Little Backup Box Spring/Summer 2020 update

First of all, I hope you are all doing well. It would be an understatement to say that the last couple of months have been pretty tough.

My way of dealing with the current situation is to stay busy. So I’ve been baking (simple flatbread and Laugengebäck), improving my poor German, doing a lot of reading, and tinkering with my projects – including Little Backup Box. The first most visible change is the move to the lit.css CSS framework. I use this tiny framework for my other projects, so I wanted to keep the appearance consistent across all of them.

The installer script now installs and configures the vsftpd FTP server. This means that if your camera supports FTP transfers, you can upload RAW and JPEG files from the camera to Little Backup Box. If you own a recent Sony Alpha camera, the Using FTP feature in Sony α7 Mark III article penned by yours truly explains how you can upload RAW and JPEG files from the camera to an FTP server.

I also added the Cancel shutdown button to the web UI. By default, Little Backup Box shuts down after a specified time period (default is 5 min.) if it doesn’t detect any storage device. The Cancel shutdown button stops the shutdown countdown. Speaking of the web UI, I also moved it back to port 8000.

Keeping your RAW and JPEG files safe when you are on the move has always been Little Backup Box’s raison d’être. But let’s face it, not many of us will be traveling anytime soon. While you might still want to keep Little Backup Box handy when you are out and about, it might not be as useful for you as it hopefully was before. Coincidentally, I’ve been planning on extending Little Backup Box’s functionality in order to make it a more versatile solution: a tiny photo station, if you will, that in addition to backup can handle a variety of other photography-related tasks.

As the first step, I replaced the existing rudimentary JPEG viewer with a vastly improved RAW viewer. The RAW viewer extracts preview JPEG images from RAW files stored on the storage device and generates a minimalist responsive gallery. Better still, the RAW viewer can also automatically adjust the levels of each JPEG file. So now you can use Little Backup Box not only to back up RAW files, but also to preview and showcase them as a stylish gallery. Additionally, the extracted and improved JPEG files are perfectly suitable for sharing on photo sharing services.

To reflect all the recent Little Backup Box changes and improvements, I’ve updated the Little Backup Book. In addition to numerous updates, the book also features new content. Consider buying the book to get the most out of Little Backup Box and support the project. Thank you!

Be safe and be well!

Kind regards,


I wonder if this (NanoPi NEO3) would be a perfect fit for the little backup box: Inexpensive, small, USB3 (towards camera/card reader), combined with a good wifi stick on one of the USB2 ports, and a large micro SD card … I was searching for something with double USB3 or USB3 and SATA, but the only options I was able to find are much bigger, expensive, and power hungry. And it seems micro SD quality did improve dramatically over the last couple of years, such that it would be OKish for a travel backup. What are your thoughts? Or do you know better options?

The thing that is awesome about the raspberry pi is the community and the super wide spread adoption.

While I’m sure any SBC that can run a generic Linux distro can run LBB, trying to support them all is a fool’s errand.

So, YMMV :wink:

As is often the case, I agree with Mica. :slight_smile: New Raspberry Pi-like boards pop up pretty much on a daily basis. There is nothing that precludes you from trying to use any of them with Little Backup Box, but then you are pretty much on your own when it comes to troubleshooting.

On a personal note, I’m not a huge fan of most of the available Raspberry Pi “alternatives”. To put it bluntly, most of them are just trying to make a quick buck by churning out as many variants of cheap boards as possible. For many of them, it’s not about building communities, providing educational resources, contributing to the open-source community, or even supporting their own product in the long run.

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While I agree on most of your and @paperdigits points, I see that the raspberry project steers into a questionable direction, (especially that it still requires non-floss drivers to fully utilize it, and the hardware choices towards more powerful but also power hungry socs with the need for active cooling.

So for an up-to-date (USB3, low power consumption) Little Backup Box there is simply no option from the raspberry project, one would either have to chose a slow or a power hungry variant.

Of course, the high speed bus itself would require more power than a USB2, but the pi 4 is IMHO overkill for the LBB. The board mentioned is the first I came across that would almost suit my requirements (a 2nd USB3 would be great to separate backup storage from the micro sd card), but ymmv. Therefore I am interested in your opinion, what hardware are you using, what are you missing from the hardware, etc.

I’m not aware of any SBC that are completely libre and require no blobs for booting… But I’d like to be made aware :wink:

Of course, the Raspberry Pi foundation can’t please everyone, and there are things we all want them to do better or differently. But at least they are trying.

Anyway, to get back to the original topic. I actually have two Little Backup Box devices. On short trips, I use a Raspberry Pi Zero + Zero4U combo running Little Backup Box. It’s small, and it can be powered via a regular power bank. It’s not fast, but that’s not a big issue, as I don’t usually take a lot of photos on short trips. On longer trips, I use a Raspberry Pi 4. I tend to take a lot of photos, so the transfer speed is an important factor. Power consumption is not a huge issue for me, as I usually power it using a power supply.

Ideally, I’d like to have something like Raspberry Pi Model A with 2 USB 3.0 ports, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Hope this helps. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Many thanks @dmpop, that’s a great insight.

As you may have noticed, I have an ambivalent feeling about the raspberry foundation. While I very much appreciate their aspiration, I think they could easily do better regarding some aspects. But nobody’s perfect, that’s true. And probably there’s a new zero with USB3 on its way (but I still like the form factor of the board mentioned above better) …

I already did realize projects on the basis of a raspberry pi. E.g. we used 2 first generation pi’s to build a photo booth for a wedding of two good friends. This had a custom user interface done in python, and did handle viewing of the images with a projector connected to the second pi with a quite evolved algorithm to view the photos in a random but directed order. However, when adding a printer, the pi’s were not longer fast enough to handle the amount of data generated, such that we switched to a regular PC built into the socket of our device. This all was great fun and a lot of work. I guess we had quite similar issues to solve as you have with LBB.

So thanks for this project from a not-yet user, I am contemplating the idea of building a backup device for a long time already, and it seems suitable hardware may be available soonish. Maybe I wait for a next zero or try the one mentioned above, let’s see :smile:.

I have my LBB on a PI 3b+ and use a plug pack for power. On my last 19 day vacation to Europe, took approximately 1400 photos. Just set up LBB to backup when I get back to accommodation each day let it run unattended, speed is not that important. Extremely happy with its performance, LBB just gets the job done in the end that is all that matters to me. Purchased Dmitri’s Photography book and used the information in it to add geo tagging to my photos once back home, all this meant no need to take a laptop on vacation. Awesome :sunglasses:


Thank you for sharing your experience with Little Backup Box and for buying the book! Your support means a lot to me.