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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4

3 weeks 2 days ago
AstroNerd
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47446
Hi all,
I have just got an 240gb M.2 SSD in a small external case, and installed my set up on that, still requires an SD card to be present in the rpi4 with boot partition, but all the software runs from the SSD, and with a monitor and keyboard attached it runs extremely fast, BUT when using over VNC it’s no quicker than running all from the SD card, the screen still lags slightly, am I missing something here, I would have thought there would have been a huge difference using an SSD even over VNC...

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3 weeks 2 days ago
Ihoujin
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47449
VNC and the network connection is a bottleneck, it has nothing to do with how fast the main storage is. The SSD mainly benefits you with faster load times and file read/writes.

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3 weeks 2 days ago
El Corazon
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47453
VNC on 2.4 GHz is slow, especially when you use a 24 bit color desktop. You should definitely run your VNC over a 5 GHz network.

In my backyard, the 2.4 GHz connection tops out at 72 Mbs, the 5 GHz connection reaches up to 433 Mbs. The snappiness at which the VNC responds is directly proportional to that transfer speed. As lhoujin writes, this has nothing to do with the SSD speeding up the system dramatically. Moreover, you can add swap space on the SSD, which also comes in handy. Also, the system appears to be much more stable when running off the SSD.

And images save a lot faster, too, so I concur and can only advise everyone who is using the Pi4 to make the transition and boot from an SSD. A 240 GB SSD costs only $ 30 these days. Nevermind that you still need an SD card for booting, you can just use a 32 GB card for that, at $ 8 also not much of an expense.

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3 weeks 2 days ago 3 weeks 2 days ago by AstroNerd.
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47455

El Corazon wrote: VNC on 2.4 GHz is slow, especially when you use a 24 bit color desktop. You should definitely run your VNC over a 5 GHz network.

In my backyard, the 2.4 GHz connection tops out at 72 Mbs, the 5 GHz connection reaches up to 433 Mbs. The snappiness at which the VNC responds is directly proportional to that transfer speed. As lhoujin writes, this has nothing to do with the SSD speeding up the system dramatically. Moreover, you can add swap space on the SSD, which also comes in handy. Also, the system appears to be much more stable when running off the SSD.

And images save a lot faster, too, so I concur and can only advise everyone who is using the Pi4 to make the transition and boot from an SSD. A 240 GB SSD costs only $ 30 these days. Nevermind that you still need an SD card for booting, you can just use a 32 GB card for that, at $ 8 also not much of an expense.


Well I have tried all manner of network connections, including the 5ghz SM and Astroberry hotspots, and there is no noticeable difference over VNC between any any of them, not sure why that is....

The boot SD card only needs to be 512mb, But I am using a 4gb, the smallest class 10 I could get, and cost next to nothing.... :)

Stellarmate OS BETA on Raspberry pi4b
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Pegasus focus motors on both scopes

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3 weeks 2 days ago
El Corazon
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47457
The SD card only needs to point to the SSD upon system startup, so, yes, the smallest card you can find. I had a 32 GB U3 card lying around and that works fine. Have not systematically tried whether a (slower)Class 10 makes any difference.

The network speed makes A LOT of difference, for my VPN connection. Like between a Model T and a Tesla. Have you looked at the connection speed for your networks?

Also, which VNC are you using. I am using x11VNC on the Pi4, simple to set up, and Remmina on my desktop.

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3 weeks 2 days ago
AstroNerd
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47465

El Corazon wrote: The SD card only needs to point to the SSD upon system startup, so, yes, the smallest card you can find. I had a 32 GB U3 card lying around and that works fine. Have not systematically tried whether a (slower)Class 10 makes any difference.

The network speed makes A LOT of difference, for my VPN connection. Like between a Model T and a Tesla. Have you looked at the connection speed for your networks?

Also, which VNC are you using. I am using x11VNC on the Pi4, simple to set up, and Remmina on my desktop.


I use the VNC that comes with SM and Astroberry, which I think is same as you, and I also have a dual mount PC with Kubuntu and have Remmina on that, but have not tired that yet, I have been using VNC viewer on both windows and Kubuntu...

I though Remmina was just for Remote Desktop and different to VNC connections, I have only use that with XRDP on the PI, which again is no quicker...

So I can use the VNC on rpi4 and Remmina on my Kubuntu desktop..??

Stellarmate OS BETA on Raspberry pi4b
Skywatcher EQ8 pro
Meade series 5000 80mm triplet Apo & Meade 8” SCT (de-forked)
Starlight Xpress SXVR H18, SXVR M25c, Lodestar Guide Camera
Pegasus Ultimate Hub for all USB & Power
Pegasus focus motors on both scopes

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3 weeks 1 day ago
El Corazon
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47469

AstroNerd wrote:

El Corazon wrote: The SD card only needs to point to the SSD upon system startup, so, yes, the smallest card you can find. I had a 32 GB U3 card lying around and that works fine. Have not systematically tried whether a (slower)Class 10 makes any difference.

The network speed makes A LOT of difference, for my VPN connection. Like between a Model T and a Tesla. Have you looked at the connection speed for your networks?

Also, which VNC are you using. I am using x11VNC on the Pi4, simple to set up, and Remmina on my desktop.


I use the VNC that comes with SM and Astroberry, which I think is same as you, and I also have a dual mount PC with Kubuntu and have Remmina on that, but have not tired that yet, I have been using VNC viewer on both windows and Kubuntu...

I though Remmina was just for Remote Desktop and different to VNC connections, I have only use that with XRDP on the PI, which again is no quicker...

So I can use the VNC on rpi4 and Remmina on my Kubuntu desktop..??



That's correct. You can use Remmina to connect to the Pi4 running x11vnc. In Remmina, you can choose the bit depth of the connection. From 256 colors all the way up to 32 bit. I usually run my connection at 24 bit color, that's more than enough for monitoring capture progress, but if your connection is too jerky, you can try setting the bit depth lower. That will result in more color artifacts, of course, but a faster refresh rate.

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3 weeks 1 day ago
hy
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47473
Could you please write-up or point me to instructions for how to connect my RPi4 to an SSD and run off it? Also, all the ($30 of) hardware I need to buy?
Thanks,
Hy

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3 weeks 1 day ago 3 weeks 1 day ago by El Corazon.
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47474

hy wrote: Could you please write-up or point me to instructions for how to connect my RPi4 to an SSD and run off it? Also, all the ($30 of) hardware I need to buy?
Thanks,
Hy



With pleasure!

I basically followed these instructions: jamesachambers.com/raspberry-pi-4-ubuntu...-3-image-unofficial/

using Pre-Release v7 way back in September, but modified my installation repeatedly since to update and make Ubuntu MATE show the options I prefer.

As for the SSD, you can get that on Amazon:

www.amazon.com/SanDisk-240GB-Solid-State...id=1577757510&sr=8-7

This is the one I got, but there are cheaper versions. You can also use a 120GB SSD or a larger one, whatever you prefer.

You also need a USB3 to SATA cable:

www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-SATA-USB-Cab...a%2Caps%2C243&sr=8-3

Sorry, forgot to mention that, so that adds another $13. There is a caveat, that there may be compatibility problems with some cables (see the james chambers website), but I didn't encounter that.

Running the Pi4 off the SSD works like a charm and is much more stable and MUCH faster than from the microSD card, I highly recommend it!

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3 weeks 1 day ago 3 weeks 1 day ago by Megiddo.
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47475
Read an interesting article on network speeds with these RPi4's (thanks suvowner for pointing out the link). VNC is much better, not as good as directly connecting and not using VNC of course, but much better than wireless.

notenoughtech.com/raspberry-pi/2019-rasp...-network-speed-test/

I'm now using the ethernet choice. However I have the benefit of a pier.

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3 weeks 1 day ago 3 weeks 1 day ago by AstroNerd.
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47479
This is the most easiest method to use an SSD much more straight forward than any other method especially for the not so experienced Linux user, and if you connect your SSD to a working rpi4 and use the copy SD card function on raspbian buster (if you use it with Astroberry or standalone) then you don’t even have to do the second part to expand the space....so there is just one line of code to put into just one file...

This method is for Raspbian Buster, which is used in Astroberry or can be used Stan alone and have Kstars and INdI installed...it’s much much easier than trying to do it with Ubuntu AFAIK

www.stewright.me/2019/10/run-raspbian-fr...on-a-raspberry-pi-4/

Stellarmate OS BETA on Raspberry pi4b
Skywatcher EQ8 pro
Meade series 5000 80mm triplet Apo & Meade 8” SCT (de-forked)
Starlight Xpress SXVR H18, SXVR M25c, Lodestar Guide Camera
Pegasus Ultimate Hub for all USB & Power
Pegasus focus motors on both scopes

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3 weeks 1 day ago
El Corazon
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Running Kstars / ekos / INdI from SSD with rpi4 #47486

AstroNerd wrote: This is the most easiest method to use an SSD much more straight forward than any other method especially for the not so experienced Linux user, and if you connect your SSD to a working rpi4 and use the copy SD card function on raspbian buster (if you use it with Astroberry or standalone) then you don’t even have to do the second part to expand the space....so there is just one line of code to put into just one file...

This method is for Raspbian Buster, which is used in Astroberry or can be used Stan alone and have Kstars and INdI installed...it’s much much easier than trying to do it with Ubuntu AFAIK

www.stewright.me/2019/10/run-raspbian-fr...on-a-raspberry-pi-4/



The principle is the same for any OS, whether Raspbian or Ubuntu, as long as you already have a functioning system installed on an SD card.

As you write, in that case all you need to do is clone the SD card onto the SSD, then modify the cmdline.txt file in the boot partition ON THE microSD CARD (not the SSD) to point to the new startup partition on the SSD that contains the operating system. Typically that would be /dev/sda2, but could be /dev/sdb2, depending on how you have configured your Pi4.

I provided the link to the james chambers website, because I found it to be the most thorough and explanatory and because it contains also the instructions for installing Ubuntu on the Pi4 (which is not any harder than Raspbian and much more versatile in many respects, especially when it comes to upgrading KStars). Moreover, it also provides the instructions for updating the Pi4 firmware.

The part that describes how to start the system from the SSD is only one paragraph:

Using USB Storage / Solid State Drive (SSD)

Right now the Pi 4 still lacks USB boot support. However, you can still do it by using the trick of having a SD card that you use as a bootloader only and have the rootfs on your USB storage. This is kind of a waste of a SD card but it’s definitely worth it as it allows you to hit those full sweet sweet USB 3.0 transfer speeds right now without waiting until the USB booting firmware update is released.

Using a solid state on the Ubuntu image is incredibly easy (even easier than Raspbian). Here’s the instructions:

Download the Desktop or Server image above and write it to your SD card
Navigate to the /boot drive on your SD card and open cmdline.txt
Change the part of the line that says root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 to root=/dev/sda2
Now burn the image again to your SSD
Plug in both the SSD and Micro SD and boot up the Pi

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