FYI: Alternatives to Raspberry Pi for this hobby

From HP Thin Client: t520 “section on expansion/flash”:

the M.2 interface was SATA and that NVME SSDs were not supported

The specs in the link say Interface: "SATA2.5/ mSATA/PCIe NVMe/ M.2?2242 2260 2280?" so it would appear the linked item won’t fit/work.

Found this one.
Not sure if it will fit/work with HP T520

Kingchuxing SSD 256GB M.2 sata NGFF 512gb 128GB 2242mm 2280mm Drive Hard Disk

Interface: M.2, SATA III

m.2 ngff SSD uses the B-key interface, It is different from m.2 nvme PCIe. Please confirm that your computer can support before purchases.

I ordered a T620 from ebay Australia for $AU36 including delivery.

It arrived in 4 days which is almost getting back to normal.

It came with 4GB RAM and a 16GB M.2 disk installed.

It arrived with the disk was erased and the BIOS was set to network boot.

I have since successfully loaded Win7, Win10 and UBUNTU 20.04 desktop.

It is now running UBUNTU 20.04 and I used @abcd567 scripts for Piaware , dump1090-fa and piawareWeb. Also installed @wiedehopf Tar1090 and Graphs1090. Note that there is a patch for Graphs1090 to correct an error with collectd on UBUNTU.

I also installed Teamviewer to allow remote access.

All working and now I just need some planes in range.



Received HP T520 Thin Client with 4 Gb ram and 16 Gb M.2 SSD installed. Dual core amd64 processor.

Win 10 Pro pre-installed, but not activated. Connected a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Booted with Win 10, no issues.

The Win10 Pro has occupied 13.5 Gb of SSD, leaving only 2.5 Gb free. I installed Debian 11.3 amd64 on a 32 Gb USB flash memory stick as hard drive, and booted the Thin Client T520 from this USB flash Stick, by pressing F9 at boot time, then selecting the USB flash memory as boot device.


Will install piaware and dump1090-fa tomorrow, using pre-built packages from here:

(1) Installed dump1090-fa, piaware, and piaware-web using pre-built packages from here:


Click on image to see larger size
Click again to see full size


(2) Installed FR24, Planefinder, Adsbexchange and Graphs from here:

CASE-2: Feeders of other sites on x86_64 / AMD64 machines



Next I will install Ubuntu 20 amd64

On Ubuntu 20 AMD64:

(1) I will install dump1090-fa, piaware, piaware-web, and dump978-fa from here:

(2) I will install FR24, Planefinder, Adsbexchange and Graphs from here:

CASE-2: Feeders of other sites on x86_64 / AMD64 machines



Yes, the thin client with 16 Gb internal SSD was a good find.

However the pre installed Win 10 was pretty useless because:

(1) It was NOT activated, so I had to purchase licence if I wanted to keep it.

(2) It occupied 14.5 Gb of the 16 Gb SSD, and I kept on getting warning messages that Windows cannot update itself because no space in SSD.

Today I removed Windows 10 by installing Debian 11.3 on the internal 16 Gb SSD. The Debian 11.3 has lesser system requirement than Windows and Ubuntu, and comfortably fits to the one I have purchased.








Debian 11 - Activating On-Board WiFi Adapter of Thin-Client HP T502

I am using wired network with Thin-Client and have not plugged-in any WiFi dongle. From SLAX’s “Net Manager” i found that WiFI is activated. This means my thin-client HP T520 has a built-in WiFi adaptor.

I then booted thin-client from Debian 11.3 on SSD. It did not show any WiFi in “Settings”. When in “Settings”, I searched for WiFi, it showed no WiFi adaptor found.

I then adopted following method and could activate WiFi

sudo apt install lshw  

sudo lshw  

The last command generated a long list of hardware on board. I slowly scrolled till I found following:

                description: Network controller
                product: BCM43228 802.11a/b/g/n
                vendor: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries
                physical id: 0
                bus info: pci@0000:02:00.0
                version: 00
                width: 64 bits
                clock: 33MHz
                capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list
                configuration: driver=bcma-pci-bridge latency=0
                resources: irq:36 memory:fe900000-fe903fff

Now I know my Thin-Client has an on-board WiFi adapter “Broadcom BCM43228”
I then searched internet for Debian package for above adapter, and found following page from Debian WiKI:

I followed instructions on that page and WiFi git activated. Bluetooth was already activated by default.

(1) Opened sources.list file for editing

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list 

(2) Added following line in the above file

deb bullseye contrib non-free  

(3) Saved file and updated apt

sudo apt update  

(4) Checked OS’s architecture

abcd@debian11:~$ ARCH=`uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,'`
abcd@debian11:~$ echo ${ARCH}

(5) Installed required packages

apt update
sudo apt install linux-image-${ARCH} 
sudo apt install linux-headers-${ARCH} 
sudo apt install broadcom-sta-dkms  

(6) Unload conflicting modules:

sudo modprobe -r b44 b43 b43legacy ssb brcmsmac bcma

(7) Load the wl module:

sudo modprobe wl   


After doing above, WiFi appeared in setting. It is showing “Not connected” because this screenshot was taken before I configured it t connect to my home wifi.
Screenshot from 2022-04-15 19-58-42


A new MiniPC has been announced

Maybe a little bit of overkill for just feeding

You don’t need to buy that particular mini PC. You can install a Debian-based Linux distro on any mini. I’ve done so on a Beelink U59, though I don’t plan to use it as an ADS-B feeder. I’m using mine for HFDL among other things. If a person did want to use a mini for feeding they could also run other apps on it at the same time though.

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I don’t want to buy anything. But while we are talking about alternatives, it’s still valid to share alternatives :wink:

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That is a very expensive alternative to a repurposed HP T620 thin client.

Maybe for you, I guess money is no object! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I didn’t say a word about pricing. The thread is about alternatives without a price tag :wink:

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For what it’s worth - availability and price of various Raspberry Pi boards is tracked at

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Not sure about the accuracy, but i’ve checked five links to a dealer in my country. None are in stock

DietPi installation on microSD card - for HP T520 units without on-board SSD

(1) Installation of OS on 16 GB microSD card

(1-1) Go to Image download page :

(1-2) Scroll down till you see following. Click on " Native PC for BIOS/CSM x86_64"


(1-3) Download "Direct write Image"



(1-4) Use 7zip to extract image


(1-5) Use Rufus ( to write extracted image to microSD card
(No need for Rufus. This is a direct write image like Piaware SD card image or RaspberrypiOS image)

(1-5) Use Raspberry Pi Imager or Win32 Disk Imager or Balena Etcher to write the extracted image to microSD card






(1-6) Plugin the (microSD card+USB Card Reader) into Thin-Client, power on, Esc, F6, and select boot from USB.

2 - Enabling WiFi

(2-1) Give following command

sudo dietpi-config  

On dialogue box opened, scroll down to “7: Network Options: Adapters”, and press Enter key



(2-2) on the dialogue opened you will see WiFi has three negatives, (a) the adapter is not found, (b) wifi is set OFF, and (c) IPV6 is ON. Highlight the WiFi line and press Enter Key to turn it ON. Hilight IPv6 line and press Enter key to turn IPv6 OFF.




(2-3) To make the Adapter available, do following

(2-3a) Check Distro version
uname -a
Linux DietPi 5.10.0-13-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 5.10.106-1 (2022-03-17) x86_64 GNU/Linux

(2-3b) Install required packages

sudo apt install linux-image-5.10.0-13-amd64  
sudo apt install linux-headers-5.10.0-13-amd64  
sudo apt install broadcom-sta-dkms  

(2-3c) Remove conflicting modules
sudo modprobe -r b44 b43 b43legacy ssb brcmsmac bcma

(2-3d) Activate relevant module
sudo modprobe wl

(2-4) After above activation of WiFi module, do following:

sudo dietpi-config  

(2-4a) Go to Network Adapters option, and you will see that WiFi Adapter is now available and ON, but disconnected



(2-4b) Scroll to WiFi line and press Enter key. Following dialouge will open.



(2-4c) Scroll to “Scan and configure SSID”, press Enter key, following dialouge will open. Scroll to item 0 and press Enter key and configure your SSID & WiFi password



(3) Installation of piaware, piaware-web, dump1090-fa and dump978-fa

Instructions here:


(4) Installation of FR24, Planefinder, Adsbexchange and Graphs:

CASE-2: Feeders of other sites on x86_64 / AMD64 machines


(5) Embeding Set-Gain Button in Skyaware Map (For manually setting the gain)




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Then it is very accurate : ) , according to the In stock column there are not in stock anywhere in Germany or almost anywhere else, for that matter.

I could create a new station without a Pi, and that for US$48 all inclusive (cost of thin client + power supply unit + shipment).

The repurposed thin-client has on-board 16 GB SSD, on-board WiFi and on-board Bluetooth.

I was lucky today, picked up 2 Raspberry Pi’s on the fleamarket today ( it’s Kingsday, a national holiday in the Netherlands with lots of fleamarkets) , € 7,50 per piece, 1 Pi 3 Model B v 1.2 and 1 Pi 1 model B+ v 1.2.

Both are running fine, not a bad bargain for € 15 in total, always handy to have some back-up hardware waiting in the drawer when needed :wink:


Yes indeed, it’s always a good idea to have spares and that’s quite a bargain.

Ubuntu 22.04 Server - Preinstalled image

(1) Download Page:


(2) Downloaded image

Download Link: 64-bit PC (AMD64) preinstalled server image


(2) Wrote downloaded image to 16 GB microSD card



microSD card partitions after writing the image and before first boot

(3) Plugged in (Card Reader+microSD card) in HP Thin-Client T520. Connected Network Wire to Thin-Client and Powered up. Pressed F9 to boot from mass storage device(microSD card)

(4) SSH to Thin-Client

username: ubuntu
password: ubuntu

(5) Configured WiFi

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt update 

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt install network-manager 
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ nmcli d
enp1s0  ethernet  unmanaged  --
lo      loopback  unmanaged  --

No WiFi interface detected, though Thin Client has on-board WiFi adapter.

Installed WiFi driver:

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt update. 

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt install broadcom-sta-dkms  

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo reboot  

After reboot, checked interfaces again

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ nmcli d
wlp2s0  wifi      disconnected  --
enp1s0  ethernet  unmanaged     --

Turn on wifi & list available connections

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo nmcli r wifi on

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo nmcli d wifi list 

The list command above will bring a list of all active nearby wifi connections, including your home wifi.

Configure your home wifi connection as follows

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo nmcli d wifi list
        00:78:CD:01:D6:46  my_ssid   Infra  1   195 Mbit/s  100     ▂▄▆█  WPA2
        00:0E:F4:FC:58:1D  neighbour Infra  4   270 Mbit/s  100     ▂▄▆█  WPA2
.... ....

Connect to your wifi

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo nmcli d wifi connect my_ssid password blahblah

Device 'wlp2s0' successfully activated with 'd8f2a59c-9505-4835-8934-a0144d0adec3'.

(6) Install piaware, dump1090-fa, dump978-fa, and piaware-web.



(7) Welcome message at boot

~ $ ssh ubuntu@                                       
ubuntu@'s password:
Welcome to Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 5.15.0-25-generic x86_64)                                                            
 * Documentation:                    
 * Management:
 * Support:

  System information as of Thu Apr 28 01:23:36 UTC 2022       
  System load:             0.07861328125
  Usage of /:              18.8% of 13.83GB
  Memory usage:            8%
  Swap usage:              0%
  Processes:               117
  Users logged in:         0
  IPv4 address for enp1s0:
  IPv6 address for enp1s0: 2607:fea8:4d23:5800::8d68
  IPv6 address for enp1s0: 2607:fea8:4d23:5800:cacb:b8ff:fe1a:ee7c

19 updates can be applied immediately.
11 of these updates are standard security updates.
To see these additional updates run: apt list --upgradable

Last login: Thu Apr 28 02:05:12 2022 from


(8) Partitioning of microSD card

Before First Boot


After First Boot


I don’t NEED any more PCs here but still tempted by these thin clients, particularly as they are fanless and run off a power pack. Browsing eBay at the moment. How do I sneak another box into the house?