The Banana Pi is a small, low power computer board much like the Raspberry Pi. A few details separate the Banana Pi though and make it a better option to be used as a small, nearly silent, headless (no monitor needed) Network Attached Storage device.

These are:

  • Gigabit Network interface (10x faster than the Raspberry Pi)
  • Sata port and Sata power for hard drive (Raspberry Pi has only USB ports on a bus shared with the onboard NIC)

There are also readily available images for turnkey use of the Banana Pi as a NAS using the excellent Open Media Vault software that is based on the Debian Linux Distro.

Step 1: Collect the Parts and Software You Will Need

You will need some parts to make this work.

1. Banana Pi Board
2. 2.5 inch SATA drive of whatever capacity you want to use. 2.5 inch drive is a best choice as they do not consume as much power as a 3.5 inch hard drive. Also, an SSD drive is possible here, but a bad idea for cost and capacity reasons. You should get the biggest drive you can afford.
3. Class 10 SD Card with at least 4 gigs capacity
4. Banana Pi SATA cable
5. Thick rubber bands
6. Banana Pi Case
7. SD Card Reader
8. Cell phone charger with 2 amp output minimum
9. Micro USB Cable
10. Ethernet Cable

You will also need some software to make this work.

Image for Banana Pi to be written to your SD card
Note the download link via the URL above and also note the default credentials for the root account and web interface.

Step 2: Write the Image to the SD Card

Place your SD card into the card reader and use the instructions provided below to write the image to the SD card:

Instructions for writing to the SD Card

Step 3: Prepare Your Banana Pi

Assemble your Banana Pi into its case with the instructions provided with the case.

Insert SD card into card slot

Wrap 2 rubber bands around the case securing nothing. These are used as spacers to separate the hard drive from the case and absorb some hard drive vibrations.

Plug SATA and power connections into Banana Pi case and hard drive. Orient the drive and case to your taste as far as cable management and wrap 2 more rubber bands surrounding the case, cables and the hard drive this time.

Step 4: Power Up Your NAS

Plug power supply into the Banana Pi in the 2nd of two possible locations. The DC power input micro USB slot is next to the SATA connections on the board. Also note that its orientation is upside down.

Plug a network cable into network slot on Pi and your switch or router.

You Pi should now boot up and get an IP address from your router via DHCP. Head over to your router to view DHCP reservations and find your Banana Pi listed there.

Note the IP address of the Pi and head over to its management interface URL:

An example is: --Your Pi IP address will surely be different.

You will login with the default credentials and should consider changing them. They are
username: admin
password: openmediavault

That's it, your NAS build is complete. You can configure shares and access as you see fit and if you get stuck, hit the documentation for the Open Media Vault project.

As for where to stash your little NAS: you can put it anywhere, but I put velcro on mine and stick it to a piece of painted plywood mounted on the wall where my other home lab gear is mounted. You could velcro it to your workstation, router, set it in a drawer or just place it on your desk. No cooling fan is needed for these devices.


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