Seagate Dockstar SBC

About:
Seagate recently discontinued this cool little device and appears to be in the process of liquidating it’s inventory. I found mine on w00t! for $20 apiece, and bought as many as I could fearing they’ll become scarce as happened with the NSLU2. I’ve heard rumors that they’ve been sold elsewhere for as little as $1. Here’s what you get:

– Marvell 88F6281 arm compliant SOC clocked at 1.2 ghz, 256k L2 cache
– 256mb NAND flash
– 128mb DDR2 dram
– Integrated gigabit ethernet
– Single width EHCI host controller (USB 2.0)
– Integrated 4 port USB hub

What’s been omitted by Seagate that’s available on the SheevaPlug reference design:

– 2 SATA ports
– JTAG
– SD/MMC slot

All this beautiful silicon does it’s thing with a power draw of only ~3 watts at idle!

In the SBC realm this is an impressive piece of technology for the meager price of $1. When combined with the flexibility of USB, Linux and the enormous library of free as in beer software that it opens up for you, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Possible applications include webcam servers, SIP PBXes, NAS, media server, data collection, personal webserver, mailserver, etc. Couple all this with the extremely low power footprint and it becomes a viable candidate for an autonomous system that could be powered indefinitely by a small solar panel and battery. Commence hacking my friends!

Here’s a review on yourwarrantyisvoid.com that has some great pictures of the hardware and more in-depth details.

http://www.yourwarrantyisvoid.com/2010/07/14/hardware-porn-seagate-dockstar-teardown/

Getting Down to Business:
After greedily coveting my shiny new toys for a few hours, my first order of business was to get OpenWrt compiled and installed on the internal flash. FWIW, here’s the method I used.

Building OpenWrt for the Seagate Dockstar

I also took a stab at installing the PlugboxLinux disto to the internal flash.

Installing PlugboxLinux on the Dockstar’s NAND Flash

Most recently, I loaded Debian Wheezy on a USB flash drive for the purpose of using hostapd as a wireless access point. While nowhere near as “lean and mean” as OpenWrt, Debian affords me a much broader range of aptitude packages than are available for OpenWrt, and when I find one that’s not I can always install build-essential and compile it right there on the native hardware.

Building a Kirkwood Based 802.11n Wireless Access Point on Debian Wheezy

Forthcoming
Subpage: Webcam

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