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Very unstable Raspberry Pi

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Hello everyone,
I'm trying to run an astrophoto rig through a Raspberry Pi and I find the latter extremely unstable. The Pi is headless, so I only see it through ping and ssh, and I noticed that it often disappears off the network (to which it is connected via WiFi) when I connect a device.
If I start the Pi with all the gear connected to it, it simply won't show on the network, not sure why. So I have to start it and then connect the gear once it's connected. But even then, while doing so I observe a momentary drop in the ping, and sometimes (around 50%) it just leaves the network and doesn't come back until I reboot it.
Needless to say, this is very frustrating! Is it due to USB power? Would a USB hub solve my issues?
Raspberry is running latest Raspberry Pi OS with all the latest indi drivers (it is not an Astroberry). Equipment is QHY163M (main camera), QHY-5-II-M (guider), EQMod (EQ6) and QHYCFW2 (filter wheel).
Thanks!
1 year 2 months ago #75551

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Replied by nou on topic Very unstable Raspberry Pi

can you connect monitor via HDMI so you can see what is happening?
1 year 2 months ago #75553

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Frustratingly, when I do so everything works fine. But I suspect that's because my monitor is closer to my WiFi hotspot so the Raspberry doesn't struggle as much to connect to it?
1 year 2 months ago #75555

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Replied by Picard on topic Very unstable Raspberry Pi

Hi Adrien,

what's the pi model ? I'm use since 2 (or 3)years a pi (3 and now 4) for controlling mount, camera, focuser, gps, ... without problem. But always through the ethernet connection (with a cpl box). I controlling my mount with Bluetooth.

I noticed with my pi3, that the wifi connection wasn't very speed and is for this reason i didn't used. I suggest you, in the fist time, to test directly with an ethernet cable.

C.
C8 lightbridge, Orion Atlas mount, EOS 1000D modified and ASI120MM for guiding.
1 year 2 months ago #75560

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Replied by nou on topic Very unstable Raspberry Pi

Oh now I remember there is known issue that if something is connected to USB3 port wifi speed suffer or doesn't connect at all.
1 year 2 months ago #75569

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Hi Adrien.
No sorry I don't have a solution, I only want to tell you that I am succesfully running RPI the way you describe.

I started with RP3 as a hotspot running only indiserver with Kstars/Ekos running on my laptop connecting via wifi.
Connected devices on the RP were my mount, CMOS-camera  and a Polemaster camera

This year I upgraded to a RP4 with 4GB RAM. I then moved all software to RP including
Kstars/Ekos. Still running as a hotspot I only use a simple VNC-viewer to connect.
I connect my CMOS-cameras to USB3 and the mount and Polemaster to USB2.

Works with no problem, I am often out in -15 degrees Celsius or colder, sitting in my car controlling everything
and no problem.

I know stable power is important. And have you tested an external wifi-dongle?

So don't give up, it should work. Sorry that I can't help you more.

++Håkan W++
 
1 year 2 months ago #75573

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I have a RPi4-based environment that works ok. (Yes, I'd like to move to a more powerful computer someday, but talk about that would hijack this thread). Here are some of the things I've done to make it more stable.
  • I use my RPi4 (8Gb) outside my house (rarely travel with it). It is in a Flirc case. I run an extension cord to the location and always power it from my home's A/C using a DC power supply.
  • Because I have home power, I use ethernet over powerline, and never use WiFi. This improved the reliability for me significantly when I switched to it, though that was over a year ago, maybe 2, and I haven't re-considered new WiFi strategies. Here's the powerline adapter I use: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WP2ZT5N/ref..._title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I put a small ethernet switch that plugs into the powerline adapter outside, and I plug my RPi4 into that via a standard ethernet cable. I have the switch so that if I want to go outside and be next to my telescope, I can plug the laptop into the switch. I also have a little monitor and keyboard/mouse I could plug directly into the RPi for debugging, but haven't had to do that in a long time (at least not outside--I still use that for when I bring up a new RPi from scratch).
  • I use an SSD card (only--no SDCard plugged in at all), which is much faster and much more reliable than an SDCard. I use these, but there are many you can try: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0764WCXCV/ref..._title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 
  • I use a powered USB hub to connect most of my devices. I have this one, but I'm sure there are many good ones: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G8CMR18/ref..._title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I run Ubuntu (stick with 20.04LTE). I don't know if there's an improvement over Raspberry Pi OS, but for completeness that's what I have.
  • I connect to it via NoMachine from inside my house (my laptop on WiFi, the astro RPi plugged into the outside switch/poweline adapter). 
With all that I have a fairly reliable connection, but with occasional mysterious dropouts that seem to go away in a minute. My UI response time is far from "super fast", I'd call it "workable", but it works.

Hy
 
AP1100 & Orion Atlas Pro, WO/ZS105 w/Moonlight V2 focus, GSO RC10 w/RSF focus
ZWO ASI1600, Astronomik Filters, ST80, QHY 5L-IIm.
KStars/Ekos/Indi on NUC10 & RPi4 w/SSD -- Ubuntu
Projects: Greedy Scheduler, Terrain, Polar Align, Analyze, Linear Focuser, SEP MultiStar & GPG Guide, FITS autostretch.
1 year 2 months ago #75576

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I suspect power. The Pi is very sensitive to low voltage, and USB devices will draw enough power to cause the voltage to the Pi to sag.

If you open a terminal and run "dmesg", it will show (in red) every time it detected low voltage (since the Pi was booted. You'll have to look in /var/log/kern.log for historical data).

If you see warnings about low voltage, the solution is usually a powered USB hub.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Adrien Barrajon
1 year 2 months ago #75577

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Thank you all for your replies and guidance on troubleshooting. I can confidently say now that it's a power issue on the USB. As Kevin was suggesting, I checked the logs and found indeed low voltage warnings. I ordered a good rugged powered USB hub that will hopefully solve my problems.
In the meantime, I have two "solutions". One of them is to keep rebooting and replugging stuff until it works. I boot the Pi, and once I see it in the network I plug devices one by one, slowly, keeping an eye on the ping. Whenever the ping drops (as in it stops ponging back), I just disconnect stuff and reboot the Pi to try again. About 25% of the time it works, and when it does it's good for hours.
The other solution is to not plug the filter wheel and stick to luminance for now. I noticed the rig is a lot more stable (about 80% success) when there is no filter wheel.
You can guess by reading my "solutions" how frustrated I was when trying to make things work! It worked fine back in the good old days where I had a DSLR, an autoguider and a mount, so I ended up relying a lot on that Pi. But now it's pretty much unusable until I get that hub (hopefully).
For information, it's a Pi4B with 4GB RAM. I also tried with a Pi4B 8GB (by swapping the SD card) but did not notice any improvement.
1 year 2 months ago #75582

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Replied by Doug S on topic Very unstable Raspberry Pi

Please review the following post, which is likely the root cause of your problem:
indilib.org/forum/general/6576-pi4-usb3-...erference.html#50509

You should strongly consider going to a powered USB hub, and then only connect the hub's data cable to the USB3 connector of your PI4. All other devices should go to the powered hub. This should solve your problem and make your setup very reliable. It's the setup I use, and it's pretty rock solid. CS Doug
RASA11, Celestron CGX-L, ASI183mc Pro, 60mm guider + ASI290mm mini, ASI EAF focuser, PPB, Rpi4-4Gb+SSD, Powered USB3 hub, hardwire Ethernet.
1 year 2 months ago #75603

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Just a quick note... I to found when I went to powered hub (USB 3, 12V) pretty much all my connectivity issues with the Pi cleared up. Except one. If I had my imaging camera (Fuji X-T3 at the time, USB 3) and my guide camera (ZWO 120mm mono, USB 2) plugged into the hub only one worked. Trial and error lead me to leave the guide camera plugged into one of the Pi's USB ports. The imaging camera and all othe USB devices remain plugged into the hub.
Pi is on a robust power supply of it's own, separate from power for other devices. Ethernet connection to laptop (wifi was too unreliable)
Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by David Swinnard. Reason: more info,
1 year 2 months ago #75608

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