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Paul M

Ubuntu: Losing my head!

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After my first light with Ubu I had a few issues to look into.

First, why my lappy and Ubu wouldn't talk to each other over Ethernet. 

I googled and tweaked and tried a million times but it wasn't happening. It did eventually happen the other night of its own accord but took ages.

So I connected Ubu directly to the wireless router via Ethernet and it connected instantly if not quicker than that. I suspect it's lappy at fault although it happily connected to the RasPi over Ethernet. 

At least I now have a solid connection to Ubu while I look into problem no. 2, trouble with hotspots.

Out in the garden I could connect Ubu to my tablet's Hotspot but VNC wasn't working like that. So yesterday I tried setting up Ubu's hotspot and tried that.

It was straight forward but even though Ubu reported a working hotspot my mobile devices couldn't see the SSID. My lappy could but couldn't connect.

Google threw up some suggestions such as changing the WEP security to WPA. I opened the advanced configuration tool and did just that. It saved out ok but on restarting the connection it just reverts back to WEP.

I know I'm editing the right connection because I can change the SSID and to some degree the password but changes to the encryption won't stick.

Seen some stuff about editing the file directly but it's root and so far I've not got in to it and work is getting in the way again.

Ubuntu certainly isn't like Windows that you can lobotomise by deleting chunks of the registry! Ah the good old days...

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26 minutes ago, stash_old said:

To do anything which required "root" priv from the command line use "sudo xxxxxxxx"

Thanks, I've been trying that method to get at the file but not sucessful so far.

I can do that to edit read only files but the one I'm looking at won't even open as read only.

Still at work so I'll try some more later. 

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Mad as a box of frogs this Ubuntu lark.

It looks like the provided Hotspot in the wifi manager is only capable of WEP so I ended up installing wifi-ap, a dedicated hotspot creator that includes the WPA supplicant. http://wiitez.blogspot.com/2020/07/configuring-wifi-ap-and-hostapd-on.html

It was straight forward and it's all configured correctly, unfortunately still no SSID's visible on other devices, nor is there any connection if I manually configure it on other devices. This tool disables wifi and has to be disabled via Terminal but does disable cleanly allowing normal WiFi to resume.

Slightly annoying because plan "a" was alway to have just a tablet at the scope for setting up and focussing etc. Then monitoring and control would continue from indoors on my Lappy via Ethernet or WiFi.

1894654245_Screenshotfrom2020-10-1723-03-21.png.2c73ec697da303c4c8beaf14f662a87c.png

No ideas left now. Looks like I'll be setting up a WiFi repeater in the new conservatory when it's finnished and connect to that. I already have something that'll be ok for the job. 

So much for the Ubu's WiFi antenna farm. As much use as chocolate teapot.

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You seem to be making all this so difficult for yourself....just get out there with Stellarmate on an RPI  and image with a system that works....👍👍

 

Edited by Stuart1971

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8 hours ago, Stuart1971 said:

You seem to be making all this so difficult for yourself....just get out there with Stellarmate on an RPI  and image with a system that works....👍👍

 

I think the weak spot of my abandoned Astroberry system was the RasPi. I don't think changing the software will help and I'm not going to buy Stellarmate to prove that nor another RasPi to prove that either!

Anyway, I have a working system now just finalising the connection details and I've learnt a bit about Ubuntu along the way. Nice to be able to start a sequence and not have it all crash on the second sub!

My next big issue is increasing frailty of guiding. PHD2 struggled last time I was out with APT and Ekos internal guiding wouldn't calibrate at all the other night.

Even the backlash has got backlash. If I'm going to open the mount up I might as well belt mod it. I'll be well at home with the stilsons, lump hammer and 2" bolster rather than a keyboard :)

Edited by Paul M

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8 hours ago, Stuart1971 said:

You seem to be making all this so difficult for yourself....just get out there with Stellarmate on an RPI  and image with a system that works....👍👍

 

Realise it's totally off topic, but any reason why I'd pay $49 for Stellarmate OS when astroberry is free, and from the screenshots, Stellarmate primarily relies on open source software (e.g. most of the screenshots are INDI/EKOS).

Not trolling at all - it's a genuine question - don't want to be missing out on something useful!

 

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18 minutes ago, rnobleeddy said:

Realise it's totally off topic, but any reason why I'd pay $49 for Stellarmate OS when astroberry is free, and from the screenshots, Stellarmate primarily relies on open source software (e.g. most of the screenshots are INDI/EKOS).

Not trolling at all - it's a genuine question - don't want to be missing out on something useful!

 

I could have easily said Stellarmate or  Astroberry, both pretty much the same and both primarily rely on open source software... 👍😀

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19 minutes ago, rnobleeddy said:

Realise it's totally off topic, but any reason why I'd pay $49 for Stellarmate OS when astroberry is free, and from the screenshots, Stellarmate primarily relies on open source software (e.g. most of the screenshots are INDI/EKOS).

Not trolling at all - it's a genuine question - don't want to be missing out on something useful!

 

My thought too. I looked long and hard at the options before deciding on Astroberry. As you say the core components are the same. 

I see that some consider Stellarmate to be slicker and maybe it is. But at the time I wanted to try out the lowest cost option and Astroberry looks and feels nice too.

 

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51 minutes ago, Paul M said:

I think the weak spot of my abandoned Astroberry system was the RasPi.

I've been sitting on the side reading this topic with interest and empathy. At the start of lock-down I purchased an RPi3 and an RPi4 to explore the world of Astroberry and to set up an all sky camera. I decided that the pi3 would be better allocated to the all sky and the pi4 to Astroberry.

Seven months later I still don't have a reliable Astroberry system I can use with confidence, i.e. set it up, go to bed and get up 'n' hours later and find it all finished and parked. I have lost count of the installs/re-installs on both the pi3 and the pi4. Even when it seems to be working there are certain aspects that have never worked, primarily 'parking the mount' - it can end up literally anywhere! I am convinced there is a fundamental problem which I cannot solve between the iOptron mount and the pi3/4.

The only reason that I persist with all this is that also have an original ASIair based on a pi3 and I believe running INDI to communicate with my mount/camera etc. It works faultlessly night in, night out. It is a joy to use. I love it! It's only shortcoming which I perfectly understand and so many others rubbish is that it only works with ZWO equipment - and to be honest why shouldn't it! It communicates perfectly with the iOptron mount. It interfaces perfectly with Sky Safari. It plate solves in the blink of an eye - literally - like on occasion 0.4s! It's the easiest thing in the world (maybe a slight exaggeration) to setup and use. It has PHD built in and it works. It has a PA alignment process that works. Ok it doesn't make tea at 11.30pm just before I go to bed, set the dishwasher or feed the cat but I can't have everything - and if I don't do those things the lovely wife will cover for me.

The pi4 is now in the all sky camera - and generally works. The pi3 is sitting in an old biscuit tin with it's associated wires and psu, etc.

I should say I only started with Astroberry because I had an Atik camera I wanted to use - I've since sold the Atik - it was easier.

Adrian

P.S. As an ex-NEQ6 owner I can recommend the belt upgrade although I don't think you'll need the 2" bolster!

 

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12 minutes ago, Adreneline said:

I've been sitting on the side reading this topic with interest and empathy. At the start of lock-down I purchased an RPi3 and an RPi4 to explore the world of Astroberry and to set up an all sky camera. I decided that the pi3 would be better allocated to the all sky and the pi4 to Astroberry.

Seven months later I still don't have a reliable Astroberry system I can use with confidence, i.e. set it up, go to bed and get up 'n' hours later and find it all finished and parked. I have lost count of the installs/re-installs on both the pi3 and the pi4. Even when it seems to be working there are certain aspects that have never worked, primarily 'parking the mount' - it can end up literally anywhere! I am convinced there is a fundamental problem which I cannot solve between the iOptron mount and the pi3/4.

The only reason that I persist with all this is that also have an original ASIair based on a pi3 and I believe running INDI to communicate with my mount/camera etc. It works faultlessly night in, night out. It is a joy to use. I love it! It's only shortcoming which I perfectly understand and so many others rubbish is that it only works with ZWO equipment - and to be honest why shouldn't it! It communicates perfectly with the iOptron mount. It interfaces perfectly with Sky Safari. It plate solves in the blink of an eye - literally - like on occasion 0.4s! It's the easiest thing in the world (maybe a slight exaggeration) to setup and use. It has PHD built in and it works. It has a PA alignment process that works. Ok it doesn't make tea at 11.30pm just before I go to bed, set the dishwasher or feed the cat but I can't have everything - and if I don't do those things the lovely wife will cover for me.

The pi4 is now in the all sky camera - and generally works. The pi3 is sitting in an old biscuit tin with it's associated wires and psu, etc.

I should say I only started with Astroberry because I had an Atik camera I wanted to use - I've since sold the Atik - it was easier.

Adrian

P.S. As an ex-NEQ6 owner I can recommend the belt upgrade although I don't think you'll need the 2" bolster!

 

I read many stories like this on the INdI forums, and most of the issues turn out to be one of two things, lack of power to the rpi, or a dodgy network connection...

Now there are two way of running both AB and SM, which way were you running it, running Kstars on the rpi, or running Kstars from your indoor PC and using the rpi as an INdI server...?? 

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19 minutes ago, Stuart1971 said:

Now there are two way of running both AB and SM, which way were you running it, running Kstars on the rpi, or running Kstars from your indoor PC and using the rpi as an INdI server...??

I've tried both approaches and neither have worked reliably or consistently as the ASIair does.

I have powered the pi's with their own (PiHut supplied) PSU units and with custom power units providing more power. I've used powered USB 3.0 hubs. I have connnected wirelessly and wired. I am a self professed ludite with network issues but fortunatley have a brother-in-law to hand who is an ex Novell Network engineer and speaks all flavours and dialects of 'network language' fluently.

The fundamental problem is consistent reliablility - it all works - it just doesn't all work all the time - except parking the mount and that has never worked for me.

I don't doubt for a minute that there are many AP'ers who have got SM or AB systems that work reliably and consistently but I and at least @Paul M are not one of them. It's all a tad frustrating really.

Adrian

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17 minutes ago, Adreneline said:

it all works - it just doesn't all work all the time

I found that too but that it all worked but not all at the same time.

All down to the handling of USB traffic in my instance. Looking at USB devices via the console while they were busy showed constant multiple device resets and drop-outs.

And as I've said a million times already, I put that down to a combination of my RasPi having a defect and the nuances of my ZWO cameras; noncompliant usb2 implementation on the ASI120mm mini and general hi usb bandwidth.

Anyway. The Pi is on the naughty step.

Staying off topic... I seem to remember reading that the ASIair is'nt built on the RasPi but on one of the same formfactor, almost clone, alternatives. Which would explain the realative stabillity.

I could be wrong on that...

 

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10 minutes ago, Paul M said:

I seem to remember reading that the ASIair is'nt built on the RasPi but on one of the same formfactor, almost clone, alternatives. Which would explain the realative stabillity.

This is the inside of my ASIair:

IMG_0704.thumb.jpg.8210b7f263f0f3fab806f124c16cb286.jpg

Looks pretty authentic to me but then I don't really know.

Adrian

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11 hours ago, Paul M said:

Mad as a box of frogs this Ubuntu lark.

 

 

I agree Paul, walked away from ubuntu a long time ago. I recall it being a nightmare to configure networking properly, as in LAN unless you wanted generic DHCP. It'd keep resetting changes on a reboot when I edited the conf files etc. This shift to making *nix more like the woeful one in terms of point and click gui sometimes stomps all over the old tech ways of editing conf files directly. Used to be an ok OS build but morphed to something irritating I found. I started out with Slackware and RedHat a long time back, never really liked SUSE but now there's so many variations I so CBA to spend that much time finding one that suits what I want to do. I've worked on a few mainstream nix systems in large corporates and while they had quirks they at least were usually consistent in their behaviour.

Hope you do manage to get round the wifi issue, but if it were me I'd stay with just the LAN connections  as it'd be more stable.

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8 minutes ago, Adreneline said:

This is the inside of my ASIair:

imageproxy.php?img=&key=127fb0a7147957bfIMG_0704.thumb.jpg.8210b7f263f0f3fab806f124c16cb286.jpg

Looks pretty authentic to me but then I don't really know.

Adrian

A Pi it is then!

 

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12 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

Hope you do manage to get round the wifi issue, but if it were me I'd stay with just the LAN connections  as it'd be more stable

Indeed but SO far it's been great over WiFi too within  range constraints. I didn't expect the hotspot to be challenging and I'm not sure I'm admiting defeat on that yet because, away from home, I'm intending to manage this thing with my non Ethernet tablet.

If I still need to fire up my little notebook to get a wired connection I might as well just stick to running APT and co on that.

Hmmm. I'm sure that's been offered as advice already! 🤩

I really should take a copy of my system as it is now because I'm sure to do something fatal soon and need to start again.

Edited by Paul M
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If it helps address the balance, I've used two pis with Astroberry and it's worked exceptionally well.  I've used Pi's for many years and they're generally super reliable. Most problems are power related.

Clearly, people will have issues. Part of this will be INDI related (if you want to use Linux, learn to check compatibility before you buy, e.g. ZWO cameras not QHY), part of this is the difficulty of getting WiFi to the garden, and of course, with a myriad of different equipment, drivers, etc, it's going to fail sometime for some setups.

IMHO, pi + astroberry is superb value and if you're kit supports INDI, it can work very well. 

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1 hour ago, rnobleeddy said:

If it helps address the balance, I've used two pis with Astroberry and it's worked exceptionally well.  I've used Pi's for many years and they're generally super reliable. Most problems are power related.

Clearly, people will have issues. Part of this will be INDI related (if you want to use Linux, learn to check compatibility before you buy, e.g. ZWO cameras not QHY), part of this is the difficulty of getting WiFi to the garden, and of course, with a myriad of different equipment, drivers, etc, it's going to fail sometime for some setups.

IMHO, pi + astroberry is superb value and if you're kit supports INDI, it can work very well. 

Very well said, and I entirely agree...👍

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1 hour ago, rnobleeddy said:

If it helps address the balance, I've used two pis with Astroberry and it's worked exceptionally well.  I've used Pi's for many years and they're generally super reliable. Most problems are power related.

Clearly, people will have issues. Part of this will be INDI related (if you want to use Linux, learn to check compatibility before you buy, e.g. ZWO cameras not QHY), part of this is the difficulty of getting WiFi to the garden, and of course, with a myriad of different equipment, drivers, etc, it's going to fail sometime for some setups.

IMHO, pi + astroberry is superb value and if you're kit supports INDI, it can work very well. 

+1 for the power issues, +1 for rubbish ZWO usb interface especially on Asi120 (older one most prpblem - SAM say" the 120mc does like USB hubs").

There are only a handful of base Linux flavours - thats kernel level - everything else are "modified" open source variants supported by there own crowd of supporters.

Without compiling Indi the most supported version is Debian as is Ubuntu (mate and whatever else) here is a not complete lot of Debian based versions. https://www.tecmint.com/debian-based-linux-distributions/

Indilib problems IMHO is they try to be so wide spread across Astro Equipment they cause there own problems - do a great job having said that. The old " please some of etc " problem.

Asair is "better" (more reliable) because it is limited to a smaller batch of supported hardware and its a commercial based org - so if the product was knaff they would loose money - commercial suicide.

Stallarmate is not a lot different to Astroberry as they are both based on the core Indi (now days Raspbian AKA Debian OS)- its just Stellarmate has  more Bells and whistles and Jasem's (and others) support - first class on Stellarmate. So really you are paying for support - which IMO you should !

A lot of the drivers ,e.g. E.G, are based on suppliers Libs which Indi has no control over really - so if they provide an update with a bug users following blindly with the latest updates get the bug. Why do some people keep updating!

IMO RPI4 was not tested on any grand scale before release (how could they) and Astro stuff I bet never came into the equation. So considering RPI4 has not been out that long (1gb RPI4  June 2019) and we have had Covid from Jan 2020 which didm't help. Anyone who has been heavily involved in IT always knows being at the "front" has its problems and thats with massive Org like IBM,HP,ICL,DEC ,Lyons ,Singer etc etc.

Perhaps you forget Indilib is free!

Also as someone indicatored earlier people just assume things work with there particular set of hardware - Hubs,Power, Camera's, cables - instead of doing some deep due diligence before diving in. I bet there are only a few "standard" set ups when you include in element.

How many years and versions of Windows were released before it became stable - plus how much money did Microsoft throw at problems. Perhaps few of you remember the "hardware settings" on Ethernet boards for example just to get Windows to recognise what type of boards they were!

The best thing in Linux is that they are 1000's ways to do something and end up at the same place - its also its own enemy especially those "spoon fed" on GUI's.

What I am saying users cause a fair share of the problems with Indi and in todays society where everyone wants it yesterday they perhaps forget to be a little patient and "bend" a bit to get things working.

Yes its all very frustating but so is Astro stuff - well to me at any rate.

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In the absence of any usable clear nights I've continued to soak test Ubu. Having sorted the WiFi hotspot by way of a USB dongle I needed to be sure that it would boot into an accessible, headless state. 

The hotspot can't be configured to be active on boot using Network Manager and after some cule-de-sacs and failed attempts I came across a website demonstrating a method that seemed too easy and obvious to be a working solution   https://itectec.com/ubuntu/ubuntu-wifi-hotspot-start-up/

It applied that method and I now have a reliable hotspot on boot. 

I'm now so expert on all things Ubuntu that when an old laptop slid out of a cupboard today during a search for something else I got an Idea..

It's an old (15 years?) Dell Vostro with Vista. It was never a good laptop even when new. I'd intended to throw it back at Dell but they told me it was an RTB warranty and they needed 4 weeks to turn it round. So I suffered with it for years. That showed 'em!!

I threatened to try Linux on it years ago, when SGL was having a big Linux conversion period. I never did, until today. I still have the Ubuntu 20.04 Installation USB stick I created to rebuild Ubu, would it work on an ancient old Windows lappy?? This thing hadn't been booted for years so no idea if it would even power up. It did and I went straight to Bios to set USB as 1st Boot. I was slightly surprised to see it come to life, eventually asking me if I wanted to install to the local disk. I opted for that. Nothing of the old Vista Install was of interest to me so it got blitzed. 

It's a slow old machine with 4gig of RAM but it kept soldiering on installing amd64 files. On completion I had a usable machine. I've been playing with it all afternoon. Quite nice it is too. I did the full install (as opposed to the minimum I put on Ubu) and then installed Chrome and Real VNC server. 

I really don't need another bulky old laptop in my life but perhaps I'll keep this as a diagnostic/backup machine for out in the field, so long as there is mains available. No amount of soak testing fills me with confidence that Ubu will boot and play ball if/when we ever get a clear night. There is always something to go wrong... 

I know, I'm off topic, sorry!  So... in other news, a RasPi 4 Compute module is now available. Looks and sounds really nice. I see some new projects in the making... :)

 

Edited by Paul M

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46 minutes ago, Paul M said:

I'm now so expert on all things Ubuntu that when an old laptop slid out of a cupboard today during a search for something else I got an Idea..

It's an old (15 years?) Dell Vostro with Vista. It was never a good laptop even when new. I'd intended to throw it back at Dell but they told me it was an RTB warranty and they needed 4 weeks to turn it round. So I suffered with it for years. That showed 'em!!

I threatened to try Linux on it years ago, when SGL was having a big Linux conversion period. I never did, until today. I still have the Ubuntu 20.04 Installation USB stick I created to rebuild Ubu, would it work on an ancient old Windows lappy?? This thing hadn't been booted for years so no idea if it would even power up. It did and I went straight to Bios to set USB as 1st Boot. I was slightly surprised to see it come to life, eventually asking me if I wanted to install to the local disk. I opted for that. Nothing of the old Vista Install was of interest to me so it got blitzed. 

It's a slow old machine with 4gig of RAM but it kept soldiering on installing amd64 files. On completion I had a usable machine. I've been playing with it all afternoon. Quite nice it is too. I did the full install (as opposed to the minimum I put on Ubu) and then installed Chrome and Real VNC server. 

I am still using (as a wifi gateway in the blobservatory) an old Acer Aspire One (1.6GHz 32-bit Atom CPU, 1.5GB RAM) running an Ubuntu variant called Lubuntu.  It's a lighter weight build with a smaller footprint and lower CPU requirements than the standard releases, but it works just fine.  I suspect the last release or so have become a bit more porky, but there are other lightweight distributions as well.  They're very handy for squeezing a bit more performance out of older hardware.

James

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Interestingly Ubuntu desktop has just been launched for the RasPi 4.

Not sure what benefit it would be for astro applications but tinkerers might like to play. I won't bother with my Pi4 for astro use because as already  stated ad nauseam, my difficulties were with hardware not software.

I'm finding Ubuntu to be a very usable OS for general computing and as such would make a great micro system onboard a Pi4 for those so inclined. Stick it on the back of the TV, wireless keyboard/mouse and you're away!

 

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Just installed Ubuntu server 20.04 & lubuntu-desktop on my new RPI4.

So far works, although it won't start sddm greeter for some reason - I need to login in console mode and then startx to get desktop. Have another sd card with indigo sky loaded. Will need to play a bit with that - check how AzGti and my ASI cameras work with it.

So far rather pleased :D

 

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31 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Will need to play a bit with that - check how AzGti and my ASI cameras work with it.

My ASI120MM mini and ASI178MC work fine under Ubuntu/Ekos on my x86 mini computer. I would expect the same USB issues with Ubuntu + RasPi as I had with Astroberry + RasPi. You never know I might give it a whirl. It cost me a packet for the RasPi + case + SD cards + power supply + blood, sweat and tears!!! Maybe on these cold, rainy winter nights I'll git a go.

Keep us posted on your hardware experiences.

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