Saturday, July 20, 2013

Low Power, Small Form Factor, and High Utility Home Server - Part II

Low Power, Small Form Factor, and High Utility
Home Server

Part II

(Be careful.  This definitely voids your warranty.)

Part I:  Results Summary - and some pics
Part II: Back Story - Why the heck would you spend your free time doing this?
Part III: Build Detail
Part IV: Future additions

Part II: Back story

Like a bunch of other people, when I first noticed the MK802 MiniPC in the form factor of a large USB Drive, I had to snap it up at  Although...I did wait for the MK802+ which was upgraded to 1Gb RAM.  At the time of writing it's now going for less than US$40

MK802+ - Stock Photo from Deal Extreme -

Miniand was a great resource for my research efforts.  Check out the Specifications on the Miniand Page.

For those of you unfamiliar with the device, it effectively turns your "Dumb TV" into an Android Smart TV.  Think: Android Tablet on your HDTV powered by a 5 watt cell phone charger.  See the Demo Video Below from the mk802shop on Youtube.

This particular model is a Single Core ARM processor with a GPU and one Gb of RAM, WiFi, on board flash storage and a microSD card slot.  It worked pretty well as an Android TV but the interface was a bit laggy with just the Single Core CPU, especially when updating apps in the background.  But all-in-all I was fairly satisfied with the performance.  I found it to be similar in performance to my original Motorola Droid.

Rikomagic (the manufacturer of the MK802) and other knock-off brands quickly went the way of Moore's Law and raced towards "mutually assured performance".  Later models went from Single to Dual Cores (UPDATE: I'll be picking up a Quad core model soon), bluetooth, and other features were added along the way.  When the "MK802IIIs" came out, (dual core with bluetooth) I snapped that up for my living room TV.  Then the wheels started turning...what should I do with the single core MK802+?

"Low power NAS/Home Server" quickly came to mind.  See below for the process, but I'm happy with the results.

It's Alive!
Here's a pic of the final product, although it took some hackery: a little hardware hacking and a little software hacking.
All components powered from USB Hub
320gb PATA 2.5" HDD
PATA to USB 2.0 adapter from External USB HDD Enclosure
Powerered USB 2.0 High Speed 480Mbps Hub
USB to RJ45 Ethernet Adapter 10/100 Mbps (line rate)
MK802 - 1Ghz, 1Gb RAM, 4Gb NAND Flash on board with uSD slot

Hardware/Software - Short list of features:

Ubuntu 12.04 ARM Linux, UPnP/DLNA Server, Asterisk PBX, NAS, and mpd (music player daemon).  All these capabilities on tap at less than 5 Watts continuous!


  1. The Rocket Droid Pc is a HDMI Android TV Dongle on Steroids! Plug it into your TV and experience the Android UI & Gaming like never before.
    Rocket Droid

  2. Heey; thanks for the tutorial ^^

    I'm thinking about doing it too :D

    But my main concern is speed; my router should be able to do this but it sux at sharing and receiving media xD
    What are the average speeds from this nas setup to another device? :)

    Hope to hear from you;