TCL T1 (SL-WR5028J) is a $46 Wi-Fi Router with a 2.5″ SATA Bay

Many routers now come with one or more USB ports to let you connect 3G dongles or/and storage device(s) to share the data on your local network. If you want to go with a fully integrated solution, and obvious solution is to go with a NAS, but these usually cost a bit more, so instead TCL SL-WR5028J (aka TCl T1) router could make a low cost (and low performance) NAS alternative thanks to its internal 2.5″ SATA bay, and it can be had for just $45.99 on DealExtreme. [Update: GearBest sells it for $35.98 with coupon TCLT1]

TCL_T1TCL T1 specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7260 MIPS WiSoC @ 580MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 8MB Flash for firmware + SATA bay for 2.5″ HDD (5, 7.5 or 9mm thick hard drives are supported). Max capacity: unlimited… 🙂
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi up to 300 Mbps with two external antennas
    • WAN – 10/100M Ethernet port
    • LAN – 2x 10/100M Ethernet port
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Power – 9V/1A
  • Dimensions – 240 x 159 x 45 mm
  • Weight – N/A

The router comes with a power adapter, and a user’s manual in English. The user interface is said to be in English too.

TCL_T1_SATA_Bay

In order to insert the hard drive you just need to lift the top cover, and slide it in there.

Mediatek MT7620 is probably part of the reason for the low cost, but unfortunately it’s also why there’s no Gigabit Ethernet, and for a NAS it can be a serious limitation depending on how many people access the data at the same time, and the type of data. The SoC also supports OpenWRT, so it might be possible to hack the router too, and SATA should not be a problem, since it can only be achieved via a USB to SATA bridge [Update: It’s not clear whether MT7620N or MT7620A is used here, and the latter has a PCIe port too]. Strangely, I can’t find any information about TCL T1 anywhere else on the web.

Thank you onebir! (Which reminds it’s beer time too…).

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hackruTired_cnxsoftonebirRay Knight Recent comment authors
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onebir
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onebir

I do wish they’d included some kind of UPS setup before encouraging people to put all their data on an HDD in one of these things though…

(Une biere pour moi aussi? 😉

John
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John

Doesn’t the MT7620 have a PCIe host? PCIe-to-SATA would be preferable.

Ray Knight
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Ray Knight

@John the MT7620N used on this device does not have PCIe, however the MT7620A does.

onebir
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onebir

@cnxsoft Does the prospect of trouble-free SATA support in OpenWRT depend on the device using a USB-SATA bridge?

Tired_
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Tired_

No 5GHz, no sale.

Tired_
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Tired_

GearBest has it for a slightly lower price: http://www.gearbest.com/networking-communication/pp_145916.html

Also found a review (in Spanish, but Google can translate it): http://manguiro.blogspot.com.es/2015/02/review-router-tcl-wr802j-personal-cloud.html

Tired_
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Tired_

What an awful device! I bought one for my parents, thought it would make a quick and dirty NAS for them. Unfortunately, what they call “NAS” is incredibly limited. No Samba, no FTP, no NFS, no direct access to the drive at all. They have apps for Android, iOS, “Smart TV” (meaning Android with a different interface) and Windows, and the apps are the only way to communicate with the device. For one, that means Mac and Linux are out of luck. The apps are tremendously limited. Really, the only thing it does well is automatic photo uploads…assuming you are OK with only viewing your photos from their app. If it had some way of accessing the storage using a standard protocol, it might be nice, but as it is, it is useless. Stay away!

hackru
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hackru

oh c’mon, i have this router, stock firmware sucks, but you can always change stock firmware to any firmware you want. no restrictions. one click in web-interface.