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Author Topic: Seagate FreeAgent DockStar Network Adapter as plug computer  (Read 9283 times)
bedek
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« on: August 19, 2010, 07:34:02 AM »

Hi,

I'm trying to find cheapest device which can work as plug computer and is currently supported by ubunt (9.04).

As far as I understand there are few devices:

-- original SheevaPlug
-- ionics Nimbus 100
-- Tonido
-- PogoPlug
--  Seagate FreeAgent DockStar

From my researches on the web it looks like Seagate FreeAgent DockStar is the cheapest option but it only have 128MB ram and no JTAG and no SD card reader.

What are other limitation of Seagate device in comparation with Sheeva ?
Can I install same operating system (ubuntu 9.04) on Seagate device as on Sheeva ?
Can I run XWindows on Seagate and login using vnc ?
Can I share data stored on USB drive pluged into Seagate device in the same way as I could do on Sheeva (for example as samba share) ?
Which application I CAN'T run because of only 128MB of RAM on Seagate ?
What are your experience with Seagate regarding stability, heat problems, power consumption or any others ?
Is there dedicated page for Seagate where I can find more information about running Ubuntu on it ?

Regards,
Adam.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 02:47:53 AM by bedek » Logged

tylernt
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 08:41:07 AM »

From my researches on the web it looks like Seagate FreeAgent DockStar is the cheapest option but it only have 128MB ram and no JTAG and no SD card reader.
Actually, the JTAG pinouts have recently been obtained for DockStar. So we'll have JTAG "real soon". JTAG isn't really necessary though, because you can chainload a second u-Boot from mtd3, which is almost entirely safe.

Quote
What are other limitation of Seagate device in comparation with Sheeva ?
You'll need to purchase a TTL serial adapter and open the case if you want access to the serial console. Also, you'll need to patch your kernel to control the status light on the front (an unpatched kernel still works without light control). Other than that (and no SD slot)... none that I can think of. In fact the DockStar has a lot more USB ports than Sheeva, which is a plus. As is the external power supply (which means less heat).
Quote
Can I install same operating system (ubuntu 9.04) on Seagate device as on Sheeva ?
Can I run XWindows on Seagate and login using vnc ?
Can I share data stored on USB drive pluged into Seagate device in the same way as I could do on Sheeva (for example as samba share) ?
Yes, yes, and yes.
Quote
Which application I CAN'T run because of only 128MB of RAM on Seagate ?
If you use a hard disk drive, you can use a swapfile which definitely expands your options. Firefox, for example, is a bit of a memory hog and isn't too happy running in 128MB without some swap. Other than that it's hard to say, as there are thousands of applications out there.
Quote
What are your experience with Seagate regarding stability, heat problems, power consumption or any others ?
No heat problems on my DockStar, but I have the cover off so I can use the serial port. Even so, the 'Star has a large metal shield over the whole top which is thermally coupled to the CPU, and has lots of side venting, so it's probably better at dissipating heat than the Sheeva. No stability problems either. It shouldn't draw any more power than Sheeva, maybe even a little less (no SD, no serial->USB, less RAM).
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bedek
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2010, 02:46:37 AM »

Is there dedicated page which describes "hacking" of FreeAgent to install ubuntu on it ? (if not then how to do it)
To do that do I need to open the device casing or have some special cables ?
What operating system is pre-installed on FreeAgent ?
Does this device comes with internal memory and ubuntu is installed in that memory or I should rather install ubuntu on separated usb drive (pen/hdd) ?
If ubuntu is installed on separated usb device can I switch back to original system installed on the device later ?
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punaniac
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 04:03:05 AM »

you can find everything you need to know at the links provided below.
In order to install Debian, you don't need a serial cable and you don't have to open the case if you follow the instructions at the provided websites. But it's necessary to have a cable in case you bricked the u-Boot environment.
Dockstar comes preinstalled with a stripped down Linux similar to Pogoplug. You can install Ubuntu 9.04 or Debian to its internal 256 MB flash or to an external USB device, the latter in a fashion that leaves the default installation untouched.


[1] http://jeff.doozan.com/debian
[2] http://ahsoftware.de/dockstar
[3] http://plugapps.com/index.php5?title=Getting_Started:_Pogoplug

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bedek
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 08:42:02 AM »

Great pages ! Thank you very much ! Smiley

One more question: looks like if I'll buy FreeAgent from USA it's much cheaper then in EU/UK but then what about the plug ? Are there few plugs in set or for US version it's equipped only in US plug and works on 110V only?
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tylernt
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2010, 10:57:21 AM »

EDIT: Yep, the DockStar power brick is indeed 100-240V compatible. However I just noticed it outputs 12V!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 08:14:59 PM by tylernt » Logged

ram
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 01:08:46 PM »

Is there any other user friendly way to install linux on this device?

BTW this is on sale today for $25
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tylernt
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 02:11:18 PM »

Is there any other user friendly way to install linux on this device?
One idea I've been kicking around is distributing a VMWare Player VM that you could run on a Windows or Linux PC. You'd connect your USB stick/drive (or SD card via USB adapter) to this VM and the VM would send the image down to your attached storage device and then do a few tweaks like setting the time zone. Then it would ssh into your Plug and execute the necessary nandwrite+blparam commands for you. Finally you would move your drive/card over to the Plug and reboot.

Come to think of it, you could also plug a factory-fresh DockStar into you PC with a crossover cable (or use an isolated hub/switch), and this VM could prevent any firmware downloads yet still SSH in and set up the USB OS. That removes the need for users to do any command line stuff at all on the 'Star. That would be nice for "user friendliness".

Anyway, I'm thinking about eventually creating something like this for my upcoming PlugMyth distribution (http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/plugmyth/), but it could be generalized to do other OSes too.
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guidol
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2010, 08:49:34 AM »

One more question: looks like if I'll buy FreeAgent from USA it's much cheaper then in EU/UK
Cheaper in the USA as the around 20EUR here in Germany (also EU)?
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bedek
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2010, 01:28:51 PM »

One more question: looks like if I'll buy FreeAgent from USA it's much cheaper then in EU/UK
Cheaper in the USA as the around 20EUR here in Germany (also EU)?

Have you seen it in some german online shop ?
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guidol
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2010, 01:16:51 AM »

Have you seen it in some german online shop ?

You can check the online-shops via the "heise.de Preisvergleich"

Use http://www.heise.de/preisvergleich/ and search for
Dockstar
At this time there are 4 Shops which sell for under 20EUR +Postage
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c128
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2010, 01:49:11 AM »


You can check the online-shops via the "heise.de Preisvergleich"

Use http://www.heise.de/preisvergleich/ and search for
Dockstar
At this time there are 4 Shops which sell for under 20EUR +Postage

From a UK-specific perspective, this might not be such a great deal...

Following through the ordering process at "hardwareversand" (the others might be different, but my German's not that good  Wink ) and the final price + shipping comes to 40.59EUR.
At today's rates, that's 33.11

A less hassle option, if you're in the UK, might be to just plump for Ebuyer, where it's currently 38.37 (including shipping) - ~5 more expensive, but with easier returns etc.

As above, I didn't check the others - I was being very UK-specific, so if their shipping to the UK is cheaper then that would make it a much more attractive deal.
The German price is still cheaper too, of course - lucky Germans  Smiley .

As it stands, I've ordered a combo of the Dockstar and a 320GB Seagate Go drive to go with it for 84.69 delivered (103.811EUR) which seems pretty good value for the two...
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bedek
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2010, 02:09:30 AM »

Looks like you did a good deal Smiley

On Ebuyer the price is 38.37 + postage 9.99 (IRL) = 48.36 = 59.18E
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/179675?utm_source=google&utm_medium=products

On Pixmania 35.92  + postage 4 = 39.42 = 48.24E
http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/3956359/seagate/all_merchant/freeagent-dockstar-networ.html

So it still looks like ordering from Germany is still good idea Smiley - just not sure about tax and if plug fits UK outlet.
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bedek
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2010, 05:14:24 AM »

Probably nobody interested but I've just bought my brand new DockStar on Ebay for 39 Smiley (including delivery)

... and now I'll be more frequent guest of this forum Smiley
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hanker
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2010, 11:24:29 AM »


I just got one of these. Got it running Debian squeeze using the method at http://jeff.doozan.com/debian

Very easy to do  Grin

It's a very nice little box and a heck of a great computer for $36. Will be used for rtorrent and streaming music and video. Sheevaplug will be shifted over to mythtv usage.

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