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INDI Library v1.9.8 Released (29 Sep 2022)

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KStars on Raspberry Pi 4B+ 8Gb

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  • Thank you received: 18
I wanted the capability to run INDI server headless or by VNC KStars/Ekos on a remote pi host.
I have a pi3B+ but recently upgraded my rig to include a Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance (PBA) which has
USB 3 ports for my cameras and focuser as well as USB 3 output to a SBC. The pi3B+ has USB 2 ports, so
upgrading to the pi4B+ seemed logical with the bonus of increased computing power. I have a spare 128Gb
SSD and after reading one can boot direct from SSD and gain further performance improvements I bought a
USB 3 case for it to connect to the pi4B+. I have a licensed copy of Stellarmate OS but haven’t been able to
get it working correctly on the pi4B+. Jasem has been great with support for my device, but until the pi4B+
8Gb is fully supported I thought I would see what tinkering on my own could achieve. I run Linux Ubuntu
distros on all my hardware, so any instructions here are pertinent to Linux.

1) image uSD card
hardware: laptop, pi4B+, uSD card, uSD to USB 2 adapter
software: official raspberry pi imager v1.3 on laptop
Plug the uSD into the adapter and into the laptop. Launch pi imager, select Raspberry Pi OS (32-bit)
recommended desktop as Operating System, select uSD as SD Card, click WRITE. Eject uSD when done.

2) boot pi4B+
hardware: uSD card, pi4B+, SSD drive, keyboard, mouse, HDMI TV, uHDMI-HDMI adapter, 5V 3A power supply
(powered USB 3 hub or dedicated AC DC adapter)
Connect uSD, keyboard, mouse and TV to pi4B+. Turn on the TV and select the corresponding HDMI input.
Plug power to pi4B+ and wait until color splash and other pi logo elements etc are done. You should see a
full desktop and a popup dialog to do the initial pi setup configurations for location, datetime, internet
connection etc. If you don't, unplug power to the pi4B+ and connect your uSD to your laptop and edit
boot/config.txt accordingly (h_t_t_p_s://tinyurl.com/kuc48w5). When connected to my LAN, I read off the MAC
and IP addresses for the pi4B+ and assigned a static IP address in my router DHCP settings.

3) boot from SSD
Follow the instructions to the letter to set the pi4B+ to boot from SSD without uSD (h_t_t_p_s://tinyurl.com/y98x8a7m).
For step 7, I used the imager application running on the pi4B+ desktop to copy the uSD partitions onto the SSD
drive, when done, I shutdown the pi4B+ from the menu, detached the SSD drive, plugged it into my laptop,
removed the uSD card and removed power from the pi. I cloned the official raspberry pi firmware repository
from github to my laptop for copying the necessary *.dat and *.elf files discussed in step 9. Re-connected the
SSD drive to the pi, connected power and it successfully booted to the desktop. You may want to run the
graphical Raspberry Pi configuration tool to adjust your local, keyboard settings, screen resolution etc.
I activated SSH and VNC through the configuratoin tool for remote access from my laptop using RealVNC.
There is no need to install a VNC server or client on the pi, the offical OS comes with: just turn it on through the
configuration tool. Change the default pi password to your own.

4) install KStars, INDI, indi web manager
I sourced indi and KStars from the recommended source for Raspberry Pi OS Buster as stated on
indilib.org (h_t_t_p_s://tinyurl.com/y7c4auxy). I could have posted to the astroberry forum, but I have SM OS
and my intent is to provide a work around until v1.5.3 SM OS fully supports the pi4B+.
Open a terminal and run the commands:

wget -O - www.astroberry.io/repo/key | sudo apt-key add -
sudo su -c "echo 'deb www.astroberry.io/repo/ buster main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/astroberry.list"
sudo apt update && sudo apt install indi-full kstars-bleeding phd2

I installed indi web manager according to instructions here (h_t_t_p_s://tinyurl.com/y7yxnux3). Launch KStars
and install any of the add-ons (star catalogs etc.), define your geographic location and verify the date and
time settings are correct. Shut down pi4B+ from the OS desktop, unplug everything except the SSD drive.

5) first light headless
Disconnect HDMI, keyboard, mouse and power the pi4B+ with the SSD connected. Launch RealVNC on laptop,
enter the static IP address reserved for the pi4B+ and accept all the defaults. I was able to continue tweaking
my pi desktop over VNC, verified ssh access and tested file transferral with scp: all good. I also installed conky
for resource monitoring on the desktop (h_t_t_p_s://tinyurl.com/mf33uvn) and used my own .conkyrc .

I will post a follow-up on running an imaging session with this setup.

Attachment not found

HEQ5 (belt mod)
ASI533MC Pro, ASI385MC-Cool, ASI120MM-mini, ASI178MM
Meade LX65 6" ACF SCT (OTA), William Optics GT71, WO PFlatA6III, ZWO IR/UV cut
MoonLite CS 2" SCT, MoonLite High Res Stepper Motor V3, ZWO EAF, ZWO OAG, Hercules OAG
Raspberry Pi 3B+, Pi4B+ 8Gb, Pegasus PPBA
Stellarmate OS
2 years 3 months ago #55455

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Is there any advantage of having 8 GB of RAM ? Any use case ? With 4 GB I rarely see stellarmate using more than 30% memory...
Celestron AVX
Celestron SCT 8” Edge HD, Primaluce ESATTO
TS Optics Photoline 80mm f/6 FPL53 Triplet-Apo, Primaluce SESTO SENSO 2
Celestron OAG, Lodestar X2 guide
Pegasus PowerBox Advanced
Stellarmate Gadget
AstroPhotography Tool (APT)
Nikon D90
2 years 3 months ago #55762

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Replied by Dean on topic KStars on Raspberry Pi 4B+ 8Gb

so far ... not really. I got the 8Gb with the goal of either headless to indi server or VNC remote to KStars/Ekos with
SSD boot and hoping for a boost to laggy interaction over wifi: exploring with the cutting edge, a work in progress.
I tried remote headless with wifi 2.4GHz remote indi server with local KStars/Ekos but ran into a wall transferring
captures to the local client. I am trying KStars/Ekos on the pi so all plate solves and captures store to the SSD (very fast!!!) ,
control is done remote over VNC, but my LAN 2.4 GHz wifi or the way the pi 4B is set up results in laggy response.
I cant use 5GHz wifi effectively due to where the imaging rig is sited relative to the router. Oddly, my 3B+ setup
runs better than the pi 4B 8Gb with VNC.
HEQ5 (belt mod)
ASI533MC Pro, ASI385MC-Cool, ASI120MM-mini, ASI178MM
Meade LX65 6" ACF SCT (OTA), William Optics GT71, WO PFlatA6III, ZWO IR/UV cut
MoonLite CS 2" SCT, MoonLite High Res Stepper Motor V3, ZWO EAF, ZWO OAG, Hercules OAG
Raspberry Pi 3B+, Pi4B+ 8Gb, Pegasus PPBA
Stellarmate OS
2 years 3 months ago #55763

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What about loading the whole OS in a RAM disk upon boot? Performance could increase a lot...
2 years 3 months ago #55774

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Replied by Dean on topic KStars on Raspberry Pi 4B+ 8Gb

the OS already boots and runs direct off an SSD so not sure what advantage a RAM disk provides.
I think this is about wifi bandwidth because when the pi is "close" to my router, it is blazing fast over VNC whether on
2.4 or 5 GHz channel.
HEQ5 (belt mod)
ASI533MC Pro, ASI385MC-Cool, ASI120MM-mini, ASI178MM
Meade LX65 6" ACF SCT (OTA), William Optics GT71, WO PFlatA6III, ZWO IR/UV cut
MoonLite CS 2" SCT, MoonLite High Res Stepper Motor V3, ZWO EAF, ZWO OAG, Hercules OAG
Raspberry Pi 3B+, Pi4B+ 8Gb, Pegasus PPBA
Stellarmate OS
2 years 3 months ago #55777

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I use a 5 GHz WiFi extender to connect to my Pi4 in the backyard, about 60 ft line of sight from the extender and that is separated by a wall and another 15 ft or so from a router operating in bridge mode and connected to the main router in the house via Ethernet. So multiple hops the signal needs to take.
I still get ~400 Mbs transfer speeds and virtually no lagginess with VNC.
I suggest getting a 5GHz WiFi extender, it will do wonders to your connectivity.

Jo
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
2 years 3 months ago #55788

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Replied by Dean on topic KStars on Raspberry Pi 4B+ 8Gb

Hi Jo,
picked up a new Archer A9 recently to replace my old C5. I did a test set up if the C5 in bridge mode wired direct to main C9 router... worked, but the
5GHz signal to the pi outside on the balcony is still too weak . Which extender do you use / recommend ?
HEQ5 (belt mod)
ASI533MC Pro, ASI385MC-Cool, ASI120MM-mini, ASI178MM
Meade LX65 6" ACF SCT (OTA), William Optics GT71, WO PFlatA6III, ZWO IR/UV cut
MoonLite CS 2" SCT, MoonLite High Res Stepper Motor V3, ZWO EAF, ZWO OAG, Hercules OAG
Raspberry Pi 3B+, Pi4B+ 8Gb, Pegasus PPBA
Stellarmate OS
2 years 3 months ago #55790

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DLink DAP-1520 is what I am using, but I don't think the extender is the critical piece, unless you have thick walls and massive signal drop-off. In my case, it also works fine directly connecting to my Apple router inside the house, the extender just bumps up the speed a bit.
When you search the forum, others had similar problems with 5 GHz on the Pi4. It may have to do with use of the USB3 ports, although I never saw that. More likely, the heatsink that some people use is a reason and blocks or weakens the 5 GHz signal in particular.
I am using the ICE Tower on my Pi4, which keeps the CPU at or below 38 deg C, so outstanding performance, and it does not interfere with the WiFI signal, while some other heat sinks seem to cause a problem. Not sure about that, since I do not have a problem, but worth considering.
Actually, the Pi4 connects with higher speed through my extender than a Mini-PC that I am also using on a different rig, so the internal 5GHz transmitter on the Pi4 is definitely not to blame. That works perfectly fine.
Jo
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
Last edit: 2 years 3 months ago by Jose Corazon.
2 years 3 months ago #55792

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Replied by Dean on topic KStars on Raspberry Pi 4B+ 8Gb

thanks for the info: you give me hope! I bought the official pi case which is the worst one to get in terms of cooling.
Installed one of these lil guys (tinyurl.com/yc2smjyc) and by mounting it to a drilled 1.125" hole in the case top
the temp went from 80+ down to consistent 40C. didnt even use the supplied heat sinks. im thinking its a router
placement issue. like they say, its location location location!
- Dean
HEQ5 (belt mod)
ASI533MC Pro, ASI385MC-Cool, ASI120MM-mini, ASI178MM
Meade LX65 6" ACF SCT (OTA), William Optics GT71, WO PFlatA6III, ZWO IR/UV cut
MoonLite CS 2" SCT, MoonLite High Res Stepper Motor V3, ZWO EAF, ZWO OAG, Hercules OAG
Raspberry Pi 3B+, Pi4B+ 8Gb, Pegasus PPBA
Stellarmate OS
Last edit: 2 years 3 months ago by Dean.
2 years 3 months ago #55793

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I use those fans as well on other Pis I have. They should not interfere with WiFi, so you are probably correct, this is a location problem. The extender should help with that.
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
2 years 3 months ago #55794

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