Cardano on the Rocks – an Energy efficient Staking Pool


Physical Assembly

Here is what you need for part 1 of the physical assemby process:


  • RockPi Mainboard
  • RockPi Heat sink
  • eMMC Card (flashed)
  • USB-C cable and QC Power Adapter
  • 3-D printed case
  • OLED Display and 4-pin cable
  • RGB-LED(optional)


On the underside of the RockPi mainboard, you will find the connectors for the eMMC card. It is easier to plug in the previously flashed module before the heat sink is screwed on with the four small brass bolts. (It is still technically possible to do so with the heatsink mounted, it will simply require fiddling with something akin to a chopstick to withdraw/reconnect the eMMC module)

Pay special attention to the two different-sized connectors of the RockPi eMMC modules. There is one smaller and one slightly connector. Take your time and be smart about connecting it instead of using force and trying to plug it in the wrong way around. (For those curious, the second connector was added to the eMMC modules to achieve a more stable mechanical connection between the mainboard and the module compared to previous single connector eMMC modules)

Note: If you decided to order the optional M.2 adapter you have to mount the PCI-E cable adapter instead of the two bolts between the mainbaord and the heat sink.

The heat sink comes with a thermal paste which you must place a drop of between the CPU and the heat sink. You can and should use the paste sparingly.

Option 1: The Heatsink comes with 4 small brass distant bolts. If you plan to mount the RockPi case without the M.2 NVMe extension, you can sue them as shown in the above picture.

Option 2: In order to mount the 3D-printed top cover, we recommend ordering and mounting the M.2 adapter board, because it comes with useful items for the Cardano-case mounting, is not expensive and optionally allows then to plug in an NVME storage module.

(1) plug the green/white PCIx adapter into the mainboard.
(2) not mount the two distant bolts, part of the heatsink accessories
(3) instead, use the small nuts, part of the M.2 kit
(4) and mount the two distant bolts with the long thread

If you need a more detailed guide on how to mount the M.2 Adapter, please download the following PDF document.

The next step is to plug in the ribbon cable. Then mount the heatsink with the thermal paste on top of the mainboard by screwing in the two distant bolts.

Plug in the other side of the ribbon cable into the M.2 Adapter board.

Now turn the device upside down and screw in the two long distant bolts with the short screws (6)
Then turn the Adapter board on top of the mainboard and screw in the two short distant bolts (7)

Note: If you decided to not buy and mount the M.2 adapter extension, you need distant bolts (pos 6 and 7). By ordering the inexpensive ECO KIT you will receive exactly these bolts.

The RockPi mainboard has a steady green light, used in the early prototypes to backlight the Cardano-Logo. Unfortunately, the M.2 adapter partially covers this green light. So we decided to find a better and more functional solution. The RGB-LED diffuser:
This is the third 3d-printed item. You need to print it in white material as it act as a semitransparent light diffuser. It can be cheap ABS, PETG or similar material.

All Cardano-on-the-Rocks KITs come with a special cable: plug the large connector into the GPIO connector as shown below.

Now you can connect the OLED and RGB-LED modules with the cable, and slide the RockPi into the base plate at the lateral notches of the heat sink.

Mount the OLED module inside the 3D-printed top cover, and plug in the 90-degree USB-C cable.

Bend the 4 pins of the OLED display with the inserted cable by 90 degrees to make room in the housing. (required if you decided to mount the M.2 NVMe adapter board)

This is how it should look like when you decided to build the RockPi without the M.2 Adapter board (eMMC storage only)

Now carefully put on the cover, making sure that all cables are correctly connected. The cover is fastened with two screws.