My SLUG (Linksys NSLU2)

Network Storage and Linux Box modification of a NSLU2

Saturday, March 17, 2007

And the Beat Goes On

I want My, I want My, I want My MTV,
I Have My, I Have My, I Have My MTV!

I added a second WD Hard Drive to my SLUG set-up and relied on the UNSLUG documentation concerning plugging in a USB Hub.

I did find a T
argus PAUH210 on Ebay for under $20 and It ended up working just fine.

Since I starte
d this project, there has been a bit more attention towards attaching other devices to the NSLU2. There are still limited possibilities See: .

I am working my way up to actually do a Debian Install. Things have moved pretty quick on the Debian front and lately things have been improved for a smoother install. Marting Mitchlmayr has a pretty good description on how to install debian Etch on a NSLU2 . I will be checking out those steps soon.

Until then, I am quite content and have been converting my music CD's from WAV files to MP3's with a free CD Ripper Program called:
Free CD Ripper 1.4

I store all my music on the first Hard Drive on USB Hub plugged into the the 1st USB port on the SLUG. I use the second Hard Drive for back up storage. Things are going quite well.

As Spring approaches, I will get outside more, but my evenings will be spent huddled close to the glow of my SLUG as it plays my music collection over my wireless home network and through the Netgear MP 101 hooked up to my home stereo.

My next project will focus on expanding my home wireless network outside my house than throughout the neighborhood.
Stay Tuned...For More!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

All I want is Some Music!

The Life of a SLUG

I spent a few weeks of evenings working on my slug’s ability to share my music.
I ended up back-peddling on my first impression about the Twonkymedia server.

I have decided to use Twonkymedia, simply because it works so well.
They have developed a NSLU2 version and it runs on the slug.

I tried a few other options before going back to Twonky.

First, I worked with mt-daapd. That works great for playing music through itunes on an individual computer on the network. But the goal was to serve out the music and connect to my house sound system and play my music without a mess of wires running from my computer to the stereo.

Afterall, that’s why I found and installed the Netgear MP101.

The Netgear unit came with some software that I installed on one of my windows boxes on the network. It actually worked pretty good, except it ran on a windows box and served the music through that computer and I had the music files stored on a hard drive hung off the SLUG. I did not want to depend on a windoze box in the other room to hear my music in my living room, so I looked for an optware package for the SLUG and found ushare.

It is a free UPnP A/V Media Server for Linux. I installed it and it did have some promise, but it was not very dependable. Songs would quit in the middle, the MP101 would hang and need to be rebooted and after a few nights of interrupted jamming, so I looked at Twonky again.

Perhaps I have gained a few new brain cells over the past few weeks, but I actually installed Twonkymedia with ease and opened up the web interface and was listening to my music in minutes. It did not hang, it was easy to configure and has run smooth for over a week.

I decided to keep it. It started to nag me about registering and I shelled out 30 dollars to those crazy Germans who have been developing the software. I thought of looking for a hack and ignoring the payment, but since I am blogging this and it is a bit public, I shelled out the cash and have a legitimate license to use their stuff.

Hey, I have paid for all the hardware, why start stealing something within this project now?

Next, I want to do some fancy stuff with my photos. I thought I might look for another SLUG on ebay, but people have gone NUTS! The bidding is high and everyone is getting $70 to $80 for used SLUGs. Might as well go retail at that point!

I have my eye on an additional printserver to add. I tried the hub-hung-off-the-port idea and that does not work well enough for me. Ithink I will add a seperate print server and try CUPs again.

Stay tuned as I listen to my TUNES!!!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Finding the "right" media server

I Keep "Slugging" Away on my NSLU2

The file sharing and UnSLUG setup on my NSLU2 seems to be working fine. I have been installing optware packages and have made a few attempts to configure imagegallery on Apache with no success.

I Finally settled on lighttpd for a webserver and have moved on to make my music accessible throughout the house.

especially want to serve out the music to my house stereo without spending much additional money, or by stringing any more cables and wire. After-all the whole setup is intended to be wireless, thats the main fun anyways!

As I experimented with media servers I decided I wanted to expand the USB ports on the SLUG. I had read in the UnSLUG Wiki that UnSLUG had some trouble with USB Ports. Several brands were suggested and I found one close to what was recommended
at a local computer store.

I thought that the Targus PAUH217U worked fine and I was able to hang the USB drive and a flash drive off the hub and have room for two more connections. It seemed to work at first, but after a while, things got flaky.

I could not see bo
th drives without logging into the admin user, so I think I will go back to two dedicated USB ports. So much for hanging a printer off of a hub, not this hub anyways.

Perhaps I will get brave enough to solder on a couple of more USB ports. I guess the NSLU2 supports five USB ports. So, get out the solder iron, some wire, a few USB ports and hack away. I would create an attached hub with a hole for the wires to come out, rather than the way these guys went about it.

Good instructions though, just kind of crude cover in the end.

I found the Netgear Wireless Digital music Player MP101 had what I was looking for. It was made a few years ago and did not take off like wildfire
. I found it on sale for $39 including shipping, did some temp credit card offer with Amazon and will end up only paying $9 once I get the credit they promised.

Once I get the unit, play around with the firmware, I will install it and see if I can play my music collection on my main stereo from any computer on our wireless network. Kind of Nifty if you ask me.

The next project will focus on installing a printer on the print server port and getting some fancy way of accessing all those digital photos I have sored on the various hard drives around the house.

Stay tuned.....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Discovering the "Slug"

Modify The Linksys NSLU2 and Reflash with Linux Unslung

I have been experimenting with a wireless network at home and have grown accustomed to the features of the Linksys WRT54G -L and S. I have worked with the DD-WRT firmware and have had a lot to work with on that project. Lately I wanted to have some central hard-disk storage and began to look around for some cheap way of backing up my computers and storing photos and music. That's when I discovered the "SLUG".

Around Winter Solstice time I was home on some time off from work and looked around for a used Linksys NSLU2. I found one to bid on on Ebay an
d won an auction for $46 total. I was excited to take another Linksys product and expand features with Linux firmware.

I was excited to begin and after a few days the Linksys NSLU2 arrived at my doorstep. I went online and found volumes of sites and support to do a million different projects with this little device. I decided to go simple and my initial goal was to learn more about Linux and develop a central storage deposit on my home network.

At first I thought I had bought a brick. The original li
nksys software did not seem to work. Since so many people have been contributing to this Project, I found the tools and instructions to bring a brick back to life.

I did the RedBoot bootloader and I recovered the SLUG box and reflashed
into a successful upgrade to unslug. I Reflashed the SLUG with Unslung 6.8 Beta.

Next, I read about how the earlier units were underclocked and a "simple"
hardware modification could be made made to basically double the speed. One just had to remove a resistor and the speed would increase two-fold. I looked around and found a German site that had some pretty good photos of this process. So I went back to the NSLU2-linux howto pages, opened up the box and I removed the R83 resistor and TurboSlugged my Slug.

I used a small jewelry wire cutter and a magnifying glass and a small CRUNCH doubled the speed of the processor.

There are other hardware modifications one can make also.

I Formatted a 250 Gig WD Essential My Book in the ext3 format. I also had a 1 Gig flash drive I decided to use. I also Formatted a 1 Gig Verbatum flash drive in the ext3 format.

At first try, I "unslung" the filesystem to the WD hard drive, but it never would spin down while everything was idle. I was concerned because I wondered how log the IDE drive would last spinning all the time. I looked around and all the solutions were too complicated for me to handle at this point.

At some point, in my late night trance of slug obsession, I found I could redo everything and "unsling" onto a flash drive. So I found out that I was able to move the entire file system to a 1 Gig Flash Drive., so, I did!

The Flash Drive was continually blinking though, so I found a way to quiet down the activity.

All this stuff is on the web and easy to find by google searches. Also much of the details are at:

After I "Unslung" to a 1 gig verbatum usb flash drive on port 2, I read about packages and learned howto use
ipkg. I decided to move beyond telnet and set up openssh.

I tried the TwonkyMedia Server and installed a 30 day so-called "Free" version and decide
d I did not like it, nor wanted to pay for it.

Much to my dismay, the only way to remove the server was to reconfigure the SLUG. What a Pain! Back to square one! Re-format, re-unsling, do not pass go, do not collect $100.

My goal this week is to install a media server to serve out our photos, mp3's and possibly video.

Stay tuned for more.......

My access point setup--Linksys WRT54GS running DD-wrt and the happy SLUG fam.