Jul 092015

So after poking around with the bootloader, I decided to go look for the stock firmware to see if I could upload that with some modifications so I could play around with the stock system.

After a night of Googling, I couldn’t find any links to the original firmware. I tried to discover if I could download the firmware from the NAS, but that didn’t get me anywhere either. All the Googling did point me in the direction of SnakeOS however, which is replacement firmware for some NASes. However, it hadn’t been maintained in quite a few years so I was initially a bit hesitant.
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Jul 062015

I received my USB to TTL adapter today, so decided to have a look at the NAS and see if I could get root access to it.

The Serial console is actually under where the drive is, so I’ve gotten access to it from the bottom as there’s some plastic between where the drive goes and the port itself.

NAS Connected via Serial

NAS Connected via Serial

As you can see from the picture, I’ve stuck some jumper cords into the serial console port. The Yellow wire is actually the white wire on my USB->TTL converter, the green is still green, and black is still black. With the jumper leads plugged in, I turned the NAS On with screen listening on /dev/ttyUSB0 with a baud rate of 38400.
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May 282015

I recently saw a $5 NAS at my local MSY store. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes, $5 for a NAS?
Surely they were mistaken, and the price was just an error. But sure enough, it scanned as $5 and I was on my merry way shortly after I paid for it.

When I got home, I inspected my Cheap and Nasty find – a Ritmo branded external hard drive enclosure that could be connected via LAN or USB.
Ritmo CE-3590

The box tells me that it can Store and share files, has an intuitive “wed” (I think they mean web…) control interface, a heatsink to prevent the drive from overheating, can connect with both USB and Ethernet, fits any 3.5 inch hard disk, and has LED Status indicators.

Ritmo CE-3590 back

Let’s open the box shall we?

Contents of the box

Inside, you get:

  • The NAS itself
  • A yellow handled screw driver
  • 4 Hard drive screws
  • A short SATA Data cable
  • A short SATA Power cable
  • A standard kettle power cord
  • A 12V 3.5A power brick
  • An instruction manual
  • NAS Stand
  • Drivers CD
  • Ethernet Cable

Installing a hard drive is a simple matter of undoing the 4 screws on the blank side of the nas, undoing the 2 screws on the back side of the NAS, and then sliding out the side covers. On the side of the NAS are the mounting holes for the hard drive.
Uncovered NAS

It's flashing at me...
After installing the hard drive and re-installing the covers, I connected the NAS to my network, and to its power supply, plugged it in and powered it on. I was expecting a bang, but was (un?)pleasantly disappointed. The NAS boots up with some bright blue lights on the front to indicate that it is powered on and ready to service me.

I got the NAS IP address from my router, and logged onto the web interface.
I was greeted by something that looked like it was from 1999.
Wow. Much New

I skipped the installation wizard to jump straight into the guts of the NAS. On the left hand menu under System, I could set up the Web Admin username and password, set up the time of the NAS, and also set up some other options on the NAS itself.
System Menu

The Network Config menu let me set whether the NAS uses DHCP to get its IP address or I could set a static IP for the NAS. It also comes with a DHCP server and a Dynamic DNS client, however the client seems to only be for changeip.com.
Network Menu

The Share Manage menu lets me configure the Windows shares on the NAS. Since I don’t have many Windows machines, I haven’t set any shares up.
Share Menu

The UPNP server lets me set up where the DLNA server will get its media from. This seems to work well enough to stream SD content. Some HD Content seems to stream with a bit of jitter, but otherwise still watchable.

There’s also a FTP Server setup. This is what I’ve been using to get files on and off the NAS.
FTP Menu
Performance of the FTP server is rubbish, however for $5, what can you expect?
I tested the speed by copying a 100 megabyte file to and from my desktop computer.
I got a fairly constant 5 megabytes a second when I was copying to the NAS.
Copying from the NAS back to my computer was done at a slightly lower 3 megabytes a second.
CPU usage when copying to and from the NAS was quite high, which probably contributes to the low read/write speed.

Device Config lets you see how much space is used on the hard drive, what hard drive is in the NAS, and also allows you to eject the Hard drive…I guess that means that theoretically you could hot swap the drive ? I’m not sure yet.
Device Menu

The Downloader is the Bittorrent client. It seems to be included just so it can be advertised as a feature. The CPU on the NAS itself won’t be able to do more than 1 bittorrent download at a time. I added 2 torrents to the list and the CPU was pegged at 100% the whole time the 2 torrents were downloading.
Downloader Menu

The tools menu allowed me to reboot the NAS, update it (No idea where I would get firmware from), Reset it to factory defaults, and show the log file. My log file seems to only contain logs from the FTP server.
Tools Menu

For $5, this is a bargain, if the power supply holds up. There are features on the NAS that are actually useful, even though this NAS seems to be from 2010 judging from the firmware version. I’m using it to store some files that aren’t important enough to backup, but take enough space on my desktop to bother me. It takes a little while for the files to transfer, but once the files are there, the NAS is sitting there happily serving me the files when I need them.

The only feature lacking from this NAS is NFS support. If it had that then I’d be a happy camper, but even without NFS support, it serves its purpose of sharing out an old 200GB SATA drive that I had lying around doing nothing.

Tune in next week to see what else I can make this NAS do

Mar 022013

As a result of some discussion on the Raspberry Pi forums, I decided to make my Pi into a dock of sorts for my HTC Desire.

Rather than using WiFi to connect to the Pi, I ended up using USB so that it doesn’t have to rely on anything external.

First thing I had to do was add this line into /etc/network/interfaces

iface usb0 inet dhcp

This let my HTC Desire assign an IP address to the Pi when I activated USB Tethering.
Second thing was to activate USB tethering itself after I plugged the phone into the USB Dock that I had.
Once the phone was plugged in, and USB tethering activated, the phone got an IP address on the usb0 interface.
Running ifconfig usb0 gave me this –

usb0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr ee:21:82:8b:eb:d1
inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
RX packets:616 errors:0 dropped:1 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:422 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:220596 (215.4 KiB) TX bytes:58184 (56.8 KiB)

As you can see, it has the IP address of which has been assigned by the Desire.
I have installed a VNC server on the HTC Desire which allowed me to access the screen of the Desire, and also allows me to use my keyboard to do typing on the Desire.

The VNC server I used was called Droid VNC Server. Unfortunately it needs a rooted phone, but I had already rooted my Desire so it was no problem for me.
Once the VNC server was started, I used tightvncviewer on my Pi to access the VNC server on the Desire, and as you can see in the picture above, it’s very viewable.
Responsiveness leaves a bit to be desired, but it’s usable enough as long as you’re not playing games.