This Compact Raspberry Pi-Powered "Vanlife" Gadget Combines LTE Cellular, Wi-Fi Hotspot, and 1TB NAS

Designed for portability and low power consumption, this one-box solution can be extended to offer TV tuner capabilities and more storage.

Gareth Halfacree
4 months agoHW101

Pseudonymous maker "treasurehunter613" is back with a second revision of their off-grid "vanlife" combined LTE/Wi-Fi hotspot and network attached storage appliance — and this version is considerably more compact.

The original build, shown off by treasurehunter613 late least year as a way of accessing locally-saved and streamed entertainment while enjoying the use of an RV away from the madding crowds, offered an impressive 5TB of storage in a multi-box solution neatly arrayed on a small shelving system. Its successor, though, trades a few features for portability — coming in barely larger than the Raspberry Pi by which it is powered.

The new "Version 2.0" of the build features the same Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ single-board computer as the original, linked to a Waveshare 3G/4G/LTE cellular modem HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) board. This in turn is linked to high-gain Proxicast antennas, while storage is provided by a SanDisk Extreme Pro USB SSD.

Granted, the new variant lacks some of the features of the multi-box version: There's no TV tuner this time around, for a start. It manages to tick the main boxes, though, including serving as a Wi-Fi access point with LTE backhaul and serving locally-saved media from the SSD to any laptop, tablet, or smartphone within range.

"What's great is you can attach a 5TB HDD, a powerful outdoor MIMO antenna, and a HDHomeRun TV tuner (to the Raspberry Pi's Ethernet port) if you wish," treasurehunter613 explains, "and multiple users can connect to it and access everything using the VLC app on a smartphone or tablet. Which is exactly what I do!"

Anyone interested in building their own variant can find a full parts list along with software installation and configuration instructions on treasurehunter613's Reddit thread.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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