Raspberry Pi OS Mesh Station

Introduction

Mesh Stations takes advantage of the millions of existing compute devices in the community and repurpose them to provide basic communication and storage infrastructure to Private Cyberspaces.

Mesh Stations give your Private Cyberspace communication bandwidth and storage capacity at revolutionary price points by combining free yet featureful software (e.g. OpenWrt) with low cost yet powerful hardware (e.g. Raspberry Pi).

We have tested and actively support a number of operating systems (currently Armbian, Raspberry Pi OS and OpenWrt) and we welcome the community to introduce others.

meshstation_os

If you device is supported by multiple operating systems and you have no particular preference, then the recommended order to try them out is currently Armbian then Raspberry Pi OS then OpenWrt.

Raspberry Pi OS

Raspberry Pi OS based computers provide reasonable compute power with very low power consumption at reasonable costs.

Raspberry Pi Zero W

The Raspberry Pi Zero W Family has been made into a Reference Device:

Raspberry Pi 4B Introduction

A lot of Raspberry Pi 4B have been sold, with memory capacities ranging from 1GB to 8GB RAM, they can be repurposed into powerful Mesh Stations running their native Raspberry Pi OS.

raspberrypi4b

Raspberry Pi 4 Model 4B
Processor: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72
WiFi: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz IEEE 802.11ac
Bluetooth: 5.0
Ethernet: 1 Gbps
USB: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
GPIO: 40 pin header
MIPI: 2-lane DSI display output, 2-lane CSI camera input
Power supply output voltage: +5.1V DC
Output power (max): 15.3W
Output cable: 1.5m 18AWG
Output connector: USB Type-C
Input voltage: 100-240Vac (rated)
Input frequency: 50/60Hz ±3Hz
Input current: 0.5A maximum
microSD SSD: 1 x 64GB encrypted Ubuntu (brand and model may vary)

There are Raspberry Pi 4B models with 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM memory capacities. In the reference designs we are using only the 2GB and 8GB models:

Design RAM Recommended Users Main Applications
ARM 2G-1 2 GB 1 Infinite Disk File Node, SMB Server
ARM 8G-1 8 GB 4 Infinite Disk File Node, SMB Server, Media Album

Turnkey Systems

Take the hassle out of building your own information infrastructure.
oztralia.com can provide preassembled and tested ARM base Compute Station.

Raspberry Pi 4B Development Notes

Raspberry Pi 4B specific development notes.

1. Get Serial Number and Model

Using device tree

cat /sys/firmware/devicetree/base/serial-number
cat /sys/firmware/devicetree/base/model

2. Control Status LEDs

Turn on and off green LED

echo 1 > /sys/class/leds/led0/brightness #Turn ON green
echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/led0/brightness #Turn OFF green

Flash red LED using heartbeat

echo heartbeat > /sys/class/leds/led1/trigger 

Links

3. Change Bluetooth MAC Address

Check MAC Address

bdaddr -i hci0

or

bluetoothctl

Change MAC Address

bdaddr -i hci0 01:23:45:67:89:ab
hciconfig hci0 reset

restart

systemctl restart bluetooth.service

Raspberry Pi 4B LED Statuses

1. Red LED

Red LED is the power indicator. It is normally on if there is enough power (> 4.65V).

We have made the Red LED to also indicate the compute station's boot up states.

Step Pattern Status
1 red on power applied
2 red off before dhcp start
3 red blink dhcp received ip ok
4 red off boot up server authentication ok
5 red on station start finished

Outside of the above boot-up sequence, the Red LED will remain "red on" whenever there is power applied, even after the Home Station has shutdown and all other LEDs are off.

2. Green LED

Green LED is the microSD memory card status indicator. It blinks during memory card activity.

During boot up Green LED (activity) normally blinks in an irregular pattern. It can give out regular Error Patterns - with long flashes then short flashes then repeat in 2 seconds (in most cases):

Long flashes Short flashes Status
0 0 No blinking then EEPROM might be corrupted
0 3 Generic failure to boot
0 4 start*.elf not found (on SD-card)
0 7 Kernel image not found
0 8 SDRAM failure
0 9 Insufficient SDRAM
0 10 In HALT state
2 1 Partition not FAT
2 2 Failed to read from partition
2 3 Extended partition not FAT
2 4 File signature/hash mismatch - Pi 4
4 4 Unsupported board type
4 5 Fatal firmware error
4 6 Power failure type A
4 7 Power failure type B

The Green LED is OFF when the Home Station has been shutdown.

3. Ethernet LEDs

There are two LEDs on the ethernet RJ-45 connector.

  1. Yellow is the LINK LED, on when the ethernet Link is connected.
  2. Green is ACT LED, blinks when there is Activity on the ethernet port.

These ethernet LEDs do NOT change colour with different link speeds.

During normal operation the Yellow is solid and the Green is flashing. The ethernet LEDs are OFF when the Home Station has been shutdown.

Raspberry Pi 4B Supply

As of 2024-05-15 the supply of Raspberry Pi 4B has started to return to normal.

Raspberry Pi 4B Problems

  1. USB ports lack power (e.g. cannot have more than one USB SSD plugged in)
  2. No Hardware Encryption

Raspberry Pi 4B Assembly

1. Offical Case

Home Station A is based on Raspberry Pi 4B.

  • 1 x Raspberry Pi 4B
  • 1 x 2G RAM
  • 1 x 64G Samsung A1 microSD
  • 1 x ABS case

Home Station A Components

  1. Computer: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/
  2. Power Supply: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/type-c-power-supply/
  3. Case: https://www.farnell.com/datasheets/2865098.pdf
  4. Storage: EVO Plus microSD Card(2021) MB-MC64KA/APC | Samsung Australia
  5. Software: preinstalled

Home Station A Assembly

The clear case has three acrylic parts which can be easily assembled without tools.

rpi4_clear_case_parts

Case Size: 30x62x93mm
Case Material: ABS
Case Features:

  1. Clear see through plastic for status lights
  2. Two screw mount holes for wall mounting
  3. Four rubber feet for desk top
  4. Position for optional pi camera
  5. Access to all ports and pins
  6. Ventilated base and top rim

Steps

  1. Attach the Raspberry Pi 4 to the bottom part of the case. Do not insert the Micro SD Card until the case is fully assembled.
    rpi_base

  2. Gently put the clear case body until it is clicked to the clear case bottom.
    rpi_body

  3. Place the lid. There is only one correct way to put the lid and do not press it hard.
    rpi_complete

  4. Flip the case to the bottom and insert the Micro SD Card.
    rpi_sdcard

2. Vertical Case 1

Home Station B is based on Raspberry Pi 4B.

  • 1 x Raspberry Pi 4B
  • 1 x 8G RAM
  • 1 x 64G Samsung A1 microSD
  • 1 x 4TB Toshiba Canvio USB3 HDD
  • 1 x Acrylic Case

Home Station B Components

  1. Computer: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/
  2. Power Supply: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/type-c-power-supply/
  3. Case: custom made
  4. Storage: EVO Plus microSD Card(2021) MB-MC64KA/APC | Samsung Australia and Toshiba - Portable Hard Drives - Canvio Basics
  5. Software: preinstalled

Home Station B assembly

It comes fully assembled.




Additional Hard Disk

Most low cost ARM computers with 64-bit CPU and 2 GB RAM (e.g. Raspberry Pi 4B) can be used to build stations for Infinite Disk nodes.

For a ready made solution, the case that comes with ARM Home Station 1 already has provision for a USB 2.5 inch Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

Infinite Disk software is already preloaded in all Home Stations, so nothing need to be installed and the software will automatically configure itself when it is plugged into a local area network.

Infinite Disk hardware is also plug and play. Just push the HDD in from Cable Side of the case then tighten or loosen the 4 hold down nuts coming from the Raspberry Pi 4B, so the 4 nuts have enough pressure to push the HDD against the acrylic case wall.

Top
top
 

Bottom
bottom
 

Cable Side
usb
 

Non-Cable Side
sdcard
 

Front
cpu2_cpu4_front
 

Back
cpu2_cpu4_back