Cranky Pi4/RTL-SDR leading to problems maintaining connection

This morning I found my RaspPi4 running PiAware (7.2?) in some weird “crash/reboot/work briefly/ repeat” loop. It’s mounted outside under my eaves (close to the antenna on the roof), but I went and got it down to try to debug.
When I brought it in the house and restarted it, it suddenly seemed to work fine - no rebooting issue - but I was getting no planes detected.
Poking further it appeared the radio (RTL-SDR v3) wasn’t functioning:

:~$ sudo rtl_test -t
No supported devices found

I tried multiple reboots - moving the dongle around to different USB ports - and eventually it started working again. I took it and put it back out in the eaves, started it up, and … it started the reboot/cycle again. :frowning_face:

Back indoors now - with a coax extension snaked through the window, I’m functioning, but frustrated and unclear of what’s going on.

  • Why has the Pi suddenly started to act flaky when hung under the eaves? It’s not a “loss of wifi” issue - it’s definitely rebooting - but I’m not sure why. The temperature is fine (it’s not an overheating issue), and I can’t understand the /var/log/boot.log file syntax well enough to suss out if there’s an answer there.

  • Why is the RTL-SDR dongle “working sometimes” and in different ports? Is that an indication it’s about to die? If so, what’s the current consensus (if there is one), on “the best replacement”? I’d be inclined to get another RTL-SDR v3, since at least it was working, but maybe I’d be better served with something else that has a LNA or filter built in.

Has anyone else seen issues like this?


How are you powering the Pi when it’s outside?

I’ve got an outlet on the side of the house - using one plug for a string of lights (controlled by a timer), and the other has the usb power brick in it driving the Pi/Aware

This sounds fairly typical of a soft PSU.

When you moved the Pi indoors, were you using the same PSU?

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I was, although it was plugged into a different outlet. The PSU/case/switch are from a CanaKit intended for the Pi4 - so in theory it ought to be sized correctly. That said, it’s no guarantee, and it’s a good idea to look for another PSU and see if I can replicate the issue. Thanks for the thought.

If that doesn’t fix it have an electrician check the outlet.

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