Hacking the Zsun WiFi SD Card Reader

The goal of this project is to learn as much as possible about the Zsun WiFi card reader and run OpenWrt on it to turn it into an awesome wifi device.

UPDATE 2016-04-23 The new PCB is missing a jumper on the RX serial line, see serial port section
UPDATE 2016-03-16 The second PCB revision has identical software and hardware (apart from optimized minor component layout), flashing works the same
UPDATE 2016-03-12 We now know that there are at least two different PCB versions of the reader!
UPDATE 2016-02-21 github mirror at https://github.com/Emeryth/openwrt-zsun
UPDATE 2016-01-27 informatic seems to have figured out how to use the original firmware’s update function: Zsun Card Reader Firmware Update Format

Hacking the Zsun WiFi SD Card Reader

People Involved

  • emeryth (emeryth at hackerspace.pl) ← contact me about the project
  • q3k (q3k at hackerspace.pl)
  • informatic (informatic at hackerspace.pl)

Current status

All the important aspects of hardware are understood.
OpenWrt Chaos Calmer ported (but not yet thoroughly tested), can be flashed over telnet if you dare.

What can I do with it?

  • Use it for its intended purpose of serving files, duh
  • Use as a tiny and pretty good WiFi AP/client/repeater (the hardware supports multiple simultaneous wireless interfaces!)
  • Play around with OpenWrt
  • Use it as the brains of your IoT project
  • Buy a dozen and play around with mesh networking
  • Use it for distributed WiFi activism like PirateBox or OccupyWiFi, or run a minimal Tor hidden service (with addition of being easily hidden in public places)
  • Host Node.js on it and take your apps to your favorite coffee shop :^)

Size comparison with a single 18650 cell powerbank.

Hardware

  • AR9331 SoC
  • 64MB RAM
  • 16MB SPI Flash
  • GL827L USB SD Card Reader

The device consists of two PCBs sandwiched together and connected via 8 pins.
The bottom PCB contains only the SD card reader chip and SD slot, it can be safely removed without affecting operation.

Serial Port

The serial console is brought out on testpoints (see pictures). Bitrate is 115200.

Original firmware root password is “zsun1188”

The new PCB has a missing jumper that connects the serial RX testpad to the SoC. Short it or solder directly to the lower pad of the jumper to use serial. (The second missing resistor is a pull up/down, I guess)

For more detail:  Hacking the Zsun WiFi SD Card Reader

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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