Introduction: Internet Island

A solar powered Raspberry Pi based Offline internet server!

Many of us are slaves to the information available on the internet for knowledge and entertainment. These resources are sometimes unavailable to us, such as when in areas that have very little internet connectivity or in case of natural disasters which can knock out phone, electricity, and the internet for 72 hours or more, and could be MUCH longer in the case of an super solar event or an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) when they drop the Big Bomb.

Sometimes we may deliberately wish to disconnect ourselves from the full internet while still wanting access information from parts of it, for example, when creating a safe haven for our children or if we want to make some information available to the public and wish to remove ourselves from the liability of what people could do on-line using our equipment.

Whatever our reasons, some may need an island of the internet all to themselves.

In this instructable, I show you how to build a portable wireless server containing a wealth of knowledge from the internet that you can take with you. When stored, it should be able to survive the circuit-destroying energy of a super solar event or an EMP and yet is still portable. As an portable device, it requires no infrastructure and therefor can be used most anywhere (ok, it relies on solar energy and uses batteries so it needs sunlight and temperatures within human norms, so using it in the arctics may be out of the question...).

Lets get started...

Step 1: Overview

This instructable shows how to put a Raspberry Pi with a 64 gb Micro SD card containing RACHEL. The Pi runs without a mouse/keyboard and serves the content via a wireless dongle. The Pi is powered by a 12 volt battery which is charged by a solar panel. All of the components fit inside an aluminum carrying case which provides EMP protection when all components are stowed.


The hardware list includes:

1. A Model A plus Raspberry Pi computer with a case, like this one: (about $30)

2. A 64 gb SD Card: (about $30 at this time)

3. A Raspberry Pi compatible wireless USB dongle: (about $10 from a reputable seller)

4. A 28 watt 18 volt folding solar panel, like this one: (about $110)

5. A solar charge controller, like this one: (about $15)

6. At least one 12 volt 12 amp hour lead acid battery (or equivalent), like this one: (about $25)

7. A 12 volt to 5v, 1 amp call phone charger and cigarette lighter socket, like this one: (about $5)

8. Aluminum case, like this one: (about $30)

9. Wireless tablet(s), like these: (about $35)

10. Miscellaneous wires and connectors (about $25)

The total bill is about: $320

Step 3: Putting It All Together

The solar panel folds up when stowed in the case but can be opened up to charge the battery.

The pictures show I'm getting about 30 watts from my panels (but conversion losses getting this power into the battery means my effective charge is much less).

The solar panel is connected to the charge controller, the battery is connected to the charge controller, and the Raspberry Pi is connected to the 12v to USB charger and then to the LOAD port of the charger controller.

A model B Raspberry Pi can be used but remember it draws more power from the battery so you may need a larger solar panel and battery to keep operational.

Install the wireless dongle in the Raspberry Pi USB port.

Download and load the RACHEL image onto the MicroSD card per the instructions here:

To STOW the setup:
- fold up the panels
- unplug the power to the Raspberry Pi
- place all components into the case
- close the case.

To DEPLOY the setup:
- open the case
- remove and unfold the solar panels so they get sun
- connect power to the Raspberry Pi and let it boot up.
- connect the tablets to the Pi wirelessly and surf away


You may want to store an extra SD card containing RACHEL in the case - backups are good!

More batteries? Larger solar panel?

Include a couple of those $30 tablets in the case so you can use access RACHEL wirelessly.

Extend RACHEL with additional content... I know the US provides army first aide and survival training manuals in PDF form.

Add an inverter to the kit so the tablets can be recharged like this one: Ebay inverter

Remember! Only when everything is unplugged and in the case and the case is closed can the package survive an EMP! I have not measured the case so I can not state definitively concerning the amount of protection the case provides from an EMP. If your equipment fails due to an EMP from a nuclear bomb detonation while the case is closed and stowed, then come to my house and I will gladly refund your money.

Step 4: Spending the Apocalypse With RACHEL

RACHEL is a stand-alone internet island.

RACHEL provides the following data:

Wikipedia for Schools

The Kahn Academy including Math, Science, Health and Medicine

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Hesperian Health Guides


Practical Action

Great Books of the World

CK-12 Textbooks

One Laptop Per Child Educational Packages

UNESCO's IICBA Electronic Library

Math tutoring materials from Math Expression

Power Typing

Music Theory

MIT Scratch

And a course on Understanding Algebra.

See more at:

In short RACHEL provides most of the materials needed for a good education (other than language)... just what we need to preserve in the case of the apocalypse.

When Carl Grimes is taking a break from killing Walkers, he needs to learn with RACHEL (That's right, a reference to The Walking Dead.)

Step 5: Conclusion

I showed you how to create a Raspberry Pi based portable solar powered 'offline internet' server which can be stowed at the ready for the next apocalypse or can be taken to exotic and remote places on Earth to start a school.