Edit 12/15/2014: Ooops: the Atom Z230 is a hyper-threading single-core CPU, not a dual-core. I noticed this a few months ago but haven’t gotten around to updating this post until now.
Several months ago, a friend gave me an Acer Aspire easyStore H340 NAS. The system hard drive had failed and up until recently I haven’t had any spare SATA drives, so it collected dust on top of my desktop computer until I could find a drive for it.
The stock H340 has the following:
- 1.6GHz Intel Atom 64-bit dual-core CPU
- 2GB DDR2 RAM
- 4x SATA 2.0 hard drive bays
- 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive
- 1x Gigabit Ethernet port (Marvell chipset)
- 5 USB 2.0 ports
- 1 eSata port
- 1 PCI-E 1x connector (not used).
- Windows Home Server
- Onboard 256M flash device containing restore image for the OS (although it seems to need a driver/application DVD as well).
All in all, a capable little device, especially for the low, low price of free. It sits in a case approximately 10″ square. Air is drawn in from the left side, across the hard drive bays and over the motherboard at the bottom of the case, and exhausted out the right side by a 120mm fan. Notably, there is no video connector–which makes sense, considering it’s marketed as a headless NAS. Still, this is limiting, although there are several companies who make VGA/PS2 dongles that connect to a proprietary connector, and the PCI-E slot could be used for a PCI-E 1x video card.
Lacking the WHS restore disk, I decided to put Ubuntu Server on the H340. First, I did a little research to find out if this device will boot from a USB flash drive. It will, but not by default; the jumper JP3 on the motherboard puts the NAS into “debug” mode, which allows you to change the boot order in the BIOS–except I couldn’t see the BIOS, because there’s no video card connector. Ooops. So I went with the considerably less exciting route and installed Ubuntu Server on another computer, then transferred the hard drive to the NAS.
With JP3 jumpered (in debug mode), the device seemed to ignore the hard drive and booted into some sort of rescue/recovering environment with a hostname containing “minint”. I suspect this is what is contained on the onboard 256M flash device. Once I removed the jumper on JP3, restoring the NAS to stock configuration, it booted right up. I installed Samba and several minutes later had a simple file server set up and running.
- If you set up Ubuntu Server on a second computer, you’ll want to remove the entry in /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules such that the NIC in the NAS (there’s some alliteration for you) will be detected as eth0 and not, say, eth1. You’ll also want to have OpenSSH set up so you can SSH into it after installing the hard drive.
- You’ll probably want to install lm-sensors and smartmontools to keep an eye on temperature and hard drive health. I also installed logwatch and configured it to email my LAN’s mailserver.
- The power supply fan (a tiny 40mm fan on the back of the proprietary power supply) is noisy. I suspect this is specific to my used H340 and not common to all H340s.
- The side fan is reasonably quiet. However, once it boots, the motherboard throttles the fan down to 700RPM. CPU temperature idles around 63-65C in this configuration. The fan speed can be adjusted either manually or via a script (such as fancontrol). I have mine set to about 1100RPM, which lowers CPU temperature by 4-6C while keeping the room quiet enough for me to sleep at night. It also helps cool the hard drive(s)–and cooler hard drives tend to be less troublesome.
- The hard drive LEDs and the “i” front panel LED need a driver to control them. Fortunately, someone has written one called mediasmartserverd. Among other things, it enables the drive lights and allows you to control the brightness of all the LEDs–useful for sleeping in a dark room. It also allows you to control the “i” LED and use it as an indicator when operating system updates are available. (This feature may be Ubuntu/Debian specific.) The color scheme is as follows: blue == updates available, purple == security updates available, red == reboot needed (after updates are applied). Note that it is godawful hard to differentiate between purple and red when the brightness is turned down low; the purple looks very much like red.
- The H340 is adorable. I like the form factor.
To control the fan and start mediasmartserverd, I put the following in my /etc/rc.local, just above the “exit 0” line:
# warning: I don't really know what this is doing # put the fan into user-controlled mode (?) default is "2" echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/dme1737.2160/pwm1_enable # allow root to adjust the fan speed chmod u+w /sys/devices/platform/dme1737.2160/pwm1 # echo a value between ~100 and 255 here. # corresponds (somewhat) to fan speed # If it's too low, your drives/CPU may fry! echo 130 > /sys/devices/platform/dme1737.2160/pwm1 # start mediaserverd, adjusting LED brightness and update checks /usr/local/bin/mediasmartserverd --brightness 3 --update-monitor -D
Remember, overriding the motherboard’s fan control is risky. I’m making it run faster than it does by default, but a typo could cause it to run slower or not run at all. Be careful. You don’t want to fry your hard drives!
All in all, I’m pleased with this little device. It’s not the fastest server in the world, but it’ll get the job done, and for me, that’s all that matters.
It’s also cute. Just pointing that out…
Thanks for you post
I have a H340 running 12.04 with 3 x 2TB drives
I use snapraid daily to create a recoverable image incase a drive goes down ( which it has in past)
I also have the LEDbrightness controll working.
The one thing I would like to do is increase the H340 side fan to 1100 as you have done
I would like to do this manually
Hand you give me some idea how you did this as I find conflicting approaches on the NET
Ps I have looked at replacing by Synology or Pegasus but always come back to my comfig as the best option for me
The only way I know of to increase the fan speed is to echo a PWM value to /sys/devices/platform/dme1737.2160/pwm1. You’ll have to enable manual control and give root write permissions as shown in the post. PWM values rang from 0-255. 0 is off and 255 is full duty-cycle. Values in between force a slower fan speed. You’ll want to experiment. Don’t go below 70 or so or the fan will be too slow (and the BIOS won’t override it in manual control mode. I found that 130-150 works nicely. You can always bump it up to 255 if the NAS is in a place where you can’t hear it. The fan moves an impressive amount of air at full speed, but it’s noisy.
Did you install the amd64 or i386 version of Ubuntu server? Since the atom z230 is a single core CPU, I suspect it will not support 64 bit OSs, is it correct? I would like to change my H340 to Ubuntu recently and hence this question. Thank you!
I installed amd64 Ubuntu Server. There are some single core 64-bit CPUs (my Athlon64 3700+ comes to mind) and the Atom is one of them. I just wish it was a dual core. Ah well, it was free!
If you’re not encrypting/compressing things on the fly like I am, it should be plenty powerful for your needs. Having a gigabit network interface is a major boon. Just install Ubuntu Server on a hard disk, install SSH, make sure Ubuntu gets an IP address somehow, then delete the /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules file as described in the post above before transferring the hard disk to the lowest bay in the NAS. Should work like a charm even without BIOS access.
I got an H340 for $20 with no HDD.
I am not a linux guy, so I don’t know how to do the installation.
Has any a full detailed step by step guide on installing Ubuntu server on my Acer H340 NAS?
Thank you very much.
Hello, i do not have the /sys/devices/platform/dme1737.2160/, i am on debian 9.8 on a acer easystore H341. Slightly different CPU, thats all, i think…
I did a “find /sys/ -name “*pwm*”, which turned up 0 results, and a
rgrep “pwm” /sys/ >/pwmlist 2>/pwmlist2, that filled the “pwmlist” file with
where would i go to change those PWM settings?