Thin Client NAS

Inside the HP T5540

Since moving to Mildura I have slowly been reassembling my “toys” that were packed away in boxes to move up here.

When I was in Horsham, I used to have an old  MacBook running 10.6.8 OSX Server. I used it for storage, remote desktop and web hosting. Later versions of MacServer became less appealing when SQL server was dropped for PostgreSQL, so it just stayed that way.

I no-longer host my own websites or need to remote desktop home from work, so all i need was storage. A simple NAS would do this.

SATA Socket in Place – ready for solder.

I recently purchased an armful of HP Thin Clients and I thought I might be able to make a home-brew NAS out of one of those. The HP T5540 feature a VIA Eden 1000Hz processor which would adequately run Linux. The RAM was upgraded from 512MB to 1GB, also the ATA flash card was also upgraded from 128MB to 8GB.

Initially I considered installing a USB hard drive for storage as the T5540 lacks a SATA socket. But after reading up on the thin-client at www.parkytowers.me.uk, I thought I might try to add a SATA port to the logic board as listed on the mods page.

SATA connector soldered in place.

The SATA socket was scavenged my junk box and after a bit of cutting and filing and bending it fitted quite nicely on the board beside the ATA flash connector. While soldering the connector was a bit fiddly but relatively simple, I opted to use the SATA power connector of a SATA – Molex adaptor that I wired directly to the Logic Board.

CHOOSE YOUR SOFTWARE

There is quite a number of Linux NAS applications to choose from. After evaluating a number of options at www.how2shout.com, I was initially leaning towards FreeNAS. But it seemed a little over the top with features for what I needed for my single drive NAS.

Screen Shot of OpenMediaVault

I ended up choosing OpenMediaVault for several reasons, one being that was relatively simple to use, but mainly for the reason that it’s distro was Debian based. You can simply download an ISO and install it directly to the device, but given the low power processor and small amount of RAM in the T5540, I decided to stay away from the 64 bit version and roll my own 32 bit Debian build.

Debian 9 “Stretch” was chosen and a NetInstall iso was downloaded. Since OpenMediaVault is web-based, I chose to install without a desktop environment to reduce boot time and unnecessary load on the processor.

Once  Debian was installed, i simply installed OMV with the following commands which was taken from Open Media Vault Forum.

cat <> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/openmediavault.list
deb http://packages.openmediavault.org/public arrakis main
EOF


export LANG=C
export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive
export APT_LISTCHANGES_FRONTEND=none
apt-get update
apt-get --allow-unauthenticated install openmediavault-keyring
apt-get update
apt-get --yes --auto-remove --show-upgraded \
--allow-downgrades --allow-change-held-packages \
--no-install-recommends \
--option Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" \
--option DPkg::Options::="--force-confold" \
install postfix openmediavault
omv-initsystem

Ready for Reassembly: Hard Drive mounted to lid.

OVM is pretty simple to configure and is well documented, but for a easy, quick and efficient overview of OpenMediaVault check out the following link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-CoUkT8WI4

To allow simple backups of my Apple Macs using Time Machine, The Netatalk Plug-in needs to be installed.

The NAS has been up and running for a few days now without an issue.
It reports a couple of minor errors during boot, but nothing that affects the operation of the NAS. Hopefully I see many years of operation out of it.

HP T5540 Thin Client

Like I really need new project, but a new one found me today. I visited the local recycle shop today – Around Again. It’s a junk shop conveniently located next the tip up here in Mildura and it is were things that are too good to be thrown out end up.

It is run by volunteers and all income derived from selling other peoples junk is put back into the business and employs many people living with a disability.

I’ve already found a few bargains here and today it was another. As I entered the shop today I saw a pile of HP T5540 Thin Client. A quick google search on my iPhone as I inspected the devices indicated that they were powered by a VIA Eden 1GHz Processor with 512MB RAM and 128MB Flash RAM.

Continue reading “HP T5540 Thin Client”

Unilab KL-450 Repeater

While the blogging bug has managed to catch with me this time, I have decided to document some of my older projects.

So starting with requests, the first of my projects from the archives is an Amateur Radio repeater I made.

Inside the Unilab KL-450 Transeiver

The Unilab repeater project started in early 2015 when Bill Husin – VK3YHT donated an ex Ambulance Victoria radio to Wimmera Amateur Radio Group for the purpose of building a new repeater with. I took it upon myself to familiarise myself with the radio and convert it to use on Amateur Radio. Continue reading “Unilab KL-450 Repeater”

Out with the old – In with the new

Progress is developing with the Codan.

Originally the radio was a “Remote Head” radio, but I was wanting to use it as a base radio. So I welded up all of the extra holes in the face plate then drilled and cut some new holes to turn it in to a base radio.

Before I could start installing the Arduino powered Direct digital synthesiser (DDS), I needed to remove the un-required circuitry and and wiring. Continue reading “Out with the old – In with the new”

Codan 7277-TB Options PCB

Before modifying of the Codan could take place, I needed to work out what had been fitted to it and what was surplus to my requirements.  The Codan radios where very popular for use with the Royal Flying Doctors service, which used an emergency tone alert when assistance was required.

This radio had two of these emergency call boards and also another undocumented one bolted to the front panel.

I posted a question on the Codan Yahoo Group if anyone knew what it might be.  Without the remote control radio head it made it very difficult to identify the purpose of the board. On removal of the board, the radio became silent.
Ken – VK6YKG closely inspected my photos of the PCB and came to the conclusion that it may have been used possibly as a tone squelch PCB given the use of the NE567 tone decoder IC. Maybe it was used for decoding FSK, RTTY or even WeFAX.
After working out that the board was intercepting the AF audio between the Mute PCB and Remote PCB, I have since removed it as it is surplus to my requirement.

Continue reading “Codan 7277-TB Options PCB”

Back again, hello Mildura

Here is the blog that never started.

Initially I registered my own domain name because the new id.au domain names were so cheap. I just had to have one.

After several failed attempts here is my third go at blogging.

After a move to my new home Mildura and a career change, maybe blogging might stick this time – one can only hope.

So here is my new project – a Codan 7727 HF radio. They were extremely popular during the eighties, but fell out of popularity when PLL became popular and Channel crystals became $50 a pop.

The plan with this girl is to replace the crystals with a DDS powered Arduino kit designed by VK5ZLR.

Let’s see if I can blog the process of my new found project.

NextGEN User Roles

Recently I needed to migrate www.blueribbonraceway.com.au from one host to another. The site also uses www.blueribbonraceway.com. Before the migration the .com domain was the primary domain and the .com.au was the redirect.  Initially I thought we could keep the site working if we used .com as the primary domain name and the .com.au would become redirect.

Unfortunately nothing went to plan and the site was down for a few days while the accounting was fixed up.
What had happened was there were lots of references to the website using both .com and .com.au – the migration didn’t work to well and I had to spend a lot of time hand editing the SQL database to make every reference just blueribbonraceway.com.au

One of my favourite plugins used by this site was All-In-One-Events-Calendar plugin, but regardless what I tried to get it to work on the new host, it wouldn’t play. The last straw was fiddling with the roles manager in WordPress. AI1E Calendar still wouldn’t work and in my hast I also broke NextGEN.

NextGen is an amazing photo gallery plugin that allows you to easily manage photos in WordPress.  The latest version of WordPress has implemented fundamental functions like albums, but it still isn’t quite as good as NextGen.

To repair the NextGen user roles I found the following fix at role-editor.com

A file called must-use.php needs to be created in wp-content/mu-plugins/ folder.

function restore_lost_capabilities() {

global $wp_roles;

$caps_to_restore = [
‘NextGEN Gallery overview’,
‘NextGEN Use TinyMCE’,
‘NextGEN Upload images’,
‘NextGEN Manage gallery’,
‘NextGEN Manage others gallery’,
‘NextGEN Manage tags’,
‘NextGEN Edit album’,
‘NextGEN Change style’,
‘NextGEN Change options’,
‘NextGEN Attach Interface’
];

$role = $wp_roles->get_role(‘administrator’);
foreach($caps_to_restore as $cap) {
if (!$role->has_cap($cap)) {
$role->add_cap($cap, true);
}
}

}

add_action(‘admin_init’, ‘restore_lost_capabilities’);

After this is created, log into your website and then select User Roles.  Ensure that the setting are correct and then delete the must-use.php file.

Blueribbonraceway.com.au is almost back to normal again.  I have just given up on AI1E Calendar and I am now looking for a replacement calendar.

 

Building a Repeater

Two W1 Philips PRM8010Repeaters have always been a fascination of mine ever since I started playing with radios. The magic begins when you discover you ‘can get into one’ or a better description would be ‘to make radio contact with one’, as you never know who is listening and how far away they are.

Continue reading “Building a Repeater”