I recently stumbled across the Pirate Box project and instantly loved the idea. Put simply it's a wifi based file sharing platform that's completely disconnected from the internet. The only way to access or upload files from a pirate box is to be physically within range of the it's access point.

Once I saw that it had an SD card image for the Raspberry Pi I naturally wanted to build my own but also wanted to do something a little different...

Super capacitors are awesome, cheap, easily obtainable and can be a little dangerous. They have a massive energy density and are willing to give up their energy very VERY quickly.

You don't have to discharge all this energy all at once, as fun as sublimating copper and throwing sparks is, they can be discharged at any rate, meaning you could connect it up to an LED to power it forever more, or for example a Pi for a good while.

So I gave it a go and it worked!

Every time I need to write a new image to my Pi, usually because i've broken it, I have to look up how to write the image, check mounts and find and download the latest version of the image I want. Even then I have no idea if dd is actually progressing or how long i'm going to have to wait...

There wasn't really anything out there that can take an image name and a location and do the rest for me, now there is!

Using a Raspberry Pi seems to make alot of sense if you're in the market for a small NAS server, it's low cost, low profile, low energy etc...

Is It Up To It?

The only possible problem is the storage the only way to attach any real storage to a Pi is via USB. USB 2.0 has a maximum theoretical throughput of 480Mbits/s with a but I dont think you'll ever get anywhere near that speed.

We only really need to acheieve around 10MB/s as then the ethernet connection becomes the bottleneck


I wanted to see what kind of throughput I could actually get with USB devices connected to a Pi so I wrote a device benchamarker tool that is able to measure both the read and write speeds of one or more block devices.