Connector Box Setup and Configuration

Modified on Fri, 18 Aug 2023 at 02:24 PM

This article describes the enrollment of a connector box, custom settings, debugging and manual reset. 

Applies to connector build v1.0.6 and higher


Enroll a Connector Box with your server

If you want to connect a new connector box to your server, it needs to have an enrollment setup first which defines your individual server endpoint. This can be done by administrators before sending out the connector boxes to users, which makes it very convenient for end users to get started.

  1. Go to your server web dashboard, and navigate to More > Server Administration > Connectors, and download the file.
  2. Copy this file to a FAT32-formatted USB stick.
  3. Power on your connector box, and wait one minute to make sure the operating system is fully loaded.
  4. Plug in your USB stick, and wait for 10 seconds.
  5. Then unplug your USB stick

The settings are now applied, and you can give the connector box to end users for pairing.

Use custom Wi-Fi settings for your Connector Box

By default, only the ethernet cable is used for network connections. It is possible to define Wi-Fi settings if required. For this,open the attached "wpa_supplicant.conf" in a text editor, and modify the corresponding fields to match your settings: 

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

  ssid="My Wifi"

Save the textfile as "wpa_supplicant.conf" on your enrollment USB stick, and insert it into each Connector Box you want to configure with these settings. (Find an example attached at the end of this page).

If you want to include certificate files, you can put them in a folder on your USB stick with the following name: "wpa_supplicant_certs". Please refer to the files in the conf file using the following path: "/data/wpa_supplicant_certs/mycert.crt".

Use custom proxy settings for your Connector Box

It is possible to define a proxy server for outgoing connections, if your network requires this. For this, copy the following structure into a text editor, and modify the corresponding fields to match your settings:
Copy your network interface settings into a text file, e.g.:

"https_proxy": ""

Use a JSON Validator with the resulting text to make sure the format is correct.

Save the textfile as "proxy.json" on your enrollment USB stick, and insert it into each Connector Box you want to configure with these settings.

Use custom network interface settings for your Connector Box

If required, you can define custom network interface settings. This can include assigning static IPs, individual DNS servers, and other settings which are covered by the following data structure:

An example config file is attached which defines static IPs for both cable and wireless network (see bottom of this page).

Save the textfile as "dhcpcd.conf" on your enrollment USB stick, and insert it into each Connector Box you want to configure with these settings.

Debug Connector Box settings

If you cannot successfully pair a Connector Box in your server, you might want to analyse the cause by diagnosing the Connector Box configuration and status.

For this, connect a HDMI monitor and power it on. After the system has loaded, a diagnosis screen appears which gives you an overview of the current status. It refreshes after 1min automatically.

In the first section, the network interface configuration is shown, such as IP address of eth0 (ethernet cable) and wlan0 (the Wi-Fi connection).

In the second section, details of a Wi-Fi connection are displayed. If a link is established successfully, the signal strength will be shown here.

In the third section, the Connector Key is shown.

In the fourth section, the current time and details about the RTC (real-time-clock) is shown. It needs to be up-to-date (max 1min difference to the actual UTC time).

In the fifth section, the debug output for the enrollment procedure is shown.

A typical diagnosis screen of a factory-reset Connector Box (without any enrollment configured, connected to an ethernet cable) looks like this:

eth0: flags=4163<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        inet  netmask  broadcast
        inet6 2003:f6:13d6:1a00:7edb:ef81:dcad:9f38  prefixlen 64  scopeid 0x0<global>
        inet6 fe80::6d5:ea6f:6ac6:c1a7  prefixlen 64  scopeid 0x20<link>
        ether b8:27:eb:40:a5:ca  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 172819  bytes 213088506 (203.2 MiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 14  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 81537  bytes 8298156 (7.9 MiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0
wlan0: flags=4099<UP,BROADCAST,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        ether b8:27:eb:15:f0:9f  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

WiFi: Not connected.

Key: 1234-1234-1234

Device time: Mon 09 Dec 2019 12:41:14 PM UTC
Generic RTC found:   2019-12-09 12:41:14.156387+00:00

start enrollment @ 2019-12-09 12:41:06
https proxy: 
key: 123412341234
hardware: BCM2835.a020d3
version_build: 1.0.2-pre
version_connector: x.x.x
pending...enrollment failed: { Error: options.uri is a required argument
    at Request.init (/connector-enrollment/node_modules/request/request.js:231:31)
    at new Request (/connector-enrollment/node_modules/request/request.js:127:8)
    at Function.request (/connector-enrollment/node_modules/request/index.js:53:10)
    at Request._tryUntilFail (/connector-enrollment/node_modules/requestretry/index.js:124:23)
    at Factory (/connector-enrollment/node_modules/requestretry/index.js:178:7)
    at Function.helper [as post] (/connector-enrollment/node_modules/requestretry/index.js:208:12)
    at Object.<anonymous> (/connector-enrollment/main.js:133:9)
    at Module._compile (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:778:30)
    at Object.Module._extensions..js (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:789:10)
    at Module.load (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:653:32) attempts: 1 } undefined


Manually reset the Connector Box firmware

With this method, you can reset your Connector Box to factory settings, and upgrade /downgrade the firmware to a specific version. During this procedure, all individual configurations like enrollment, Wi-Fi, network address and update server are removed and need to be re-applied.

Step 1: Download the Laboperator connector file from the link provided by Laboperator. It is a file with approx. 15GB in size and “.img” extension.

Step 2: Unplug the power cable from your Connector Box.

Step 3: Remove the microSD card from your Connector Box, and insert it in your PC (using a microSD card reader).
Step 4: Use one of these image writer program to write the .img file and write the whole image onto the microSD card:

  • Windows: Win32DiskImager
  • MacOS: ApplePi-Baker

Do not mount the microSD card on your computer or use a disk format utility, also do not copy the .img file directly on the microSD card. The image writer program automatically creates the necessary partitions.

Step 5: After the microSD card is successfully written, insert it into the connector box and reconnect your power cable.

Step 6: Continue with the regular enrollment procedure.

Extract Connector Box Logfiles 

In certain cases you might want to analyze the logfiles of a Connector Box.

To extract the most recent logfiles:

  1. Prepare a USB stick (exFAT or FAT32), and create an empty folder "logdump".
  2. Insert this USB stick into the Connector Box, and wait approx. 5 minutes until historical logfiles (max. 90MB) are copied.
  3. As long as the USB stick is attached, all new log entries are written into the "logdump" folder.
  4. Remove the USB stick and use your PC to analyze the files in the "logdump" folder.


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