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Discuss RTL-SDR and cheap software defined radio
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:19 am 
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Hi,

Just after some advice on how I can check whether I have an issue with my rtl-sdr? I have tried it with two raspberry pi computers: an original Model B and a RPI3. The original model B was set up with piaware, but after a couple of weeks the rtl-sdr stopped being recognised (light on the stick still on but did not appear under lsusb). The RPi3 worked for a while, but then is seemed to take out the USB power chip (U13 from memory; see this link).

Am I likely to be getting power surges or needing a filter, or is there a chance there is a problem with the rtl-sdr? Sorry for the novice question; I've got no electronics training.

Thanks,

Sam


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:43 am 
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To rule out an RTL-SDR fault i'd test it on a PC first. See if its working well there, and getting ADS-B packets coming in. What dongle model are you using?

It's possible that power surges are zapping your electronics, but its hard to be sure. Ensure that you're using a quality power supply for your Pi. It could also be ESD. Put your Pi in an enclosure to protect it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:19 am 
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Sorry: should have included. rtl-sdr.com branded RTL2832U R820T2. I haven't tried specifically looking at 1090, but ran Gqrx on macOS and was getting FM radio returns. Trying Gqrx on 1090MHz, it seems to be receiving (good peak at 1089.7).

Pi's both had plastic enclosures and was using the official RPi power supply.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:36 am 
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If the RTL-SDR is functioning well on the PC then it's probably a problem with the Pi's or power supply. Or perhaps the extra current draw and processing power needed for the dongle is stressing it too much and overheating. Do you live in a hot climate? Maybe a fan might help.

Recently I had to return 2/5 Pi3's due to similar problems where they just wouldn't turn on after using them for a few months. Is your Pi still under warranty?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:17 am 
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Yeah, fair call. Melbourne Australia. I wouldn't say it is hot but we do get some hot days, which might explain the RPi3. The original Pi B was odd though given it was working and then stopped regardless of power supply, after a few weeks.

I was wondering if anyone else had experience with the RPi3 and the official power supply, though.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:38 pm 
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Some RTL-SDR sticks run hotter than others. The sticks that run extra hot, I do not use with my Pi's, as they are possibly pulling too much current for the Pi power supply. I also use 2.5A or 3A Pi power supplies with hard-wired (not socketed) USB cables, plus heat sinks on top of my Pi chips. A small fan aimed at both the Pi and the RTL-SDR dongle might help.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:32 am 
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handfish wrote:
Yeah, fair call. Melbourne Australia. I wouldn't say it is hot but we do get some hot days, which might explain the RPi3. The original Pi B was odd though given it was working and then stopped regardless of power supply, after a few weeks.

I was wondering if anyone else had experience with the RPi3 and the official power supply, though.


I use the official power supply too and it should be fine as its rated up to 2.5A. But yeah, sometimes Pi's just fail. If you ordered from a reputable company usually they'll take those faulty ones back and send you a new one without much trouble.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:57 am 
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Thank you both!!


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