Piaware in a mobile setup (car, hiking, ...)


I absolutely like the idea of the idea of the FlightFeeder for Android and have used on several occasions.

But the battery life I get from my smartphone (in addition to my phone being unable to do USB OTG and charging in parallel) let me look for an alternative solution.

I now favour a Raspberry Pi with a powerbank of considerable size attached for mobile feeding.

Questions: since this setup is physically mobile but with the standard piaware load does behave like a fixed base station, do I have to take special precautions when feeding without constantly updating my position manually?

I posses several USB “gps mouses” which I could easily attach to the Pi but that surely will need some adoption of the feeder software.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.


Currently you’ll need to update the feeder position manually. I’d also suggest turning off mlat while you’re mobile. With mlat off, you only really need to do this when you’ve moved substantially (10km+).

The next version of piaware has some functionality to talk to a local gpsd for feeder position, so that should help once it’s available.

In the meantime, you could use Stratux connected to FltPlan GO. It’s all standalone.

Just bumping this - I was thinking it would be cool to toss a RPi in my car, use my 4G hotspot and feed data while cruising around, whether it’s commuting to work - or a road trip. Wiring the RPi to ACC. to turn on when the car starts.

I don’t want to break things - so I’ll wait until there’s some automated GPS integration/location updating.

I too am interested in having a “Mobile” feed so ordered the raspberry, magnetic antenna and an extra receiver.

My problem is getting the Pi to connect to the mobile hotspot of either my iPhone or iPad. Connects to my home private network just fine. Other devices connect to my hotspot with no issues either.
Are there any addition settings that are needed in the config to enable this connection for the feed?

Thanks in advance

please post the configuration you are using.

Thanks for the quick response…

Will have to get that this evening… at work for the day. However I am using the default config in the latest software image, went in and modified the wifi settings on “ON” and then entered the hotspot name and password in the appropriate sections.

It should be “yes” not on.

You can also try to set
(this normally shouldn’t be needed)

other stuff:

since I didnt have it here with me, I couldnt remember the correct vebage but “Yes” is what I have in there… I’ll try adding the “wireless-Country” this evening and see if that makes any difference.


All lower case yes. Not sure if it makes a difference but anyway.
If you get to the config just paste it here excluding the password and i’ll check if i can see anything wrong with it.
Also go for a simple Hotspot name and a simple password to exclude that as a possible problem.

I have tried this 2 years ago with 978+1090 with my car.

My Setup is like this:
Dirt-Cheap Android Phone used for WiFi Hotspot
Pi 3 with 2 x NooElec Nano2+ and supplied ANT

I tried for a week and I gave up at the end

To be 100% uptime, the set needs to be operated by a battery, and this is where the problem starts.
Using the constant power from the car battery is not ideal, because the car would not start if over-discharged.
fine, how about using a portal battery? they are cheap and works well for my phone.
Nope, normal li-ion battery does not perform well due to the temperature. In Fact, it could be dangerous

I am in Canada and here is the weather here
In summer, the cabin is over 65C when parked under direct sunlight. li-ion could be overheated and explode.
In winter, the cabin could go well below -10C, which is well-below the operating temp (0C). The battery loses a lot of capacity and wont gain back until it heats up.

Moreover, cheap portal battery does not have enough power for both Pi3 + Android Phone.
and most of those battery cannot power other devices while charging.
most importantly, the battery cannot get recharged fast enough if your daily trip is short. The battery will get empty eventually, and whole system is down when parked.

Is there better and safer solution? Yes, but not cheap, and I would not invest as its much more expensive than the PiAware setup…

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The latest versions of Stratux software works quite well without an EFB such as FltPlan Go. Logging into the Stratux local IP address provides most of the functions needed for tracking including a “radar” like display. I personally use Piaware and hotspot because you get faster info and the extras that Flightaware provides like aircraft info.