A few weeks back, we had an unexpected power-outage at the house. As the Raspberry Pi does not natively have a real-time clock built into it, this plays havoc on the network. Somehow, NTP and DNS are linked in this space. I don’t get it, either. But they are. Once I adjust the time and date on the NTP server Pi, all systems come back online.
To fix this, and to get myself started on the migration away from the Pi3B to the Pi4 (4GB), I bought a real-time clock from Adafruit. Setup was easy-peasy and we’ve not had any power-outage since. It seems to work miracles! I’ve also fully migrated my network to chrony, which is much easier to manage.
Further, I had been waiting since March for a DeskPi Pro to ship from China.
This has gone through two additional design changes and still has not shipped as of today (May 3). I have started the dispute process with PayPal. I wanted this case to be the shell for the Pi4 server. Not only does it do a decent job of wrangling the ports to the front of the case, it includes a space for a 2.5″ SSD drive. I bought a 250GB Crucial just for that task.
While I was buying SSDs with our last bit of COVID stimulus money, I also bought another 250GB Crucial SSD for the OPNsense router that I am slowly building, and a 500GB NVMe M.2 for Jenny and Calin’s laptop. This freed up the 250GB SATA M.2 that was in there. I tried for a week or so to get this drive to fully boot the Pi4, but whatever adapter/enclosure I threw at it failed to get the job done. While fuming about the DeskPi Pro case, I decided to pull the trigger on an Argon ONE M.2 case. This supports SATA M.2 only, which sounds just perfect to me. Reduce, reuse, upcycle!
This is a lovely aluminum case and the SATA M.2 booted it on the first go. The throughput benchmark tests are just insane and it is less than 10 seconds from “sudo reboot now” to being sshed in again. Lightning fast, for a Pi.
pi@pi5:/usr/share/agnostics $ sh sdtest.sh
Sequential write speed 253,034 KB/sec (target 10,000) – PASS
Random write speed 17925 IOPS (target 500) – PASS
Random read speed 14576 IOPS (target 1500) – PASS
But, there is a problem. One of the reasons that I wanted the DeskPi Pro was because of the ample internal space. I knew that I would be adding a real-time clock to that Pi, and I would be able to lose it inside the larger case no problem. If you notice with the Argon ONE, however, the GPIO pins are at the top of the case and are covered by that panel. The panel is held in place by magnets In order to get the real-time clock working, I had to pop this panel. It is kind of ugly, which is a pity for such a nice looking case.
This morning, however, I solved it. And I am happy/not happy about the solution. I started the NTP server service running on the Synology NAS and updated the various chrony.conf files to point towards it. Everything seems to be working fine so far, but we haven’t had a power-outage yet. 😉
I have another couple of issues going on with my migration from Pi3B to Pi4 plans, but this post was mainly about NTP and how I am afraid that this may be the beginning of the end of my Pi-based network.