everything as shown in the video. Was the design of the brackets change in a later manufacturing run - without testing it?

  2. Secondly, the SATA hat included in my kit has non-functioning HD activity LEDs for drive 1.

  3. Thirdly, after a full day of trying to use the 2 provided links(scripts) to get the software properly installed and running, I have given up. 2 of the 4 drives simply do not show up after the SATA script is run. OMV installs fine, but only sees 2 of the 4 drives I have installed. The SATA script really should have been thoroughly tested before it was released. I’ve scoured the web and the radxa community forums, and have been unable to find a workable solution to get the other 2 drives operational.

Really a shame since the hardware (for the most part) is very nice. But the few mis-engineered pieces have tempered my enthusiasm about this product. I would really like to get it working and finish configuring it as a NAS box using OMV.

The problem of OMV can be referred to here OMV WebUI only shows two HDD’s

I am aware of that post, and have read the material on the JMicron controller. I have edited the requisite files and added the appropriate line, and now only 1 drive shows up in OMV.

Can someone who has fixed this issue properly please post a more detailed explanation, outlining exactly what must be changed/added to the, 60-persistent-storage.rules file that works correctly with the Quad SATA hat from Allnetchina.

Context: I am running the Quad Sata Hat on a Rpi4 4GB with 4 WD 2.5" 2TB HDDs. I am using OMV with Snapraid and MergerFS.

  1. I added the following line into the middle of the /lib/udev/rules.d/60-persistent-storage.rules file (exact location: after the # Fall back usb_id for USB devices rule):

    KERNEL==“sd*”, ATTRS{idVendor}==“1058”, ATTRS{idProduct}==“0a10”, SUBSYSTEMS==“usb”, PROGRAM="/root/serial.sh %k", ENV{ID_SERIAL}=“USB-%c”, ENV{ID_SERIAL_SHORT}="%c"

  2. Created the /root/serial.sh script

    #!/bin/bash
    /sbin/hdparm -I /dev/$1 | grep ‘Serial Number’ | awk ‘{print $3}’

  3. Made the /root/serial.sh script executable with chmod +x /root/serial.sh

Afterwards all 4 drives showed up in OMV. The file may be overwritten on OMV update, though. Which is actually what happened to me. I am back to 2 drives showing up in OMV now. But the 4 file systems I created through OMV are still shown. But it doesn’t matter. Everything is still working as expected. Part of the blame should go to OMV I guess.

But I also have to add to the complaints: I find it quite disappointing that the problems we are facing (drives not showing up, SMART data not available for all drives) seem to be hardware limitations of the sata-to-usb chipset. I am not a hardware design expert, but in my mind I can only see two ways how this came to be:

  1. Poor hardware design/chipset selection for the quad sata hat. Assuming that a different design or chipset would not have produced these issues.
    OR
  2. Poor communication of unsurmountable hardware limitations to us customers. Assuming that the hardware design / chipset selection was well done, as good as possible given the hardware limitations.

Besides that I still appreciate the work that went into this product! :slight_smile:
Thanks
Thomas

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The command I had missed in all of the related posts was:

/root/serial.sh script executable with chmod +x /root/serial.sh

My son after looking at the issue for a while discovered it, and finally all 4 drives showed in OMV.

However, to your final point/complaint… While looking through the ‘Getting Started Guide to OMV’, way back on page 41, I discovered and read the following warning/disclaimer;

RAID+USB= Potential Problems

Setting up RAID of any type using “USB to drive” connections is discouraged. RAID over USB has known problems. The USB interface (there are several flavors) may filter some the characteristics of the drives, fail to pass SMART stat’s and ATA drive commands, delay the assembly of a RAID array, etc. While USB may work in some RAID cases, it’s not as reliable as using a standard hard drive interface. If RAID of any type is considered to be a requirement, drives should be connected with SATA or SAS ports. If users choose to use RAID over USB connections, it is done at their own risk with the potential for the total loss of stored data. RAID issues involving ARM boards, USB connected hard drives, or USB RAID enclosures are not supported on the forum.

So, it would seem that using SATA/RAID through USB ports may/is fraught with problems. This would seem to me to be a HUGH issue when building a product ‘exclusively’ for the RPi, or other SBC. Manufacturers making a product for the SBC market expressly, should warn users in their advertising claims. This would have made the Quad SATA by Allnetchina a non-starter for me.

SInce learning this just yesterday, I have abandoned any hope of using the Quad SATA in a RAID configuration, and will use it instead in JBOD. Nice little product, but severe limitations after reading the OMV warning.

Raspberry Pi is one of the worse device for making a NAS, but what helps if most of the users/consumers don’t listen …

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This month I learned a few lessons about this. I own an expensive DROBO5N and I was experimenting with low-cost alternatives. I ordered the Quad Sata HAT for RPi, and also I experimented with an external enclosure that connected with a host by eSATA using port multipliers. The enclosure I bought was nice enough bu the PCIe board I bought turned out to be mis-represented and not supported on contemporary versions of Linux. It has become obvious the soft RAID is not dependable because it depends on the RAID configuration of a host computer, large or small, and if the host fails, the array can not be re-attached to a different machine. So far the money and time wasted investigating this has lead no-where and I can’t find any solution less expensive than a DROBO that I can believe in. It was all very educational but I can’t say it lead to recommendable solutions.

This appeared top be the solution as the four drives appeared on the next boot.
Then on the boot after that I only got two drives and they automounted on the desktop for some reason.
Nothing I could do seemed to bring back the four drives so I could do the mdadm to create the array.

I hope not this one? https://www.amazon.co.uk/SATA-Port-Multiplier-Card-Chipset/dp/B016C5FZ2O That’s crap.

Fundamental mistake is trusting that as cheap as possible general purpose device for DIY-ers can handle this job. Yes it can serve files on network, but is it reliable?

In the DIY range you should look a bit higher on the price scale. For at least Helios4. That will match your NAS (in many ways its better than entry level NAS) in term of reliability. With PCI 2 SATA, there are a few more variant, … For example: this adaptor https://forum.armbian.com/topic/4845-marvell-based-4-ports-mpci-sata-30/ is proven to work fine … others I don’t have experiences.

I was glad to see you mentioned the Helios4. Back a couple months ago, I also ordered the next generation of the Helios4, the Helios64. They say it will be shipped next month. We’ll see. As you say, it is pricer, but it has individual SATA ports, reasonably nice looking new enclosure, and also battery backup - if you order the full kit. Hopefully, it will work out better as a true NAS box (with RAID), and be much more reliable than the Quad-SATA hat.

The host adapter I was trying to use was:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0034CQR8A/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The enclosure was:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MESZOCK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Although the host adapter was specified to work with Linux, there were no current drivers or
support from the company, either for Linux, or port multiplier use case.