Web Server in a Box

Front of bare WIB Back of bare WIB

I was looking for a workhorse interface for some projects out at the farm. An ethernet based web sever with a few IO ports seemed just about ideal. After admiring the Silicon Chip project by Mauro Grassi in the Nov 2009 issue (followup in Dec 2009), I decided that this looked just about perfect - except for some surface mount components. A few weeks of studying soldering techniques for surface mount components on the web and I felt confident enought to purchase the kit KC5489: Kit - SD Card Webserver with IO 11/09 from Jaycar Electronics.

What is it?

The WIB (Web Server in a Box) is a small dsPIC based web server with 4 digital outputs and 4 inputs. The board has a 3.3V serial port ie a port that use RS232 signaling but not at RS2332 levels.


Easter 2010 arrived and I managed to set aside a few hours to commence construction. Construction was straight forward and with a little care even the 2 surface mount parts were easily fitted - use a good soldering station (in my case a DSE T2000 - model 2) with a fine tip, a Goot solder sucker (desoldering tool) makes a much better job of cleaning up excess than solder wick and a vacuum pickup tool makes controlling the parts a little easier.

T2000 Goot desoldering tool Vacuum pickup tool

Soldering Surface Mount Devices

In case you have not dealt with SMD (Surface Mount Device) devices before the technique for soldering them is simple in theory.

The practice is only a little more complex. After positioning the device and tacking the first pin you have a little bit of wiggle room to align all the pins up. Be accurate - you will regret it later if the pins are not well aligned with the pads. Using too much solder will result in bridging, clean up with wick or a desoldering tool. Remember to redo the first and last pins with some extra solder. Inspect everything at the end for shorts and dry joints. A magnifiying glass makes seeing the fine connections easier both while soldering and inspecting the job. Remember a fine, temperature controlled soldering iron is a must for SMDs.


Sat Apr 3, 2010

The problems started when following the setup instructions provided by Silicon Chip; I downloaded the basic website to the SD card and noticed that the web server fails to present the login window documented on page 89 of the December 2009 edition of Silicon Chip.

"... launch your web browser ... type [in my case] in the address bar and press enter ... A login window should appear"
Unfortunately, instead of the login window I am provided with direct access to the .CGI files. This behaviour invalidates the security on the box (you can read the username and password in the "basic" page and download .dat and .txt files without limitation via the web browser. Updates to the settings still appear to need a username and password as does ftp access - unfortunately the earlier fault means that there is no means of hiding the username and password from visitors.

The answer appears in the April 2010 edition of Silicon Chip in their FAQ for the WIB. Apparently, with firmwares before 5.40, WIBs with IP addresses not in the range (192.168.0.x) don't provide proper file acces protections.

I have asked Jaycar for an updated programmed PIC, we will see if they come to the party. Apr 6, 2010 - Jaycar have offered to upgrade the PIC if I send them the one I currently have to the new firmware

The other issue I found is do NOT format your SD card as FAT16 - the WIB will not work with it stick to later FAT versions. The lights flash just like they should on a working device, but the device fails to set itself up correctly.

Back to Electronics