An SSD Shield for the Raspberry Pi

CSB502SSD is a multifunction storage shield for the Raspberry Pi or RBPi 2, model B. A Rhode Island based startup, Pi2Design has designed the shield and makers of the embedded modules, Cogent Computer Systems have manufactured it. The designers have targeted the shield for a variety of industrial, medical, data storage and embedded applications.

Earlier, Pi2Design had offered the PiDrive SSD expansion card to users with a 128GB mSATA solid-state drive. The CSB502SSD plugs in directly into one of the USB ports of the RBPi and similar to the PiDrive, the CSB502SSD sips power from the RBPi. Therefore, it does not completely deplete the RBPi of power, leaving enough for other peripherals.

For both products, users do not need to buy a powered USB hub for plugging in the standalone SSD – that makes them more portable. The PiDrive is a simple storage-only device and powered via its USB connection to the RBPi. More fully featured and equipped with an onboard DC/DC converter, the CSB502SSD accepts inputs from 8 to 25VDC. The shield comes with a 2A, 12VDC wall-plugin power brick. Although the price does not include the SSD, the CSB502SSD supports up to 1TB models. You also get a microUSB-B to USB-A patch cable, a Wi-Fi antenna and mounting posts with the kit. For an extra amount, you can upgrade the power brick to one of 5A rating.

The CSB502SSD has many features. Its supply powers both itself and the RBPi, including additional features such as a temperature sensor, a real time clock or RTC, a Wi-Fi radio and much more. There is also a four-port USB hub, of which two hubs are free to use – one port is for connecting to SATA and the other for connecting to the Wi-Fi. Communication between the RBPi and the CSB502SSD is via GPIO and the I2C interfaces.

Among the specifications for the CSB502SSD is a single-wire Dallas/Maxim DS18B20 temperature sensor. With this, you can monitor the health of the SSD using the I2C interface and a unique ID of 64-bits for managing assets. The DS1339 RTC from Dallas/Maxim has a programmable alarm powered by a coin cell battery backup – this ensures proper time keeping even when the network access is lacking. The 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi module from Ogemray, the GWF-3M08, has a Soft-AP Mode support, providing 150Mbps and an on-module IPEX connector for antenna placement.

The mSATA socket can handle up to 1TB SSD storage and because of the Prolific PL2571 SATA II bridge controller, offers great Linux support for USB to SATA. The two USB 2.0 ports can provide up to 1.5A power per port and the 40-pin mating connector can let you plug the shield directly on the RBPi 2.

Onboard the CSB502SSD is a 5V, 10A supply to power all peripherals in addition to the RBPi, which can take up to 2.5A. With the multi-function CSB502SSD shield, users can create a low cost, high-performance networked storage device for embedded systems. With the powerful combination of the RBPi 2 and the CSB502SSD, users can take advantage of the ever-expanding RBPi 2 ecosystem and applications.