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iUniker Raspberry Pi 4 Cluster Case, Raspberry Pi 4 Case with Cooling Fan and Raspberry Pi 4 Heatsink for Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, 3 B+, Pi 3 B, Pi 2 B, Pi B+ (4-Layers)
- Make sure this fits by entering your model number.
- Complete Stackable Clear Acrylic Case Kit for Up To Four Layers
- Compatible With Current Raspberry Pi's including Pi 3 B+, Pi 3 B, Pi 2 B, Pi B+
- Our iUniker Raspberry Pi Case is open on all sides with each acrylic layer containing a built in air vent to allow for maximum air flow for each Raspberry Pi
- With Quiet Cooling Fan, it can drop the temps for your Pi
- Include Raspberry Pi Heatsink, Better Cooling Experience
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1x 4-Layer Raspberry Pi Case
4x Cooling Fan
4x Raspberry Pi Heatsink Kit
4x Screw Set
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The only tricky part of the cluster installation is peeling the protective layer off of the acrylic pieces. I ended up (carefully) using a knife to get under it, then pulling the protective layer up until it peeled off the edge. I wish it had a pull tab or something to make this process easier, but I'm not sure how they could do that since these pieces are cut from one big sheet.
*** Other parts to my setup for those who want to replicate a known working configuration ****
One of the reasons this setup is so clean is there is no power cables going to the RaspberryPi units. This cluster rack works with with the compact Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) hat from LoveRPi available on amazon here: https://amzn.to/38NqkFC (referral link). Note: The "Professional" version WILL NOT FIT (I know because I tried), so make sure you are ordering the compact version. The compact version WILL fit, but it's a VERY tight fit with the fans, so install with caution. Important Note: The PoE hat uses the GPIO pins that the iUniker instructions tell you to use, but it comes with pins that you can plug in to that serve the same function +5V and GND.
If you're new to PoE devices, they require special equipment to make it work, but its worth it. You're going to need a PoE switch (or multiple PoE injectors) to make it work. The device I use is the Netgear GC108PP here: https://amzn.to/2UZ1FKn (referral link). There are cheaper PoE switches, but what I like about this device is that it is a managed switch, all ports are gigabit speed, and it can power both my PoE devices and non-PoE devices flawlessly. The "management" part of it means it gets its own IP address, and I can see statistics about how much power my devices are using, and how much data each one is using. It also notifies my email and phone if a device loses connection (or if my switch itself loses network). It has been handy in letting me know when my internet service provider is having an outage, and I'm not at home.
The final piece of my particular setup that you see in the photo is the NAS. This NAS isn't sold, nor supported anymore, but still works okay for my needs. It's the Netgear ReadyNAS NV+, which has 4 hard drives in a hot-swappable redundant RAID array, so that if any of the drives die, I don't lose any data. All my RP4 systems are using different shares on this NAS as their primary storage media. This NAS (now 11 years old), is a little loud for a desktop setup, so I've been thinking of upgrading to a QNAP or Synology NAS. Synology are cheaper, but QNAP are much more powerful. I haven't tried either, so no affiliate links on this one - take a look at both and see which you prefer. They both have pros and cons.
The RaspberryPi is such a great device, and I have no regrets or hesitation about recommending the the iUniker cluster rack.
If you read this far, I hope some of this information helps you out. If so, please hit that "Helpful" button. Thanks!
The key to this setup is reading the directions carefully. Be sure to read the red print before installing your fans. I installed all my fans onto each of the plates, and when I went to assemble everything together I realized I had the screws installed in the wrong direction. This caused them to hit Pi board.
Annoyingly, if you screw up (install the fans wrong, or forget to plug a fan in for example), with this design you have to dissemble everything above the Pi you need to get to. It'd be great if they could come up with a simple way to stack the cases by having them snap together instead of screwing together. Again, follow the directions and shouldn't have an issue.
The issue here is that if you need 2, you better order 3 and the company knows it. They sell these in stacks of 4. No one building clusters will stack these in groups of 4. They will group them usually in 5. The company knows this, so they know you'll order another one and cannibalize it. This is where I draw the line. I personally am okay with ordering extra, but that's usually because I know I'll need spare parts for the things that don't twist on jsut right or that I'm missing etc. If I didn't know better though, my project would be waiting on another order of a stack that I 'suddenly" would need.
I do like the density of the plastic though, this company for whatever reason with the frosted acrylic the stuff is more dense so it'll last longer. It does add weight, but who cares, these clusters are tiny anyway. The fans could be better, but this thing came with fans, most don't so that's awesome they come with fans.
Beware that you'll need to order a spare for parts. You'll randomly get a post that's missing or a thread that isn't even there, or a nut that doesn't thread right...just odd things like that. If you need 2, order 3.
I love that they left the protective paper on all the plastic plates. My only issue was that I struggled to remove the paper. I ultimately just left them all on and now have a brown case, which I actually really like. I've thought about taking it all apart and painting that paper a different color which would be drastically easier than painting the plastic.
A couple suggestions:
-The directions for the placement of the fan wires on the pi pins isn't very clear since the picture makes it really hard to tell with row of pins you're referring to. I happened to already know wear to place them, so no problems for me personally.
-It also isn't clear which direction the fans blow air, and that would have been really nice to know. I plugged one in and tested it before I mounted any of them.