Jan the Van Travels Projects Raspberry Pi The Shed

Van++ 0.1

Not all the Jan the Van journeys are far from home; after testing the brand new motor home and verified that all the stuff is complete I moved to the next step. When I bought the van I opted for a version including the most important features without any kind of extra.

I started making improvements that should put the vehicle in condition to be comfortable and very efficient no only for travelling and visiting places but also be a good workplace. Working from home or working from the van should be almost the same. Part of the improvements is not worth to be mentioned (maybe a note appears occasionally) because are related to the asset of the computers I use for working. Until now I have tested and released (will be used in the next travel) version 0.1 of this V++ journey.

The small 300W 12V DC to 220V AC inverter to provide the power supply to the devices that are not USB connected.

The interesting changes, indeed, are the updates and upgrades I made to create an efficient infrastructure inside the original van.

Normally hidden by the table this group has five 220V AC plugs, the Raspberry Pi WiFi access point and (to the bottom) the 1 Gb Ethernet switch. To the top left it is visible the USB power distribution group, a small USB power hub where every output power can be connected or disconnected selectively.

The Network

Using a couple of Raspberry Pi 4B I have set up an internal network LAN. I work from home and I need to be able to work also during long travels; regardless if you are working or using the Internet for leisure only, in my opinion, this is worth to add. There are several good reasons to do this:

  • Optimise and control the Internet traffic, especially when using more than one device with some sort of mobile access point.
  • Protect the Internet-connected devices while in your mobile home.
  • Connect multiple devices together without consuming mobile Giga.
  • Avoid using the Internet when it is not necessary.
  • Connect internal devices through the mobile LAN on both WiFi and wired Ethernet.
  • Protect the Internet-connected devices when using public WiFi connections.
  • Always connect to the same network, regardless of the WiFi access point is in use.
The network router and the other components remain hidden under the table. Only the control panel (right) and the inverter (left) are still easily accessible.

With this setup the main Raspberry Pi act as a WiFi to Ethernet router. It can connect to any external WiFi including the smartphone hotspot. This Raspberry Pi is connected to a small 1 Gb network switch and provide the automatic assignation of the IP addresses to all the other devices connected to the switch.

The very first power-on of the Raspberry Pi router/control panel. Settings and a good User Interface will be developed on the go.

Connected to the switch another Raspberry pi act as an Ethernet to WiFi bridge: all the devices always connect their WiFi to this protected access point and can share data together, as well as navigating on the Internet.

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