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Raspberry Pi 3B Data Acquisition

Old PC; estimated cost to run for one year: $150


Raspberry Pi 3B PC; estimated cost to run for one year: $7


Background

Here are the steps required to get 32 bit Winquake and 32 bit Winsdr running on the Pi 3. Larry Cochrane has done all the hard work in making these programs compatible with GNU/Linux wine (wine is not an emulator). For x86 emulation Iím using Eltechs ExaGear Desktop from a Russian team, which claims 5X speed increase over the open source QEMU emulator. It also claims 80% the speed of a native application. I was skeptical, but at $27.45 I decided to give it a try. My skepticism was unfounded.

The Pi 3 is a quad core ARMv8 archecture, running at 1.2 Ghz, 1GB ram, with possible overclocking to 1.5Ghz with the addition of a couple of small heatsinks. Iím using stock Debian 8 Jessie on a 64 GB micro SD card which looks like enough for 300 days of data. A 128GB card will hold over two years of data. These cards should be fast Class 10 or higher. A hard disk could also be used on one of the 4 USB 2.0 ports. The Pi 3 also has WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, and 10/100 Ethernet built in.

I am presently running two of Larry's 16 bit digitizers on one R-Pi3. That's 16 channels at 100sps, with 8 extended channels with various filtering, Winquake for analysis, and GPS synchronization. Itís interesting that the performance is on par with my power hungry Intel Core 2, 2.4 Ghz machine.

All this on a computer that requires about 5 Watts of power and with a cost of $35.

Some Details***see updated instructions of 3/28/2018***

Items you will require to run WinSDR on a Raspberry Pi 3

Items you will require to run WinSDR on a Raspberry Pi 3

 

1. Raspberry Pi 3 B and a good quality 5V 2.5A power adapter. The Pi will crash or corrupt the file system if the voltage drops below 4.65 volts, as indicated by the RED power light blinking.  Iím now using a 5.25V supply.

 

2. Micro SD, SDHC or SDXC card. An SDXC card  ranges from 32GB to 2TB. I used a 64GB card, Ultra High Speed (UHS-1) card with 80MB read and 50MB write speed, but a less expensive ($18) class 10 card will probably work well also. Also consider using† 2.5" laptop drives which aremuch less expensive than micro SD cards especially at the 300GB to 500GB sizes. Inexpensive USB to SATA converters are available online. I am now using a 240GB SSD. Prices on SSDs have plummeted in the past year.

 

3. USB keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor.  An old VGA or DVI monitor will work with the proper adapters available online at low cost.

 

4. A copy of Eltechs, ExaGear Desktop for the R-Pi3 at $27.45. There are six versions available including the R-Pi2. It would be interesting to see how WinSDR runs on the R-Pi2, but you will require another license for this platform. Note the R-Pi3 version is marked with BETA on the website.

 

5. Go to raspberrypi.org and download the full Raspbian Jessie, March 2016. Unzip the file 2016-03-18-raspbian-jessie.img.

 

6. Download ďWin32 Disk ImagerĒ and burn the Raspbian image to your SD card.

 

7. Start up the Pi with your micro SD card and you will quickly boot into the Raspbian desktop.

 

8. Go to Menu, Preferences, Raspberry Pi Configuration and under the System Tab, click "Expand Filesystem".

 

9. In the top upper right select your wireless network name and supply your password. Also Select Keyboards and select your keyboard layout. Itís set to UK so change as required.

 

10. Open a terminal session from the icon in the upper left of the screen and type the following commands:

 

                $ sudo apt-get update

                $ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

                $ sudo apt-get clean

 

This will take awhile, but will insure you have the latest software versions.

 

11. Download the ExaGear Desktop which will go to /home/pi/Downloads. Also put the license file from your Eltechs email into this same ~/Downloads directory.

 

12. Untar the package and install.

 

                $ cd /home/pi/Downloads

                $ tar -xvzpf exagear-desktop-rpi3.tar.gz

                $ sudo ./install-exagear.sh

 

13. Print out and read the Eltechs_ExaGear_Desktop_guide_1.4.pdf which is now in the ~/Downloads directory.

 

14. To start ExaGear use the newly created desktop icon or in a command line type:

 

                $ exagear

 

You will now be in the guest image root directory, /opt/exagear/images/debian-8-wine2g.  ExaGear tries to select the best guest image for your system, here, debian-8-wine2g. Switch back and forth between the ARM architecture and x686 architecture as described in the PDF, to get a feel for the different environments.

 

                $ arch

and

                $ uname -a

 

15. Now download winsdr475_32bit.exe also to the ~/Downloads directory.

 

16. Here is where the magic begins. In the x686 environment run the following command:

 

                $ wine winsdr475_32bit.exe

 

WinSDR will now install and put an icon on the Raspbian desktop!

 

17. Plug in Larry's A to D board (I have 16bit, 8 channel USB boards, but Larry has successfully used his 24bit board.) into one of the available USB ports on the Pi.

 

18. Double click the WinSDR icon and you will get a COM 1 not available message, but WinSDR will run normally.

 

19. As Larry points out in his Linux documentation run the following command in a terminal session. Use another symbolic link from /dev/ttyUSB1 to another com port for adding another digitizer. I've used two of Larry's digitizers on one R-Pi3.

 

                $ ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 ~/.wine/dosdevices/com1

 

20.  Now you have a fully functioning Winsdr on your Raspberry Pi. WinQuake also runs.

 

21. You need to edit the /boot/config.txt using the nano, vi or vim editor and add the following lines:

 

                framebuffer_depth=24

                framebuffer_ignore_alpha=1

 

Do this using the following command:

 

                $ sudo nano /boot/config.txt

 

For the old-timers out there, you will be presented with a "WordStar" word processor interface! Just add the lines and ^x, y to save the file.  This will allow the proper color mapping in WinSDR and WinQuake. Raspbian defaults to a depth of 16 bits. WinSDR requires 24 bits.

 

22. Also,  http://www.codeclinic.de/2014/01/raspberry-pi-tutorial-setting-vnc-raspbian-pt1/ is a great resource for getting either Tightvnc or x11vnc running on the Pi. Each has itís advantages.  I prefer the x11vnc method, but it seems to require more cpu cycles than Tightvnc.