While I love my Playstation Portable as a both a game machine and portable media device, one of the biggest limiations is the fact you’re limited to the storage on the memory stick. Even with a 1GB stick, after you drop on a movie or two, you’re really limited in what you can store on it compared to an iPod

About a year ago, I picked up an Asus WL-HDD drive enclosure (available from Newegg for $88). What’s cool about it is that it’s not only an external 2.5" drive case, but also packs in a 100mb ethernet connection, 802.11g ethernet access point, and an additional USB port for external drives. This is in an extremely small (180mm*90mm*25mm) form factor that weighs only 200g – perfect for travelling or a small home NAS device. I ended up dropping in an old 20GB laptop drive just to play around with it.

For a while, I was really trying to figure out a way that I could use this to be an external storage device for the PSP, but it only allowed access to the files stored on the drives via Windows Networking (or Samba), which made it a non-starter. Additionally, there was no way to really ‘stream’ content to the PSP – if you hit a media file with the browser, it copied it down to the memory stick.

Everything changed though when Sony has relased firmware 2.6 which supports the streaming of music over an RSS feed (Note: Unfortunately, the PSP enclosure support currently only supports MP3/AAC music files via an RSS feed. Hopefully, they’ll update this to include video soon).

At this point, I should mention one more thing – Asus has made the firmware for this guy freely available for download (and modification, which voids warrenties, etc). In a similar fashion to other NAS devices that have had interesting modifications made to them (such as the NSLU2), people have begun to take the firmware and extend it (more info here and here).

After spending the weekend hacking around with Oleg’s fantastic firmware, I now have it up and running with not only the functionality that came with the WL-HDD, but I was able to put a small webserver on it that is completely accessible from my home network when plugged into my lan. And, since the WL-HDD can also act as an 802.11g access point, the PSP can access the web server directly when travelling. Having a small, wireless embedded browser with access to 20gb of storage (I put an old laptop drive in) not only enables all sorts of neat scenarios, but specifically now allows me to access the web pages and RSS feeds with enclosures I dropped on there so that the PSP RSS "Channels" can stream content from the drive.

Now, here’s my disclaimer and warning: You need to know some unix in order to make this work, and anything you do is at your own risk. If you toast your device or if it doesn’t work, it’s not my fault, you can’t sue me. Also, I’m not tech support. I will try to help out if you get stuck, but consider yourself on your own (the forums here are great for help).

Here’s basically what I did to get Oleg’s firmware on the device, Samba/Windows networking working, and get thttpd running by default on the drive. While daunting, it’s a one time setup:

Step 1: Flash Oleg’s firmware version 1.2.9.7b to the WL-HDD. Details can be found at http://wl500g.info/showthread.php?t=4145. Once the flash has completed, configure the WL-HDD via it’s web interface, configure it, etc. Turn on Samba support via the web interface.

Step 2: Configure/Enable Samba. Telnet into the WL-HDD and modify (or create) /etc/smb.conf:

[global]
   workgroup = WORKGROUP
   guest account = nobody
   security = share
   browseable = yes
   guest ok = yes
   guest only = yes
   log level = 1
   max log size = 100
   encrypt passwords = no
   preserve case = yes
   short preserve case = yes
[share]
   path = /tmp/harddisk
   writable = yes
   browseable = yes
   force user = admin

Basically, this will create a network share called "share" that’s viewable by the workgroup named "WORKGROUP".

Step 3: Enable Samba to start on device boot. Via telnet, you’ll want to flash smb.conf to the device, and start samba using the ‘post-boot’ file. To do this, type the following commands:

mkdir /usr/local/sbin
echo /etc/smb.conf >> /usr/local/.files
echo "/usr/sbin/smbd -D" >> /usr/local/sbin/post-boot
echo "/usr/sbin/nmbd -D" >> /usr/local/sbin/post-boot
chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/post-boot
flashfs save
flashfs commit
flashfs enable
reboot

Step 4: Create a swap file for additional applications. Once the WL-HDD has rebooted, telnet into it again. We’re going to create a 64MB file that we’ll use as a mounted swap file that additional applications (such as our webserver) will be installed. More info can be found at http://wl700g.info/showthread.php?t=1917

dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/harddisk/opt.ext3 bs=1048576 count=64
mke2fs -j /tmp/harddisk/opt.ext3 (note: answer "yes" when asked)
mount -text3 -oloop,noatime /tmp/harddisk/opt.ext3 /opt

mkdir -p /opt/tmp/ipkg
echo "#!/bin/sh" >> /usr/local/sbin/post-mount
echo "mount -text3 -oloop,noatime /tmp/harddisk/opt.ext3 /opt" >> /usr/local/sbin/post-mount
chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/post-mount
flashfs save
flashfs commit
flashfs enable
reboot

Once the WL-HDD reboots, you’ll see a 64MB file on your harddrive. Internally, the drive mounts this and sees it as a 64MB drive that it can use.

Step 5: Install ipkg. Ipkg is a simple package installer, more details can be found here. Telnet into the WL-HDD:

ipkg.sh update
ipkg.sh install ipkg
echo "src unslung http://wl500g.dyndns.org/unslung" >> /opt/etc/ipkg.conf
ipkg update
ipkg list

This will update ipkg with the latest available packages, and install the binary to our mounted swap drive.

Step 6: Install the thttpd webserver. In your telnet window, type:

ipkg install thttpd

Step 7: Configure thttpd. In your telnet window, you’ll want to edit /opt/etc/thttpd.conf:

dir=/tmp/harddisk/www
port=8080
user=nobody
nochroot
nosymlink
novhost
logfile=/opt/var/log/thttpd.log
pidfile=/opt/var/run/thttpd.pid

Save it. This will configure thttpd to run on port 8080, and use /tmp/harddisk/www as the ‘root’ of the website.

Step 8: Enable thttpd to start on reboot. In your telnet window, type:

echo "/opt/etc/init.d/S80thttpd" >> /usr/local/sbin/post-mount
flashfs save
flashfs commit
flashfs enable
reboot

Whew! If everything worked correctly, when the WL-HDD reboots you should be able to create a simple "index.html" file on your harddisk in the "www" folder, and be able to access it via a browser by going to http://wl-hdd:8080/index.html (I had to use the device’s IP address for some reason).

Step 9: Create a webpage and an RSS feed that the PSP can consume. After I verified that everything was working correctly from my PC, I copied an MP3, a RSS file that was properly set up to point to the MP3, and a sample webpage that linked to the feed.

Finally…. From the PSP’s webbrowser, access the webpage you put on the drive (http://wl-hdd:8080/index.html). Click on the link to the RSS feed, and the browser will ask you if you want to subscribe to it. Once you do, you’ll be able to access it from the PSP main menu, and stream whatever MP3’s are specified in the feed (more here).

Wow. I know that was a really long, complicated post – sorry about that. Hopefully, someone else may find these instructions useful, it was a pretty interesting weekend hack project. Tommorow, i’ll post a sample RSS feed and html page that I used to stream from the WL-HDD directly to the PSP.


37 Comments

    pt (January 10, 2006 @ 8:45 pm)

    awesome, posting this to make.


    sa_bob (January 11, 2006 @ 8:27 am)

    That’s got me thinking about streaming my itunes down the garden to my external speakers, using my PSP as the controls / wireless streamer. Good stuff and thanks.


    Tetsuo (January 11, 2006 @ 8:31 am)

    Well played dude.. Step in the right direction


    marcel P (January 11, 2006 @ 8:45 am)

    are there also 10g or 20g form that assus thing


    Steve (January 11, 2006 @ 11:02 am)

    If you check the WL-HDD forums, people have mt-daapd runnning on it (so you can stream to itunes), as well as twonkyvision to stream to upnp devices.

    Good stuff.


    bird (January 11, 2006 @ 11:19 pm)

    so you need to add an entry into the rss document for each song?


    Steve (January 12, 2006 @ 12:25 pm)

    Yes. My thought is to get PHP up and running though, and have it automatically generate entries.


    bird (January 12, 2006 @ 1:17 pm)

    ah sounds complicated for something so cool. hopefully i can figure it out


    bird (January 12, 2006 @ 1:19 pm)

    what if you send a .pls to it, would it read a playlist file?


    Sam (January 13, 2006 @ 4:23 am)

    Just a pity that you have to have a power supply for this thing, which means it can’t be truly portable…


    Scott (January 13, 2006 @ 6:42 am)

    Can this device act as a travel wireless access point as well then? i.e. when at relatives with DSL can I plug it into their modem/router and geton the internet via it?

    Thanks,


    Tony Irizarry (January 13, 2006 @ 12:40 pm)

    I was wondering if there is anyway to link a psp to an ipod video and stream the video onto the psp. In this case you would have the best of both the large ipod capacity and awesome psp screen.


    bird (January 14, 2006 @ 1:43 am)

    wow good idea, im sure its possible, just gotta wait for a guide


    rv (January 14, 2006 @ 5:07 am)

    the shit would be slap a 4 gig nano in it and fatten the body of the psp out about a quarter of an inch. link in the memory read write and viola, the only problems are this. the sony doesn’t seek data the same way an ipod seeks it so there is an incompatability issue with the language as well as storage. got to hack into the “bios” of the sony to feed ipod language when it needs a hit off the memory. hmmmmm, sounds like home brew???? the next gig is to get the body fattened out to take the ipod in. i think this would be way cooler cause i hate seeing all these gadgets swinging off an umbilical cord connecting one to the other then some fool wants it to transmit on fm then you got another thing going with the damn car charger hanging out and those little ear buds. pretty soon you look like the electric pimp on glue drinkin double expressos for 5 bucks a pop at starbucks talking about what happened to your cell phone cause its ringing and you can’t find it. prolly a wrong number anyway.


    Steve (January 14, 2006 @ 5:42 am)

    Scott – yes, the WL-HDD can easily be used as a travel wireless access point. It has a NAT server, etc.


    shamus (January 14, 2006 @ 9:14 am)

    y dont any of this look up “PSP HDD” on google and they already have a battery/hdd (4gb) for the psp and it adds 8 more hours to the battery while not thickening the Psp at all. (i think the hdd is like 80 bucks)


    Robert (January 14, 2006 @ 2:23 pm)

    Couldn’t you just have an index page of files and use the v2.00 PSP web browser?


    bird (January 14, 2006 @ 3:44 pm)

    i thought the battery did thicken the psp and that 4 gigs is like $230


    Steve (January 14, 2006 @ 9:05 pm)

    Robert – if you use the browser, it’ll work, but copy the files to the memory stick. Using RSS will cause the files to stream.


    Purify (January 18, 2006 @ 3:35 pm)

    It would be perfect if you could get an icecast linux port server into wl-hdd to truely stream mp3/ogg files to PSP as a shoutcast stream which is much more efficient than http streaming. On the PSP side of things, you can use the excellent PSPRadio to play back the streams. Worth tinkering with I think.


    Donald (January 18, 2006 @ 4:38 pm)

    Looks very cool. I have been looking for a device like this. I have read that there is a USB drive enclosure with OTG (on the go) USB host function, you can access it as an external data storage area that replaces the Duo…
    Can you access the unit from the PSP as a drive space with data on it like movies etc….


    JP (January 20, 2006 @ 5:19 am)

    Steve – I’m following your recipe and am having a bit of trouble w/ Samba. Should line 2 in step 3 be echo “/etc/smb.conf” >> /usr/local/.files (quotes around the .conf stuff to drop it into .files as a string)? Oleg’s page, under ‘Saving your changes’ seems to indicate that you want to put other locations to be saved into /usr/local/.files . Sorry if I’m being incredibly dense – I’m a bit of a noob w/ *nix in general and the flash stuff in particular…


    JP (January 20, 2006 @ 5:19 pm)

    Belay that earlier question – nothing that looking at the log files wouldn’t let me figure out.

    Great tutoral and a great gadget.


    coward (January 22, 2006 @ 6:38 am)

    “I was wondering if there is anyway to link a psp to an ipod video and stream the video onto the psp. In this case you would have the best of both the large ipod capacity and awesome psp screen.”

    that would be sweet


    Stout (January 25, 2006 @ 12:27 pm)

    I don’t know any thing about all of this “flash” this or “configure that”. How about the Saviticro Rapsody S25? Doesn’t it do all of the configuring making it posible to sonect to a HDD?


    Charles (February 9, 2006 @ 5:24 am)

    This may be a stupid question to which the answer is readily obvious, but here goes: will I always need an internet connection in order for the psp to access the Asus WL-HDD wirelessly? or could I, say, hook up the Asus WL-HDD to a power source in my vehicle and have my stash with me on the go. Thanks.


    Steve (February 9, 2006 @ 9:18 pm)

    Not a stupid question, Charles. The PSP can access the WL-HDD directly over wireless. You can plug it into your vechile power, and have it with you on the go.


    mike (February 12, 2006 @ 9:31 pm)

    awesome post i have been looking for a way to hook my psp to a hard drive for music for a while now & the fact that its wireless is the shit. but is the music comming out of this thing going to be good quality? & will there be any lag?


    Donald (February 14, 2006 @ 6:53 pm)

    Steve – Do you have any info or links to develope a web page for the ASUS/PSP???


    Justin (February 27, 2006 @ 4:00 pm)

    Well my friend tried this, I’m pretty sure works with most, couldn’t you just get a notebook external hard drive, the ones bout size of a wallet. back-up ur psp memory on ur comp, then reformat ur memory stick, cut those memory files on to the external hard drive through ur comp, send the files such as ur music videos and saved files in the proper folders of the notebook external harddrive. get a usb gender change usb(female) on both sides. Then connect one mini-b male end of cord to ur psp and the usb male end to one side of the gender changer, and connect mini-b male end to the port of the external hard drive and the usb male end into the other usb female port of the gender changer. It should work also since the external hard drive is not a memory stick it would b able to surpass the 4gb amount. I saw it work on my friends psp.


    cj (March 7, 2006 @ 11:18 am)

    you can stream mp3s dynamically from windows using the PspMediaServer.

    a much cleaner implementation.

    http://mittelmitte.blogspot.com/2006/03/pspmediaserver-for-net-version-073.html


    ammyJo Jackson (March 28, 2006 @ 8:20 pm)

    Can you get on the internet with this setup anywhere, like in the car while traveling? or does it have to be hooked up to a computer. Please explain that to me… I’m still learning about this computer stuff.


    Jatinder Gill (April 3, 2006 @ 12:03 am)

    can you put any external usb 2.0 hard drive into the psp?

    Please let me no dude
    rock on
    peace


    shintomi (May 24, 2006 @ 6:53 am)

    Hi

    You had clearly given how you setup Samba and webserver, but could you please share your settings on the WL-HDD, as to how you got it working as a standalone AP with your PSP.

    I am using Oleg’s firmware version 1.2.9.7b too. I can connect to it through my linksys router, but have difficulty connecting to it in the absence of the linksys router as a standalone AP.


    Tom Simpson (June 12, 2006 @ 8:28 pm)

    Why not use a device like THIS instead of the AP? would be true portable use with the PSP http://www.meritline.com/usb-hdd-enclosure-hard-drive-external-host.html


    dany01 (June 18, 2006 @ 9:14 pm)

    can you replace this instead of the apacer steno hard-drive

    would it slow down the download process via wifi vs transfer through usb cord

    or drain more battery?

    do you guys know of any other portablE HDD


    steven (August 23, 2006 @ 11:05 am)

    ( Donald • February 14, 2006 6:53 PM)
    wrote:

    Well my friend tried this, I’m pretty sure works with most, couldn’t you just get a notebook external hard drive, the ones bout size of a wallet. back-up ur psp memory on ur comp, then reformat ur memory stick, cut those memory files on to the external hard drive through ur comp, send the files such as ur music videos and saved files in the proper folders of the notebook external harddrive. get a usb gender change usb(female) on both sides. Then connect one mini-b male end of cord to ur psp and the usb male end to one side of the gender changer, and connect mini-b male end to the port of the external hard drive and the usb male end into the other usb female port of the gender changer. It should work also since the external hard drive is not a memory stick it would b able to surpass the 4gb amount. I saw it work on my friends psp.

    does any one now a web site that can show you how to do this


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