Random Rail Story #1

Welcome everyone, today this blog post will be way shorter than usual. I’m going to talk about some rails I got for free with a rackable 1U server case. I’ll focus on the rails today. I’ll talk a bit about the server but not too much.

You might be wondering: “But why?”

And this is because I could not find the slightest info about these rails, nor documentation on how to install them correctly. I’ll try my best to guide you through everything. I struggled a lot to get them installed correctly. And I hope this blog post could help if someone ever get their hands on these rails.

And if you remember my last blog post, I recently bought a Server Rack and I need to put things in it.

Table of Contents

The Differents Parts

I got those rails with all the main parts, except for the screws. I had to find screws that would fit the rails by myself.

From left to right, you have two long rail-holders, two smaller rail-holders, then 4 L-brackets with 3  M5 screw-holes, then some screws.

As you can see, from left to right, you have two long rail-holders, two smaller rail-holders, then four L-brackets with three M5 screw-holes, then some screws that we’ll talk in more details later and lastly the two rails that will slide in and out of the rack.

There are also some markings on the parts, probably some part number. The long rail-holders have 4-3-80-023 marked on them, and 4-3-80-039 for the smaller rail-holders and nothing for the rails or the L-brackets.

All of those parts are fully symmetrical, this means that you can’t really install them in the wrong way! (Well, except if you try really hard to mess this up…)

Here is a close up of most the screws and washers I’ll be using. The longer screws and the black washers are just standard M5 rack mounting screws.

Some M5 screws, M5 black washers and some random screws.
Some M5 screws, M5 black washers and some random screws.


Now, it is time to assemble this thing. First we need to put the smaller rail-holders in the front of the rack. They will be held in place using the L-bracket with two M5 screws.

For this, you’ll have to hold both the L-bracket and the rail-holder with one hand and screw the… screw… with the other hand.

L-bracket holding the rail-holder with 2 M5 screws half-way in it.

It can be a bit finicky at times, but it’s actually not that hard, I recommend you start hand-tightening both screws and then come back with a screwdriver after that.

Make sure it stays flush against the rack when tightening the screws, or else, you might have a surprise later… (more on that when we actually install the server in these). Also, notice that I did not use the washers here, this is because I’ll be using them later. If you have extra washers, you can put some along the M5 screws, but I did not have any extras.

Now do that again for the other side, and the exact same goes for the longer rail-holders that comes at the back of the rack.

If you did everything correctly, you should be able to hold the actual rails in place just like so.

Note that those rails were extremely greasy… I had to wash my hands every time I wanted to touch something, or else I would put grease everywhere. And as a bonus point, this is the very smelly kind of grease, it’s not a problem when it is only on the rails, but once on your hands it becomes very annoying.

Holding the rail in both rail-holders.

But anyway, make sure you put the rails in the right direction. And then align the screw-holes of the rails with the holes in the small rail-holder at the front of the rack.

The rail screw-holes aligning with the front rail-holder

The rail actually stays a bit in place without holding them (Don’t move the rack too much, though…). But they are able to stay in place just enough time for you to take some screws and start screwing them in place.

And this is where it gets a bit tricky. I did not have any “official” screws for this rail kit, and I had to find some that would fit. But all the screw I found were a tiny bit too long and would prevent the rail from sliding… Kinda missing the point of a sliding rail kit… So I had to use washers for elevating the screws, and the only washers that would fit were some M5 washers that I had laying around, so I just used that.

Screws in place to hold the rail on the rail-holder.

And once all 4 screws were in place, the rail is installed!

Same as above, but in the back.

Now do that for the other side of the rack, and you’ll be good to go!

Racking a server

These rails actually came with a server case I got for free, a Tyan S7002. It also came with a 450W PSU, all the drive backplanes along with the caddies, all the internal cables and even five 1U fans. All I needed was the motherboard, so I bought one. This was the exact motherboard for this server, a Tyan S7002G2NR-LE it came with 48GB of DDR3 RAM and two Intel Xeon X5680 for a total of 24 cores. But we’re not here to talk about the server!

Now it’s time to rack this server! But… Remember when I told you that you could have a little surprise later? Well, this is now later and the surprise is here: the server does not fit the rails… it’s a bit too large.

So I spent a long time thinking about why it wouldn’t fit. I search the interwebs and more… with no success, but then I just looked at the installed rails and… it seemed like they weren’t sitting flush against the rack… I unscrewed them and I moved them correctly against the rack and… the server now fit these rails like a glove…

Sometime, you just overcomplicate things and lose a lot of time, that’s the disadvantage of doing stuff alone. At least when you are not alone on the same problem, you can have different ideas and solve the problem faster.

Anyway, now that everything fit, let’s rack this beast. To rack this server, you first need to put the 2 little pin thingy on both side at the front of this server on the rails. To do that, pull the rails all the way out and slide each side one at a time. It can be done alone, but I strongly suggest you get help from someone else. Servers are heavy, even 1U servers, please don’t break your back!

The server with the two pin thingy put in correctly.

Once this is done, you just have a screw to put at the back of the rails. They screw inside the server and prevent it from leaving the rails. As another bonus point, this screw is not the same as all the screw you used previously… it’s a bit larger. So as always, I just had to find two random screws (one for each side) that would fit this. Hopefully, I had screws that fit.

The screw at the back of the rails that hold the server in the rails.

And now, the server is racked! And I can even remove the top lid and do maintenance on this server without removing the servers on top of it.

The final racked server.
The final racked server.
The racked server with the top lid removed. Server with two CPUs and 8 RAM slots and five 1U fans.
The racked server with the top lid removed. A server with two CPUs and 8 RAM slots and five 1U fans.

Retracting the rails

To retract the rails, it’s pretty easy. If the server is fully pulled out, then on both side you’ll find a small thingy that you’ll need to push and while pushing them, you’ll need to push the server at the same time. Just push the server a tiny bit and then you’ll be able to push the server all the way!

As the rails are symmetrical, the right side needs to be pushed down, but the left side needs to be pushed up.

Final Word

Oh well, it was a hell of a ride. Installing those rails was not easy in the end. This kind of rails really makes you thankful for the Dell or HP all in one rail kits that can be installed in two seconds.

I don’t know how I’ll use this server for the moment, it has four 3.5 drive bays at the front (two of them came with a 2.5 drive adapter). And I only have a single 1TB 3.5in SATA drive laying around, and note that without a proper RAID card, this server does not support SAS drives by default. However, the drive backplane does support SAS, I could add a SAS RAID Controller and I could get cheaper used drives and create another Storage box.

Or maybe I could create a Proxmox virtualization server where I could test a lot of weird things… I have no real idea for now. If you have any idea of what I should do with this server, please let me know!

Thank you very much for reading me! And I hope you liked this post about some random rails.

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