Sync Hacks: Back Up Your Files with BitTorrent Sync on Chumby


In Sync Hacks, we spotlight cool uses of Sync from the creative minds of our users. Sync is our free, unlimited, and secure file-syncing application. If you have an interesting use or how-to, shoot us an email at sync[at] Can’t wait to hear what you guys cook up.

In this week’s Sync Hacks, Huan Truong shows us set up BitTorrent Sync on Chumby. He wanted a secure and simple way to sync his files, without storing his data in the cloud. If you’ve got a Chumby device lying around, read on to see how Huan does it.

Chumby with Bittorrent Sync

What you’ll need:
Get BitTorrent Sync here
Chumby device
For Mac OS or Linux users

Get Started

1.First, you’ll need to clone my repository with git. Then customize your WPA key and secret and if you want, define a NFS mountpoint as laid out in the README file.

2. Put in the password for your network on network_config.

to get the Chumby to connect to your wireless network password

3. I exported my NAS to a NFS share and let the Chumby mount the NFS share. If you just have a USB flash drive or external drive, just plug it in the back of the Chumby, it will be automounted, so don’t bother to modify the nfsmount file.

4. Change the web interface password by modifying htpasswd (google htpasswd generator).

5. Execute ./repack-update to create the customized update package . Copy the update.tgz to a FAT32-formatted drive and press on the Chumby screen while turning it on, and upgrade the firmware as directed on the screen.

6. I created a webkit based interface (thanks to the previous hack I did) to monitor the status of BitTorrent Sync on the handy screen of the Chumby. Then, adding synchronized folders is as easy as going to http://address-of-your-chumby/gui/ on your computer and define them (create them first on your HDD, as you can’t create the synchronized folder on the fly yet), and then paste/scan the Sync key with your other computers. For more information, refer to the BT Sync documentation.


Voila! We now have a very pretty backup device. Very pretty, indeed.

PS: The Chumby has only wireless connection so it will be slow, but who cares, it’s a back up device and it’s done whenever it’s done, right.

PS2: I didn’t password-protect ssh on the chumby, so beware of that fact.

Huan Truong (@huant) is a hacker by night and a graduate student in bioinformatics studying high performance computing and stuff by day. “Huan’s firmware? In your device? It’s more likely than you think.” Huan’s site is at