Hacking the PogoPlug Mobile – Adding Airprint and CloudPrint (Print From ChromeBook without a Cloudprint Printer)

I purchased a Pogo Plug Mobile (Model POGO-V4-A1-01) for $10 off ebay a few weeks ago.


This version of the PogoPlug comes with the following:

  • 88F6192 Kirkwood ARMv5 NAS system-on-chip running at 800 MHz
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 2.0 USB Port
  • SD Card Slot

I knew it could be used for a file server but did not have much use for it at the time so put it on the shelf. A few weeks later my elementary school age daughter needed to print from her Chromebook from home. Chromebooks are becoming very popular at schools. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and able to be tightly administered by the school. Unfortunately it is very difficult to print from one at home. Since it doesn’t run from windows, you must have a printer that is “Cloudprint” enabled to work with google chrome or keep another computer running with Chrome. Since I had an old Samsung 4521f printer and didn’t want to keep my computer running all day, I decided to get my Pogoplug off the shelf and do some hacking.

Warning: This involves removing the built in software on your PogoPlug and will remove all “stock” functionality that it came with. You will not be able to use the PogoPlug services. This WILL void your warranty. In addition, all these instructions and this post is at your own risk.
  1. Plug an ethernet cable into your PogoPlug, pop an empty 2GB or more SD Card into the SD Card slot, and plug your PogoPlug into the wall.
  2. Using your browser, navigate to your ip address for your router (usually or something similar, see your router manual), login to your admin interface, and look at the connected devices and determine what ip address your PogoPlug is using.
  3. Enable SSH.
  4. To enable SSH, create an account at the PogoPlug website. Activate your pogoplug, then go to Settings in the Web interface, select Security Settings, and then select the checkbox for Enable SSH for this Pogoplog-enabled device. A dialog box will open and ask you to assign a password for the root use.

    Screenshot is at: Pogoplug help.

  5. Using Putty, connect to your Pogoplug.
  6. Login with root/ceadmin.

    To avoid typos, as much as possible copy all commands using your mouse and paste them into your ssh console (paste is usually just a single right click)
  7. Follow these instructions from Qui’s blog post “Hacking the Pogoplug v4 (Series 4 and Mobile) with Linux (Debian or Arch)” but only to “Debian/ALARM Installation on SD Card (or USB Hard/Flash Drive)” – DO NOT do that step.
  8. Also, make sure you install netconsole. He says it is optional but if you have problems you will need it to diagnose them. Also, install “asuc” on your windows computer that is accessing the pogoplug, asuc: A Simple Udp Console. This will let you see what’s going on inside your PogoPlug or at least initial boot without having to SSH in.

    WARNING: I”ll say that again. DO NOT DO “Debian/ALARM Installation” section in Qui’s blog. You will get what will look like a bricked device if you try to install Arch on the SD Card (if you do do this, it isn’t bricked but you will need to install debian on a flash stick and reboot and you should be able to log in by ssh) Only do the debian install onto the SD Card as illustrated in next step.
  9. Ok, now that you are done with Qui’s instructions, install Debian on the SD Card:

    If you have problems, see Qui’s post for troubleshooting

  10. Setup Debian
  11. Install Printer services:
  12. Backup CUPS configuration and install new cupsd.conf.
  13. Make sure your Printer is connected to the USB port of your PogoPlug. If you have a network printer, you can leave it networked but find out what the IP addreess of the printer is.
  14. Navigate to the ipaddress of your PogoPlug, using port 631. Example: http://192.168.031:631

    You should see the CUPS web interface. Go to Home->Add Printers and Classes->Add Printer. Follow the wizard.
    CUPS printer system works with many but not all printers. A printer connected directly through the USB port is easiest for you to setup, but you can also setup a network printer using an IP address. You will need to know how to connect and what IP protocol to use. For troubleshooting see CUPS help (links are ont he CUPS admin interface web page).

  15. Add Print Driver:

    This is what I did to print to my Samsung 4521f printer on my home network which was plugged into a Belkin router running Toastman’s mod of tomatoUSB:

    • Add Printer->Other Network Printers->LPD/LPR Host or Printer ->
    • Entering into connection: socket:// (ip address that belkin router that the printer connects to).
    • I used the Samsung ml-4500 gdi driver. (I downloaded a gdi from http://www.openprinting.org/driver/gdi/). The driver that was listed in the CUPS in interface did not work.
  16. For security purposes, setup a separate Google gmail account to use that will be the owner of the printers.
  17. Install Cloudprint for Debian

You should be good to go. The trickiest part may be the print drivers.

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