Lower Electric Bill

December 19, 2019

Since we moved into our house, I’ve been running a ton of equipment to keep my “lab” and “production” services up and running. I had dual 10GbE switches, an extra lab 1 GbE switch, older servers to run Plex with a TON of drives attached, etc. What I found was, I was not getting the value out of this equipment that I thought I would and my electric bill was in pain because of it.

I’ve moved all of my production services to Raspberry Pis (mostly the new 4B+ models with 4GB memory). I’m still working on collecting some of the final parts, but I’ll be fully transitioned over to this design by the end of the year.

All of my Raspberry Pis have the POE hats (still need to buy 5 or 6 more when they are back in stock at MicroCenter), which drastically reduces the cabling and the number of cheap AC/DC adapters that suck at our power. I’m running a ton of services on Raspberry Pis:

In addition to the Pis, I’m also utilizing some Odroid HC1 boxes that I had laying around. In those, I’ve moved over my 4TB SSDs from my large ZFS box, and have installed Plex on one of them. The others have Open Media Vault installed and just hand out a NFS mountpoint to my Plex server. The HC1’s are not super powerful, but they sip power (compared to the 400W+ that my old Plex setup drew) and get the job done. We don’t transcode any of our shows, so we didn’t need a ton of CPU.

I’m still working on final numbers, but I’m guessing I’ve reduced nearly a kW from my running power usage. That’ll translate to nearly $60/mo off our electric bill. No, my home lab isn’t as glamorous as it used to be, but it’s much more functional and costs a hell of a lot less.