Setting up an UPS for Synology NAS, Odroid and Arch Linux

To protect data residing on my Synology NAS I’ve bought and installed an UPS, an APC 700U to be exact. The trigger for buying and installing one was the loss of (some) disk data event that happened to family member external hard disk due to power loss. The data recovery cost was higher than buying an UPS and of course the lack of backups added to outcome of that event.

While no Synology NAS was involved on the above data loss, I know first hand that backups by themselves only add one layer of protection to possible data loss, and since from time to time I also have some power loss events, it was just a matter of time that my NAS might be hit by an unrecoverable power event, and, who knows, data loss.

So buying an UPS just might be a good idea…

Anyway the UPS from APC that I bought has an USB port allowing it to be connected to the Synology, which allows the UPS to be monitored and also allows the NAS to gracefully shutdown before UPS battery exhaustion. As a bonus it also allows to run an UPS monitoring server where other devices that share the same UPS power source can be notified of a power event through the network. Just keep in mind that the network switch or router must also be power protected…

Installing the UPS:
Installing the UPS is as simple as power down all devices that will connect to the UPS: Synology NAS, Odroid, external hard disks, PC base unit and network switch, and connecting an USB cable from the UPS to the back Diskstation USB ports.

After starting up, just go to DSM Control Panel and select Hardware & Power and then the UPS tab. Enable the UPS by ticking the Enable UPS support and also enable the UPS server to allow remote clients by ticking Enable UPS Network Server:

UPS Configuration

We can see by pressing the Device Information button that the UPS was correctly detected:

UPS Device Information

To end the configuration we need to press the Permitted DiskStation Devices and add the IP’s address of the devices that also have their power sources connected to the UPS and will also monitor the power status, in my case the IP of Odroid and my home PC.

And that’s it.

Setting up Arch Linux
Interestingly I dind’t found the NUT tools (Network UPS tools) on the core Arch repositories, but they are available at the AUR repository:

 yaourt -S network-ups-tools nut-monitor

The above packages will install the core NUT tools and a graphical monitor.

We can now scan our network for the ups:

nut-scanner -s
Scanning USB bus.
Scanning SNMP bus.
Scanning XML/HTTP bus.
Scanning NUT bus (old connect method).
        driver = "nutclient"
        port = "ups@"

With the UPS reference found, we can now query it:

 upsc ups@
Init SSL without certificate database
battery.charge: 100
battery.voltage: 13.9
battery.voltage.nominal: 12.0
device.mfr: American Power Conversion
device.model: Back-UPS XS 700U  

We can check the load, for example, with:

upsc  ups@ | grep load
Init SSL without certificate database
ups.load: 37

We need now to modify the following files on /etc/ups:

  1. nut.conf
  2. upsmon.conf

First, as root, we copy a file from upsmon.conf.sample to upsmon.conf and add the following line:

MONITOR ups@ 1 * * slave

after the other commented out MONITOR lines. Since I’m only monitory, I’ve just put * at the username and password for authentication.

On nut.conf, we change the line MODE to MODE=netclient

After changing the files, we enable and start the UPS monitoring service:

sudo systemctl enable nut-monitor
sudo systemctl start nut-monitor

We are now monitoring the UPS status through the network. Keep in mind that the hub/switch power should also be connected to the UPS.

For monitoring we can use the nut-monitor application to see the UPS status in a nicer way:

NUT Monitor

To make the application easier to use, we can create a profile and save it, and when calling the application nut-monitor, we pass the profile name with the -F switch.

Setting up Odroid
To allow Odroid to monitor the UPS status through the Synology UPS server we need to also install the nut UPS tools (the same used by Arch Linux and DSM):

 apt-get install nut

The configuration steps for Odroid are the same as the Arch Linux steps, but since Odroid is running an Ubuntu variant, the files are located on a different path: /etc/nut.

To start the monitoring with the new configuration we just do /etc/init.d/ups-monitor restart.

If authentication is needed, on the Synology disk, check the NUT configuration files located at /usr/syno/etc/ups/.

The upsd.users file has the user and password defined by default by the NUT tools on DSM.

Upgrading NodeJs and Node Red on Odroid

I run many services on my Odroid C1+ including Node-Red. But since NodeJs on Odroid C1+ is version v0.10 is starting to be seriously old for running Node-Red or other NodeJS dependent software.

So my quick instructions for upgrading NodeJS and Node-Red on the Odroid C1+

Upgrading NodeJS

First verify what version is available/installed on the Odroid:

odroid@odroid:~$ node -v
odroid@odroid:~$ nodejs -v

Since I’ve already had previously installed a more recent version of NodeJS (the node command), the version used by Node-Red is v0.12.14 while the default NodeJS version is v0.10.25.

We can also, and should, check the npm version:

odroid@odroid:~$ npm -v

We also need to find what architecture we are using, just for completeness since ODroid C1+ is an ARM7 based architecture:

odroid@odroid:~$ uname -a
Linux odroid 3.10.96-151 #1 SMP PREEMPT Wed Jun 15 18:47:37 BRT 2016 armv7l armv7l armv7l GNU/Linux

This will allow us to download the correct version of the NodeJS binaries from the NodeJS site: NodeJS downloads.
In our case we choose the ARM7 architecture binaries, which at the current time is file: node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l.tar.xz
So I’ve just copied the link from the NodeJS site and did a wget on the Odroid:


I then created a working directory and “untared” the file:

odroid@odroid:~$ mkdir nodework
odroid@odroid:~$ cd nodework
odroid@odroid:~/nodework$ tar xvf ../node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l.tar.xz
odroid@odroid:~/nodework$ cd node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l/

Since there isn’t an install script we need to move the new NodeJS files to the correct locations:

  1. Binaries to /usr/bin
  2. Include files to /usr/include
  3. Libs files to /usr/lib

Copy the binaries, replacing, if existing the older versions:

odroid@odroid:~/nodework/node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l/bin$ sudo cp -i node /usr/bin
cp: overwrite ‘/usr/bin/node’? y

Copy the include files:

odroid@odroid:~/nodework/node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l/include$ sudo cp -R node  /usr/include/

and copy the libraries

odroid@odroid:~/nodework/node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l/lib$ sudo cp -R node_modules /usr/lib

and finally:

odroid@odroid:~/nodework/node-v6.9.2-linux-armv7l/share$ sudo cp -R . /usr/share

We need now to make npm to point to the correct nodejs script so, we need to delete the npm link at the /usr/bin and /usr/local/bin directories:

odroid@odroid:~$ sudo rm /usr/bin/npm
odroid@odroid:~$ sudo rm /usr/local/bin/npm

and re-create the correct links:

odroid@odroid:~$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js /usr/bin/npm
odroid@odroid:~$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js /usr/local/bin/npm

Running now the node and npm commands should report the latest versions:

odroid@odroid:~$ node -v
odroid@odroid:~$ npm -v


Upgrading Node-Red

From the Node-Red startup log, we can see the previous versions of node-red and nodejs used:

Welcome to Node-RED

28 Dec 17:55:40 - [info] Node-RED version: v0.15.2
28 Dec 17:55:40 - [info] Node.js  version: v0.12.14
28 Dec 17:55:40 - [info] Linux 3.10.96-151 arm LE
28 Dec 17:55:42 - [info] Loading palette nodes
28 Dec 17:55:50 - [info] Dashboard version 2.1.0 started at /ui
28 Dec 17:55:54 - [warn] ------------------------------------------------------
28 Dec 17:55:54 - [warn] [rpi-gpio] Info : Ignoring Raspberry Pi specific node
28 Dec 17:55:54 - [warn] ------------------------------------------------------

we can upgrade now Node-Red according to the Node Red upgrading instructions:

odroid@odroid:~$ sudo npm cache clean
odroid@odroid:~$ sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm node-red

and after a while the upgrade should be done.

Before starting up node-red I went to the node-red module directories, and did an update:

odroid@odroid:~/.node-red$ npm update
└── crypto-js@3.1.8 

Starting up Node-Red should show now the new software versions:

Welcome to Node-RED

1 Jan 20:35:46 - [info] Node-RED version: v0.15.2
1 Jan 20:35:46 - [info] Node.js  version: v6.9.2
1 Jan 20:35:46 - [info] Linux 3.10.96-151 arm LE
1 Jan 20:35:47 - [info] Loading palette nodes
1 Jan 20:35:54 - [info] Dashboard version 2.2.1 started at /ui


ODroid C2

As an owner of an Odroid C1+ that is a great little device, it came to my knowledge it it might now be obsolete 🙂

This is because the Odroid C2 has came out: Odroid C2, and if I think that the C1+ is great, what to tell about the C2, that is around the same price point?

The specifications:

64bit S905 ARM quad-core 2GHz processor
2GB of RAM !
HDMI 2.0 with 4K support (not that it matters for me… )
Gigabit Ethernet, as the C1+
eMMC support.
Several other tid bits very similar to C1+.
Missing RTC.

So a major leap forward from the C1+ and from the RPi.

The 40$ price in Europe is no near that value, but probably around 50/55€ mark, my guess ( + P/P). Also the eMMC prices are still very high, almost, or even higher, than the price of the board itself.

Still I’m a bit wary of buying one since HardKernel (the Odroid manufacturer) only provides a 4 week warranty !? I bought mine in Europe, so I suppose it has a 2 year warranty by law.

I had no problems with my C1+, but I wonder, if something goes wrong…

ODroid – Mosquitto MQTT Broker install

Just for a quick reference, the following instructions detail how to install the latest Mosquitto MQTT broker with Websockets enabled on the ODroid C1+ running (L)Ubuntu release. The instructions are probably also valid for other platforms, but not tested.

1. Install the prerequisites
As the root user, install the following libraries:

apt-get update
apt-get install uuid-dev libwebsockets-dev

Probably the SSL libraries, and a few others are also needed, but in my case they where already installed.

2. Mosquitto install
Download and compile the Mosquitto broker:

mkdir ~/mosq
cd ~/mosq
tar xvzf mosquitto-1.4.5.tar.gz
cd mosquitto-1.4.5/

Edit the file to enable the websockets support:

# Build with websockets support on the broker.

and compile and install:

make install

3. Configuration
Copy the file mosquitto.conf to /usr/local/etc, and edit the file:

cp mosquitto.conf /usr/local/etc
cd /usr/local/etc

Add at least the following lines to mosquitto.conf file to enable websockets support.

# Port to use for the default listener.
#port 1883
listener 1883
listener 9001
protocol websockets

Add an operating system runtime user for the Mosquitto daemon:

useradd -lm mosquitto
cd /usr/local/etc
chown mosquitto mosquitto.conf

If needed, or wanted, change also on the configuration file the logging level and destination.
For example:

# Note that if the broker is running as a Windows service it will default to
# "log_dest none" and neither stdout nor stderr logging is available.
# Use "log_dest none" if you wish to disable logging.
log_dest file /var/log/mosquitto.log

# If using syslog logging (not on Windows), messages will be logged to the
# "daemon" facility by default. Use the log_facility option to choose which of
# local0 to local7 to log to instead. The option value should be an integer
# value, e.g. "log_facility 5" to use local5.

# Types of messages to log. Use multiple log_type lines for logging
# multiple types of messages.
# Possible types are: debug, error, warning, notice, information, 
# none, subscribe, unsubscribe, websockets, all.
# Note that debug type messages are for decoding the incoming/outgoing
# network packets. They are not logged in "topics".
log_type error
log_type warning
log_type notice
log_type information

# Change the websockets logging level. This is a global option, it is not
# possible to set per listener. This is an integer that is interpreted by
# libwebsockets as a bit mask for its lws_log_levels enum. See the
# libwebsockets documentation for more details. "log_type websockets" must also
# be enabled.
websockets_log_level 0

# If set to true, client connection and disconnection messages will be included
# in the log.
connection_messages true

# If set to true, add a timestamp value to each log message.
log_timestamp true

4. Automatic start
The easiest way is to add the following file to the init.d directory and link it to the current runlevel:

Create the file named mosquitto under /etc/init.d


case "$1" in
        echo "Starting Mosquitto MQTT Broker"
        touch /var/log/mosquitto.log
        chown mosquitto /var/log/mosquitto.log
        su - mosquitto -c "/usr/local/sbin/mosquitto -c /usr/local/etc/mosquitto.conf" & > /dev/null 2>/dev/null
        echo "Stopping Mosquitto MQTT Broker"
        killall mosquitto
        echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/mosquitto start|stop"
        exit 1

exit 0

Find out the current run level. On Odroid it seems that is level 2:

root@odroid:/etc/init.d# runlevel
N 2

And link the automatic start for Mosquitto broker at run level 2:

cd /etc/rc2.d
ln -s  /etc/init.d/mosquitto S97mosquitto

And that’s it.

We can start manually the broker with the command /etc/init.d/mosquitto start, and stop it with the mosquitto stop command.

Odroid emmc speeds

I’ve found out this link that shows some speed benchmarks, on the Raspeberry PI, for some SD cards and disks: RPi SD card benchmarks.

For comparison, my data:

Odroid C1+ with 32GB emmc:

root@odroid:~# hdparm -T /dev/mmcblk0p1 
 Timing cached reads:   1494 MB in  2.00 seconds = 746.46 MB/sec

My Seagate 2TB on my DS212+, also driven by an ARM processor:

root@DiskStation:/volume1/homes/root# hdparm -T /dev/sda1

 Timing cached reads:   832 MB in  2.00 seconds = 415.24 MB/sec

The flash pen that holds the operating system on my old and faithful NSLU2:

root@nslu2:~# hdparm -T /dev/sda1

Timing buffer-cache reads:    78 MB in 0.51 seconds = 155972 kB/s

And finally my Crucial SSD disk on my desktop computer:

[root@pcortex:~]# hdparm -T /dev/sdc2

 Timing cached reads:   16804 MB in  2.00 seconds = 8408.63 MB/sec

The conclusion? Not bad for the emmc. Recommended over an SD card? I think definitely. Expensive? Well, yes…

Odroid-C1+ – The low power super server

On the ARM based small computers front, running Linux or Android, there are several contenders, being the most famous one the Raspberry PI. Due to the huge community and documentation available the Raspberry Pi is the most chosen for a whole range of projects including low power servers, controllers, media players and so on.
Anyway, there are several alternatives, even cheaper, than the RPi. For example the 15$ Orange Pi looks promising on the price front, but not on the software side due to the Allwinner chip, it doesn’t look very promising without closed binary blobs. Other alternatives are the Banana Pi, Beaglebone board, Cubie board, and so on.

Anyway, since I needed something low power for running Node-Red, Sparkfun’s Phant, for logging data from the ESP8266, the RPi, was the way to go. But for the same price and with better specs, the Odroid-C1+ boosts also a very good community, supports Android, Ubuntu and even Arch Linux for ARM V7.

The advantages from the Odroid-C1+ over the RPi are:
– Same price (at least for me, 45€ for the RPi vs 44€ for the Odroid)
– Powerful 1.5 GHz quad core cpu
– Dedicated Ethernet chip not sharing the USB ports with 1GBps port.
– An emmc slot for storage allowing faster I/O than the SD cards. Sizes available between 8GB and 64Gb
– IR receiver
– Supports Ubuntu, Android, Arch Linux…

And so on.

As same as the RPi, the board by itself can’t do much, so I’ve also bought the power supply, acrylic box and a 32Gb emmc solid disk.
I was torn between the cheaper typical sd card and this emmc disk. Since the odroid supports it, why not?

As we can see, while it’s not faster than a typical SSD, it has the same performance than a spinning regular harddisk:

root@odroid:/etc/NetworkManager# hdparm -Tt /dev/mmcblk0p2

 Timing cached reads:   1440 MB in  2.00 seconds = 720.23 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads: 240 MB in  3.02 seconds =  79.56 MB/sec

Anyway, while the emmc is expensive, more than the price of the Odroid for the 32GB, it feels snappy and boots quite fast.

The emmc comes with a standard 4GB partition, and we need to expand it to the full emmc capacity using the provided odroid utility, or also, the gparted utility that is shipped on the ubuntu release.

So after powering up:

– Went to my router web interface and under the DHCP server tried to find which IP the Odroid got.
– Note, if connected to a HDMI monitor and if a keyboard and mouse is also connected, we can use the Odroid utility on the LXE window manager to expand the partition size from the default 4GB.
– The odroid utility can also be used from the command line:
– With the IP I’ve got, I’ve ssh to the odroid and logon as root with odroid as password.
– Started up Gparted and increased the partition from 4GB to the 32GB emmc capacity.

root@odroid:~# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mmcblk0p2 29G 4.6G 23G 17% /
none 4.0K 0 4.0K 0% /sys/fs/cgroup
udev 420M 4.0K 420M 1% /dev
tmpfs 425M 8.0K 425M 1% /tmp
tmpfs 85M 2.6M 83M 4% /run
none 5.0M 0 5.0M 0% /run/lock
none 425M 8.0K 425M 1% /run/shm
none 100M 24K 100M 1% /run/user
/dev/mmcblk0p1 129M 7.2M 122M 6% /media/boot

– Updated the system: apt-get update and apt-get upgrade and it took a while to upgrade a lot of packages.

– After the upgrade I added a user: pcortex and made it to belong to the sudo group. This will be my working user, to avoid mishaps with the root user….

adduser –home /home/pcortex pcortex
passwd pcortex
adduser pcortex sudo

After the initial updating, and setting up, the remaining tasks where to install nodejs, node-red, phant and sqlite3.
Still as root:

apt-get install nodejs npm sqlite3
npm install -g node-red
npm install -g phant
npm install -g node-red-node-sqlite

For Android Notifications using the Google Cloud Messaging infrastructure:
npm install -g node-gcm (Check out: Node-Red GCM notifications

And finally making a link to let node be an alias of nodejs: ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

Now with the user pcortex, we can start Node-Red and phant and starting doing interesting things with a low power super server 🙂

Edit: I’ve also changed the IP from a dynamic IP to a fixed IP. I’ve kept the hostname, odroid is cool enough 🙂

So I’ve edit the NetworkManager.conf file located at /etc/NetworManager, and changed the managed=false to managed=true under the section [ifupdown]. The final file is this one:



And then changed the network interface configuration to the fixed IP by editing the file interfaces located in /etc/network

# interfaces(5) file used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8)
# Include files from /etc/network/interfaces.d:
source-directory /etc/network/interfaces.d

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

Note: I’ve also installed nginx instead of Apache just to keep resource usage low, but that’s another story…