Looking for best setup NFS for camper

I read this and it looks like using my existing NTFS formatted hard drive is out. https://forum.archive.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=27750

I want to configure a dedicated mini USB hard drive to plug into my OpenWRT router that I have in my camper van now and also add a cheap HDMI (1080) streaming stick onto the back of my TV. Has anyone set anything up like this? I am going to start I assume by reformatting the drive to perhaps Ext4, which I'll have to figure out, then figure out a driver for my windows system to copy all my entertainment videos there then I'd like to block any outside access to the router (it is now configured to a cell network with a cell modem USB stick. I'd like to just share the videos on the hard drive through the OPenWRT wifi to the stick and block anyone on the cell network from getting into my OpenWRT NFS as well.

Any suggestions of where to start? I'd like to go with something of course that will be fast enough to support streaming and again to only one TV.

Espressobin board and a mt76 USB-stick or preferably miniPCIE board, done and you have a fast "NAS" which can do quite a bit of other things too. As for playback, grab a S905 board/box and run CoreElec on it.

As for filesystem, btrfs is going to be fine on ARM64 and a more "safe" choice than ext4 but both will work just fine.

  • PSU + SD Card for booting (see) below

Media Player Choices...


  • Some RPi3 case


You might need to replace the heatsink however as it's really dinky, one from an older chipset will do just fine :slight_smile:

RPi might do, USB/Etherperformance is sub-par however, probably adequite for streaming however.

formatting to ext4 should be easy, install the e2fsprogs package and use mke2fs with appropriate flags to get an ext4 filesystem.

The espressobin idea is a good one, but I've heard from others that the v7 board overheats. I have a v5 and it works fine, but doesn't come with that nice case.

If you're planning to use your existing OpenWrt router, can you let us know what the hardware is there? It might be insufficient.

Are you really wanting NFS (ie. the NFS filesystem) or do you just want a networked drive? The more common interoperable standard is SMB / samba. (But NFSv4 is way better, it just is unlikely to be supported by streaming sticks etc).

If you're looking for a Samba share, this guide will step you through it: https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/services/nas/samba_configuration?s[]=samba

NFSv3 works more than well for that stuff :wink:

v3 or v4 either one seems unlikely to be supported by most Android based streaming thingies. I think I've used both with Kodi though in the past, so that might be an option.

If the broadband modem is set up as WAN and you haven't altered the firewall, then it's already the case that no inbound connections to the router or LAN are allowed from WAN.

In addition to what @dlakelan and @diizzy have suggested, if your current router can handle minidlna you could just install that and get one of the lower end Rokus and use it's built in media player to stream, the only drawback being it doesn't transcode, so you'd have to make sure your file types are supported.

If you are using Windows, then you could just keep the HDD as NTFS, and you wouldn't need to re-format it. In addition to having USB support https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/storage/usb-drives, you would need to read this to have support for NTFS https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/storage/writable_ntfs, and you are good to go.

To clarify, in the pages for USB support some steps involve formatting and creating partitions. You DON'T NEED to do that until the existing partition isn't recognized in the previous steps.

If your router can handle minidlna https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/services/media_server/dlna?s[]=dlna, then you could install mindlna on the router as @mike suggested, and then any DLNA-enabled device can access it. This works separately from the sharing of the filesystem. Basically anyone on the network can access and watch the videos but cannot access the hard drive.

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I am getting ready to order something but trying to digest and comprehend all this. Having a media server sounds like it might work best, does the Espressobin run OpenWRT and will work as a router, plus a media server, plus a Samba server? I currently am using only a 4M TP-Link WR703N which will not run much but serve as Access point for my remote client OpenVPN router running modified Rooter firmware with the USB modem and mounted next to the antenna in a waterproof box. From what I have read the V5 would run cooler but doesn't come with a case and if I ordered the V7 I would need to add a heat sink (how do you attach?).

The Android streamers sound nice but most of the times I travel with a metered plan and I would not want another Android device "doing it's thing" constantly speaking with the mother ship while downloading forced updates and sharing my personal info with the mother ship. The question I would ask here would be is there an easy way to shut off Internet communication with the Android 7.1 system of these streamers? Maybe I could do it with a firewall but I assume I'd need root, so is it possible on these devices?


To respond to other questions, I stated the router was a 4M and it will obviously not do. Ideally I'd like to be able to write to my drive from my laptop, so I'd like a writable drive on the router. I would like to use my existing external USB 3 NTFS windows drive but if it won't work, I can change the format and copy all the files to another and back in the new format. I would like streaming to a light profile device that will hang on the wall behind the TV where it will not have a lot of bulk or weight. In the future I might find an unlimited Internet service and from time to time might wish to use Netflix or Youtube, but for the most part I would just want to watch movies from the hard drive on the TV on the wall.

Thanks again!

Writing on NTFS is supported. I am using it with USB 2 (didn't try with USB 3 though), and I didn't have to reformat.

If I were you I would just add writable NTFS support and miniDLNA and see, if performance is satisfying or if you would like to change the file system of the HDD.

  1. Yes, https://github.com/openwrt/openwrt/blob/master/target/linux/mvebu/image/cortex-a53.mk#L3
  2. Thermal tape/pad or Thermal adheasive
  3. Which is why you run CoreElec instead, Linux (not mainline kernel however). You can also block WAN access per IP so just block the media player if needed.

NTFS is far from ideal but it can be used but you're a bit "on your own". Even if it's not optimal your best bet is exfat but it doesn't really matter if you run ext4 etc as Samba will handle the "translation" for you.

Also, NFS is to prefer over DLNA but you can run both if you want on the Espressobin if needed.

as @diizzy said, yes the EspressoBIN will do all this stuff you want. If you get the v7 I'd look at sticking heatsinks on it, but I'd also look at drilling some holes in the case for better airflow, the reports I've heard say it overheats, and I'm not sure if it's just a fundamental flaw in the board, or related to poor airflow and no heatsink. The v5 works well for me as a backup router in a 3D printed case with lots of air vents.

I'd consider whether you want a low end mini PC to be both your router and your media PC, something like this:

If you go that route, I'd recommend running Debian Linux as the host, and then run OpenWrt in one virtual machine, and OpenElec or similar in a system container or a second VM. This lets you easily upgrade OpenWrt by just upgrading the VM, and you can also upgrade the media function by upgrading the VM/image while maintaining the base system as stripped down and not even connected to the internet for security reasons.

That would give you awful performance and OpenELEC is obsolete, LibreELEC is what you want since a few years back. Looking at forum posts the J3160 also seems to struggle with 4K and I would imagine it'd be even worse if you run VMs which S905 does fine. Might not be very usable in a camper but worth taking into consideration.

I know nothing about the Elec series so I'll trust your knowledge there. I'm assuming openwrt performance isn't an issue due to low bandwidth on the WAN, running an Elec or whatever in a system container (like rkt or systemd-nspawn ) should give 100% performance, in a VM not so much. It's not clear if 4k video is really a thing in this context. If it is, you'd want to upgrade to something like an i3 or i5 based device perhaps.

You can run Kodi just fine from Debian itself which makes the nspawn idea work for sure. Not sure if you can get an rkt container for LibreElec as a whole. One thing I wouldn't do is run the media PC as a container / VM from an OpenWrt host.

I know why I never get anywhere with these projects. I've spent the whole afternoon just trying to find what a MT76 stick is and discover that it's a stick with a Microtel MT76-something- chip in it and while there must be a hundred versions of it listed in the wki, many of them are very expensive and the only one I can find on eBay that comes up in a search for my price range with a search of MT7610U is one that is not in the wiki list. So I can't even get started to figure out which one of these USB wifi modules that will be supported by OpenWRT. I only need something to broadcast in the camper.

Also I think the obvious snag with the Android devices is controlling the interface and since reading a detailed review just now of the MECOOL, and seeing that the remote responds to voice commands to Google, this leads me to believe that if Google commands work like they do on the typical Android phone, that disconnecting this device from a live Internet connection will leave it pretty much a door stop unless I added some type of blue tooth mouse or touch pad apparatus.

So while I do see me going somewhere with the espresso, I am struggling to think of any of the media player solutions that will work cut off from the mother ship teet, or which might be something I can manipulate with only a remote control.

MT76 is the name of the Mediatek MT76*2/7603(U)-drive
List of supported devices can be found here:

Again, you don't run Android if you use CoreELEC.
This pretty first the first line of text you'll see if you visit the page.
"CoreELEC is a ‘Just enough OS’ Linux distribution for running Kodi® on popular Amlogic hardware."

I should say I used the wrong three letter acronym above.

RKT is an application container system (for running single apps or a small number of apps in a container). The thing I was thinking of was a full system container which LXC/LXD or systemd-nspawn are best at. So substitute LXC or LXD above.

One month later progress report. First of all, anyone attempting this, please consider it is all a new career path, forget it and just buy some expensive commercial version of the above LOL.

I had all my hardware ordered and received right away. With the MeCool, one can spend a lot of time researching and trying to get things off the ground and it's much less straight forward than something like loading OpenWRT to a router. Turns out the MeCool M8S Pro W that I happened to order by accident has an internal memory chip that no driver is available for so I got off on the wrong foot to begin with. After much additional research I found a version of the defunct, no wait a minute it's not defunct, CoreELEC bootable SD image that would load on the device and serve as it's sole OS something that didn't make sense to me (SD as sole memory) and my thoughts were it was not a good idea but I was told not to worry about it. Additionally the main device control was now KODI and while it seems rather robust, the combo of this MeCool "not yet ready for prime time" Android TV boxes (compared to something like IrFanView running on a cheap Windows laptop) is just too slow to deal seriously when you compare a slide presentation like can be produced with a Windows laptop plugged into the TV HDMI cable instead. Looking at photos 2M and above range was too slow for a normal slide presentation and I'm not sure what is causing the bottleneck. First suspicion was the SD card of course but CoreELEC fans on the forum struck me down with that theory and from every angle that I brought it up. In contrast, the native firmware on the MeCool is not worth even addressing for my needs. I tried sending the MeCool box back to the seller but no luck so I'm stuck with more or less what seems a toy at least in the area of what I was primarily interested in, rapidly viewing photos from my camera on a larger screen TV without being forced to drag out and HDMI-connect a full size laptop.

Now I am down to working with a V5 Espressobin after avoiding the V7 that even though it comes with a case, was reported to overheat. So again I failed to properly research before purchasing the suggested Espressobin. In fairness the concept of such a powerful $50 device "had me" up to the point of discovering the Espressobin wiki that starts out will a full page of commands needed to be run from my own Linux on my Linux PC in order to begin by formatting the card and prepping it for use, I then continued my search of how to build the SD boot card in Windows but fell on an empty plate.

I have to say that with Linux or Apple, I'm pretty much in the same boat. While fans of both communities have told me that the platforms are obvious and given me great suggestions the past such as "just burn an xyz Linux disk and boot it from your windows PC", well I tried that for many years in the past and for years the disk would never boot on my laptop. Then once about 5 years ago I found a laptop and disk that booted together, then I was lost. With a Linux command line, how do I even know where my commands are writing to, where is my SD card in the vast open space of who the command is talking to? Now while I'm proficient on DOS and weaving out of being a semi-pro on Windows in past career endeavors, when faced with either an Apple or Linux laptop looking at me, I freeze like I've been shot with an ice ray gun..