FlightAware Discussions

Remote Pi backup key config files

So I have discovered that my only backup sd card for a remote station went through the laundry and is unreadable. Is it possible to do a remote backup of a running Pi ?

I do have VNC ability but have never done anything more in the past than physically copy over sd cards on my laptop.

You can ssh into it as well?


You will need running linux or OS X system with enough disk space.

Although I have used it locally many times, I have not been able to SSH into the remote using Putty, it may be because of my router/firewall setup rules at the remote. VNC works quite well.

I may have to look for methods that work through the RealVNC servers. And apparently I need more morning coffee.

You’ll need a linux / OS X to use ssh from for this method anyway.

You should be able to add some port forwarding for ssh if you can access the router via VNC?
You may additionally need to enable SSH if it is not yet enabled.

The password should be something not trivial before opening the ports for SSH.

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@wiedehopf Yes I can access the router, I even made the mistake one time of logging into the router from the virtual local net while VNC- ed into a browser session on the Pi. Guess what happened when it rebooted …in the middle of saving the updated router config ? dumb- cost me a 6 hour round trip in the car to straighten out that mess.

I have learned I need to think very carefully about making any changes while I am not on site.

The new router settings should be saved before the reboot is done.
The VNC connection is obviously lost, but you should be able to reconnect.

Adding a port forward shouldn’t be impossible? :slight_smile:
Maybe you can check if vnc can do the port forwarding for you, then you don’t need to fiddle with the router.
Anyway no matter the method, it’s not trivial.

Maybe just start fresh if the sd-card doesn’t survive.

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Ha, yes for some reason it simply didn’t complete the reboot properly as far as I can tell. Some days I love technology, others not so much.

I will tinker with it carefully.

That would be a really bad router design. But i wouldn’t exclude the possibility.

What configuration do you want to save anyway?

Do you have remote hands that can install a micro SD reader and SD card? One of the users here mentioned using rpi-clone (https://github.com/billw2/rpi-clone) and running a nightly clone. If the primary card fails, simply power off, switch cards & reboot - then re-image the wonky card or replace it with the new running system. So far this has worked out pretty well for me since I started using it.

I have a number of remote stations and I’m always worried about them dying - but outside of tools that I add after the install I try to treat the pi as ephemeral data - since all you really need to restore is the FA ID key to get it back in the game. I run a few nightly crons that reach out to the remote nodes, make simple copies of configs to a central local pi and keep my fingers crossed :slight_smile:

On really remote stations I’ve also installed VNC + Paid for a 10 seat VNC license (~50.00 US/year) – so if my openvpn setup fails for some reason & the pi remains on the network I can almost always still use the VNC cloud connect to get to the host to help it.

Thanks for the thoughts, probably all a moot point anyways. Hurricane Dorian will pass over ( through) the station in the next 24 hours or so.