Pi-Star Notes

Revised 2020-12-20

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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. 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.


Note: Beginning with the Raspberry Pi Buster OS update that installed when I ran sudo pistar-update in early October 2020, it appears that the 899999x and 999999x remote control RF commands are not always working as expected. Thanks to Toshen, KE0FHS, for verifying my findings. We believe the Raspberry Pi Buster OS update is the primary cause. You may have to experiment with both the 8…x and 9…x entries in Pi-Star and the codeplug.

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.

# 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.

# Is the Pi-Star Remote Enabled? (true|false)

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

# TG commands

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 Updated

Pi-Star 4.2.x or 4.1.x Updated

It is normally recommended to use the secure shell (SSH) commands to update both the OS (operating system) and Pi-Star.

Pi-Star 4.0 or 3.4

Download and.install the latest 4.2.x image file. Updated After doing so, run the sudo commands (above) to bring the installation up to date.

Linux Hints & Tips

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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