Custom Adaptor Plate for the HP N54L Microserver

Background

I recently bought an Intel Cherryville SSD for my N54L Microserver. The though was that by having a solid-state drive with my OS installed I'd be able to let the 3Tb WD Red drive spin down when it's not serving media via Plex in order to reduce noise and power consumption.

The four hard drive bays in the N54L contain bespoke hard drive carriers made for 3.5" drives that slot into place in a way which means the SATA and Power connectors marry up perfectly.

As most of the mounting plates for 2.5" drives on the market sit the smaller drive in the center they are not compatible with the N54L's system. One common solution is to mount the SSD in a bracket located in the optical bay, but I'm using it for its intended purpose, so that's a no-go.

For the last month I've been letting friction do it's thing and as the SSD is quite light (78grams) it happily sat connected to the SATA port, suspended in mid-air. Although this was fine, I didn't want to risk the server getting knocked and thought an adaptor would be best

There is an adaptor available for this situation, which you can see here but they aren't readily available in the UK and cost around £10. A little more than I wanted to pay for a piece of metal and simple circuit (which looks unnecessary to these eyes).

Build

This is how the SSD was mounted for a month.

SSD held in place precariously

Here's the SSD in the position it needs to be to align with the connectors

SSD in HP carriage

I bought some thin aluminium from my local hobby store. It wasn't quite as big as I wanted, but was big enough to support the SSD. The dimensions are 4"x10"x0.008" and it cost £1.70. I used a set-square and stanley knife to score a line 2cm from the short edge, another line roughly 4" away and a final one 2cm further along.

Aluminium sheet marked

With my dremmel I cut along the score mark furthest away from the leading edge

Aluminium sheet cut

Using a piece of wood and a couple of G-clamps I gave the sheet two 90° bends to create the carriage.

Bent aluminium

The next step was to drill some holes so I could attach my plate to HP's carriage and then work out how to identify where to drill the holes to mount the SSD. I chose to use some paper and draw around the SSD and mark where the holes for the bottom mounting screws are.

SSD template marked

It worked with a little tweaking to the size of the holes in the aluminium.

SSD in placeSSD in place

And here's the completed tray.

Final adaptor plate

On fitting the carriage back in I found that the aluminium sheet was about 1mm out of alignment, but the sheet was so thin I could guide the drive into location by gently flexing it. Here it is installed in the Server

 

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