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.

Adding a DisplayLink monitor to a Linux router

slugterm_dl

Routers aren’t just for routing network traffic any more. With the help of alternative operating systems such as DD-WRT, Tomato, and OpenWrt, routers are now extremely customizable and can be utilized to suit a number of needs. The main issue with projects built around routers is the need to telnet or SSH into them to get to a console. [Sven Killig] came up with a useful solution that utilizes the USB ports available on an Asus router to display video on a DisplayLink device, allowing a user to sit down and use the device as though it were a physical terminal. This would be a good DIY alternative to commercially available routers that display network graphs, system information, incoming email, and other data.

Removable router antenna

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[Mike] takes us through the process of adding  a removable high gain antenna to the WRTSL54GS in this article. The antenna that comes on this unit from the factory is a bit small and underpowered. After upgrading it using OpenWrt, an open source full featured router software package, he felt it needed a beefier antenna. So, he cracked it open. The new antenna can simply be soldered in place, where the old antenna was.

WiFi streaming radio update

Since our last post about his WiFi Streaming Radio Project, [Jeff] has been hard at work to release part 8 of the project where he adds tuning control to the radio. Interestingly enough, the addition of the tuning control only requires a potentiometer and the completed AVR LCD board from part 7. After wiring the potentiometer to the analog to digital converter on the AVR and adding a few lines of code, the radio can now be tuned quickly and easily. In addition to thoroughly explaining the hardware changes, [Jeff] details the configuration changes required to the OpenWRT framework so that bidirectional communication between the router and AVR is possible, allowing the tuner to function properly. Be sure to check out the video above to see the tuner in action.

WiFi streaming radio

wifiradio

[Jeff] is continuing to work on his WiFi streaming radio project and is now into part 7. The reason it’s taken so long is because he’s bothering to document every single piece of the system instead of assuming too much of the reader. The core of the system is an Asus WL-520GU wireless router. It is supported by OpenWRT and has a USB port for use with an external audio card. mpd, Music Player Daemon, is used for playback. This latest part features adding an LCD display for the current track. The router board already has points for the serial port, so it’s just a matter of adding an AVR to talk to the LCD. The next step is building a simple user interface and then boxing everything up. You can view a video of the display below.

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