FlightAware Discussions

Problem with SD Card PiAware

I saw the page “build your own ADS-b” and though, why not.

Well I ordered the chip and parts off the links but got the Raspberry Pi through Vilros as it came with everything soup to nuts.

Well it included a sd card with the NOOB software already installed on the 8GB card. Problem is there’s not sufficient space on the card to install the PiAware also as the file required 3GB of space and I guess the card came with 5.*GB taken already … ??

So, I open the package with the new 16GB card that I got through the link on Flightaware. Well I copied the file and the Raspberry doesn’t recognize the card and I cannot load it… The thing will just never come on.

Tried to format the card as I read that could be the problem. Didn’t work. Deleted the files and loaded it again. Nothing.

What am I doing wrong?

Did you start by following these directions?


Download PiAware on Raspbian Linux 1.20-1 ZIP (812MB) and save the file on your computer.
Double-click on the downloaded piaware-sd-card-1.20-1.img.zip file to unzip the compressed file.
Download Win32DiskImager utility ZIP (17MB).
Run the Win32DiskImager utility. You might need to run the utility as Administrator (if so, right-click on the file, and select “Run as administrator”).
Select your downloaded piaware-sd-card-1.20-1.img file.
Select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box. Be careful to select the correct drive.
Click write and wait for it to complete. This might take a few minutes.
When this is done, eject and remove the SD card.

There are two (that I know) methods of getting piaware running. One is to use windows or mac to download the piaware image file and burn that data to an SD as is so capably described elsewhere in this thread. If you have a RazPi already up and running then follow these instructions.

This worked for me as the second method. Text in bold is typed into the command line or LXTERMINAL if using the GUI.

With NOOBS or Raspbian already running on your PI make a new file with the nano text editor. Type man nano to view the help file.

sudo nano ~/update.sh <enter the following 6 lines.>

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade
sudo rpi-update
sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get install -y atop nmap iceweasel ufw

Save the file with Ctrl-X y enter

sudo chmod +x ~/update.sh
to make the .sh file executable.

Now and periodically (daily) run
The first time it is run it will take a long time. This update.sh shell file will update the database, install all of the latest upgrades and system upgrades, load the latest updates, clean up, and install some very useful utilities.

Plug in your antenna and stick the stick into your PI.

Now copy and paste each of the command lines in black boxes from
into your command line.

sudo shutdown -r now
which will now reboot and then log in again as pi / password and see if piaware is running with:
cat /tmp/piaware.out
to check the output regularly.

**sudo nmap -sP | grep for **
is great to see what is connected to your network. The word ‘for’ should be highlighted in red. The | symbol is pipe.

sudo atop or ‘top’. Once again use man top or man atop or man nmap.
q for quit

sudo piaware-status
sudo piaware-status | grep -i not

when you are familiar with it.
Ctrl-C if it hangs up.

ps aux | grep piaware
ps aux | grep dump1090

to see if they are running

User pi
password flightaware

<Do the following one time only to enable Uncomplicated [sic] Fire Wall>

sudo enable ufw
sudo ufw allow 22
sudo ufw allow 8080
sudo ufw allow 10001
sudo ufw allow 30001
sudo ufw allow 30002
sudo ufw allow 30003
sudo ufw allow 30004
sudo ufw allow 30005

**sudo ufw status verbose**

Wait at least 1/2 hour for the flightaware server to collect your data
works for me in the UK

ifconfig to get your IP address

On any browser on your network enter the URL of your Piaware system.
to view your results from the mini map server in your PI

I run my 3 Raspberry Pi’s remotely and without a keyboard / video / mouse = ‘headless’ and have only power and an ethernet cable attached to the Pi - dongle - antenna. From another computer on my network (or my smartphone) I use any browser to log into the PI and view the same status pages. I also run NetScan, SSH Client and Wifi Analyzer on my Samsung Android to remotely control my systems.

I am using many ancient - 3 year old Model B with 256 M, hence the reason to go headless. Sorry for the cryptic command lines but it is essential and eventually will become second nature to you. The learning curve is steep and slippery but Linux / GNU gets easier the more you use it. I began learning it in 1994 and still feel inadequate and learn more each day. Learn the command line and avoid the GUI if you can.

I use SSH - Secure Shell - to log in remotely. sudo ssh -l pi that is ssh dash small L for login user.

If you are more comfortable with a GUI startx to get to your GUI, but once it is running you will have to run a terminal such as LXTERMINAL so best to avoid the GUI. Use a VC Virtual Console from the command line with Ctrl-Alt F2 thru Ctrl-Alt F6, log in and have multiple text sessions open simultaneously.

Ctrl-Alt F1 is your main login session. Alt F7 weird, I know, without the Ctrl, gets you back to that GUI thing.

Run ICEWEASEL (a firefox clone from GUI - menu - internet) avoid EPIPHANY as life is too short.

From the command line sudo raspi-config run 1, Expand Filesystem, 8 Advanced Options A4 enable SSH, exit out and finish.

This could turn into a book: “War and Peace with a Raspberry PI and Piaware”

enjoy! :open_mouth:

Ok… I am assuming (not a coder here) that this text is to be entered into the LXTERMINAL?

When the command prompt comes up I type in 'nano editor" ?

Your way farther advanced than I am so forgive me.

I did this, typed in the text you wrote and pressed the [CTRL]x as you said and it wants to save this file. I typed in the “sudo chmod +x ~/update.sh” as you wrote but it ask "save this file under a different name? and I say N and it reverts back to the same question

Thank you thank you thank you!

csweeney05, I didn’t download the " Win32DiskImager utility" as I thought it was an “unzip” and the file unzipped by itself so I skipped that step…

Went back and did this, and I can now boot the Pi

Now it boots but all I get is a prompt

How do I get it to do anything?

There are no steps after the card insert so I am at a loss.

On prompt just type startx

That’s all you “need” to do:

Slide the SD card (with PiAware installed) into your Raspberry Pi.
Tightly plug in the antenna cable into the USB ADS-B dongle.
Plug all other cables (USB power, Ethernet network, USB ADS-B dongle) into your Raspberry Pi.
You should observe a solid red LED and a blinking green LED on the Raspberry Pi as well as yellow and green LEDs next to the Ethernet jack.

Then Claim you unit at flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/claim

I think you are making this way more complicated than it needs to be. You need to follow the instructions carefully to write the PiAware image (not just copying it) directly onto the SD card.