Wi-Fi Lunchbox

This is not hard, and it’s a nice complement to the WifiDog open-source firmware. I came up with this idea as a marketing knickknack for neighborhood coffeeshops. It’s not waterproof and it’s susceptible to heat ventilation problems (punch more holes), but it’s fun.

What we need:

Materials

one Metal Lunchbox
one Linksys WRT54G Access Point
two male to male adapters

two female to female adapters

one pack of rubber grommets size 1/2″ inside diameter (optional) (local hardware store)

 

Tools

one hammer

one marker

one pair of pliers

one 5/8 inch (16 mm) hole punch (local hardware store)

 

What we do:

  1. Take tools and materials to a very hard surface. Think “anvil”. (I used the sidewalk planter.)
  2. Unscrew the stock antennas from the Access Point and place unit in box.
  3. With a marker, mark where the bases of the antenna meet the lunchbox (in my case it was directly next to the lunchbox handle mounts)
  4. Remove Access Point from box.
  5. Pound holes in box (one for each antenna, one for cords)
    1. This is tricky–the lunchbox is a tight space. I wound up holding the punch upward inside the box and banging down on the lunchbox itself
    2. The cord hole is easier. I put it near the bottom of one of the lunchbox sides.
    3. You can punch more holes for ventilation. In fact, you should
  6. Use pliers to pull out the punched discs and crimp the edges
  7. Test to make sure the Access Point fits in correctly
  8. String Cables, Install Grommets
    1. Slip LAN cables and Power cord through the unit’s third hole and into the back of the unit.
    2. The power cord is a tight fit, and if you want to add extra LAN cables, do it now. It’s a pain to remove and rethread
    3. The grommets are for the cord hole and the ventilation holes, not the antenna holes.
  9. Lodge Linksys in lunchbox.
  10. Attach antennas
    1. Here’s the order: Base –> female to female –> male to male –> stock antenna
    2. Use the plastic guards that came with the Linksys on the adapters instead. They cover the holes we punched.
  11. Power it up!

 Wishlist:

  1. Super cooling!
  2. Nifty lunchboxes (any ideas?)
  3. Stretch the indicator lights to show through the lunchbox lid (like a pinball machine display)

Bringing Wi-Fi to Public Spaces in NYC

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