Home automation server

This page is part of my Home Automation project.


eBox 2300 fanless embedded PC from DMP Electronics Inc

  • CPU: Vortex86 200MHz
  • Memory: 128MB RAM, 2GB Flash (CompactFlash)
  • Video: ext. VGA (1024×768)
  • Interfaces: Ethernet 10/100, 3x USB host, 2x RS-232, audio mic-in/line-out, PS2 mouse & keyboard
  • Power: 5VDC, max. 2A (10W)

Debian Linux Installation


  • eBox2300 with CompactFlash card >1GB
  • USB memory stick with debian installer on it
  • VGA display
  • PS/2 keyboard.

Prepare installation media

These instructions apply for Debian 6.0, nickname Squeeze. USB Flash memory stick with minimum capacity of 256 MB is needed.

Follow Debian installation instructions.

Download hd-media/boot.img.gz from Debian repository, unzip it. Insert USB stick, unmount it if necessary. Then write the extracted image to the stick. Notice: it's expected here that USB stick appears as /dev/sdb. Check your configuration.

$ wget http://http.us.debian.org/debian/dists/squeeze/main/installer-i386/current/images/hd-media/boot.img.gz
$ gunzip boot.img.gz
$ sudo umount /dev/sdb
$ sudo dd if=boot.img of=/dev/sdb

Re-install USB stick, now it gets mounted. Download Debian network install ISO image and copy it to the stick.

$ wget http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/6.0.3/i386/iso-cd/debian-6.0.3-i386-netinst.iso
$ cp debian-6.0.3-i386-netinst.iso /media/Debian\ Inst/
$ sync
$ sudo umount /dev/sdb


Attach external display and PS/2 keyboard to eBox (USB keyboard won't work with eBox BIOS).

Insert USB stick, boot the device, and run Debian installer. Notice that installation takes several hours and there are installation questions requiring user interaction every now and then.


Fine tune Debian for Flash operation according to these instructions: Tips for running Linux on a flash device


For server operation, configure static IP address. Either locally in /etc/network/interfaces:

iface eth0 inet static
address <ip-address>
netmask <network-mask>
broadcast <broadcast-address>
gateway <gateway-address>
dns-nameservers <dns-server-address>

Alternatively configure MAC-based static IP address at the dhcp-server of your network.


Install ntpdate and let crond run it once a night in order to maintain your system clock.

$ apt-get install ntpdate
$ crontab -e

Add following line to run time synchronization each night. Select hour [2] and minute [57] according to your preference.

57 2 * * * /usr/sbin/ntpdate <ntp-server>
server.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/31 22:37 by jap
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