WiFi radio plays your tunes in style


Instructables user [Jan] likes listening to music while hacking away in his workshop, but listening to the same CDs gets tired and boring after awhile. He contemplated listening to streaming audio over the Internet, but hated the idea of needing a computer around at all times. After a bit of reading, he found some information about building a WiFi radio, and got started on constructing his own.

Using a guide he found at the MightyOhm, he hacked an Asus router to use OpenWRT, adding a music player daemon to tune in various stations. He added a small LCD display and an ATmega32 to drive it, as well as a rotary encoder to allow him to switch between stations.

The case was built using several layers of  MDF which were cut using a CNC mill, and joined together with glue and wooden dowels. The front and back panels were milled out of  alucobond sheets, with the remainder of the case covered in white wood veneer. The detail that went into this build is great, we especially love the “WiFi Symbol” speaker grilles.

All of his code and schematics are available for download, should you desire to make a WiFi radio of your own. Stick around to see a video of his completed radio in action.

[via MightyOhm]

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Home automation without pulling wires

Here’s a bit of simple home automation using hacks with which we’re become pretty familiar. [Mrx23] combined OpenWRT, a microcontroller, and a set of RF controlled outlet switches to add automation to his plug-in devices. An RF remote that controls the switched outlets has been connected to an Arduino. The router communicates with the Arduino via a serial connection. And the router is controlled by a web interface which means you can use a smartphone or other web device to control the outlets.

The best thing about this system is the power that the router wields. Since it has an underlying Linux kernel you have the option of setting CRON jobs to turn lighting on and off, and group settings can be established to set up a room’s lighting level for watching movies, hosting guests, etc. Combine this with the fact that OpenWRT can use port forwarding for Internet control and the possibilities really start to open up.

[Thanks Arpad]

More OpenWRT image building for the Dockstar

[Der_picknicker] wrote in to let us know about a guide to building OpenWRT images for the dockstar (translated). What they end up with is a nice little network attached storage device that runs SAMBA and subversion under the umbrella of OpenWRT. We looked at flashing and building OpenWRT images for this device back in July. The development branch of OpenWRT hasn’t quite reached a stable release yet, but much has been done in the last few months.

The machine translation is a little rough, but the compilation process is easy enough to follow. If you don’t care to slog through compiling (which apparently takes 1-2 hours) they’ve also made their images available for download. It should be possible to flash via SSH but you might want to add a serial port to the device just to be safe.

Portable WiFi penetration testing

Inside this box you’ll find a La Fonera wireless access point. [Emeryth] and his band of miscreants built this portable device for WiFi security testing. The AP is running OpenWRT and has been set up to use the 16×4 character display as a terminal. An ATmega88 connects the LCD as well as six buttons to the UART of the La Fonera. From there, a set of Ruby scripts takes care of the communication protocol. As you can see after the break, this setup allows you to scan the area for WiFi, showing channel, SSID, and MAC information. Although not specifically outlined in the video we suspect there’s some more devious tricks up its sleeve too.

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OpenWRT on a Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar

The Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar aims to make all of your stuff available online. It serves that purpose but sometimes you just want more options for controlling your hardware and running some scripts. [Eric Cooper] put together a guide for installing OpenWRT on the Dockstar by building your own kernel and loading it onto the internal storage. Once you have a kernel that will play nicely with the hardware, you can install it by tunneling in through SSH; the same method you would use if you wanted to run Linux on this hardware. If you have problems along the way, [Eric's] also included a guide for cracking the Dockstar open and connecting a serial cable.

Reuse that PDA as a WRT terminal

[Michu] used his old Palm IIIc to make a serial interface for his OpenWRT router. It’s a matter of cracking open both the router and the Palm device, then connecting the TTL lines from the router to the MAX 3386e level converter chip inside the Palm. From there, Pocketterm can connect to the router’s serial terminal.

A lot of us have old electronics lying around that work perfectly well. It’s nice to find hacks that make them useful again.

[Thanks Isama]

CPU as a heat sink

We’ve noticed that wireless routers pump out a bunch of heat. [Jernej Kranjec] wanted to make sure that he didn’t fry it once he started adding more load to his router using OpenWRT. What he came up with is the idea of using an old CPU as a passive heat sink. He applied a bit of thermal paste to the center and some super glue to the corners. You can see the finished product is an old AMD chip adhered “dead bug” style to the stock processor. We’d bet it’s not very efficient compared to an aluminum or copper heat sink, but it normally would have no help in shedding those extra degrees.