FlightAware Discussions

Dead dongle?

Hi All,

After over a year in service, it looks like my Flight Aware Blue dongle isn’t working anymore. I really hope that’s not the case and I can have some direction on what to try.

Hardware:
Raspberry pi 3 with sufficient power
FlightAware Pro Stick Plus purchased from amazon

OS: piaware-sd-card-3.7.1.img written today.

Suspect parts of the dmesg:

[ 878.351019] dvb_usb_rtl28xxu 1-1.3:1.0: chip type detection failed -71
[ 878.351055] dvb_usb_rtl28xxu: probe of 1-1.3:1.0 failed with error -71
[ 878.363529] usb 1-1.3: USB disconnect, device number 5
[ 897.090050] usb 1-1.4: new high-speed USB device number 6 using dwc_otg
[ 897.231770] usb 1-1.4: New USB device found, idVendor=0bda, idProduct=2832
[ 897.231783] usb 1-1.4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[ 897.231792] usb 1-1.4: Product: RTL2832U
[ 897.231800] usb 1-1.4: Manufacturer: Realtek
[ 897.231809] usb 1-1.4: SerialNumber: 00001000
[ 897.239289] usb 1-1.4: dvb_usb_v2: found a ‘Realtek RTL2832U reference design’ in warm state
[ 897.298958] usb 1-1.4: dvb_usb_v2: will pass the complete MPEG2 transport stream to the software demuxer
[ 897.299015] dvbdev: DVB: registering new adapter (Realtek RTL2832U reference design)
[ 897.306820] i2c i2c-3: Added multiplexed i2c bus 4
[ 897.306836] rtl2832 3-0010: Realtek RTL2832 successfully attached
[ 897.306897] usb 1-1.4: DVB: registering adapter 0 frontend 0 (Realtek RTL2832 (DVB-T))…
[ 897.307210] r820t 4-001a: creating new instance
[ 897.314158] r820t 4-001a: Rafael Micro r820t successfully identified
[ 897.325590] Registered IR keymap rc-empty
[ 897.325753] rc rc0: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/platform/soc/3f980000.usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.4/rc/rc0
[ 897.325964] input: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/platform/soc/3f980000.usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.4/rc/rc0/input4
[ 897.326609] input: MCE IR Keyboard/Mouse (dvb_usb_rtl28xxu) as /devices/virtual/input/input5
[ 897.327050] rc rc0: lirc_dev: driver ir-lirc-codec (dvb_usb_rtl28xxu) registered at minor = 0
[ 897.327070] usb 1-1.4: dvb_usb_v2: schedule remote query interval to 200 msecs
[ 897.345557] usb 1-1.4: dvb_usb_v2: ‘Realtek RTL2832U reference design’ successfully initialized and connected
[ 909.100778] r820t 4-001a: destroying instance
[ 909.101022] dvb_usb_v2: ‘Realtek RTL2832U reference design:1-1.4’ successfully deinitialized and disconnected

I suddenly started seeing emails from flightaware a couple months ago about my feeder being offline, and when I went to the piaware webpage, the tracking was all blank; I saw similar dmesg logs and thought I had updated something incorrectly. Today I reimaged it and connected it up and received the same einitialized and disconnected messages.

The good news is that rtl_test still sees it but can’t open it:

$ rtl_test
Found 1 device(s):
0: Realtek, RTL2832U, SN: 00001000

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U
usb_claim_interface error -6
Failed to open rtlsdr device #0.

My piaware-config.txt has only one real change:

receiver-type rtlsdr

PiAware3Configuration.pdf don’t mention a need to blacklist any usb dev rules. Is that not the case?

So what’s next? Try another rpi and see what happens? I’ve tried all four USB ports on the rpi, although I haven’t tried another USB device in it.

Thanks for any guidance!

There’s nothing in there that looks abnormal. rtl_test doesn’t work because you need to stop dump1090 first. The messages about “deinitialized and disconnected” are the kernel-side driver being unloaded when dump1090 starts up; this is normal.

Stopping dump1090-fa does allow rtl_test to run:

$ sudo rtl_test
Found 1 device(s):
0: Realtek, RTL2832U, SN: 00001000

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U
Detached kernel driver
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Supported gain values (29): 0.0 0.9 1.4 2.7 3.7 7.7 8.7 12.5 14.4 15.7 16.6 19.7 20.7 22.9 25.4 28.0 29.7 32.8 33.8 36.4 37.2 38.6 40.2 42.1 43.4 43.9 44.5 48.0 49.6
[R82XX] PLL not locked!
Sampling at 2048000 S/s.

Info: This tool will continuously read from the device, and report if
samples get lost. If you observe no further output, everything is fine.

Reading samples in async mode…

So what’s next? Check the cable from dongle to antenna?

Thanks for the quick reply!

You say that yet you probably haven’t measured the voltage.

For this type of failure, power problems are most likely.
Check:

sudo dmesg --ctime | grep voltage

And in regards to rtl_test, you should run it at the same sample frequency dump1090-fa uses:

timeout 30 rtl_test -s 2400000

This command above will also terminate after 30 seconds.

Worth checking. I’d also check the dump1090 logs (see /var/log/syslog, or journalctl -u dump1090-fa); if it’s a dongle problem then that’s where any errors are likely to be reported.

(as wiedehopf says, check the power too)

You say that yet you probably haven’t measured the voltage.

Yeah, because I’ve had this running since December 2017. Nothing shows up in dmesg about voltage. Thanks for the tip, though.

$ timeout 30 rtl_test -s 2400000
.Found 1 device(s):
0: Realtek, RTL2832U, SN: 00001000

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U
Detached kernel driver
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Supported gain values (29): 0.0 0.9 1.4 2.7 3.7 7.7 8.7 12.5 14.4 15.7 16.6 19.7 20.7 22.9 25.4 28.0 29.7 32.8 33.8 36.4 37.2 38.6 40.2 42.1 43.4 43.9 44.5 48.0 49.6
[R82XX] PLL not locked!
Sampling at 2400000 S/s.

Info: This tool will continuously read from the device, and report if
samples get lost. If you observe no further output, everything is fine.

Reading samples in async mode…
Signal caught, exiting!
Signal caught, exiting!

User cancel, exiting…
Samples per million lost (minimum): 0
Reattached kernel driver

Looks ok, right?

Looks okay as well:

Aug 18 15:48:37 piaware dump1090-fa[12037]: Sun Aug 18 15:48:37 2019 UTC Waiting for receive thread termination
Aug 18 15:48:37 piaware systemd[1]: Stopped dump1090 ADS-B receiver (FlightAware customization).
Aug 18 15:53:04 piaware systemd[1]: Started dump1090 ADS-B receiver (FlightAware customization).
Aug 18 15:53:04 piaware dump1090-fa[15557]: Sun Aug 18 15:53:04 2019 UTC dump1090-fa 3.7.1 starting up.
Aug 18 15:53:04 piaware dump1090-fa[15557]: rtlsdr: using device #0: Generic RTL2832U (Realtek, RTL2832U, SN 00001000)
Aug 18 15:53:04 piaware dump1090-fa[15557]: Detached kernel driver
Aug 18 15:53:04 piaware dump1090-fa[15557]: Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Aug 18 15:53:04 piaware dump1090-fa[15557]: rtlsdr: enabling tuner AGC

But no airplanes on the map?

Probably a bad dongle.
Could still be voltage, even if dmesg doesn’t show anything.
Trying another power supply is always a good idea.

In theory could also be water in the antenna cable or something along those lines.

But no airplanes on the map?

The map hasn’t even been set to my region, so nothing is on the map at all :frowning:

piaware info page shows this: https://imgur.com/Z8LgI1u

Trying another power supply is always a good idea.

That and another pi. I have a raspberry pi 2. Any reason you know of that the image wouldn’t work? piaware-sd-card-3.7.1.img

Well you haven’t set the coordinates for your new station.

Or set the old feeder-id: For Beginners - How to Get Back Existing Station Number in A Fresh Install

The yellow radio combine with normal dump1090-fa log most likely means you are just not receiving anything.
That means either the LNA inside the dongle is dead or your antenna connection is damaged.

It will really be easiest to test with another dongle.
Or you can exclude an antenna problem first: Put a 6.9 cm wire into the SMA connector of the dongle.
With the dongle and wire upright and near a window you should at least receive something.