Wednesday 16 January 2013

Hurrah for PiWi!

They're shutting off our electricity for most of today, so as part of my preparation for this, I made a Wireless Access Point (hotspot) out of a Raspberry Pi, a random USB wifi dongle and this. To power it, I used an old bike battery, which is nominally 24 volts but actually more like 28, and a Hobbycraft UBEC, which takes in any voltage you like (7 to 26, it says) and puts out 5 volts (or 6, you choose).

Then I went in to our lounge to connect it to the house ethernet, only to discover that in our lounge, there's no internet socket. No phone socket either, which A) surprised both ladysolly and I, and B) didn't matter because in the couple of years we've been here, we never noticed the lack.

So I put the PiWi into the cupboard under the stairs, which is also where I keep my house ethernet wiring cabinet, the ADSL routers and the house sound system. And the vacuum cleaner.

This morning, in preparation for the power-off, I shut down the ADSL routers. And a while later, ladysolly started shouting at me. There was a crucial email she needed to send, and her internet wasn't working. That's because our home Wifi works from an ADSL router.

So I powered up the PiWi, and a minute later, she had Wifi internet connection, courtesy of a hastily put-together bodge done yesterday.

I'll be keeping the Piwi after the power-out ends; it's quite useful to have a portable Wifi hotspot. Actually, all I need to keep is the SD card. One of the nice things about the Raspberry Pi is that you can take any Pi and make it into what you want, just by putting the SD card into it.


  1. Hi Alan I like the sound of this project, just one thing what's the pi connecting to if you have no power ? Is the router being powered by the battery too?

    1. The router (and associated firewall) have a UPS protercting them - they're critical, because without those, nothing else works. And I powered the UPS from the generator (see my latest post).

  2. Hi Doc., It shows how long i haven't been on here, about 2 months? as you are now talking Pi!! I am very close to buying one, to allow my kids to learn about hardware and software. And its good to see that an old hand, such as your goodself, is obviously getting a lot of use out of all the Pi's you seem to be buying up ! :) So, just send off my £30, get my mobile phone charger, an SD card, hdmi lead.. download a copy of Scratch and we are going to reinvent space invaders!!

  3. You'll find the Pi is a load of fun. There's so much you can do with it; it's a computer, plus it's small, plus it's very low power, plus it has GPIO pins.

    I've got the source code for Space Invaders around somewhere. In Fortran.