FlightAware Discussions

Anyone working with the new x86 Raspbian


You are dead on correct. The ‘new’ dongle I’ve been using was bought from Amazon a few months ago and is the chipset you are talking about. My proof that the USB was seen by the Raspbian is also proof that the device is recognized by Raspbian. If ‘seen’ by Raspbian that might also imply the driver is present. So the question I’m asking myself is why the x86 download from the Foundation that we both downloaded works in your virtual environment but not in my native PC bootable environment? Is that a question for the developers of the downloadable ISO image? I think so. Will explore how to ask the Foundation developement team to help surface solution to that problem. Have you worked directly with them before? Or posted to a place they monitor? I poked around a tiny bit yesterday on their discussion groups but nothing leaped out about how to introduce this issue into their discussion groups. You been extraordinarily patient with my newbie efforts here!


Many just buy the pi to stick in the piaware sd-card.
No unix knowledge needed. No particular love for the Raspberry Pi.

Would be nice if a package would be supplied for x86. But i’m sure there is testing involved for each architecture and maintaining more packages is expensive.


Exactly. It’s a perfect sub-$75, plug-and-play, ADS-B tracking solution. Anything else I can think of gets much more expensive to the end user, and much more difficult to support. While the various Pi distributions (Jessie, Stretch, …) might have update or OS concerns, that’s nothing compared to:

The possible hardware permutations in the x86 world alone are staggering to support.


I mean you could provide the package as is. (If you want to call it experimental or whatever)
dump1090-fa does not really care about hardware, the dongles that work on a pi will work on a x86 computer just as well.
Not talking sd-card image but rather just the debian package.
It literally just needs to be compiled.


True, but if someone has an old PC, no use except throwing it in scrap, why not save $75 and use it to feed Flightaware?

Also, more important, if someone has psychological attachment to the “old faithful” and dont want to throw it in scrap, why not to use it to feed Flightaware?


We are on the same page. I’m a Windows Insider and loaded the latest win 10 build last night featuring Sandbox, their new playpen for doing what you do now using Oracle virtual. I’ll try it out for you and let you know. Got to switch to my other PC with HT(hyper threading) to try the new feature. Hoping to leverage the work you did to bring a new Win 10 sandbox virtual Raspbian machine online running dmp1090_fa. Now that is the cat’s meow! (That’s how old I am!)


My $75 number assumes Pi+dongle+coax+antenna.

Dongle+coax+antenna would be needed with any computer, so the actual difference is what a 3B+ costs; ~$40 on Amazon. 3B+ already has onboard WiFi, so no additional WiFI bits needed.

I can think of a few reasons for not using an old desktop. Power consumption is one. Note that the below uses California electric rates of $0.365 / kWh, which is one of the highest in the nation.

This is an average desktop. 100W seems low to me, but anyway:

  • This is a Raspberry PI. I plugged in 15W = 5V at 3 Amps:

    Electrical costs aside, the Pi is so much smaller and can easily be located close to the antenna. Mine runs inside a repurposed small plastic shoe box outside.

  • #89

    I’m not going to argue with the relative costs. I’m running a VMWare ESXi server 24/7 so adding a Piaware VM is not going to change the cost (although 100w seems high from recollection of actual measurement).

    I’m more concerned with why use Raspian x86? Installed it tonight and it took forever. Looks like a standard Debian install - guess all that pre-installed “educational” software takes some time to install. So why not just use a lighweight Debian distro. Something that @ wiedehopf has been hinting at.

    Or is there a special reason for using Raspian x86 that is not just nostalgia?

    And you don’t even need to run Debian with a screen. Just Debian server will work and you view the output on another PC - just the same as the Pi!!!

    Edit: additional comments. Almost immediately deleted the Raspian x86 install - why do I need this? For the problems encountered by others, no obvious options to acess hardware. Considering WiFi is proving difficult, might be better to install Debian which asks about WiFi during install and also allows tweaking later. Suspect Raspian expects certain things but no tweaking later?

    Ditro dump1090-fa & Piaware by JP’s scripts Manual Compiling of dump1090-fa and Piaware WiFi
    Live CD iso written to USB pen-drive and run in “Persistence” mode Failed, even after workarounds. Failed initially (compiler error), but succeeded after sudo apt update + sudo apt upgrade WiFi dongle RTL8192 is picked by the distro, displays a list of ALL WiFi routers nearby (mine & neighbors), but FAILS to associate any router.
    Installed in Oracle VM Failed, even after workarounds. Succeeded WiFi dongle RTL8192 is able to connect WiFI
    Installed on USB Pen-drive (burned .iso to DVD, booted from DVD and chose option “Install”, and chose USB pen-drive as the Hard Drive for installation) Failed, even after workarounds. Succeeded WiFi dongle RTL8192 is able to connect WiFI


    Screenshots of x86 .iso written to USB Pen-drive (Flash Memory Stick) using Win32DiskImager.

    Booted PC from Pen-drive, and chose “Run with Persistence”



    WiFi Works in Oracle VM with WiFI dongle using chipset RTL8192.


    Nailed it. Bravo. Kudos. Tells the story. I’m going to think about what is the difference between the pass cases and fail cases. Might be able to drag in a little more outside help. Stay tuned. Might take a couple of days. Eagerly listening but with my grand babies for the next few days.


    I ran piaware in a VMware VM with a WiFi dongle with Atheros chipset as the network for the Host.

    In the VM I bridged to the Hosts network and it sees it as Ethernet. The VM knew nothing about the Atheros chipset nor WiFi.

    My Pi3B runs on a two amp supply and is quite stable so probably using less than 10 Watts. I didn’t bother putting the power meter on the Core 2 Duo desktop as I suspect you are correct and it will be more than 100W without the monitor.

    I’ll toss the Core 2 so I wont be tempted to waste any more time on this seemingly pointless quest.

    I bought my last two or three Pi from Arrow when they had them on special for about $35 each (including delivery to AU). When I can get a complete new station configured and on-air in about an hour (not including mounting the antenna) I can’t see any mainstream use for such a longwinded and convoluted process.

    In the meantime the station on Cocos Keeling Island has been down for a month and resurrecting that seems to be a much more useful pursuit.



    I used to be sentimental about old computers. But then I realized something like Moore’s law also applied to storage devices and graphics and the associated power consumption. And not having to lug around 60+ lbs CRT monitors.

    Thanks for the tip on Arrow. USD$34.49 right now with free overnight US shipping. Looks like that price is good for international shipping too.

    One hopes that, if an in-person visit there is required, you’ll enjoy the visit the best you can.


    I’d love to go but…

    The first flight I can get is 01 Jan via Perth and Christmas Island. Total elapsed time is 13 hours.

    First return is 4 Jan via Christmas Island and Perth.

    Food and seat allocation is additional

    Price including tax is about $AU2010. More than a return flight MEL to LON.

    Glad to help with the Arrow suggestion. Their power supplies and cases are good value too.


    Outward flight Perth to Cocos generally stops at RAAF Learmonth air force base to add enough fuel to get there and back in case they can’t land. Usually adds a few more hours.

    Unfortunately, I will have to try and debug it remotely or just send a complete new Pi and receiver.


    That’s brutal. I have have friends in Adelaide who complain about getting to Perth. Cocos looks like twice again that far with very few flights.

    You obviously could send replacement Pi, battery, power supply, antenna, etc via post, but if the upstream internet access via satellite is the issue, then you clearly know the difficulties. That’s a remote place in the world. Thanks for trying to get ADS-B coverage there.


    First world problem. There are 6 direct flights a day from ADL to PER.

    There are two flights a week on a good week and usually they stop for fuel before heading out into the middle of the Indian Ocean.

    It was originally pre-configured and posted (that’s another story) but my friend is leaving in early January and he has given it to someone else and I cant contact him yet. I know the internet is working as the phone system is still working.

    I suspect it is simply wrong Wi-Fi credentials so it should be easy to fix once I can talk to them.

    Just to keep it on topic the Pi, dongle, power-supply, coax and antenna were made to fit in an Overnight Express 5KG satchel which was less than $AU20 and only took about 9 days to get there.

    It only weighed a bit over 2KG and we packed out the 5KG with newspapers and magazines that they cant get there.

    It was out of the Overnight Guarantee zone and had to wait for a plane with capacity as well.

    I did a calculation sending an old computer from here and it is about $AU100 and would probably go on the supply ship which is about once every 9 or 10 weeks.

    Worse case if I have to redo the microSD card to fix the WiFi credentials it will only cost about $AU4 postage. Can’t do that with an old repurposed PC.



    Curious why the ADSB reciever/transmitter is important to you? I’m exFA and soon-to-be FA so I’m very interested in your sense of urgency to get this device back online. My son-in-law is Aussie so your location intrigues me. Gooday and Cheers.


    IIRC they developed their own Pixel desktop and wanted or were asked to make it available to x86 as well.

    Maybe people wanted to use their familiar desktop and software they used on a Pi on a x86 machine, maybe in a school?

    In the same way you could ask why is there a Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubunto, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Studio. :slightly_smiling_face:


    Sorry, I should have made my comment clearer. I understand the reason for an x86 Raspian. My real question was why use it for Piaware when a light-weight Debian distro might be better on older hardware and provide tools to get the hardware working.

    But as you indicate, there are many Linux distros and people have a choice - everyone will have their favourite.


    Just wanted to add a couple of comments:

    1. I looked up power costs of 24/7 usage per month (US estimate) of Pi-like Device ($14/mos) and PC like device($24/mos)

    2. there are 18,000+ users of dmp1090 on Raspbian and FA has goal of many, many more. Not speaking for, but big fan of, FA, Dmp1090 on PC is one opportunity to expand whilst continuing to use their ‘fair play’ policy of paying in service value for any volunteers who sign up’


    It is located on Cocos (Keeling) Island.

    Sorry, but I don’t understand what this means.

    My location is Malvern East, a suburb about 10 km South East of the City of Melbourne.