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Old 25-11-2022, 10:21   #1
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The Frustrated Newb....

ok then... This, I hope, will become a long and helpful thread not only for me but other people who're banging their heads against the wall. Sorry for the long winded opening, but I wish this to be helpful to all and make clear what I/We hope to achieve here.


I, like many others love and appreciate open source, you might say I am the ultimate optimist when it comes to things Linux and Opensource development.


I am not entirely new to Linux, Ive "dabled" for many years, usually walking away just before throwing all my hardware out the window and screaming blue murder. Yet I always return to Linux when I hear about this new Distro or that new Distro.


So I find myself here once more.... only this time I need to make it work, understand it, and learn it. The alternative is to hand over a ridiculous sum of money to a corporate entity that wont be able or willing to fix things when they break. I plan to find myself in some very remote places in the not to distant future.


I need a system of instruments, sensors and Nav gear that I know how to fix, that I install, configure, deploy, operate and intuitively understand, or at the very least be able to draw upon the collective knowledge of people with similar setups who do know more than I.


As this thread progresses Id like to distill the knowledge here as it goes and create several docs for the "How I did it" sticky thread so future new peeps have a hopefully solid starting point, which for me at least has always been a problem. There is far to much "assumed prior Linux knowledge"... especially when it comes to the myriad of documentation out there.

I know just enough to be dangerous in a terminal window, I hope at the end Ill be somewhat better educated and a little less dangerous.

I am Thanking In Advance users Verkerkbr who has already been helpful and has also (possibly somewhat foolishly) graciously offered to help me out a little. Also to Rerushg, who doesn't know it yet but will probably be sucked into the Vortex...

I am not going to discuss installing Linux and Ocpn because this IS straight forward and easy enough. it is the what next part that is looked at here.

so here goes.....

Hardware I am using:
Lenovo i7 Core mini PC. 16gig Ram, USB ports, Wifi yadda yadda yadda
USB GPS stick/dongle - Prolific chipset. yes its ancient but has always proven reliable.
RTL SDR - A genuine really real one, not a chinese knock off.

OS and Software:
Linux Mint 21, Code name Vanessa, Cinnamon edition
OCPN 5.6.2 Flatpak downloaded and installed using Mint software manager.

The current Conundrums, and I believe this is as simple a place to start as any.....
1. GPS.
I have the trusty the old Prolific Tech GPS USB stick plugged in.
I have the connection made in OCPN preferences,
I have GPS info and satellites displayed on the Dashboard.

If I close OCPN, and restart it later, I don't have any of the above anymore. If I shut down OCPN it seems to dump its serial config and I have to do it over in the preferences again. So probably a permissions or a startup, Run Level issue thing???

2. RTLSDR AIS (usb)

This gets a bit weird..... (and I have to ask, Why is Sean Depaginiers Plugin no longer in the OCPN plugin list/distro/updates/thingamawhatsits anymore???!?!!?! Really???)

The RTLSDR device, works, like a champion! If I install and setup using the process from RTLSDR website for tuning into FM radio stations. Using other programs such as Gnuradio or SharpSDR i can tune in to whatever FM station I want and listen to the radio. So the device itself is fine.

I cannot, for the life of me, config the serial USB hoozit and get it to connect to OCPN in preferences or via signalK or a combo or whatever. the is an Airgap in the serial port to OCPN setup and I havent the vaguest idea of how to resolve it.

So if anyone can assist or provide guidance as to how to get these 2 issues sorted out, I welcome your input. I will be happy to post requested screenshots, debug data etc etc as we go.

Hopefully over the course of this thread we can make an absolute killer setup from the hive mind!!! And I'll become less Terminally Dangerous......


aaaaand, GO!
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Old 26-11-2022, 05:32   #2
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

If you need more data connections, together working is a multiplexer. Then install the SignalK marine data server software.

Is NPM based and works in every browser.

Installation is:

first install NPM: sudo apt install npm.

Then the server: sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm signalk-server

Then the automatic start of the server: sudo signalk-server-setup. You can add the ships name MMSI and leave the other options to no.

You can find the server in a browser with: localhost:3000

The data of the signalK server can be transfered to OpenCPN direct with the setting:
network signalk localhost port 3000

Now you have a marine data server running. Converts all data in and out.

Login and add a new connection for the GPS. Save and restart the server.

There are a lot of options. Interesting is for a start the MXTommy application for making your own instrument panel. Look in the webapps click on the "cloud" and install takes place.. First do the MXTommy demo and then change the server setting to localhost:3000.

This for a start.


Bram
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Old 26-11-2022, 06:42   #3
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Newb


"If I close OCPN, and restart it later, I don't have any of the above anymore. If I shut down OCPN it seems to dump its serial config and I have to do it over in the preferences again. So probably a permissions or a startup, Run Level issue thing???'


First thing: OPCN logfile is your friend. Check the logfile, and see it the OCPN shutdown was clean. Look for:
Code:
08:35:08.505 MESSAGE ocpn_app.cpp:2113 opencpn::MyApp exiting cleanly...

Next thing: Check the opencpn.conf configuration file. If you will post that here (by attachment), we can help study the GPS comm port situation.


Dave
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Old 28-11-2022, 10:46   #4
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by verkerkbr View Post
If you need more data connections, together working is a multiplexer. Then install the SignalK marine data server software.

Is NPM based and works in every browser.

Installation is:

first install NPM: sudo apt install npm.

Then the server: sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm signalk-server

Then the automatic start of the server: sudo signalk-server-setup. You can add the ships name MMSI and leave the other options to no.

You can find the server in a browser with: localhost:3000

The data of the signalK server can be transfered to OpenCPN direct with the setting:
network signalk localhost port 3000

Now you have a marine data server running. Converts all data in and out.

Login and add a new connection for the GPS. Save and restart the server.

There are a lot of options. Interesting is for a start the MXTommy application for making your own instrument panel. Look in the webapps click on the "cloud" and install takes place.. First do the MXTommy demo and then change the server setting to localhost:3000.

This for a start.


Bram

NPM Installed no prob.


SignalK installed no prob.


took a bit of head scratching to work out and understand setting up the serial connection in SignalK, and then the setting a NETWORK connection in OCPN preferences.


It looks (and I may well be incorrect) that if I set the SigK connection in OCPN preferences as Localhost:3000, it gets translated to an IP address. But if I restart OCPN and/or the SigK server, i have still have to go back and reset the connection in OCPN preferences and let it pick up the IP again..



How do I make the connection between SIGK and OCPN permanent?
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Old 28-11-2022, 10:49   #5
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdbcat View Post
Newb


"If I close OCPN, and restart it later, I don't have any of the above anymore. If I shut down OCPN it seems to dump its serial config and I have to do it over in the preferences again. So probably a permissions or a startup, Run Level issue thing???'


First thing: OPCN logfile is your friend. Check the logfile, and see it the OCPN shutdown was clean. Look for:
Code:
08:35:08.505 MESSAGE ocpn_app.cpp:2113 opencpn::MyApp exiting cleanly...
Next thing: Check the opencpn.conf configuration file. If you will post that here (by attachment), we can help study the GPS comm port situation.


Dave

Dave, I sorted this out... Dont ask me how but it works now
I messed about with UDEV permissions and it came good.
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:02   #6
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

If you are struggling with OCPN and Linux, then don't. OpenCPN works great on Windows. The cheapest laptop you can buy will work great and be quite reliable and easier to learn, workon, and understand. Also, SignalK is a complication that if you don't understand why you need it, you probably don't. OpenCPN will connect to serial and wifi data connections just fine without it.

I have used Linux since around 1993 and I don't struggle with it. At one time it was my primary OS for home use, but now I employ a "use what is best for the application" approach. I use Windows for my navigation Laptop. Easy and reliable.
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:19   #7
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
If you are struggling with OCPN and Linux, then don't. OpenCPN works great on Windows. The cheapest laptop you can buy will work great and be quite reliable and easier to learn, workon, and understand. Also, SignalK is a complication that if you don't understand why you need it, you probably don't. OpenCPN will connect to serial and wifi data connections just fine without it.

I have used Linux since around 1993 and I don't struggle with it. At one time it was my primary OS for home use, but now I employ a "use what is best for the application" approach. I use Windows for my navigation Laptop. Easy and reliable.

Appreciate the point of view, and maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but I really like Linux, OCPN issues aside. I actually hate Windows with the intensity of a thousand white hot suns.... that may be misplaced nowadays, but from my "back in the day" telecom days we used many a Linux or Unix machine (Sun!) for things various and never had stability or reliability issues, we had some services running on Windows, and ALWAYS had problems with those machines.
My challenge with Linux/Unix is I was trained on some very specific applications, that no longer exist, and never really gained a broad understanding of how to use Linux/Unix.


so I persevere, an old Dog attempting to learn new tricks...
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:25   #8
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Check out bareboat necessities

It's an OS designed to run on a Pi and compatible with OpenCPN, Signal K and all that other good stuff.
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:27   #9
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

You have probably never tried the SignalK server. It works not so easy on Windows.


It is a complete marine data server and a multiplexer plus a lot of webapps. It also works without OpenCPN runnen. With all sort of conversions and NMEA2000 input and output of routes from OpenCPN to the nmea200 databus.
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:35   #10
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
Check out bareboat necessities

It's an OS designed to run on a Pi and compatible with OpenCPN, Signal K and all that other good stuff.

been there, done that, every bit as problematic, and not at all impressed by it.
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:43   #11
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by verkerkbr View Post
You have probably never tried the SignalK server. It works not so easy on Windows.


It is a complete marine data server and a multiplexer plus a lot of webapps. It also works without OpenCPN runnen. With all sort of conversions and NMEA2000 input and output of routes from OpenCPN to the nmea200 databus.
If that is directed at me, yes, I have used it. There are use cases where it is great. For example, a "connected boat" where there is a server running SignalK seperate from whatever opencpn is running on. But it isn't necessary at all for 90% of what anyone will need. Multiple data streams, serving NMEA to wifi devices, driving autopilots, all work fine without it. The KISS approach.
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:44   #12
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by verkerkbr View Post
You have probably never tried the SignalK server. It works not so easy on Windows.


It is a complete marine data server and a multiplexer plus a lot of webapps. It also works without OpenCPN runnen. With all sort of conversions and NMEA2000 input and output of routes from OpenCPN to the nmea200 databus.

Oh I want SignalK and all it offers!!


the GPS and RTLSDR is only the beginning. Ive all sorts of "old school" Seatalk1 senors that are perfectly functional that I want to plug in.
PyPilot is also a future part.
then all my motor sensors and data from those.
and then all sorts of other systems control and info
then tomorrow, the WORLD!!


I want a digital boat, as much as is feasible, but I want to do it on a blue collar budget, because it can be done...
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Old 28-11-2022, 11:47   #13
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belliure 50 View Post
Appreciate the point of view, and maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but I really like Linux, OCPN issues aside. I actually hate Windows with the intensity of a thousand white hot suns.... that may be misplaced nowadays, but from my "back in the day" telecom days we used many a Linux or Unix machine (Sun!) for things various and never had stability or reliability issues, we had some services running on Windows, and ALWAYS had problems with those machines.
My challenge with Linux/Unix is I was trained on some very specific applications, that no longer exist, and never really gained a broad understanding of how to use Linux/Unix.


so I persevere, an old Dog attempting to learn new tricks...
Fair enough.
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Old 29-11-2022, 12:25   #14
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

so... Ive changed Tack a bit.

Ive gone back to the Rpi4, and installed Sailoog's openplotter distro.

why? because it was the Distro/version that gave me the least amount of headache.

So far its going swimmingly. GPS up and running and all is good and right in the world thus far.

And signalK, just frikken wow at what you can do in there!!! I'm excited.....

right then, RTL SDR.......
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Old 29-11-2022, 13:33   #15
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Re: The Frustrated Newb....

can anyone give me an idea of why im seeing good GPS reception but not seeing Satellites or the GNSS compass rose displayed on the dashboard?
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