FlightAware Discussions

Flightaware USB dongle too bulky blocking other USB ports

Because the Flightaware USB dongle is too bulky, I have a hard time getting my mouse and keyboard connected using the adjacent USB ports. How do you work around this problem?

Short USB extension cable (USB A male to USB A female). They are like $6 on Amazon…


Yeah, a short extension cable is the way to go here. It also may help a little with heat, though I’m not entirely certain whether a directly connected prostick acts as a heatsink for the Pi or vice versa … either way, the USB ports get warm!

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By connecting to the Pi remotely using SSH.


For the initial setup, I do use a keyboard and a mouse. And a PC monitor. They all fit.
I use an extension cable just because I want to keep the dongle a little bit cooler.

And yes, after that first setup, I use exclusively the SSH.



For initial setup, you don’t need to plug in ProStick. Plug in only mouse, keyboard & monitor.

During setup, enable SSH (and WiFi also, if needed), then unplug mouse, keyboard and monitor, and plug in the ProStick.

Do rest of the things by SSH.

You can enable ssh by just creating a file on the sd card called ssh or ssh.txt
I normally just copy config.txt to ssh or ssh.txt. It is a one line command that I can up arrow to do on multiple sd cards when I create them(I need to make another four or five as I have received a half dozen RPI4s. They are to replace RPI3s.)
This way you don’t need a KB, mouse and monitor. It is a little more work if you need to use wifi. Often you can get it started with ethernet then change to wifi(assuming you have ethernet).

I use quality 6" USB 3.0 cables on my devices. This is a Pro stick(not plus) in a metal case used to decode UAT978. I have the same setup with an airspy. The hat is for GNSS(GPS) and is used for ntpd

For what its worth: My pi monitoring s/w clearly showed a >5C reduction of pi board temp after I installed a decent quality 150mm / 6" USB 3.0 extension cable to move the FA blue dongle a bit away from the Pi.
Been running that way for a year.
A small investment for some almost free / passive heat reduction with a “bonus” of 3 usb ports suddenly being available if ever needed (maybe even a future 978Mhz site ?)

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When you burn an image on a windows PC, you can access the boot partition afterwards. Create or copy a file called ssh, or ssh.txt. Then use a programm like putty to access it.

If you want to use wlan, you have to add a file a text file called wpa_supplicant.conf with the required information. If you use the piaware image, I think you can add this information in piaware-config.txt, also.

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For Beginners - How-to SSH to RPi - Setup Putty in Windows



@luminlee one of our design criteria for the next version of the Pro Stick is for it not to be quite so bulky.


This is great news. :+1: :+1: :+1:

AirNav System / Radarbox24 has aready done it, but RB dongle runs much hotter than FA dongle. Most likely higher temp is caused by insufficient cooling surface due to small size.

I use all 3: ProStick, ProStickPlus and FlightStick. Due to Cell interference, both the Blue & Orange dongles require external filter, while RB’s FlightStick (green) does not require an external filter. The reason seems to be location of SAW chip.

ProStickPlus (blue): RF in -> LNA -> SAW -> DVB-T
FlightStick (green): RF in -> SAW -> LNA -> DVB-T

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Make sure using a good quality cable

I have two ones, a short cable of 1 Meter and a longer one with 2.50 Meter

Only the longer one works without performance decrease, the short one seem to have power issues transmitting to the dongle and reduces the performance by 40%