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Wifi-accessible USB storage device

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zhangm    1,333

We have a rather simple device at work that captures an image, runs some segmentation on it, and then saves the data to a USB flash drive. The interface is pretty locked down - all we can really specify is the file name for the data. There is no onboard storage.

 

I was wondering whether anyone knows of a USB device that looks like a normal flash drive to the host, but lets stored data be shared on our local network, either via WiFi-accessible server or an Ethernet connection. I figure this would make pulling data much easier, and put off the day when its USB port dies. I think the onboard power budget is USB2-spec, but if there's something that needs an external power brick, that's fine.

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zhangm    1,333

In the past we tried a couple of WD portable USB drives, since the notion was that we could archive a few hundred MB of data and then just pull it off less frequently. For unknown reasons this thing seems to refuse to write to USB hard drives - just fails silently. We tried formatting to the same file system as our flash drives, and also partitioning to the same volume size, in case it was a capacity issue (why, I'm not sure). Nothing worked. I'm therefore a bit wary of the Wifi-enabled drives.

 

The Sandisk Connect is the option that I've done the most reading on. I've seen a few mentions that you can't have it plugged in and acting as a drive AND have the store be accessible via Wifi; an example from Amazon:

 

Quote

The stick goes into USB mode when plugged into the pc. It stays in WIFI mode when plugged into a usb charger. So it can be used on wifi while being charged, but not while charging from a pc or device with usb function. The wifi would turn off if you plug it into your macbook as a usb.

I don't suppose anyone could chime in about whether this is a real limitation? If this limitation doesn't really exist, then it sounds like the Connect is our solution.

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moriel5    13
Posted (edited)

How about an Android device with a microSD card inserted or a flash drive or external 2.5" hard drive connected (provided the device could provide enough power)?

You could set up an FTP server with MiXplorer, and access the data like on any other local network server.

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moriel5    13
20 minutes ago, zhangm said:

In the past we tried a couple of WD portable USB drives, since the notion was that we could archive a few hundred MB of data and then just pull it off less frequently. For unknown reasons this thing seems to refuse to write to USB hard drives - just fails silently. We tried formatting to the same file system as our flash drives, and also partitioning to the same volume size, in case it was a capacity issue (why, I'm not sure). Nothing worked. I'm therefore a bit wary of the Wifi-enabled drives.

 

The Sandisk Connect is the option that I've done the most reading on. I've seen a few mentions that you can't have it plugged in and acting as a drive AND have the store be accessible via Wifi; an example from Amazon:

 

I don't suppose anyone could chime in about whether this is a real limitation? If this limitation doesn't really exist, then it sounds like the Connect is our solution.

It appears that the WiFi on the Connect is disabled when in USB mode (since it cannot provide dual access to the storage), defeating the purpose of a wireless device in your case.

 

FTP access from an Android device with external storage (microSD, USB, etc.) should work without issues for you (though you may need an older device, running an older version of Android (like <5.0).

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zhangm    1,333
4 minutes ago, moriel5 said:

It appears that the WiFi on the Connect is disabled when in USB mode (since it cannot provide dual access to the storage), defeating the purpose of a wireless device in your case.

 

FTP access from an Android device with external storage (microSD, USB, etc.) should work without issues for you (though you may need an older device, running an older version of Android (like <5.0).

Well, that's just unfortunate.

 

I do probably have a Nexus One lying around. So I hook this up micro-USB to the device port and I assume further steps to set up will present themselves?

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moriel5    13
Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, zhangm said:

Well, that's just unfortunate.

 

I do probably have a Nexus One lying around. So I hook this up micro-USB to the device port and I assume further steps to set up will present themselves?

Yikes, that's even more ancient.

If you can get OTG working, then yes, though it will be pretty slow (both the USB storage and the WiFi will be bottlenecked).

If you can get something like an LG G3 Beat/S (regional variants), that should work better (though I recommend to first flash CM11, you can find it on the Internet Archive), that will be better.

 

CyanogenMOD archive: https://archive.org/download/cmarchive_nighlies

jagnm for G3 Beat, jag3gds for G3S

No need for GAPPS, since only a few basic functions will be needed.

 

By the way, the external hard drive probably did not work since it relies on USB3 (changing the cable will not help, this is due to the controller chip), and I do not think there are any USB2-based wireless hard drives.

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+BudMan    3,514
15 hours ago, zhangm said:

captures an image, runs some segmentation on it, and then saves the data to a USB flash drive.

So its a scanner?  What does its do exactly? "segmentation"?  You mean you scan something and it saves it as an image file on the usb?

 

Do you have a model number of this device?  maker/brand name?  So we can look up this device and what it does exactly so we can maybe help figure out how to accomplish your goal.

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zhangm    1,333
7 hours ago, BudMan said:

So its a scanner?  What does its do exactly? "segmentation"?  You mean you scan something and it saves it as an image file on the usb?

 

Do you have a model number of this device?  maker/brand name?  So we can look up this device and what it does exactly so we can maybe help figure out how to accomplish your goal.

Sure.

 

https://www.thermofisher.com/order/catalog/product/AMQAF1000

 

For the product specs, they indicate a 4 GB drive - this is a normal USB thumb drive that is included, it's not onboard storage.

 

Yikes, that's even more ancient.

 

In my other drawer of ancient Android devices, there's an LG P-999. I'll try to get around to resetting and then trying the OTG strategy, maybe tomorrow.

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+BudMan    3,514

Well that looks slick as ###### ;)

 

In the faq it states

Can both USB ports in the Countess II/Countess II FL instruments be accessed at the same time?

Answer

The USB ports are identical, however if a USB or external drive is connected to both ports at the same time, only the first storage device connected will be recognized.

 

So I have to assume you can use a drive vs just a stick.. Might require to be formatted as fat32?  I saw something in the guide about that for software updates.. So your prob going to be limited it what size you can use, etc.  You will also find that 32GB is quite often a limit when formatting fat32.. While you can do much larger 2TB..  Not sure if the device will see it?

 

I would think making it available over a network, say via wifi or something could be considered a security risk.

 

Have you actually just called support an asked them?

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zhangm    1,333
46 minutes ago, BudMan said:

Well that looks slick as ###### ;)

 

In the faq it states

Can both USB ports in the Countess II/Countess II FL instruments be accessed at the same time?

Answer

The USB ports are identical, however if a USB or external drive is connected to both ports at the same time, only the first storage device connected will be recognized.

 

So I have to assume you can use a drive vs just a stick.. Might require to be formatted as fat32?  I saw something in the guide about that for software updates.. So your prob going to be limited it what size you can use, etc.  You will also find that 32GB is quite often a limit when formatting fat32.. While you can do much larger 2TB..  Not sure if the device will see it?

 

I would think making it available over a network, say via wifi or something could be considered a security risk.

 

Have you actually just called support an asked them?

Yeah, we tried a couple WD portable drives, formatted NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, or FAT with a variety of partition sizes just in case it was throwing a fit at seeing a greater-than-expected volume capacity. IIRC write failures were silent (you'd save normally, then pull the drive and it would be empty). Should be easy enough to put another external drive together from spare parts and test again. We've been using a 128 GB flash drive to transfer files without issues.

 

Figured I'd ask here first since I figure our community members can get rather creative (they'll probably say unsupported/wait for V3). 😛

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+BudMan    3,514

Yeah normally someone around here might have the same device - but that seems pretty specialized ;)

 

Just out of pure curiosity on my part, how many files can you save to a 128GB stick?  You can get some pretty big sticks these days.  For pretty cheap..   I see some major brands on amazon 512GB for under a $100

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zhangm    1,333
1 minute ago, BudMan said:

Yeah normally someone around here might have the same device - but that seems pretty specialized ;)

 

Just out of pure curiosity on my part, how many files can you save to a 128GB stick?  You can get some pretty big sticks these days.  For pretty cheap..   I see some major brands on amazon 512GB for under a $100

The wifi option is mostly about convenience of pulling data multiple times per day without having to walk over to the machine, yank the drive, copy files onto another computer, and then return the drive. Granted, everyone could have their own drive, or just a perpetually shrinking pile of drives by the machine.

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+BudMan    3,514

Ok what about something like this?

https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/pi-zero-w-smart-usb-flash-drive/

 

Quick read looks like you can plug it in and have it look like a usb stick to your device..

 

Looks a bit hacky, but with a nice case - could be slick... I have a pi zero I could play with.. To validate it will work for say a pc or tv, laptop, etc.  But clearly don't have one of your devices to play with... And I would do it with a wired pi.. If you can do it with zero - you could for sure do it with actual normal pi..

 

edit:  you could prob take it too next level and have it run a cron that just moves the files over to your network normal share ;)  If you can name the files when you save them - you could even be fancier and have it copy the files over to specific folders for different users.. Or even maybe better, have it email the files to the users mailbox ;)

 

edit2: ok with a bit more research, doesn't seem like you can do this with pi3 only the W supports the mode needed.. Will need to do a bit more research... And my zero doesn't have wifi, using it with usb to ethernet adapter so don't have available plug to test this out :(  hmmmm

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moriel5    13
11 hours ago, zhangm said:

Sure.

 

https://www.thermofisher.com/order/catalog/product/AMQAF1000

 

For the product specs, they indicate a 4 GB drive - this is a normal USB thumb drive that is included, it's not onboard storage.

 

 

 

 

In my other drawer of ancient Android devices, there's an LG P-999. I'll try to get around to resetting and then trying the OTG strategy, maybe tomorrow.

Sorry, however that is just as old.

Unless you can get OTG running, you will only be able to use the microSD card.

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