Alix.1c or other mini-ITX hardware for a wardriving box

The gear needed for wardriving

6 posts • Page 1 of 1
I was looking for extremely low-power PC hardware for a project for a weatherstation which will use solar or wind power and therefore has to work on very little power.

I found the alix.1c board as an option, it can run on 12V / 5watt.

But, this got me thinking: maybe this can be a very nice wardriving box too. After all the connectors on my laptop I broke off or nearly broke off due to powering the gps on bumpy bicycle rides a dedicated small box with a good set of connectors might be nice.

So, has anybody built or considered a "wardriving box" consisting of a mini-itx board like this and a serious battery? Running it on car-power is not an option for me as I usually wardrive by bicycle.

One of the choices would be a case which can hold the board and a 12V battery. That last bit seems to rule out a lot of the cases I found in online shops (and the fact that I don't need a very fancy case with an lcd display or blue leds).

Edit 2008-01-10:
I started a webpage describing this idea with links to possible hardware at http://idefix.net/~koos/wardriving-box.html

Edit 2008-01-29:
Hardware has arrived and kismet runs! Now for the battery issue and building it into the enclosure.

Edit 2008-02-18:
Good progress on the project (with not that much available free time), photo set
Wardriver box hardware
Image
Last edited by KH on Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Postby themacuser » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:12 am

PC Engines make awesome boards. I have a WRAP 2E that works very nicely. At the moment, I'm trying to rig up a 10xAA battery pack for it (10x1.2v 2000mah Ni-MH batteries) and get the GPS working with it (no USB connector on this one, only solder pads for one :) )

I've also got a VIA EPIA board I'm slowly building up...

Postby argh » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:42 am

Fit PC offers 5 watt PCs with a nice enclosure.

Postby themacuser » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:11 am

Fit PC offers 5 watt PCs with a nice enclosure.
http://www.fit-pc.com/new/fit-pc/specification.html

Specs look highly similar to the ALIX board, except for the extra ethernet channel... interesting. So it might be a custom board.

Does it have minipci for wireless, I wonder :)
[...] But, this got me thinking: maybe this can be a very nice wardriving box too. After all the connectors on my laptop I broke off or nearly broke off due to powering the gps on bumpy bicycle rides a dedicated small box with a good set of connectors might be nice.

So, has anybody built or considered a "wardriving box" consisting of a mini-itx board like this and a serious battery? Running it on car-power is not an option for me as I usually wardrive by bicycle. [...]
I did this a couple years ago using a Netgear WGT634U (initially based on a design by Jason McArthur). Here's a photo:

Image

The devices are mounted on a trimmed-down clipboard that uses the clip to attach to a milk crate on the back of my bike. Also connected but not shown are a USB audio device for feedback and a random USB dongle used in conjunction with a script to start and stop data collection. Insert the dongle, the script notices it and starts up data collect; remove the dongle, the script notices it has disappeared, stops kismet, gracefully unmounts the file system, and goes into standby.

That lithium battery provides about 3 hours of runtime. For a version 2, I recently encapsulated pretty much the same devices in an ammo box, using a 5Ahr sealed-lead-acid battery for power. Probably a little heavy for a bicycle, but it has worked nicely as a compact luggable.

The one downside is that the 200 MHz MIPS CPU is a little bit strained when it comes time for kismet to write out its data files. If you don't want to miss anything, you need to periodically pull over and wait for the save cycle to complete. Sometimes (with several thousand networks collected) it can take several minutes to finish.

More details can be found here:

http://wiki.personaltelco.net/index.cgi/WgtStumbler

Postby themacuser » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:56 am

In the same category, I also threw this together:


Image

Again, it struggled with the slow CPU and Kismet, especially with the two wireless cards (the longer thing with the green light on the side is a USB wireless card, the one with the green light on the end is a 256MB flash drive.)

Never really got past that stage for these reasons - OpenWRT tends to love randomly locking up.

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