Portsdown software

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Important note - the Portsdown transmitter has been designed to "work out of the box" - You do not need to do anything other than read this page and then follow the initial set up guide.

  • Do not connect a mouse, keyboard or monitor to the RPi
  • Do not load any device drivers including the Waveshare screen drivers
  • Do not update the RPi firmware or Linux - the installer takes care of this
  • Do not tinker with Linux commands

If you do, we don't have time to support you and will just advise you to reformat your SD card and start again!

The core software for the Portsdown transmitter has been written by Evariste, F5OEO. Other contributions have been made by numerous developers and it is a great example of an open-source project. Most of the source code is available on the BATC GitHub repository but some of the code is downloaded from other sources.

The potential capabilities of the hardware and software combination are very diverse and maintenance of the totality of the software is beyond the resources of the project team, so only a subset of capabilities will be actively supported. As most of us are TV enthusiasts rather than software enthusiasts, every effort has been made to make the configuration menu-driven.

The software will be supported by the BATC for as long as possible, as stated in the BATC Portsdown Transmitter Support Statement.

From late-2016 until-mid 2018 the Portsdown software was based on the Jessie Lite operating System. Since mid-2018 this has been superceded by the Stretch Lite operating system and all new builds and new features are based on the new system. Portsdowns based on Jessie Lite software will continue to operate but will not be capable of being updated with new capabilities.

This GitHub web page linked below describes how to program a blank SD card with the Portsdown software - the process is not difficult but there are a few operations that require the use of the Linux Command Line. Do not be alarmed – these are simple cut and paste exercises, and full instructions are provided.

Note - We DO NOT recommend using Samsung Evo cards as we have seen problems where they are not compatible with the Rpi 3 due to timing errors.

The detail is available on the BATC GitHub (Git Hub is an open-source software collaboration website) along with the latest version of software at https://github.com/BritishAmateurTelevisionClub/portsdown

Downloading and Installing the Latest Software

  • You will need a computer connected to the same network running to find the IP address of your RPi when it first boots up, such as Advanced IP Scanner
  • You will then need to run an SSH Terminal application such as Putty.
  • You will need a computer with a means of writing an image to a Micro-SD Card. The use of Win32DiskImager is recommended for writing to the card.