Home Lab – Firewall PC Engine APU1D4 DYI Build

Got the first firewall for the lab. It is a PC Engine APU1D4 D.Y.I Kit from Netgate. This hardware has been going out of stock constantly. I got the 30 gig flash drive from Amazon, for less. I should have taken pictures as I was building it, but was just excited to be building it.

The good:

  • easy open packaging
  • other than the heat spreader it went together really quickly
  • Online documentation available

The bad:

  • No Instructions in the box
  • The heat spreaders didn’t like to stay on the chips
  • the heat sink move pulling the spreader off with it while putting the bottom on. Didn’t cause problems, but had to stop and reline up the head spreader to the chips (stuck to heat sink).

The online instructions from the net gate site need some work. The pictures in the document are not to scale. my spreader didn’t cover the ships like the picture, and the heat sink doesn’t take up that much space on the board. They didn’t say to remove the clear plastic from the heat spreader, but I don’t see why someone would want a plastic film between the heat sink and the spreader material.

The 30 gig card slides in to brackets with clips (look near the no trash icon) on the board to hold it quite well. If you’re going to use the SD card, you’ll need to put that on the card prior to closing the lid.

You can’t tell from the website, but the box (I got the black one, because they word on the net it transfers heat better from the heat sink) comes with 4 black screws to hold the box closed. It also has rubber plugs for the wifi antenna holes if you’re not going to use those. It also has 4 self adhesive foam rubber feet.


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