I just received an email from the place I bought my NorcoTek RPC-4220 storage chassis regarding my problem…

Dear Will,

We are sending you an e-mail to confirm that your request to return your Norco RPC-4220 Rackmount Server Chassis, No PSU - 4U Inc. 20x Hot-Swap SATA/SAS Drive Bays (BackPlane Included w. 5xSFF-8087 Mini SAS Connectors) has been approved.

Your RA Number is: XXXXX

We have contacted Norco and it turns out that the backplanes that you have in your case are not compatible with 2TB drives. A revised backplane in the new version of the RPC-4220 allows for larger drives. Unfortunately the revised backplane is not compatible with the old RPC-4220 chassis (the one that you have).

Your revision will support upto 1.5TB drives.

Please return the chassis for further investigation to correct your problem.

Uhh okay guys - the SAS/SATA interface doesn’t change for different drive sizes, and there’s no controller on the backplanes - they’re just lanes back to the connector for the SFF-8087 cable…

I’m guessing at this point there’s been a miscommunication between my retailer and the supplier, maybe they’ve said my 2TB drives are sensitive to the electric properties of these backplanes…. but I’d have expected the RA guys to question the email as they’ve described it to me.

Also, IPC Direct (Norco’s online storefront) list all their storage backplane cards as compatible with the RPC-4220 - but I’m guessing the new RPC-4220 chassis is similar to the latest revision RPC-4224 which uses a completely different mounting system.

But I guess that means that I have to unpack the chassis and pack and send it back for a few months while they sort their shit out. I hope they have their bloody replacement in before I do though…


UPDATE: I have emailed back with the following:

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the update - that’s a bit confusing, as the SAS/SATA interface doesn’t differ between drives of different sizes, and I can’t think of any reason why there would be any smarts on the backplane whatsoever.

In any case, can you please advise on the following:

  • As noted in my original RA, I have pulled back some of the backplane supporting bar (as the unit as it arrived would not accept an SFF-8087 compliant cable) - is this going to affect the RA process even though it has no bearing on this issue? I can provide details and photos if necessary?

  • What are the potential outcomes of this RA? Is the product likely to be replaced with the newer version of the RPC-4220 that does support drives correctly? I would be supremely unhappy if the solution was a full refund - as the next cheapest alternative is over four times the cost.

  • How long do you anticipate the RA process will take? If it’s a case of waiting for a replacement product while the chassis sits in your RA office, I’d rather wait until the replacement has arrived in your office until I have to power down the unit here (as I have no other chassis to put the system into).

Thanks again for the help so far, if you’re able to answer the above questions that would be greatly appreciated. If it’s easier to explain over the phone, you can reach me on XXXX XXX XXX.

Cheers :)

Hopefully they’ll replace it with the newer revision RPC-4220, which resolves the SFF-8087 cable issue as well as this problem (apparently):


Mmmmm, shiney!*