the shaman

life of a troll shaman inside and outside world of warcraft...


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DIY: Building your own PirateBox

PirateBox is a self-contained mobile communications device that enables anonymous file-sharing. It utilizes wifi technology, catering to most devices that uses wireless connectivity thru wireless standards. PirateBox is created by David Darts and is registered under GNU GPLv3. This license grants the right to freely copy, distribute and transform creative works according to the principles of copyleft.

Here I will share you my first PirateBox project, incase you will build your own.

Stuffs that you'll need;

1. A portable router TP-Link MR3020 or TP-Link TL-WR703N
2. A USB Flash Drive
3. Ethernet Cable
4. 5v Powerbank
5. A laptop
6. An internet connection

Official Guide can be found here.


This PirateBox is created using Ubuntu 12.10, it will differ if you are using Windows or Mac. But still our old friend google can help you if you found yourself stuck, in any case you can drop me a comment if you need help on your project.

First Phase of installation, is to install OpenWRT firmware on your router.

1. Download OpenWRT firmware for MR3020  (modified by Matthias Strubel that includes kernel modules.) or TL-WR703N 

2. Set the router mode to WISP.

3. Turn off your laptop's wireless adapter.

4. Connect the router to your Lan port using ethernet cable, fireup a browser and hit up for MR3020 or for WR-703N.

5. Log in admin and password admin.

6. Navigate to System Tools > Firmware Upgrade. Choose the Firmware File from step 1, from your download location and click upgrade.

7.  After the upgrade completes, the system will restart.

8. Access the router by telnet. By default, using a linux system for this project telnet is enabled by simply using the terminal, if you are using a windows system, you'll need to enable it. You can find a guide on "How to Enable your telnet on Windows 7" on google.
  • telnet
9. Set your root password by using "passwd" and key in your desired root password.

10. Edit the router's network config file with "nano" or "vi." I prefer "nano" over "vi" I find it easier to work with.
  • nano /etc/config/network
This will depend on your network settings, assuming your main internet router's IP address is

Your network file should look like this;
  • config interface 'loopback'
  •            option ifname 'lo'
  •            option proto 'static'
  •            option ipaddr ''
  •            option netmask ''
  • config interface 'lan'
  •            option ifname 'eth0'
  •            option type 'bridge'
  •            option proto 'static'
  •            option ipaddr ''   ##may differ, depending on your case
  •            option netmask ''
  •            option gateway ''
  •            list dns ''
  •            list dns ''
NOTE: The purpose of this is to configure the system to use your existing internet connection. PirateBox will be installed from its repository over the internet. 

11. After saving the network config, power down the router.

12. Turn on your laptop's wireless adapter and connect to your main router.

13. Head over to your main router and connect your MR3020 or WR703N WAN to any of the ports of your main/gateway router with the an ethernet cable. Think of it as a client connected to your main router.

14. With your laptop's terminal, try sshing to the IP address we used from step 10. and use the root password we set on step 9.
  • ssh root@
15. When your inside, check if you have internet connetion by pinging web domains.
  • ping
16. Add USB support (skip this step if you used the modified firmware by Matthias Strubel)
  • opkg update
  • opkg install kmod-usb-uhci
  • insmod usbcore    ##may return: file exists
  • insmod uhci
  • opkg install kmod-usb-ohci  ##may return: up to date
  • insmod ohci

Install PirateBox

Second Phase of Installation, it is time to install PirateBox on your router.

1. Connect your USB Flash Drive to your router's USB port.

2. Install the mkPirateBox Package by issuing the following commands on your terminal.
  • cd /tmp
  • wget
  • opkg update && opkg install piratebox*
3. Optional: Install the Kareha Imageboard
  • /opt/piratebox/bin/
  • /opt/piratebox/conf/piratebox.conf imageboard
Edit the Kareha Imageboard config file to change your admin username and password.(ADMIN_PASS and SECRET)
  • nano /opt/piratebox/www/board/
4. Once install is complete unplug the ethernet cable and power from your router and wait atleast 10 seconds.

5. Restart the device and join "PirateBox - Share Freely" network. Fire up a web browser and you will be redirected to PirateBox menu.

6. Enjoy!

7. Grab yourself a sticker Officially from or download the logo below.

Official PirateBox Logo

I used 2000 mAh Solar Power Bank for my PirateBox's Power supply.

A small tool box from my son's toy as my lunchbox.

Finished PirateBox with no sticker yet.
Here is a video of PirateBox's Demo video

So let me know how did it go with your own PirateBox Project by hitting me up on my comment box. Credits to David Darts and his team.


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