N54L microserver Nas retirement

So my HP N54L microserver has served me well (pun intended) but recently I have been quickly using up storage and now down to my last 500gb on my pair of raid 1 3tb drives. Over the years I have been running more and more demanding software and now the N54L CPU is beginning to become a bottleneck. I already have a re replacement server in mind and just finalising spec.

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£250 budget gaming pc can it be done?

Right so currently my pc is running an old quad core Q6600 CPU with 8gb ram and 512mb graphics card and to be honest it’s starting to feel the strain.

Firstly it’s currently used as a family pc but struggles with a couple of different users logged in etc. My eldest child uses for browser based games/Minecraft etc but there will be a time soon when he wants to play more demanding games.

So being on a tight budget I’m going to try and cobble together something half decent that will play games at 1080p.

Now I was initially as previously buy individual components and build one but having used a Lenovo M91p sff I thought to save time and money I would get the tower version chuck in some more memory and a graphics card job done.

After some searching I found some 4GB Kingston memory modules for cheap on ebay.

After this the project stalled as busy with other things when I came back to it I found the M91p came with an i5-2400 CPU but the case and psu was also limiting. Undeterred I carried on searching and found a Lenovo M73 on eBay with an i5-4460 and would also be able to use the ram I had previously purchased. Also liked the fact it already had usb 3.0 ports and card reader. Stuck in a bid and won it for £125 posted.

Now the one of the limiting factors in these prebuilt machines is the psu as they weren’t originally designed for gaming use.

Cost breakdown
Lenovo M73 – £125
2x 4GB Corsair DDR3 1600 MHz CAS 11-11-11-30 Dual Channel Memory – £35.30
Graphics card – Nvidia Geforce gtx 750ti 2gb – £60

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Maplin A26LW A5-V11/A5-V12 OpenWrt Ralink RT5350F Mini Portable 150Mbps 3G/4G WiFi Wlan Hotspot AP Client RJ45 USB Wireless Router

So while randomly browsing a deals website I came across a USB wifi router/hotspot on sale at Maplin for a mere £2.00 and as my tinkering desire took over I decided to order a couple. https://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-3g-n150-wi-fi-router-and-hotspot-a26lw

These devices all appear very similar physically but your mileage my vary on functionality i.e they may have
A restricted bootloader that doesn’t allow OpenWrt images
Limited Busybox shell available by telnet
More complete Busybox shell

Board is marked A5-V12 and chip is an Ralink RT5350F. From my reseach I found other boards are marked A5-V11 so used that as a starting point.

SoC RT5350
Clock 239 MHz
4 MByte Flash (GD25Q32)
16 MByte RAM (EM639165TS-6G)
USB Host 2.0
10/100 Ethernet switch
802.11n interface
Reset button
2 LEDs
Micro usb as power source

For this configuration I used my windows desktop and connected my 2nd network interface to the device.

Default ip is and DHCP is enabled

Telnet is enabled by default and can login using admin/admin

BusyBox v1.12.1 (2011-10-22 23:04:50 CST) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

# help

Built-in commands:
. : break cd chdir continue eval exec exit export false hash
help local pwd read readonly return set shift source times trap
true type ulimit umask unset wait

# cat /proc/cpuinfo
system type : Ralink SoC
processor : 0
cpu model : MIPS 24K V4.12
BogoMIPS : 239.61
wait instruction : yes
microsecond timers : yes
tlb_entries : 32
extra interrupt vector : yes
hardware watchpoint : yes
ASEs implemented : mips16 dsp
VCED exceptions : not available
VCEI exceptions : not available

cat /proc/cmdline
console=ttyS1,57600n8 root=/dev/mtdblock5

# cat /proc/mtd
dev: size erasesize name
mtd0: 00400000 00010000 "ALL"
mtd1: 00030000 00010000 "Bootloader"
mtd2: 00010000 00010000 "Config"
mtd3: 00010000 00010000 "Factory"
mtd4: 000c282a 00010000 "Kernel"
mtd5: 002ed7d6 00010000 "RootFS"
mtd6: 003b0000 00010000 "Kernel_RootFS"

The stock bootloader is minimal/strangled one and needs upgrading and doesn’t allow flashing of OpenWrt firmware via the stock gui.

The easiest way to load a new bootloader and firmware is to download the files from a webserver. I used miniweb after installing I added the following files the htdocs directory


and then run via windows command line

C:\Users\pc\Desktop\miniweb>miniweb.exe -p 80 -d
MiniWeb (build 300, built on Feb 28 2013)
(C)2005-2013 Written by Stanley Huang

Web root: htdocs
Max clients (per IP): 32 (16)
URL handlers: 2

Back in your telnet window download the two files

cd /tmp
# wget
Connecting to (
uboot_usb_128_03.img 100% |*******************************| 135k --:--:-- ETA

# wget
Connecting to (
firmware.bin 100% |*******************************| 3328k 00:00:00 ETA

Next write the new bootloader

# mtd_write write /tmp/uboot_usb_128_03.img Bootloader
Unlocking Bootloader ...
Writing from uboot_usb_128_03.img to Bootloader ... [w]

Now write the new firmware

# mtd_write write /tmp/mini.bin Kernel_RootFS
Unlocking Kernel_RootFS ...
Writing from /tmp/mini.bin to Kernel_RootFS ... [w]

Once all complete reboot
# reboot

While it's rebooting you'll need to set a static ip on your desktop interface that is connected to the device i.e

Once the deivce has rebooted it will be available via and again telnet is enabled.
=== IMPORTANT ============================
Use 'passwd' to set your login password
this will disable telnet and enable SSH

BusyBox v1.19.4 (2013-12-29 15:07:06 UTC) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

_______ ________ __
| |.-----.-----.-----.| | | |.----.| |_
| - || _ | -__| || | | || _|| _|
|_______|| __|_____|__|__||________||__| |____|
|__| W I R E L E S S F R E E D O M
BARRIER BREAKER (Bleeding Edge, r35407) - RT5350F
-- Cooked by pratanczuk --
-- --
-- my-embedded.blogspot.com --

CONGRATULATIONS you now have a minimal OpenWrt image installed. You can now also upgrade using the sysupgrade function but you need to be aware of the 16MB memory limit.

Please let me know what you are using your devices for and share any custom f/w you've built for it.

Here are some useful links I found
My Embedded (minimal OpenWrt image)
Blog Post

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TVPlayer subtitles – Dont hold your breath

So my tv broadband and phone package is due for renewal in a couple of months and it is clear i only actually watch a couple of subscription channels and mainly Discovery. I don’t have sports or movies packages as have no need for them as not into football and 99% of the films are repeats. During my search I came across tv player which looked a good deal as it has exactly the channels I wanted for sensible monthly price meaning all I would need to pay for is broadband from another supplier and there is currently various deals on at the moment. As TV Player is a streaming service I thought I would check the subtitles situation. A quick Google found this post http://support.tvplayer.com/forums/229619-ideas-and-suggestions/suggestions/5458900-subtitles-for-live-channels-as-this-is-the-best-ap the top post by ‘TVP Admin’ from 3 years ago said they are “currently working on it, they also said the same thing in 2015.

Due to the length of time I assumed that subtitles would now be available so dropped them an email and this was their response.

So after 3 years of working on it they still can’t provide subtitles? With live tv via other providers Discovery programs have subtitles so unsure why it can not be done via a streaming service (if anyone can shed any light on this please comment below). In this technological age we shouldn’t still need to be begging for accessible tv services!

I have gone into full keyboard warrior mode and dropped and email to the Discovery channel for their feedback.

“Good evening

As an avid viewer i have been looking for other tv packages that can supply your channel as i’m paying too much for chnnels I don’t watch and during my search I came across https://tvplayer.com/ being deaf I contacted them re subtitle availability and I was told “We don’t offer subtitles at the moment but we hope to have this feature available soon.” apparently they have been “working on it” since 2014!. I know live tv shows have subtitles but where do the limitations come in as BBC iplayer etc have subtitles? Is tvplayers delay due to changes needing to be made by yourselves?. It’s very saddening that some providers are dragging their heels with accessible tv services.”

I got a reply from discovery

“Thank you for contacting Discovery.

Our channels are available through Freeview.

Kind regards,

Sheena | Discovery Viewer Services | discoveryuk.com”

My reply

“Good morning thanks for your reply however it doesn’t answer my question re streaming service tvplayer offering subtitles.

Also Discovery channel is not shown on the freeview channel guide https://www.freeview.co.uk/why-freeview/channels#K02KVJU0jI0qsEYj.97

their reply

“While we are included in these channels, unfortunately we have no say in their production or subtitling facility.

You would need to contact them.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Discovery Customer Support”

So there you have it looks like its a TVPlayer issue rather than Discovery.

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New wordpress theme

So I decided to look for a new theme for TOP as the current one isn’t responsive and an increasing number of people view the site on mobile devices. After goinf through many 100’s I decided on the Olsen Light theme. It fits in well with my minimalist look and will be making some tweaks to make it fit better.

Old theme

New theme

As you can probably see i’m not big on change and know what I like.

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TOP Server Monitor

Over the years i’ve used various server monitors with varying degrees of success, the ones I did like are now paid for and over bloated with premium features I don’t need. So couple of weeks ago I thought about doing my own!.

1, Simple clean interface
2, Ping only monitoring (for now)
3, Use remote nodes
4, All self written software

I began customizing an opensource firmware for a spare device I had and is still a work in progress as there is much to do. I have been writing scripts to interact between a single worker node and a master node. Currently I have the worker able to ping an ip address and report back to the master the return status i.e pass or fail at which point it then updates a simple webpage. To reduce the risk of false positives if the worker reports a fail the master will re check to verify it’s actually down.

Now my webdesign skills are limited to say the least (hell I use WP) i’ve had a ‘play’ around before so this was the first version I cam up with.
Yes its ok you can stop laughing now!

I decided to google bootstrap as previous sites built round this give the ‘clean’ look I want. This is v2, as you can see the entire row colour reflects the status i.e up or down.

Bit more googling and playing and I came up with v3. This differs from v2 in the fact that the status is only shown as a single button.

Currently i’m hard coding the test ips into a file, it would be nice to have the ability to add new monitors via the webpage but i need to figure out a) how to add working buttons b) how the master then updates the worker with the new ip’s. I sense much pain and coffee in my future….

This morning i’ve added buttons (don’t do anything yet) to my v3 layout. Personally I think v4 has too many colours so it would be hard to tell if a node was down with just a quick glance.

Done a bit more today. The worker/master interaction is going well. So far ive tested a list of 10 ips containing a mix of real and fake and they have all been reported to the master correctly and it telling the worker what it should be. If they dont agree the master has overall say. In the future it would be nice to have two workers so they can decided between them then tell the master who will do final verification. The trouble is going beyond 121 messaging things can get messey with messages lost/delayed/sent twice etc so is a fair amount more work. Ive decided im sticking with the v2 layout as its easy to tell the status and looks cleaner.

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Windows 10 right click on file or folder crashes explorer

So had an issue on my windows 10 machine that every time I right clicked a folder explorer would crash. One of the reasons is the ‘quick access’ feature can become too full, this fix worked for me. Open File Explorer Right-click Quick Access Select “Options” Under Privacy click the Clear button After doing this right click began to work ok again, if your regularly coming across this issue then it may be better just to disable this function completely.

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BT Infinity Youview IPTV with Asus RT-N66U Settings

So I recently switched to B.T due to the daylight robbers that are sky only offering me £3 per month discount off full price on renewal of my contract.

I’ve signed up for BT Infinity 1 unlimited their phone package and also their YouView TV package.

On my sky setup I used a BT OpenReach (BTO) modem along with an Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight router running Merlin firmware and it all worked very well and I had everything setup as I wanted so when it came to switch over I was loath to use the BT Home Hub, and this is how I did it….

NOTE: My router is running Merlin Firmware:378.56_2 make sure you backup your settings before carrying out the steps below. I suspect they will work on STOCK firmware but it’s UNCONFIRMED at this stage.

1, Login to router and go to the WAN –> Internet Connection page and change these settings

Connection type to PPPoE
PPP Username bthomehub@btbroadband.com
Password anythingyouwant (The password can be anything you want but it MUST have something entered as leaving it empty will stop it working)
Enable VPN + DHCP Connection No (On sky I had this previously enabled so if you did as well make sure you disable it.

Your page should now look like this


Click Apply

This will allow your router to login to the BT Infinity Servvice and use your broadband but if you try and go to an internet channel on your YouView box you’ll get Error Code IPC-6023 this is because further configuration is required to get IPTV to work, now go to step 2.

2, Next go to the LAN –> IPTV setting and use these settings

Select ISP Profile None
Choose IPTV STB Port None
Use DHCP routes RFC3442 & Microsoft
Enable multicast routing (IGMP Proxy) Enable
Enable efficient multicast forwarding (IGMP Snooping) Enable
UDP Proxy (Udpxy) 0

So you should end up with


Click apply

When I again went to the subscription channel I got error IPC-6023 again? rebooted the YouView box and again got the error, next I REBOOTED THE ROUTER and this time I got a picture but it was very pixelated.


After a lot more searching and trying of settings I used these.

3, Goto Network Map –> View List and find your BT youView box it will most likely be called HUMAX and make a note of it’s ip address (You can also rename it, I changed mine to YouView for easy finding)
Next go to LAN –> DHCP and scroll to the bottom where it says ‘Manually Assigned IP around the DHCP list (Max Limit : 128)’

In the MAC Address dropdown box find the ip address you noted earlier and it should have HUMAX (or whatever name you set next to it) click this so the box is populated.

Next we are going to assign assign it an ip address based on its MAC address. In the next box it will have already been populated with the IP you found earlier you can either leave it as this or set your own if you like your devices to be sequential etc. Next click the + sign you should then end up with something like this.


Click apply

4, Goto WAN –> Virtual Server / Port Forwarding

Service Name enter something relevant that you will remember, YouView, IPTV etc.
Port Range 1024
Local IP (The one you assigned to the YouView box in step 3)
Local Port 8081
Protocol TCP
Click the + sign and you should end up with this


Click apply then reboot your router wait for it to come back then reboot the YouView box goto an internet channel you’ve subscribed to and it should now display correctly.

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Can’t load firmware file bnx2/bnx2-mips-06-06.2.1.fw

While installing Debian 7 Wheezy on a Dell 1950 III I encounted the following error

Can’t load firmware file bnx2/bnx2-mips-06-06.2.1.fw

which is caused by the missing broadcom network driver. I fixed this by downloading http://www.theoutpost.org/downloads/firmware-bnx2_20160824-1_all.deb onto a linux machine and extracting the .deb file using

ar vx firmware-bnx2_20160824-1_all.deb

which created
x – debian-binary
x – control.tar.gz
x – data.tar.xz

then extract the data file

tar xf data.tar.xz

which created folders lib and usr.

cd /lib/firmware

Now copy the bnx2 directory into the root of a usb flash drive (it must contain the folder bnx2 folder itself and it’s contents) Now insert into the machine your installing on and hit enter when prompted.

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