Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another cheap Pogoplug Airplay Express setup

Here is another quick hacked PogoPlug running ArchLinux as a Apple Airport receiver. You can read more about Pogo and Airplay here.

Total part cost less than $50:

PogoPlug in the discount bin online $15-20.
Cheap USB powered Logitech speakers (regular $30, onsale $12).
Sabrent USB sound card dongle. $7
Extra USB stick for ArchLinux install (free from the recycle bin). You can get away with a 1-2GB USB stick if you are just using Airplay, Airprint, Google ChromePrint.

Of course, I will be using this Pogoplug for other things like Motion USB webcam surveillance. Furthermore, these speakers aren't the greatest but they don't require an extra power outlet. This is just to demonstrate that you can quickly build a very portable, self-contained Airplay sound system with a little bit of geek "elbow grease." I had a few extra Pogos and left-over parts lying around, so I figure why not. The speakers and sound card were extras in the drawer so they were brought back to life. The whole process took less than 20 minutes with an existing image I made for another PogoPlug.

There is only one AC power jack required. The speakers are USB powered by the Pogoplug itself.

I plug the USB sound card in the front so I can adjust volume and do other things more accessible.

Rear is the USB power and OS bootable USB stick.

This thing is so cheap and disposable, I can throw one in the garage or workshop.  I continue to be amaze at the ultra cool factor of the pogoplug and its ability to be versatile. If you don't care for Airplay, you can also install a Squeezebox client into one of these just as easily.


Logitech Z120 USB powered speakers: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Stereo-Speakers-Powered-980-000524/dp/B004ULOZPQ

Sabrent USB 2.0 USB sound card dongle:


  1. I've also been setting up AirPlay devices around the house. Currently a refurbished Apple AirPort Express $75 is the big winner as it can also act as a WiFi extender when used with an AirPort Extreme. I just wish it was 802.11ac

    1. I have a $69 refurb Airport Express as well. The only problem I have with them is that they are prone to cutting off when someone uses the microwave. I guess they share the 2.4 GHz spectrum. With 5GHz on my iPad and ethernet on the Pogo, I don't have those interruptions.

  2. I have one of these original Pogoplugs performing the same function with the audio going into a Kingrex T20U amplifier. I've seen reviews which are critical of the styling of the original Pogoplug for being out of date, likening it to the original 90s iMac. I think it looks cool and more interesting and appealing than the current Pogoplugs.

    If you are fortunate to have a Pogoplug Pro version, I think it has a mini pci-e wireless card (it certainly has the interface) which frees up a USB port. I have mine with a nano wifi adapter on the rear and Sandisk nano usb in the front USB port. It looks quite tidy like this without large dongles protruding from the ports.

    Cheap Airplay unit 10/10

    Cable management 1/10 ;-)

  3. Great blog - thanks for posting.

    I've been looking at getting a small linux machine to run a few network services. I was thinking about a Raspberry Pi Model B, but it doesn't have gig-e and the network is on the usb bus. I'm most interested in running netatalk, samba and squid.

    Have you got any benchmarks for network throughput on the E02? I'm very interested to know how squid would perform (given that the area I'm in has 100mbit cable).