I thought that the PirateBox project by David Darts was a great idea, so I decided to implement my own custom build based on existing projects and some of my own work.

A PirateBox is a portable electronic device, often consisting of a router and a device for storing information, creating a wireless network that allows users who are connected to share files anonymously and locally.

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Users (usually on laptops/cellphones) don’t need any password to connect. Once connected to the SSID all web traffic is redirected into a captive portal (this is not an internet providing hotspot) that allows users to browse files hosted on the device and upload their own. There is also a forum and other chat software available.

The build

Inside this 17cm long, 7cm high, 10cm wide (beer spill proof) Tupperware box is:

  • A Tp-Link wr703n router running OpenWRT Linux
  • 4 port USB hub
    • 32 GB USB Key
    • Bluetooth dongle
    • WiFi dongle
    • [spare port]
  • 6600mAh USB Battery (with 2 ports)

With just the USB key I get ~20 hours of uptime. With the other devices plugged in via the hub I get around ~10-12. I am still experimenting with how loads affect the current draw and plan to do some load testing/logging to get a better idea of power requirements.

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Pictures

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Inspiration