ADSB with high-end Arduino?

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ADSB with high-end Arduino?

Post by frankv » Fri May 07, 2021 3:49 am

Hi all,
I'm a newbie here, and hoping to get some feedback on a project I'm thinking about... an ESP8266 or ESP32 with an Arduino USB-host mini board and FlightAware ProStick (or similar) with the aim of decoding ADSB signals from aircraft, but wirelessly accessible... more or less a PiAware without the Pi, but with WiFi (or maybe Bluetooth).

I'm a bit surprised that no-one has done this before, so I'd appreciate it if some knowledgeable people give my thinking a quick feasibility check...
  1. I guess the $64,000 question is: How hard is the RPi (CPU and/or USB) working in PiAware or similar? Looking at the R820T datasheet, the device captures the data in registers, so the CPU doesn't have to handle bits in real time (whew!), The CPU would transfer the data in bytes over USB (or I2C) and do the high-level decoding, and then store/display/send the data. At first sight, this seems feasible for a lower power CPU than a RPi, although if it was too slow you would lose packets.
  2. From other websites, it appears that the "USB host stick mini" is really a serial port rather than a full-featured USB port, so maybe it wouldn't talk to the FlightAware Prostick. Anyone know anything about this?
  3. I did skim the forums here, and in another thread someone suggested that an AVR wouldn't have the USB bandwidth, but I don't know if that was in regard to RTL-SDR in general, or ADSB in particular. But a *much* faster 32-bit CPU like an ESP8266 should cope, I think?
Or should I look at the Pi Zero W? Or KISS and just use a full-size RPi?

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Re: ADSB with high-end Arduino?

Post by rtlsdrblog » Mon May 10, 2021 2:27 am

The drivers require a Linux OS, so you'll definitely need something capable of running an OS first of all. The IQ data does come in in real time, so you do need a CPU to process the DSP too. A Pi Zero is probably the minimum spec you can use.

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