What Do You Do with Your Old Devices and Boards?

New and faster processors and products come out regularly, and prices have come down so much that people are likely to discard old devices, or let them collect dust, as new devices can be bought for half the price you bought your now sluggish single or dual core mini PC, remember CX-01?, last year or two. However, people may not like to through perfectly usable product by principle, while others may be concerned by the pollution effects of our consumerism, and craze for the latest gadgets.

There must surely things that can be done instead of simply trashing old devices.


I’ll give some ideas mostly for mini PCs, but since a group of person is smarter than one only, I’m sure I get some interesting input.

  1. Give your old devices to friends of family. Downside: they may never used it themselves either.
  2. Sell your device on Ebay or other websites. You’ll probably only get a few dollars, as these devices are already cheap to start with, but at least the other person has spend some money so they are more likely to use it.
  3. Re-purpose your old hardware. Some potentially useful project for low end hardware include:
    • Download client so that you don’t need to leave your PC on for large download, for example using a uTorrent App.
    • Make a private cloud by connecting the device to a USB drive, and install OwnCloud.
    • Add GPIOs to create an embedded project using a cheap USB adapter, instead of purchasing a Raspberry Pi or Arduino board. This may require a bit more work and skills, since software support is nil on most of these devices
  4. Scavenge devices for parts like connectors, heatsink, etc…

These are just some small ideas I could find. Do you have other ideas, or better, are you still using your old devices? If so, what have you done with them?

Thanks to Simon for raising this issue.

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21 Replies to “What Do You Do with Your Old Devices and Boards?”

  1. install ubuntu then use it as a torrent up loader encase u have a private tracker that way you wont need to keep pc running 24/7. or install a linux version of xbmc and set it up for a friend that has never herd of xbmc. also give him or her a 10 min lesson on how it works.

  2. I use the CX01 as a backup machine for my servers. I run a debian chroot on android, and use ccollect to make hardlinked backups.

    The main problem with those android gadgets is that sometimes you need to add kernel modules, such as ext4 or adding a USB network card, and the drivers are simply not present.

    If you do not know what to do with your outdated hardware, you could still ask openwrt hackers if they are interested in it.

  3. Nothing to get rid off ,
    all my devices samples or not , using them with linux either with android for different tasks.
    I still have 4 x old rockchip 3066 boards working in a small cluster which it host an small personal email server.

  4. @ovidiu:
    Can you share what OS do you use to run the cluster?
    What is the performance?
    How do you deal with the power for the 4 boards?

    I think this could be a good subject for a future post from Jean Luc?

  5. sell them cheap, give them away to friends or give them away to who ever wants them (on a forum or to)

    When I was working at a uni, give them away to students or to the student/s with the best idea/s for reusing them.

    Old stb’s could be used to create a tourist trail.
    Other ideas like basic farm/aquaculture monitoring, interactive media installations, menu displays for shop windows, timetable displays , baby monitors etc

  6. JotaMG :
    Can you share what OS do you use to run the cluster?
    What is the performance?
    How do you deal with the power for the 4 boards?
    I think this could be a good subject for a future post from Jean Luc?


  7. Application/function specific systems is the cleanest way to give old systems life after main use.

    Personally using one strictly Gentoo distccd cluster (with one functioning as a main/host, the rest as headless nodes), then dedicated Android media player, one Android to generic surf/youtube consumption, one Gentoo (KDE4) desktop just to surf tech news, one file storage/archive Gentoo stick…


    How to power n number of sticks/systems? SMPS box, with USB hub with individual power switches as an extension cord.

    And possibly using n to 1 HDMI switch(es), personally using 5 to 1 HDMI switch to select the ARM desktops.

  8. And of course using USB switch to use single keyboard/mouse combo to control them (plus an dedicated wireless media keyboard for couch movie marathons), not an KVM as I want to be able to switch between desktop views without needing to re-register USB keyboard/mouse combo all the time.

  9. @slowstream

    slowstream :

    JotaMG :
    Can you share what OS do you use to run the cluster?
    What is the performance?
    How do you deal with the power for the 4 boards?
    I think this could be a good subject for a future post from Jean Luc?


    Also agree!

  10. 5 bring them to the hackerspace near you

    @cnxsoft now i’m jelly
    you should add a trade/give page on this website 😛

  11. Some old sticks can be used as a full-featured XUbuntu computer (e.g. with Picuntu). Some people around me still use very old computers such as PII or PIII / 512 MB RAM, and a RK3066/1GB RAM stick may be faster than their current computer. Yet it is OK to use old sticks that way but I would NEVER buy a NEW device from a vendor that is not GPL-compliant, since it realy complicates long-term use of the device and such vendors should not be encouraged.

  12. I use a old rk3066/odroid x1 for backup of important data..using ftp-server (as storage msata : pm-2ms2sa / usb / raid1 )(off-site/ups)
    And as dlna media server rk3188/cs918 using msata/usb3 (pa6011)
    I donated a x7 to football club.. display ads,show stats, play vids for the kids
    I donated some mini1080 units to museum.. to show vids.. nijntje/hello kitty/how art or clothing is made
    I have been thinking of donating kvd11 after modding it to play nijntje/hellokitty online games using wireless trackball to daycare center/mall

    My 2cents

  13. @Craig whitcom be

    i’m also interested in your mele. I’m busy setting up a music streaming network with logitec media server and I still need some clients running squeeze client. Everything controlled by a joggler with squeeze os. I live near Ostend, so mail me at roeleman ad gmail dot com if you still have it.

  14. First, root your device with cydiaimpactor. Then you can also install a debian/ubuntu/gentoo in chroot via DebianKit or via GNUroot, which does not require you to be root. I still not yet investigated how to get some sshd up and running inside the chroot after a reboot, if someone wants to dig…

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