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sloth-storage result

More photos and the article about this project are here.


The idea is to build drive distributed storage device with FTP interface on Node.js.

sloth-storage idea


  • distributes files on a bunch of USB-drives
  • keeps up file duplication for redundancy
  • provides FTP interface.

Configuration example

4Gb USB-drive -|     *-----------------------*
4Gb USB-drive -|     |  S  T  O  R  A  G  E  |
4Gb USB-drive -|<--->|    6.6Gb capacity     |<---> FTP client
4Gb USB-drive -|     | 3 copies of each file |
4Gb USB-drive -|     *-----------------------*

... or 10Gb storage (2 copies of each file).


Tested with Raspberry Pi 3.

Almost complete list of used components:

  • 1 x RPi 3 (ID:3055) = $35.00
  • 1 x Pimoroni Micro Dot pHAT with Included LED Modules - Red (ID:3248) = $29.95
  • 4 x USB 3.0 4-Port USB Hub (eBay) = $16.40
  • 1 x 8GB Class 10 MicroSD Memory Card (ID:2692) = $9.95
  • 2 x DC 0-3V Analog Voltmeter (eBay) = $8.56
  • 1 x Mini Panel Mount SPDT Toggle Switch (ID:3221) = $0.95
  • 1 x Slim Metal Potentiometer Knob - 10mm Diameter x 10mm - T18 (ID:2058) = $1.90
  • 1 x Solid Machined Metal Knob - 1" Diameter (ID:2056) = $3.95
  • 2 x Mini 8-Way Rotary Selector Switch - SP8T (ID:2925) = $3.90
  • 2 x LED diode - red and yellow

Box and indicators blueprints.

RPi PIN connections:

  • pHAT
  • for selectors, gauges, leds and toggle switch look for const PIN = ... for each component's class: src/hardware.

I used 3A power supply which enough just for 4 USB-drives.


Disclaimer: this is a proof of concept device and cannot be used as reliable place to store your data.

  1. Install Raspbian SSH and WiFi configuration instruction
  2. SSH to RPi (how to find RPi in the network)
  3. Install dependencies:
    sudo su
    # install deps
    apt-get install -y gcc g++ make git vim htop;
    # set timezone
    echo "America/Los_Angeles" > /etc/timezone
    dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
    # install nodejs
    curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
    apt install -y nodejs
    # install application
    git clone
    cd sloth-storage
    npm install
    cd src/hardware
    npm install
    cd -
    # display
    curl -sS | bash #
4. GPIO configuration:
sudo cat >/etc/udev/rules.d/20-gpiomem.rules <<EOF
SUBSYSTEM=="bcm2835-gpiomem", KERNEL=="gpiomem", GROUP="gpio", MODE="0660"
sudo usermod -a -G gpio pi
sudo usermod -a -G gpio root


Note: RPi doesn't mount USB storage devices automatically.

Start application:

# mount usb storage devices
npm run mount # show available devices
npm run mount:do # mount available devices

# start application on RPi
npm run rpi

Connect to FTP server:

# "Anonymous" user

Useful commands:

# unmount all mounted usb storage devices
npm run umount:do

# show full help
npm start -- --help

# run only application
npm start

# set different device path (not /media/<USER>)
npm start -- --devices-path <path>


MIT License. Free use and change.


Drive distributed storage on Node.js with FTP interface







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