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Raspberry Pi: Transform the single-board computer into a powerful cluster system with the ClusterCTRL Stack

The ClusterCTRL Stack allows you to combine the power of four Raspberry Pi units. (Image source: The Raspberry Pi Foundation)
The ClusterCTRL Stack allows you to combine the power of four Raspberry Pi units. (Image source: The Raspberry Pi Foundation)
With the ClusterCTRL Stack, one can harness the power of up to 5 Raspberry Pi boards simultaneously. The ClusterCTRL Stack can control up to two fans to keep the clustered Raspberry Pi SBCs cool too.

Utilising multiple Raspberry Pi units as one cluster device is nothing new. The CloverPI and Turing Pi come to mind, but a neater solution has been developed by 8086 Consultancy. The ClusterCTRL Stack can stack up to 5 Raspberry Pis, as the image below demonstrates. The Stack is based around a controller that has a 20pin header for power, a 6-pin header for monitoring and a micro USB port for controlling the power, fan, auto power on and voltages of each Raspberry Pi individually.

There is also a 10 A/5.1 V DC-DC regulator and a USB Type-A connector for delivering 5 V of power. The controller is powered by a 12-24 V PSU. 8086 Consultancy has also included a passive backplane for connecting the controller and the Raspberry Pis. The backplane connects to the GPIO BCM18 of each Raspberry Pi.

If that was not enough, then the Stack has two outputs for independent control of two fans. 8086 Consultancy recommends using 70 mm fans. There are several ways to install software, although beginners are advised to prepare a microSD card for each Raspberry Pi.

The ClusterCTRL Stack costs US$99, excluding postage. You can add a 3D printed "frame" case from US$5.30 too.

The ClusterCTRL Stack with and without its 3D-printed case. (Image source: Tindie via CNX Software)
The ClusterCTRL Stack with and without its 3D-printed case. (Image source: Tindie via CNX Software)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 08 > Raspberry Pi: Transform the single-board computer into a powerful cluster system with the ClusterCTRL Stack
Alex Alderson, 2020-08-10 (Update: 2020-08-24)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.