Saturday, 25 July 2015

pcDuino How to use pcDuino with a 1TB USB hard drive - by Ross Devitt

The pcDuino is a great device and can make a fantastic entertainment centre, but it has one major failing.  Although it is just the richt size to fit in an enclosure with a USB hard drive, it needs a uSB hub in the only USB port to run things like a mouse and keyboard or the wireless dongle for a wireless all in one keyboard like the Logitech k400.

This means that you can only run a USB hard drive if you install a powered USB hub.  And that means you need to have access to power for that hub.  I searched for a simple way to use power from the SATA drive connector to power a USB hub, and I searched for a simple adapter from the on board SATA to USB female.  Neither seems possible.

But there is a solution and it is relatively easy.

By following the instructions here:  very carefully, you can use the OTG port as an extra USB port for connecting the USB hub and wireless dongle.

And here is the great news!   Once that was enabled, I could run up a 1 Terabyte portable USB drive (NOT the desktop type) and access all my movies and music etc on it.  It plays 1.5GB 1080p videos without hesitation in XBMC.  And it allows me to select and play content from thumb drives connected to the USB hub in the OTG port just as easily.

This means that if I want to I can now have a 1TB USB drive attached to the bottom of the pcDuino case and use it as a complete self containeed Multimedia Centre.  Stacking that combo on top of my PowerBank should make the thing completely portable. 

It also means I might be able to install the OS to a partioned portable hard drive with a bit of work.  Al lI need is the right kernel and I might be able to get Elementary or Lubuuntu running completely on a nice big drive.

But those are experiments still in the plannign stage.  For now at least I have decent functionality.

Cheers - RossD

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