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Linux, Raspberry Pi, RPi, And FR24

by roofer
I started this thread because the http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/4270-Linux-feeder-software-for-Flightradar24 was getting to be way too long, and trying to cover everything.

Which isn't possible.

Please post here your thoughts, ideas, and achievements relating to linux, FR24 and the Raspberry Pi (as many of us seem to be using it).

Best wishes.

  • I actually mashed the more help-based info into 1 thread, but most are overlooking it.

    http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/5167-RTL2832U-R820T-Tuner-Decoding
    - Oblivian, a year ago
  • Thanks to Roofer and Oblivian... I was struggling to follow the Linux Feeder Software thread due to its length!

    I am fairly new to FR24... I am working on a project to install RPi based FR24 feeders on several of the surrounding mountains in my area (South central British Columbia, Canada) along the Canada/USA border.

    I am using Rev B Raspberry Pi boards running latest version of Raspbian Wheezy, with RTL2832U/R820T dongles, RTL-SDR and the latest build of MalcolmRobb's fork of Dump1090 along with fr24feed_arm-le_232s

    Everything went smoothly (couldn't have been easier!) and appeared to be working fine. Any time Dump1090 shows traffic with lat/long I see corresponding "[i]sent 1 planes in 1 packets"

    However, after a while the feeder seems to slow down and eventually after a couple of hours the feeder stops working all together. The program is still running and very occasionally it spits out a line (maybe a ping, maybe a [i]sent..) but for all intents and purposes it is dead. CRTL-C kills it with no problems, and if I immediately restart the feeder program, it will again work fine for a short period of time.

    Wondering if anyone has any advice or suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ben
    - CubDriver, a year ago
  • Hello Ben,
    I had the same problem with fr24feed_arm-le_232s on my RPi: it was running, and appeared to be working, but the FR24 server never listened to it.
    I am using the original dump1090, not the one that adds the time fields (though maybe I should use that one as I now have a GPS puck attached to the RPI, so it is a ntp "Stratum 0" timeserver for my LAN)
    I went back to using fr24feed_arm-le_225s and that is working fine.
    - roofer, a year ago
  • I use adsbox and every new version later than the last 2012 version, stops working after a while. Same problem with the 323s FR24 feeder software. The 225s is flawless.

    RPi doesn't like change :D
    - Zorba, a year ago
  • Are folks here using wired or wireless connections to the Pi? If wireless which make/model of wireless dongles are working? I had read that there was only a limited number, but that was a while back.
    - 41south, a year ago
  • Thank you roofer and Zorba! I appreciate the information.

    I found 225s here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/66906/fr24feed_arm-le_225s.tgz

    I'll install it tonight and give it a go.

    Thanks again for the help!

    Ben
    - CubDriver, a year ago
  • Are folks here using wired or wireless connections to the Pi? If wireless which make/model of wireless dongles are working? I had read that there was only a limited number, but that was a while back.

    Hi 41south,

    I am currently using wired connections as I had some concerns about putting the WiFi dongle so close to the RTL2832 dongle (interference), and also because I prefer to minimize the number of active components in my design since my Pi's will be on remote mountain-top towers... however many others are using RPi's with wifi dongles.

    If it's any help to you, there are several different brands of WiFi dongles available on ModMyPi, Amazon, Ebay, etc. There are even some that have external antenna connectors...

    Click here (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=raspberry%20pi%20wifi) to do a search on amazon.com for "raspberry pi wifi" and you'll see lots of options.

    Hope this helps...

    Cheers,

    Ben
    - CubDriver, a year ago
  • I use adsbox and every new version later than the last 2012 version, stops working after a while. Same problem with the 323s FR24 feeder software. The 225s is flawless.

    RPi doesn't like change :D

    You guys were right; 225 is flawless. Thanks again for the tip!
    Ben
    - CubDriver, a year ago
  • No problem.

    I have a Belkin USB WiFi adapter and worked as it should when plugging it in. No disconnects (at least not because of the adapter itself).
    - Zorba, a year ago
  • Planning to have the second radar as a backup apart from T-VTBD1 currently 24x7. Now RPi is ready but the RTL still on transit.
    My plan is RTL -> RPi (rtl-sdr, dump1090) -> FR24 feeder

    My question are:
    1. I need to have this setup all autostart in the event of power failure. Any help? I'm not good at unix programming.
    2. Adding an USB GPS can help anything in term of clock or timestamp?
    3. For the FR24 feeder. v225 or 232 which one has less issue?


    Thanks,
    - Kanok, a year ago
  • 1] Yes, you can set what programs you want to start at boot either by making entries in /etc/rc.local or making an /etc/init.d/ script (as usual with linux, there are several ways to achieve the same result)

    2] It is not necessary to send the time. The regular version of dump1090 (which I am using) does not do this. There is a patched version (http://www.satsignal.eu/Radio/dump1090.html) which does, but I do not see the point, unless you have your clock set to within a few nanoseconds of accuracy. As an aside, the above link pretty much tells you all you need to know to get your RPi up & running, as well as an example of an init.d script to make sure it starts working after a reboot.

    A USB GPS dongle will allow you to set the time to about 1 microsecond accuracy. This is probably not sufficient for accurate MLAT calculations. For accuracy to the nanosecond you'll need a GPS receiver with a "one pulse per second" (1PPS) output to connect to one of the GPIO pins on the RPi, and a special kernel, configured to use this data. You'll also have to set up the ntp daemon to use this information. This is not difficult, and a search engine will help you.

    3] Most of us seem to be using the fr24feed_arm-le_225s version. That is the statically linked version. This works well.

    Good luck.
    - roofer, a year ago
  • I found this very helpful for getting started with RPi + RTL-2832U USB dongle.

    http://www.satsignal.eu/Radio/dump1090.html

    I'm amazed - the 4" whip antenna on it's mini mag-mount inside an upstairs north facing window in Birmingham can see planes from Macclesfield, Cheshire to Swindon, Wiltshire

    To see the results on a map use a browser to point to http://your-pi-ip-address:8080

    Now I'll see if i can whizz up a tuned antenna to stick in the mini-mag-mount base and see about finding the FR24 feed software
    - peterhr, a year ago
  • I went back to using fr24feed_arm-le_225s and that is working fine.Experiencing the mentioned stability issues witht version 232s I just switched back to 225s which unfortunately outputs the following error message:
    [i]FR24Feed v225 - built on Oct 8 2012/09:38:58
    [i]Downloading configuration...[e]Could not connect to feed.flightradar24.com, errno: 111
    ERROR
    [e]Could not retrieve configuration from Flightradar24

    Any hints on how to resolve this issue?
    - inquisitor, a year ago
  • My guess is that you forgot this line, before you launch the feeding software

    export FR24AUTHIP=83.140.247.20
    If it does not know the IP of FR24, it cannot connect.
    - roofer, a year ago
  • Thanks, roofer! Now it works.
    - inquisitor, a year ago
  • Hi

    Got my DVB-T and try set it up on 15 floor building using indoor ADSB antenna. Firstly it see only 2-3 planes, manually set the gain down to 37 seem to get the best result (10 at most) but seem to miss a lot of plane. Any more tweak from your experience?

    My setup is DVB-T on RPi (rtl-sdr, dump1090. fr24 static 225). ANRB indoor antenna and 15Mb Internet.

    Thanks


    Sent from my iPad 2 Limited Ed. using Tapatalk HD
    - Kanok, 11 months ago
  • Hi

    Got my DVB-T and try set it up on 15 floor building using indoor ADSB antenna. Firstly it see only 2-3 planes, manually set the gain down to 37 seem to get the best result (10 at most) but seem to miss a lot of plane. Any more tweak from your experience?

    My setup is DVB-T on RPi (rtl-sdr, dump1090. fr24 static 225). ANRB indoor antenna and 15Mb Internet.

    Location, location, location! :D Can you get the antenna outside the window? maybe sealed in a plastic bag or something.

    I had 2 AC from inside the window, 10 AC from just outside the window, and now on stick some 40-50 centimeters from the window I get 30-40 Aircraft out to a distance of 140-150 Nautical miles.

    Next thing is a better antenne completely away from the building.
    - Kpin, 11 months ago
  • Am I correct that Dump1090 only supports input from dvb-t devices? I have a Mode-S Beast and was wondering if I can use that with a Pi?

    Colin
    - 41south, 11 months ago
  • dump1090 is only for use with certain USB DVB-T dongles. Given the very low cost, it works extremely well.

    The RPi is just a neat little computer, and I know no reason why you cannot use a Mode-S Beast receiver with it.
    This guy (http://nzradar.com/?p=2353) had some success. It looks like you need adsbox to decode the output of the Mode-S

    What hardware / software are you currently using with your receiver?
    - roofer, 11 months ago
  • I have been watching this very interesting thread for some time now, i meant to post a few weeks ago.

    I don't know if this any help to you guys with the Dongles, but i read somewhere that you should not download the TV Software that comes with these Sticks as causes conflicts with the Mode-S Software.
    - speedbird1960, 11 months ago
  • @ speedbird1960:

    Thanks for bringing this up.

    The software that comes with these very cheap RTL SDR dongles (my dongle's lsusb ID is 0bda:2838 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL2838 DVB-T ) is only for windows.

    BUT I discovered to my cost when playing with some of the linux software for my dongle, that if I install software to let me to use the dongle as a TV receiver, it stops me using it with SDR ("Software Defined Radio") and dump1090 etc.

    The solution was to blacklist the dvb-specific modues

    dvb_core
    dvb_usb
    dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
    dvb_usb_v2
    so they would no longer be loaded by udev when the stick was plugged in. (I do not watch TV anyway, it was just a "what happens if...?").

    Then everything ADS-B worked as it should, as did all the SDR programs like gqrx.

    So you can either watch TV, or play with SDR and ADSB. You can't do both at the same time.
    - roofer, 11 months ago
  • 1] Yes, you can set what programs you want to start at boot either by making entries in /etc/rc.local or making an /etc/init.d/ script (as usual with linux, there are several ways to achieve the same result)

    2] It is not necessary to send the time. The regular version of dump1090 (which I am using) does not do this. There is a patched version (http://www.satsignal.eu/Radio/dump1090.html) which does, but I do not see the point, unless you have your clock set to within a few nanoseconds of accuracy. As an aside, the above link pretty much tells you all you need to know to get your RPi up & running, as well as an example of an init.d script to make sure it starts working after a reboot.

    A USB GPS dongle will allow you to set the time to about 1 microsecond accuracy. This is probably not sufficient for accurate MLAT calculations. For accuracy to the nanosecond you'll need a GPS receiver with a "one pulse per second" (1PPS) output to connect to one of the GPIO pins on the RPi, and a special kernel, configured to use this data. You'll also have to set up the ntp daemon to use this information. This is not difficult, and a search engine will help you.

    3] Most of us seem to be using the fr24feed_arm-le_225s version. That is the statically linked version. This works well.

    Good luck.

    Hi, folks,

    I've followed the instructions at http://www.satsignal.eu/Radio/dump1090.html and lo and behold it works well. However, once I follow the instructions to have dump1090 start automatically, my rpi will no longer boot. If I unplug my R820T dongle, it will boot. If I run the init.d script manually (with dongle plugged in) it works just fine. This rpi is a fascinating piece of hardware but it's also so incredibly frustrating that I'm ready to chuck it out the window into very heavy traffic. So, as you might imagine, any help will be appreciated.

    Rob
    - sonicgoose, 11 months ago
  • Please don't throw the RPi out just yet (send it to me, I'd like more!).

    The Rpi is cheap, and very, very good.

    The FR24 all-in-one receiver is no doubt better, but also very much more expensive http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/5413-Who-is-planning-on-buying-the-new-FR24-Receiver than a RPi & dongle.

    I am not sure why you cannot reboot, and have the feeder software automatically restarted, but I am mightily busy with other stuff right now, and not able to offer you much help at the moment..

    Sorry, but I'll be back later, if someone else hasn't sorted your problems by then ....
    - roofer, 11 months ago
  • Hi

    Have anybody experience with Radarbox working under linux (on Raspberry)? Using Wine, for example.
    - Dauren, 11 months ago
  • Have anybody experience with Radarbox working under linux (on Raspberry)? Using Wine, for example.
    No, sorry!
    - nzradar, 11 months ago
  • Hi

    Have anybody experience with Radarbox working under linux (on Raspberry)? Using Wine, for example.

    Interesting article here:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/23/tech/innovation/udoo-android-linux-pc/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fedition_world+%28RSS%3A +World%29

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/130418104059-raspberry-piarduino-dueudoo-horizontal-gallery.jpg
    - Birdie, 11 months ago
  • Hi

    Have anybody experience with Radarbox working under linux (on Raspberry)? Using Wine, for example.

    I have experiences using the Radarbox as a paper-weight.
    - Birdie, 11 months ago
  • I have set up a system based on microADSB stick and Raspberry Pi. Basically it is working - but not very stable.

    Description in this post of the "monster thread":
    http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/4270-Linux-feeder-software-for-Flightradar24?p=33380&viewfull=1#post33380

    Maybe someone has an idea why adsb is eventually stopping? Any hints are welcomed.
    - thowe, 11 months ago
  • I am not using adsbox, I am using dump1090 which has been very stable (uptime is 53 days so far) with a RTL2838 USB-connected DVB-T.

    Is your "microADSB" a special 1090MHz receiver, or is it a generic USB DVB-T receiver that you are tuning to 1090MHz?

    If the microADSB is connected via a serial port, how are you setting the device's baudrate, start, stop, parity etcetera?

    In your script, you are setting the baud rate at 3000000, that is three million. Most serial ports will not go that fast.

    If the microADSB is connected via USB maybe you should try connecting it with a powered USB hub, rather than relying on the RPi to provide sufficuent power.
    - roofer, 11 months ago
  • microADSB ist basically another implementation of the miniADSB (http://www.sprut.de/electronic/pic/projekte/adsb/adsb_en.html), a well known PIC based dedicated receiver. It is not a SDR solution like dump1090 is.

    I tried other baud rates too. With no change.

    Thanks for the hint with the powered Hub. I should receive one next week or so and will give feedback here.
    - thowe, 11 months ago
  • For some time I've been using the raspberry pi + RTL dongle,

    The little whip antenna that came with the tuner dongle brought in signals from about 45-50Nm (Nautical miles) ... that's about 90Km

    Initially I made up a simple dipole antenna by separating out 137mm the centre core + insulation and the copper braid from some TV coaxial cable - bending them in opposite directions - based on the idea here http://antirez.com/news/46

    fixing about 20cm beyond the house gutter on the north side of the building with the elements vertical ... probably about 5m from the ground (bear in mind I'm just west of Birmingham, UK) - this gave me cover roughly from The Wash in the East, through Leeds, occasionally Whitehaven, Isle of Man, just short of Dublin, and down to Gloucester (but that's over the other side of the roof) ... that's about 145Nm range where there are no buildings in the way

    http://i42.tinypic.com/jj5n6b.jpg
    Simple dipole antenna

    http://i41.tinypic.com/33f6h5e.jpg
    dump1090 map using simple dipole - the roof of the house blocks signals from the south

    I've also made up a cheap collinear antenna following the instructions at http://www.balarad.net/ - 11 elements no terminating resistor (didn't have one in my odds and ends box) - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkUYdCPFXXs

    stuck the antenna to a bamboo pole and held it out a window on the south side of the house - I'll have to sort out proper brackets and a tube to put the antenna in - anyway these are the results with it taped to a slightly damp bamboo bean pole

    http://i40.tinypic.com/rvir7a.jpg

    I'll could put up some T & K brackets and mount up the co-linear ... it would be nice to mount it on the chimney - but I don't fancy getting up there to do it - though I think I'm more tempted to see if I can work two dongles on one pi (or two pi's) and have two dipoles - one out front and one out back.
    - peterhr, 10 months ago
  • Tried a 10m active USB cable between the PI and the Realtek RTL2832U+R820T - the PI couldn't set the registers in the tuner.

    Tried to do the same with a powered USB hub powering the PI and and between the pi and the Active USB cable - same result.

    Did then doubt the Active USB cable - could run a pen memory stick from a windows PC through it so it seems OK.

    Next thing to try is to put the Raspberry Pi with the tuner stick on the antenna in a sealed box (I'm thinking of one of those clip type lunch boxes like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121006654092 but of appropriate size)

    The box would be put somewhere away from direct sunlight and rain (I'm thinking of velcro straps under the eaves - but could be in a bigger ventilated 'shade box' on a mast. Ethernet and antenna feed would be taken into the box through a hole then liberally sealed with silicone from a chalking gun.

    Run the electronics with power over Ethernet. (A standard Ethernet cable contains four twisted pairs of conductors - one pair is used for signals one way along the wire - another pair for the signals the other way ... that means there are still four conductors spare. Commercially POE is used for office IP phones and things like webcams at 48v ... we won't be so ambitious - we'll try first at 5v since that is what the PI needs.)

    to do the POE we need some bits that are sold for CCTV use

    To carry the power onto and off the cable http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200841109556
    PoE Passive Power Over Ethernet Adapter Injector Kit

    and to feed the PI an adapter (only the female one is needed) - connects to GPIO pins 1 (+ve) and 3 (gnd) http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/160756789659
    2x DC POWER JACK CONNECTORS MALE & FEMALE ADAPTER F CCTV DVR CAM 5.5mm X 2.1mm
    The male one could be used to feed the power into the cable, but I have a USB -> 5.5mm adapter lead - so don't need it (yet)

    ... that didn't work ... too much volt drop on the Ethernet cable.

    Next thing to try is to poke 12v up the ethernet cable, then regulate it down to 5v by the Raspberry Pi using one of these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321166829169
    Car Charger DC Converter Module 12V To 5V 3A 15W with Micro USB Cable (input really 8v - 20v)

    Even if we get a 2v drop on the cable we'll still be within the range that the regulator can handle - waiting for parts - watch this space!

    Oh and do put a short (25cm?) USB extension cable between your PI and your tuner ... it's for stress relief for the USB plug on the tuner & socket on the PI if the antenna wire is stiff
    - peterhr, 9 months ago
  • POE (Power over Ethernet) on the cheap and is working!

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321166829169 voltage regulator arrived today - it has a micro USB to connect to the power socket on the PI
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/160756789659 female adaptor feeds it from
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200841109556 with 10m of ethernet cable between the two parts (on the RJ45 plugs on the adaptors go into the PI and into a homeplug)
    this is then fed from a 12v power supply

    Once I find a waterproof box - the Raspberry PI + Realtek RTL2832U+R820T and go on the mast without needing expensive coax or Active USB repeaters (pictures at the weekend)
    - peterhr, 8 months ago
  • Once I find a waterproof box - the Raspberry PI + Realtek RTL2832U+R820T and go on the mast without needing expensive coax or Active USB repeaters (pictures at the weekend)

    Would something like this be ok: http://www.polycase.com/ml-series

    I know this to do wit boats. but it has some good information about waterproofing: http://www.boat-project.com/electro/nemabox.htm
    - speedbird1960, 8 months ago
  • Maybe, but doing cheap, I was thinking more along the lines of a plastic bacon box (long and narrow) or a inverted cereal box (deep and narrow) with a blue seal and clip on lid. Bring the wires in the bottom - put silicon chalk around them. Would need sun shade (outside box) to stop solar heating and the box itself would need enough surface to dissipate about 5 watts (or bolt heatsinks inside and out using the bolts as heat pipes to transfer the heat from inside to outside)

    I'll see what I can take from the kitchen without to much strife.
    - peterhr, 8 months ago

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