Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle

No Comments November 16, 2013

I’m a huge believer in reusing and repurposing technology until it finally dies rather than simply throwing stuff out because it’s old (much to the dismay of my wife who’s perpetually pissed off by the junk I've got hoarded in my study).

One of the bits of repurposed technologies that we use a lot of here at Idiot Towers is the original XBox running XBMC – the kids all have them in their rooms with wireless bridges to connect to our network and shared media store. Two of the bridges in use are old Belkin F5D7330 units which were working perfectly until yesterday evening. Why yesterday evening? Well, that’s when our broadband connection was upgraded to fibre and we switched to the TalkTalk Business branded Technicolor TG582n router. Everything else on the premises – phones, laptops and tablets – connected to the new router without any changes once I’d set the SSID and passphrase, but not the two bridges.

As the units were already running the latest firmware and no amount of trying would convince the bridges to connect to the wireless network, I decided to try using DD-WRT. Using the base instructions that I found here, I flashed one of the bridges to DD-WRT and configured it as a Client Bridge which took about half an hour to accomplish; the bridge connected to the wireless network first time.

The moral is that it’s always worth having a look to see what is possible with old hardware before writing it off as useless; there are often thriving communities of hackers and developers extending the life and capabilities of devices long after the manufacturers have moved on to pastures new.

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