OSP Edit

I converted a lot of the original indoor units to outdoor units using some industrial grade equipment boxes (rated NEMA 4) designed for housing electrical components. You may check with your local electrical supply warehouse for something suitable. I got these for about $40 USD. They had a metal back-plate. We marked the holes on the motherboard, drilled them out on the back-plate, and mounted the board on risers to allow airflow and such.

We cut out holes and mounted a fan in the bottom of the enclosure. Larry Rhea came up with a good idea for waterproof ventilation and we copied that (thanks Larry!). He cut holes in the side and mounted a small PVC elbow and short section of PVC pipe. A mesh screen is placed inside the pipe to keep the critters out. This allows the fan on the bottom to pull air from the top, keeping air flowing over the board. The fan must push the air out of the bottom hole and suck in the air from the top hole.

Getting electricity to the mini-ITX is the hardest part of all of this. I opted to get an enclosure that was large enough to install the power supply board as well as the motherboard. Then all you have to do is have another (smaller) junction box in which

  • Make sure the metal back-plate on which the motherboard is mounted is grounded (earthed) very well.
  • Make sure that the antenna BNC connector is grounded well also (this should be done regardless of indoors / outdoors).
  • Make sure that you have good ventilation. I realize that you guys are in a much cooler climate than we are down here in NW LA and East TX, but ventilation is needed to prevent condensation inside your box.
  • 4. Seal pigtails with self-amalgamating tape or Leikhold silver tape that is used on Zinc roofs.

Melted Silicon around PCI slots Edit

Normally we change the cases now and do not use PCI risers anymore. We directly fit radio cards into the slot. Also we use DoM flash instead of Cf and get rid off cables and troubles. We use melted silicon glue around PCI slot to prevent corrosion caused by weather. RAM slots also a source of problem due to corrosion by time if weather humidity is high.

Place Mini-itx inside metal box Edit

  • Paint metal box with copper paint to prevent leakage of rf signals.
  • Place copper painted metal plate between two PCI wi-fi cards to preven cross interference on a mother board. Shield Comp home automation doppler radar units.

Place mini-itx inside a full metal enclosure,this protects the wi-fi card from RF interference. I would actually recommend mini-ITX. I find just the opposite - they are extremely reliable considering what we are putting them through. Many (most) of my units are now 3 years old and have been stripped from their black Casetronics cases and placed into NEMA4 enclosures and stuck out to bake in the hot, muggy Louisiana outdoors. I ground (earth) the board (mounted on a metal plate in the enclosure) AND I ground the antenna as well.

I think my gateway box is the "newest" mini-ITX unit I have and it's got to be close to 2 years old now. The only bug that I can report with it is that after it's been up for 6 weeks or so - it causes the high-traffic repeaters to start filling up the swap space on the CF cards. This is with Pro1979 and we are planning to go to Pro2100 soon and I think that issue will be fixed.

We have one regular PC left in the mesh - and it's at a guy's "home/ office". It has 4 regular users and is rock solid too, but it's in an air-conditioned closet on a UPS. Lightning is my biggest problem on the mini-ITX boxes. I have pager reset devices on tower mounted units that get hit frequently, and thus far, I have never lost a radio card to lightning - it just makes the box go bonkers and needs rebooting.

> Ok MinITX meshboxes need maintainace too, I keep finding them > crashing. My useual solution is take 'em to bits prod 'em put 'em > back to gether. The aformentioned really rusty minitx box was one > of these. One of our nice dry indor mesh boxes was managing a > maximum time of 2 days with out crashing. I took its bits out blew > on it and put it back together a 2 weeks ago and it hasn't gone > down since. That one wasn't even dirty. Old desktops don't seem to > have this problem.

> Last I looked the above box was reporting an uptime of 4 weeks. It > is in a bin liner now. The resett button rusted up a couple of > years ago and had to be disconencted. The FP USB apear to condut > too now so diconected those too.

> Its a similar age to a Tiny old pc in another hut on the beach. > That PC died of fan expiration and rust before Xmass. > It managed an uptine of 11 weeks, apparently without its > fans....... It had been their 18 months.

> For non-English types "Tiny" is a very famous brand of really crap > PC's think they went bust (Twice?) their famous for selling very > cheap hardware to people who know nothing about pc's (if they did > they would't buy a tiny). 11 weeks uptime has to be a record.

> I replaced its PSU and main board with one from a skip. Its quite > happy. Even its hard disk. OLD PC's work fine. Your talking alot > more power though. I believe Feeed use old pc quite efectivly.

> registering them with wiana doesn't work from the keyboard, dunno > why, you have ssh into it then it works. I think You can ssh > localhost and do it I think

>> I would second Jonathan's advice on not using second hand PC's. >> In my last business we delivered hundreds of PC's around the >> world to hotels and had the best terms possible with the major >> courier companies. Delivering to Europe was easy and cost >> effective (less than £10 to deliver up to 30 kilos to Western >> Europe) and for the most part worked well (apart from the odd ones >> lost). In contrast , delivering to developing countries was a >> nightmare and the costs could easily run in to several hundred >> pounds per PC if you were not properly organised. Remember that >> these will be delivered by air and will need to be securely >> packaged. Customs may be a problem to deal with and will add to >> your logistics costs if there is a wide disparity of product.

>> I would suggest that you contact LW about their new duel radio >> MeshBoxes. These internal boxes are about the size of a video >> cassette and can be packaged securely without taking up much >> space. It should be quite practical to install a limited network >> from your personal baggage allowance for evaluation and training >> purposes.

>> to answer your points in turn: - >> 1. With Wifi, the general rule is "if you can't see it, you can't >> communicate with it". Distance you can go with wifi depends on: - {{{ >> a. The power of the transmitter >> b. the receive sensitivity of the receiver >> c. the type of antenna. (at each end) >> d. Feeder losses. >> d. The ground to be covered. }}}

>> So by doing some path profile analysis, working out free space >> loss, and subtracting feeder losses, you should come up with >> whether the shot is possible, and what sort of antenna you will >> require. There are plenty of PPA and FSL calculators on the internet. >> 2. Tony Franklin May should be able to provide advice here, else >> google.

>> 3. I would strongly advise against using converted PCs. I think >> you will save a few quid on the build, and it will cost you lots >> of dollars in deployment, support, frustation and failures. I've >> been down the converted PC route before, and the "Get your own >> built in the East" - never ever again.

>> PC's generally have the following issues when used as mesh boxes:- >> A. Not waterproof - they rust, see posting from Tom at Pier to Pier. >> B. They have fans that fail, then the processor or PSU fries. >> C. Bulky to transport - Higher shipping costs. >> D. Installation - got to be in a waterproof location, and that

>> means that the antenna usually has to be remote, therefore large >> hole to be drilled to fit Coax connector through. More feeder >> losses, resulting in less power and sensitivity, and more stuff to >> transport and break, as well as longer time to install. >> E. May not restart automatically after power failure. >> F. Not so power efficient, important where Solar or Wind power is >> to be used, like on top of a mountain in *.stan

>> G. Upgrade to Pro may not be possible due to incompatible >> hardware. Personally, I would talk to one of the suppliers of >> Outdoor mesh, and see what the best price is they can do for you. >> To bolt say a Defacto box on a pole is the work of 20 minutes. and >> can come with an antenna, and will work in a potentially hostile >> environment. By the time you have purchased a suitable amount of >> coax, got the pigtail, installed a wifi card and a waterproof box >> to put your PC in and installed it, you might as well have put all >> the PC's you have on Ebay, and bought the proper outdoor boxes >> with the proceeds.

>> There is nothing wrong with using PC's to start out with, I did >> it with €40 Ex Vodaphone PC's brought by the pallet load, but you >> rapidly realise the limitations. Its fine for test installs as >> proof of concept, or indeed a community project, where labour is >> free, but in a commercial and hostile environment, my advice is >> not to muck about with home builds. >> Now I'm going to put my tin hat on, take cover, and be prepared >> to be flamed after that little rant ;-)

>> I've had a serious query for installing an initial 250 >> meshboxes in Afghanistan & pakistan, problem is the >> area concerned is mountainous.

>> 1) What is the best antenna i can use for mountainous >> area and what is the furthest distance i can get with >> say a cantenna or another type of off the shelf >> antenna

>> 2) Is it possible to get satellite broadband into >> afghanistan\pakistan border and which equipment would >> i need to use to get it connected to a meshbox and >> which company can provide this. >> 3)I will not be using the standard Meshbox, due to the >> sheer volume and cost, it'll be converted pcs which we >> have stock of so POE is not an option for me >> Cheers >> Joe

Date command and resetkey Edit

We usually see this when the node has a bad certificate or its clock is more than a couple of hours off. Remember we are dealing with sensitive time-based certificates with the Locustworld software.

Here is how we usually resolve this. SshMesh into the GatewayNotes node and type "date". (without the quote marks.) This will give you a date and time format for the gateway. Drive to the remote node and ssh in locally. Typing "date" should show that the RepeaterNode is off by more than an hour.

Type date -s and then paste the gateways date and time, then hit enter. This should change the repeaters date and time to close enough to mesh again. If this doesn't do the trick, type ResetKey and reboot the unit.

Date command manual

Broadunblock Edit

> Sounds like BroadUnblock is worth trying. I think you can run it on any > node in the network, though perhaps best to SSH into an adjacent one and > do it there.

>> I have a mesh node that I can ping to but I can't ssh into. The client is >> not available and I cannot do a manual reboot. The Mesh node is not > talking >> with Wiana. Any suggestions on how to recover or do a remote reboot?

>I suspect the wireless card, though I would have thought a power >cycle would cure a crashed card. I've just brought one of these >boxes back to the office for a more detailed examination. Has >anyone else seen a problem like this? >

I have seen this where a simple power cycle doesn't necessarily reset the card. I have had to take it down for 10-15 seconds to get it to come back.

This can often be seen where you have power cycled a box several times, and you finally swap it out. When you get it back to the lab it all works fine.

>Thanks for this. After several hard reboots I decided to replace the locked >up box. While disconnecting the antenna, I grounded a static charge (felt >it in my hand). I reconnected the antenna, powered up the meshbox and all >was OK. So it looks as though static was causing the wireless card a >problem.

It is always worth ensuring a good earth for the antenna/cable. This is for the grounding of static rather than any lightning protection. One of the issues is that mesh boxes are DC and hence have a floating earth. Grounding the sheath of the N-type connector to the earth of the mains will help deal with this.

Links Edit

HardWare , Qorvus Grounding

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