Raspberry Pi Replacement


After two years and one week of service, my Raspberry Pi unit failed early this morning. Inspection of the unit didn’t reveal any damage, so my best guess is that the years of heat and dust simply overcame it.

I’ve ordered a new RPi which should arrive in a few days, but I’m a bit confused as to what exactly I’ll need to do when it arrives. I’ve been reading some other threads started by people who have had to replace their units, and there is all sorts of talk of needing to change a MAC address, claim the new unit, and other things I (embarrassingly) don’t fully understand. I’ve also checked out the very helpful “Build” page (https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build) but that seems geared towards a first-time build, not a unit replacement.

The SD card for my original RPi unit seems unscathed, and it has both my wifi setting and the latest PiAware build installed. My plan is simply to remove it and insert it into the replacement unit. Assuming I do this, what other actions will I need to take in order to have this unit perform just as the previous one did? Will I need to “claim” it as a new receiver, or will it function just as the last RPi did and keep its Site ID and stats? Will I need to do anything with the new MAC address that (please correct me if I am mistaken) will have come with the new RPi unit? Essentially, I’m just looking to pick up where the old unit left off, and make no changes, if that is a possibility.

You have all been wonderfully helpful over the past two years. I’m grateful for that, and for your help here as well. Thanks a bunch!


See @abcd567 post


If you’re just using the same sdcard, then you shouldn’t need to make any further changes - the feeder ID is stored on the sdcard.

However, you might want to take the opportunity to reimage with the latest sdcard image since current images are on a newer OS release (Stretch) that you won’t get through upgrades of an older version. If you do that, you’ll need to reconfigure your wifi settings, and set the feeder ID to the ID of your existing site.

If your replacement Pi is a 3B+ then you’ll probably have to reimage, as the older OS release (Jessie) doesn’t support the 3B+ hardware.


Thank you so much for your reply! The replacement model is a standard 3B, so if the SD card contains all the necessary data, I will probably just do a line swap when it arrives.

At some point down the road I intend to harden my build a little bit, including upgrading to a 3B+ or whichever model is most current at that time. I envision doing a complete reimage when that happens.

Which, of course, means I’ll probably be right back here begging for help. Go figure. :grinning:

Thanks again!


That’s a good plan, then you have a nice clean setup optimised for the new 3B+. The main thing is really just the feeder ID. Once you’ve reimaged the card, pop it back into the computer and the /boot partition will be mounted as a drive. Find the file called piaware-config.txt, open it with a plain text editor and go to the bottom of the file where it mentions “Additional settings”. Add your feeder ID as shown below, replacing the xxx’s with your real ID. You can get your feeder ID from your stats page when you’re logged in, where it says “Unique identifier”. It’s a bit like a password which links a feeder to your stats, keep it handy, perhaps in a password manager if you use one, and don’t give it out.

# Additional settings can be added below.

feeder-id xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

Once you’ve done that whack it in your new Pi and it will come online and continue updating your stats as your current Pi is doing.


Thank you all so much for your help! The new unit came today and I performed a quick field swap. Inspection revealed some mild scorching on the power supply so I swapped that out as well. The site seems to be sending data just as before, so I think I’m back in business.

I like the idea of starting anew with the next model that comes along. When the time comes, I’ll follow the steps you’ve put forth here. I appreciate it! :grinning:



Your stats page shows you have seen 354 aircraft so far in this hour.



Try your old Pi with a new power supply. You might find it was the power supply that went bad and not the Pi itself. I’ve had a couple of instances where that was the case.


You are definitely on to something. The power supply is not working as intended. When I tried the new power supply with the old RPi, it didn’t work. When I tried the old power supply with new RPi, it didn’t work either.

But when I did the visual inspection, I saw some scorching around the micro USB plug, and in its receptacle. I am starting to think maybe the power supply went rogue, and took the RPi with it.


Depending on how much time you want to spend playing, you can power a Pi via the GPIO pins. 5v on pin 2, and ground on pin 6. Be aware there is no fuse or regulator protection this way so perhaps only useful to test if the microUSB power socket if dead. But if it is, you are into some pretty finicky soldering to replace it.

If you carefully slice open the outer insulation on the power cord you will see two wires inside. They are each separately insulated, usually red and black. You could test the voltage with a volt meter to see if the power supply if fried.

Or, since these things are so inexpensive you could just buy a new one, toss the old one into electronics recycling, and have a beer!


I mean if he would throw out the old pi anyway powering it via the gpio pin seems less of a “risk” :wink:


I like that suggestion! :smile:

A postmortem analysis revealed heat damage to the internal components of the power supply, and my multimeter showed it was not working. The RPi actually looked good when I took off the case, other than some carbon/dust buildup around the power port. After cleaning it out thoroughly and letting it sit for a bit, I tried it with a new power supply and it started right up!

I have the new RPi working now, and the old one burning a hole on my desk…perhaps it is time to create a second setup? :grinning:


Sounds like an ideal bit of spare kit for Pi-hole. I left PiAware on my RPi 3B which I’ve dedicated to ADS-B feeding (I’ve yet to expand to other sites), and bought a new 3B+ for VPN and Pi-hole use. It’s working a treat, amazing some of the dodgy activity that goes on behind the scenes from some sites or devices.


That was well played on your part… get a new Pi and then discover, oops, the old one can be rescued with a new power supply! :slight_smile: you can set up another station, or branch out to other Pi projects.


There is no real need to upgrade to a 3B+

I have two PiAware systems running on Pi Zeros, one is feeding FlightAware, FlightRadar24 and ADSBexchange quite comfortably.



Me too, I did numerous other tests untill I found it was the PSU :face_with_raised_eyebrow:



Is it power supply unit or its micro USB pin which causes trouble?

Orange Pi uses barrel type dc connector, and very few of their users complaint of PSU failure.

I am using both the Orange Pi PC and RPi for last 3 yrs continously. The Orange Pi without trouble, while my RPi has once faced PSU replacement due to frequent crashes.

It is high time that RPi foundation change dc power socket from micro USB to barrel type, which is much more robust than micro usb, and can carry higher currents to cater needs of Pi and other plugged in devices.

dc-barrel-power-jack dc-barrel-pin


I don’t know how many Raspberry Pi are out there running ADS-B receivers in adverse conditions without any PSU problems. Many of those with problems reported here are using either phone chargers or unspecified power supplies.

I have three Pi in my uninsulated roof space and when air temperature reaches 40°C or greater the ambient in the roof space is well north of 50°C

25403 Longest Streak: 844 days (9/6/2016 - 30/9/2018)
41391 Longest Streak: 531 days (18/4/2017 - 30/9/2018)

Both running Pi3B and power supply from Element14

68773 Longest Streak: 296 days (9/12/2017 - 30/9/2018)

Pi Zero originally running Samsung phone charger which eventually caused problems.
Replaced with a generic 2 amp charger/power supply which lasted about two weeks.
Now running PoE similar to https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Raspberry-Pi-3-Board-Power-Over-Ethernet-Kit-PoE-Injector-Splitter-5V-2-4A/192264700479 for the last 6 months.

What voltage does the Orange Pi require and what size power supply do you use?

My current Android phone has a USB type C charger rated at 5V 3Amps and 9V 2 Amps and the connector occupies the same real-estate as a Micro USB. I haven’t heard any complaints about USB-C failures so that may be a better solution that would not require a redesign of the board and all of the cases and ancillaries.

Another advantage of USB power supply is the voltage and polarity are known. (unless you cut the connector off and connect it something else as has been suggested).

I just looked through my box of power supplies with barrel connectors and found 4.0, 4.5, 5, 6, 7.5, 9, 12, 13.5 and 15 volts in both pin positive and pin negative as well as variable supplies switchable from 5 to 12 V.

Some are regulated either switch mode or linear and some are not regulated at all and some are AC.

Personally, I’d prefer if the Raspberry Pi Foundation stayed with a well specified power supply and connector.



This PSU was part of the Set5 I purchased (Orange Pi PC + Case + PSU)




We can get them with an AU plug but I would probably stick to the PoE solution.

Could you confirm that :black_medium_small_square:2.1mm Centre + plug is suitable.