Feedback Pioneer FreedomBox Home Server

Overall Impressions

List of things you liked

  • Hardware design (technical, product design).
  • Software.

List of things you disliked

  • No technical details regarding the hardware.

Feedback on a Problem or for Improvement


It is really helpful to have a well made hardware platform you can just buy and plug-in. Working together with a hardware vendor like Olimex is good for both FreedomBox and Olimex.

However, it would be nice to have more documentation and technical details regarding the actual hardware. I really want to know what Olimex parts are in the FreedomBox.


Please provide a detailed description of of the hardware parts used in the FreedomBox. A user manual would be helpful explaining the different connections (I am not able to read the schematics). Hardware vendors like HP often write a user manual for there hardware products. However, they also describe software and have sometimes too much marketing slang in the documents.

Proposed Solution

Do the following:

  • Product description
  • Technical description (with all technical details, such as number of cores, processor, CPU extensions, power consumption, SATA and USB type etc.)
  • Write a user manual for the actual FreedomBox Pioneer with pictures and some hints on where to extend the FreedomBox or what storage to add to the box and where.
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@balduin Thanks for you feedback and welcome to the community! :smiley:

I have sent a link to this thread to Olimex mentioning the need for a hardware user manual. Waiting for their response.

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@njoseph thanks.

Thanks for contacting Olimex.

@njoseph thanks for the ping on Mastodon

Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK is based on A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 Open Source Hardware Linux computer Rev.G as written on product page

Dual core Cortex-A7 @1.2Ghz
Gigabit Ethernet
micro SD card
2 USB 2.0 hosts HS

power supply 5V, consumption between 1.5 and 5W depend on load - 0.3…1A
not including hard drive consumption

here is A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 product page

The User manual is a bit obsolete as we have now mainline Linux build which is not described inside the manual.

If you have some specific question let me know I will try to help.

You can attach any SATA hard drive to the SATA connector and it will be add as new storage to FreedomBox.

We have separate HDD/SDD bay

which allow you easily to connect 2.5" drives.

Best regards


I was unable to find the transfer rate of the SATA interface.

  • SATA rev. 1.0 -> 1,5 Gbit/s
  • SATA rev. 2.0 -> 3 Gbit/s
  • SATA rev. 3.0 -> 6 Gbit/s

or does it depend?

Can you update the User Manual to reflect the current state?

Where I am most interested in is the Mali 400 driver. How did you solve this? Are you using the Lima driver? Apparently, it is in the mainline kernel:

Please answer the Mali question for Debian 10 Buster.

The Bay-HDD is a nice option. Just, saw it.

SATA is 2.6 compliant 3Gb/s as seen from A20 datasheet

User manual is being updated but will take a while

Why would you like Mali400 on FreedomBox server?

Mali in ARM is used only for 3D rendering and far away from FreedomBox-HSK activities.


@olimex, Tsventan, thank you for the information. I have updated the wiki/manual page with the missing specs and information about storage add-on.

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This is an optional question, but an interesting one to me. I am asking, because there could be a chance of an FSF Respects Your Freedom Certification.

Furthermore, there could be a chance to offload certain tasks to the GPU if it is usable. However, the Mali-400 MP2 GPU does not support OpenCL.

Does the HSK stand for Home Server Kit? The HSK is a little confusing.

@sunil is the Mali 400 MP2 GPU disabled in the FreedomBox image?

The GPU is not disabled, we simply ignore it as we expect it to be a headless setup.

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@olimex thanks for pointing out the BAY-HDD option. I got mine today. However, there are no instructions on how to assemble it. I have 4 screws I do not know where to put, from the images I have an idea on where to put the other 8. In total there are 12 screws and 4 little rubber feeds.

How to assembly is in the LIME2-Server User manual:

I just add this link to BAY-HDD product page
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The FreedomBox-HSK server comes pre-assembled. The steps are slightly different.

The first step is to open the FreedomBox-HSK (remove top screw), then remove the rubber feeds and screws from the bottom of the FreedomBox-HSK. Once you removed the screw from the bottom the single board computer (lime2) can fall out. So, you have to be careful and fix it with your hand, while working on the screws with your other hand.

In the next step, you have to position the top of the hard drive bay to the bottom of the FreedomBox-HSK. From there it is the same as the Lime2 server manual.

However, after following the rest of the manual instructions. I am having 4 M3x4 screws and 8 rubber feeds left. The rubber feeds do not fit into the bottom of the Bay-HDD case, the holes on the bottom are too big and they fall off easily once I put them in the bottom holes. Basically, the hard drive enclosure sits on the metal screws. The metal screws sit on the surface. This is less than perfect, because the case (Bay-HDD + FreedomBox-HSK) can easily slide around. In addition, the metal screws can damage the surface the FreedomBox is sitting on.

Can you please clarify the issue with the rubber feeds? Do I miss something there or is this really an issue? The rubber feeds are missing from the manual completely.

4 of the screws should go around the sides of the Bay-HDD, they hold the drive in place.

I also didn’t use rubber feet on the bottom, but I have a soft surface under it so it’s ok for me.

I got my BAY-HDD with 8 M3x4, 4 M3x10 and 4 rubber feed. I reused 4 M3x4 holding the Lime2 board after I attached the top of the BAY-HDD to the bottom of FreedomBox-HSK. I used 4 M3x4 to hold the SSD. I used the 4 M3x10 for the bottom of the BAY-HDD. At the end I was left with 8 rubber feeds and 4 M3x4 screws.

My question to @olimex is still, why so many rubber feeds are left? Maybe I missed something or it is an issue with the current version of their BAY-HDD product?

BAY-HDD comes with it’s own set of rubber feets as we don’t know to what box it will be attached to.
Ths very first box release had too big openings and rubber feets has to be sealed with glue. We are going to change the opening size to smaller when we run next batch of metal boxes.
It’s true if you have already Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK some screws and rubber feets will be duplicated, but you can use them as spare.

A post was split to a new topic: Wi-Fi Shield for Pioneer

@olimex thanks for the clarification.