Pi-Star Notes

Revised 2020-02-16

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drama-mask And we say…

Pi-Star Colors

The CSS Tool enables one to play with the total color schema of the Pi-Star software. The combinations are unlimited. Using a comprehensive color table I chose to only change the "border" color…

… from among the following possibilities. See what you think.

Remember to "Apply Changes" to see results. (To return one or a few colors to a default value see this list of default colors.) At the page bottom there is a safety "reset values" to all default colors should your total schema wanders off the rails. Do make a record of your CSS changes as the Pi-Star Configuration > Backup/Restore > Download Configuration ZIP file does not include the color values.

Make a Full Pi-Star Image File

After upgrading and updating Pi-Star on one hotspot's SD card, I made a second SD card for a second hotspot. The first hotspot worked. The second failed to work. It made no sense; I assumed the SD card was the problem. The solution? (Tip of the hat to WB3EHB for suggesting a solution.) Using two Windows SD utilities:

  1. Use the Disk Imager program to read the first good SD card. Name the file, including the drive letter (and path if desired) and adding the "img" extension. Note the location of the (~15gb) file written to the fixed disk. When done, remove the good SD card and put it back in the hotspot.
  2. Use the SD… Formatter program, format the second SD card.
  3. Use the Disk Imager program to write the file, created in step 1, to the SD card.
  4. Remove the completed SD card and put it in the second hotspot. Power on the second hotspot and open the Dashboard…
    • Adjust, if necessary, the BER values with the Configuration > Expert > MMDVMHost > Modem > RXOffset/TXOffset menus.
    • Increment the Configuration > DMR Configuration > DMR ESSID hotspot number.
    • Optionally change Pi-Star colors to differentiate the hotspots.
    • Make a Pi-Star Configuration > Backup/Restore > Download Configuration backup. Save it with a different name to differentiate the files.

A fringe benefit of this exercise? Making a full SD card image includes all settings and configurations, including those items not saved in a Configuration ZIP file. If you make additional cards for one hotspot, skip step 4.

Pi-Star's scrolling logo, by default, is turned off as of version 4.1.0 rc7 / 20191220. The calls et al continue to be displayed when the talkgroup is active. In the Configuration > Expert > MMDVM Host > OLED section, the default values are now "Type | 3" and the remaining fields are zeros (0's). To turn the scrolling logo back on, change "LogoScreensaver" from 0 to 1. Thanks to Rex, WD0AJG, for sorting out these changes and alerting us to same in the Colorado HD Telegram group.

Remote New

Adding remote commands to Pi-Star made a few things easier. One can remotely restart Pi-Star if a WiFi connection is lost and shut down the hotspot without removing power. Enter the Expert mode.

-Modify the sections where the fields are marked in yellow.

[banner]
# Pi-Star Remote config file
# This config file is desiged for the Pi-Star Keeper remote control
# The remote control system is designed to give repeater keepers an
# RF KillSwitch for their repeaters.

[enable]
# Is the Pi-Star Remote Enabled? (true|false)
enabled=true

[keeper]
# Keepers Information
callsign=W2AAA ← Enter your call. Use all upper case.

[dmr]
# TG commands
svckill=8999999
svcrestart=8999998
reboot=8999997
shutdown=8999996

Save and exit. Then make changes in the codeplug.

With my dual VFO MD-UV380, I put these commands into VFO B to join Unlink/4000. Otherwise, add Reboot and Shutdown to whatever Zone List contains an Unlink.

For more information on the remote commands, see Remote Commands in the Pi-Star Notes by KE0FHS.

Updating and Upgrading Pi-Star

Updating Pi-Star may involve two steps. Moving from version 4.0 to version 4.1 requires downloading a new image file. With 4.1 installed, new release candidate versions—it is always good to run the Update first and Upgrade second—are installed with the Dashboard commands…

The date at the upper right of the Dashboard changes only when there is a significant Pi-Star Update (per KEOFHS: "changes to the Pi-Star dashboard app"). The version number changes whenever there is a Pi-Star Upgrade (per KEOFHS: "operating system-level changes to the system and packages required to support new features").

Alternatively, SSH commandssudo pistar-update (also updates the operating system) followed by sudo pistar-upgrade—may be used for updating and upgrading Pi-Star.

New If you have WiFi AP connectivity issues when starting your hotspot, run a sudo apt-get install rng-tools.

Linux Hints & Tips New

Pi-Star's SSH Access provides Linux access to controlling the device. The APT (Advanced Package Tool) is a command-line utility to interact with the packaging system. Read Using APT Commands in Linux for the how-to.

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