Add Network Connectivity to 2.5″ SATA Drives With Wi-Fi & Ethernet Enclosures

One person asked if there were solution to add Wi-Fi or Ethernet to hard drives similar to what Zsun Wifi Card Reader does with micro SD card. Provided solution include buying a low cost router with USB such as TP-Link WR703N, and the Pogoplugs which are pretty good, especially since you can install Debian or Arch Linux ARM, but are only available at low cost if you live in North America. But I’ve now been made aware of 2.5″ SATA HDD enclosures selling for around $40 that also come with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and provide a compact way to add networking to hard drives.

Wi-Fi_HDD_EnclosureSpecifications for the aforelinked Wi-Fi HDD Enclosure:

  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Modes: AP + Client; AP + WAN Bridge; AP + WAN router
    • Ethernet
    • 3G possible via USB port
  • HDD – Supports up to 2TB HDD
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for charging, 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 device port
  • Misc – Power button, LEDs
  • Battery – 4000 mAh LiPo battery good for 5 hours of continuous HDD use (as I understand it)
  • Dimensions –  145 x 90 x 21 mm (plastic + metal)
  • Weight – 600 grams

Wi-Fi_HDD_Enclosure_AccesoriesThe enclosure is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems, and is said to support webdav and SAMBA, so standard apps like File Explorer, Nautilus, ES File Explorer, etc.. should work with the device. It can also be used as a USB hard drive, and power bank. The Wi-Fi HDD enclosure is sold with a USB Y-cable compatible with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports,  another white USB cable for power, a few screws, a screwdriver, and a user manual. Configuration is just like a router, you connect to a default IP address (192.168.169.1), and enter the default username and password (KIMAX) to configure the Wi-Fi enclosure.

I also looked for internal pictures, and could not find any, but Anandtech reviewed a similar type of product (Patriot Gauntlet 320), and they found Ralink 5350F WiSoC commonly found in routers with 64MB RAM, and a USB 3.0 to SATA bridge, so the solution above is likely to be similar with a low cost Qualcomm, or Ralink (now Mediatek) router SoC.

I’ve select the product above, because at $38 shipped it’s one of the cheapest I could find, but you have other options on Aliexpress, DX, Ebay, and more.

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RK
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RK

Perfect form factor (mini-NAS I guess is a good name?) for people just wanting to share some data around the LAN\WLAN without keeping one of their machines on all the time.

The only question remaining is the firmware’s quality and whether the sources will be released any time soon or at all. I don’t really feel very confident running just any linux distro as a file server so flashing something like OpenWRT will be nice.

onebir
Guest
onebir

I didn’t even notice this had a battery when I found it! Would it be possible to use more than one SATA drive???

Roel
Guest
Roel

Watching the pictures on the link, it is openwrt but they changed the name. If this is true and somebody can point this out, it makes it a lot more attractive for this price, as it is still cheaper to buy a tl-wr703n or, as I did buy a NEXX WT1520F for 13€. Still a shame we can’t buy the pogoplugs in europe for the price as in North-America.

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[…] Add #Network #Connectivity to 2.5″ SATA Drives With Wi-Fi & Ethernet Enclosures #harddrive cnx-software.com/2015/03/02/add… […]

rasz_pl
Guest
rasz_pl

Ralink 5350F is USB 2.0/100Mbit

so it appears USB 3.0 is fake here too

onebir
Guest
onebir

@rasz_pl
Might not be Ralink 5350F – that was in another product. (Could still be fake though!)

Spem
Guest
Spem

Dear author,

thank you for opening a theme on cheap NAS (HDD 2 ethernet converter). Please research, when you have time, boxes with NTFS write and read performance because we are usually connecting this kind of USB devices to this equipment. Why NTFS? Portability and compatibility, I know ext2/3/4 would have better scores.

THANKS!

Roel
Guest
Roel

@Spem
I bought one, I will come back to this when I received it.

roel
Guest
roel

@Roel
Just to let you know You can share your data from a usb-stick with a NEXX WT1520F. It has a NAS function build in. I tried it and it works. Not necessary to install openwrt for this. It has samba, ftp and upnp.
BTW, it is really small, even smaller than a tl-wr703n.

Alx
Guest
Alx

I bought one; but I can’t even get it to show up as a wireless device… I’ve put in an old hard drive and tried formatting it to every format going (FAT32, ExFAT, NTFS) and can’t get anything out of it :/

roel
Guest
roel

A

@Alx

Alx,

I bought one also, I get a wireless signal but I can’t login as the wifi is password protected. I can’t login with ethernet also. I tried with dhcp, setting my pc to a fixed IP of 192.168.169.2, but that doesn’t work either. Connecting it to my router directly doesnt work either. I can’t find the way to reset it either.

The trick to put it on is: Pusch ones the powerbutton, then 3 blue lights turn on. Push a second time but now hold it for minimum 3 seconds. You will notice the harddrive start spinning. Around 30seconds later you should find the wifi signal.

roel
Guest
roel

OK,

I just discovered that I have the wrong usermanual. The password is 12345678. I will check and report further.

roel
Guest
roel

OK, as I suggested, this thing runs openwrt, more specific chaos calmer r43275. So this is the perfect router/mini-nas. Forget about a tl-wr703n or a nexx. This is also 300mbps transfer.

Alx
Guest
Alx

@roel

I’d tried everything; all of the above included… But now I know it *SHOULD* work I can keep trying; or order a new one!

Thanks a lot for getting back to me!

Alex

Alx
Guest
Alx

@roel

PS Out of curiosity; Did you per-format your hard drive before using it, or did you just completely clear the disk?

Thanks Again!

Roel
Guest
Roel

@Alx
I just put in a already used ntfs disk to try it out. I didn’t format or anything.

Do the bleu lights work if yes, do you get the red light and can you access wifi? The thing doesn’t work if you or connected to a powersupply less then 2A. Under the 2A it just recharge the battery. With a 2A supply it can charge and power the device.

My ethernet doesn’t work, but it will be the configuration. I try first to get into the device so I get root access and can log in through ssh.
The openwrt firmware is a rebranded chinese frimware with some standard openwrt stuff left out. You can access the openwrt packages though, so You can install for example transmission or minidlna.

Alx
Guest
Alx

@Roel

WhenI press the button on the front I get the Blue lights ( 2/3 ). I hold the button for 3+ seconds; and I hear the HDD spin up and I get a Green LED, to the right of the Blue LEDs. After about 60 seconds the green LED goes out; and I never get any WIFI at all!

I’ve just connected it to a iPad charger which should do more than 2A. Going to let it fully recharge and give it another go!

Since you can add openwrt packages, I might buy another one on the gamble I just got a bad unit!

roel
Guest
roel

@Alx
You can buy them on DX also, they have another name there but it’s the same, altough a little more expensive: http://www.dx.com/p/bs-u25wf-usb-3-0-wi-fi-hard-disk-drive-enclosure-w-router-for-2-5-sata-hdd-black-1tb-335399#.VSrOelkvBQK

On amazon you can buy them also again another brand but way more expensive: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sonnics-Wireless-Portable-Rechargeable-COMPATIBLE/dp/B00M290GWO

On the one I have the green light turns red after appr 60 seconds and then I have wifi. Maybe You should try with a reset. According me it’s when the green light starts You should press the reset button. Thats the normal procedure on openwrt. The strange thing is when You do a reset You have 2 wifi essid’s, but both are secured.

Alx
Guest
Alx

@roel
The one I bought was from dx, I might try the Ali one this time!

Thanks for detailing the reset procedure… I’ll give that a go before I purchase a new one!

Alex

ivan
Guest
ivan

Is somebody able to connect this device to existing WIFI network? or it is can work only like AP?

Roel
Guest
Roel

You can set it as client, ap or wifi repeater. I used it as a wifi repeater before I bricked it (already), failsafe mode doesn’t seem to work.

PCVET
Guest
PCVET

So has anyone been able to access it via ssh or slogin and if so how?

Z
Guest
Z

Hi everyone,

I just trying to set up my one, but I have a problem regarding the storage.
I formatted my drive via the USB cable, I can reach the whole storage and I can copy file to it, read files from it. Also the wifi could be set up, it is working flawlessly, I can reach the configuration home page of the device, and I can map it via my PC and Mac too. But the storage I can see through the wifi drive (it has one directory only called sad, which is the name of the hdd in the OpenWRT) is only 6,71MB, which seems to be the size of the internal storage of the operating system. I tried to reach the real storage several ways though the network (wifi and ethernet) access, but I could not.
Do you have any idea regarding this issue?

Thanks, Z.

dave
Guest
dave

Hello Z, I purchased a KIMAX enclosure that holds a 3.5 drive and I’m having the same problem of accessing my drive. There are no directions how to set parameters to see the drive. I need help with these settings. The maker of this device has no website either. I think it has Linux software installed on router. I see roughly the same amount of space by WIFI or after I’ve map it on my laptop which is only 600 mg. Does anyone know how to set the parameters on this device so I can see my 3tb hard drive?

Roel
Guest
Roel

@Z
Do you see a filesystem on the 6Mb partition? for example /etc, /proc, /var, /usr, etc…
If yes, you can maybe help me unbrick mine.
To know how to set your samba connection, check this site: http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/recipes/usb-storage-samba-webinterface
The interface looks a little different, but the method should be the same.

Adeel
Guest
Adeel

I also some 3.5″ variants of these for reselling on my online store and had the same issue of the device not accepting any connection after working for two days without any issue. Probably i did something wrong while changing network parameters. I went back to the supplier i got it from but as always the customer support from China was shit. Had no response even after two weeks.
Then after banging my head with the device for two days and also going through this thread for help. I decided to open up the device and inspect if there was a reset button inside. My guess was right. There is a reset button underneath the Wifi Chip on the side where the external antina connects with the device.
I pressed the reset button while the device was on. Volla the device was reset and i was able to see the Wifi SSID KIMAX_3FCDBD once more. I connected the device with the password (12345678). And did the configuration again from there.

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

Hello, Roel
Please provide description who to setup device as wifi client. I can’t see such description in manual. I found “scan” baton in Networking-> WIFI menu, but when I push this baton device didn’t search available wifi , but going to reboot.

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

Hello, all.
Seller confirmed that this device not possible to use as WIFI client for existing WIFI network.
Seller returned money.

Roel
Guest
Roel

It works as a client, mine did. I used it as a wireless bridge. I needed to reset the firmware and then in network You have to scan for wireless networks. If it find one, then you can set it to client. I’s openwrt so it is possible.
If someone could find the root password of this device then You can reach the device with ssh and there is a lot more possible.

PCVET
Guest
PCVET

So here is what I did with mine
Default WIFI Password: 12345678
Default Interface User: kimax Password: password

Added the following packages
shadow-useradd
shadow-usermod
sudo
luci-app-commands
libopenssl
libpolarssl
luci-ssl
opkg
openssh-client
openssh-client-utils
openssh-keygen
openssh-server
openssl-util

Ran the following commands
/usr/sbin/sshd
ssh-keygen -t rsa
tail -f /var/log/lastlog
opkg remove openssl-util

uci set [email protected][0].Port=2222
uci commit dropbear
/etc/init.d/dropbear disable

opkg remove openssh
opkg upgrade openssl

/usr/bin/ssh-keygen -A

ln -s /etc/localtime /var/empty/sshd/etc/localtime
cat /etc/passwd
cat /etc/group
grep /etc/group kimax
userid -i # -g # kimax
echo “Password” | passwd –stdin user1
usermod -s /bin/sh kimax

Set up the network as such
LAN Physical Settings
Bridge Iterface
Enable STP
VLAN eth0. 1 (lan)
Wireless Network Master (lan)

Everytime I reboot I run the following script which I saved on the Hardrive under as I would lose ssh
/media/share/sda1/startssh.sh
#!/bin/sh
mkdir /var/empty
mkdir /var/empty/sshd
mkdir /var/empty/sshd/etc
/usr/sbin/sshd

The way it works for me is I connect the Ethernet port to any network that provides me with an IP and can wirelessly connect to it while being behind it’s firewall. My kids can stream movies to there iPads weather at home, in the car or at the cottage… Works flawlessly…

Roel
Guest
Roel

@PCVET
Could you discover the root password?

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[…] featured an HDD enclosure with WiFi and Ethernet on CNX Software a few months ago, and several people were interested, bought one, and found out it […]

eduardo
Guest
eduardo

I can not access the LAN RJ45.
Does anyone know the correct setting?

Marco
Guest
Marco

How can I connect to install packages on it? There is a way to ssh to it or chroot it? The only interface I see is the Kimax site.
Regards

Roel
Guest
Roel

@eduardo
I can’t connect to the RJ45 also. The lights go on when it starts up and then it’s dead. I think it’s a problem with the firmware.

Roel
Guest
Roel

@Marco
It’s because openwrt changed their repositories to another link. You should change them to the correct ones. I did it but as mine is bricked, I can’t tell You anymore the correct links.

If somebody who has more time then me could find the serial console then I could unbrick it…

transformator
Guest

0 formatted disk ntfs
1 fully charged
2 Press twice the power button until the blue light bulb lit up (drive and wifi)
3 connected by wifi
4 on a mac entered the command telnet 192.168.169.1

telnet does not see!? (telnet: Unable to connect to remote host)
please tell me how to connect to it with telnet??

transformator
Guest

@PCVET how I can connect via ssh?

Roel
Guest
Roel

@transformator
It’s because there is no telnet server running.

If I understand the post of PCVET, you can access the cli through luci-app-commands.

transformator
Guest

how exactly?

transformator
Guest
transformator
Guest
roel
Guest
roel

@transformator
OK, it seems you have the newer firmware, it’s based on openwrt but has not the luci interface, but some custom one.
See the post about the updated wifif hdd: http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/08/14/updated-ethernet-wifi-hdd-enclosure-supports-300mbps-with-mediatek-mt7620n-processor/

Where did You buy the device? Maybe I will buy a new one…

transformator
Guest
shahid
Guest

i can not use it through LAN by R45 port…is there any solution .plz plz plz give me the instruction how to connect this device with RJ45

roel
Guest
roel

For who is interested I found this blog. He discovered the rx & tx pin. I can’t use it as it seems I have a different version. There is also a link to another firmware.
The site is in riussian, but you can use google translate.