Buy Now/user guide question


#1

I have a friend that has the old system. I went to buy one and saw that you were switching satellite bands. I have been waiting for the new dream catcher to come out and today I checked and saw that it had. (I did put myself on the to be notified list but didn’t receive anything.)
I am fairly computer literate and I have read through the user guide. If the guide is indicative of what I need to do, I think I can handle it.

  1. Are there any major upgrades in the pipelines that would render the version 3.03 obsolete?
  2. I see that active users are represented on a map. I am assuming that this is done via the Wifi that the dreamcatcher is using.
  3. In the user guide on page 18 it says “_Step 6 Unlike the Skylark program for the Chip computer, Skylark 5.2 will not automatically return to the Hotspot mode if it detects a loss of its existing WiFi connection to a router. If you move from one WiFi location to another (for example moving from one hotel to another where you connected to a fixed WiFi), it is very difficult for the average user to reconnect to the Dreamcatcher and will require you _
    to completely clean the micro SD card and rewrite the Skylark…” Does this mean I have to re-format the SD card everytime I connect to a new WIFI router?

Thanks In Advance…


#2

It is really easy now. The touchscreen has been activated and has menu items to select the wifi modes now.


#3

@John Thanks for sticking with us. We are married to the LoRa modulation. The co-channel rejection performance that it offers is fantastic. And the fact that it comes from a commercially available $5 chip, well, that speaks for itself. Dreamcatcher 3 can tune into signals from 40 MHz up to 6000 MHz (roughly).


#4

A bit of further explanation: The mashup of a superior modulation and wide band/frequency agile radio virtually guarantees longevity. Not to mention the potentially terrestrial applications, which can be experienced by available open source code.


#5

I just put my order in, I like the concept. I live in a very rural area and have limited internet choices BUT, I do have a choice. Other people in the world do not and I will be supporting a noble effort.


#6

I believe Syed just answered this part of your question.

I know of at least one DreamCatcher that is being used in a remote location where there is no Internet connection to report SNR and link status back to the map. My DreamCatcher is connected to my router over Power over Ethernet.

There are two Wi-Fi modes.

  1. Dream Catcher acts like a Wi-Fi “router”, broadcasting an SSID.
  2. Dream Catcher is a client to a Wi-Fi “router” These are probably the majority of the ones reporting on the map

No. The re-format of the SD Card is recommended for an upgrade E.g. from Skylark 5.1 to 5.2, etc.
There’s no problem in re-configuring the DC to connect to a new WiFi router.

Thank @kenbarbi for the nice userguide so far. I’m on the hook for writing the sections about the applications. They’re fairly straight-forward.

If it’s not in the user guide, feel free to ask the community. We’re more than willing to help. Go for it.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


#7

Thanks, I am looking forward to learning something new.


#8

Here’s the simple answer from a user’s perspective (@Abhishek will give you a more technical answer that will require a bit more work to make it work).

The simplest and most basic way into the Skylark program is thru a web browser. Connecting to the Dreamcatcher (DC) is always done via a Wifi connection (unless you direct connect a computer to the DC which is a BIT OVER THE TOP for me). If you don’t connect your DC to a local router network, you always go into it via the DC’s Hotspot (Outernet).

If you change to a local Wifi, then theDC’s Hotspot mode is the entry into the DC. If (let’s say if you have another Wifi access point running in your house and want to change to it), you have to use the first Wifi network to get into the Skylark’s Network App to make the change.

The point of the comment in the user’s manual is a WARNING not to leave (and move outside of its coverage area) one network before you change to another network.

When I move around in my travels, I tend to operate only in the DC’s Hotspot mode so I don’t have to make changes all the time to remain connected. On one trip, I thought I had connected correctly to an open local hotel Wifi - - but the old Skylark 5.1 program couldn’t connect to an open access point (now this problem is fixed with Skylark 5.2). It was a hassle to recover :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I know it’s a long answer, but hope it helps. Ken


#9

I need to better understand the touch screen - - right now all my DCs are sealed up and inaccessible in my travel cases. Ken


#10

Jim, I forgot to ask, can you use the touch screen to change Wifi access points on the fly after you completely leave one network? Ken


#11

yes, touch screen allows you to switch back to AP mode.


#12

Interesting - - I’ll have to try that. As you’ve gathered my touch screens are inaccessible now the way I’ve packaged my DCs - - remember the 10 screws :joy: But am I correct in what I say without using the touch screen? When I better understand this, I’ll revise the User Manual.

Ken


#13

yes, without the touch screen its best to switch back to AP mode while connected on your old wifi network - if expecting changes in wifi password/network.

Please do try out the touch interface, I think theres a lot of useful stuff there.

I have not tried this yet, but it might be worth a shot to try and use this cable:

https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/gpio-and-breadboarding/40-pin-ribbon-cables/40-pin-gpio-male-to-female-ribbon-cable-150mm-(gertboard)

to connect the LCD module outside your case. There may be issues though, due to the length of the cable as the signals are moderately high speed. Plus there might be crosstalk.


#14

That cable looks like what I needed (I want to rotate the display and mount it to the wall of my enclosure)

I could only find gpio extension cables (Female to Female) designed to use an adapter for the breadboard guys.

So I ordered a double male header to make the attempting to make need my own male to female cable. hopefully the pins will be long enough to mate with the cable end… should be here next week.

There are a lot of ide 40 pin hardrive cables available but some twist a couple of pins so I was reluctant to try them.

As an option >>> @Abhishek how many and which of the pins do I really need to make the display work? using individual jumper wires. keeping the touch capabilities?


#15

@zoltan can answer that more accurately

individual jumper wires will almost certainly cause problems with signal integrity and synchronization though.


#16

Thanks for this. It’s been a struggle, but we are making forward progress.


#17

those pins used from the 40 pins, basically gnd, vdd and the two SPI channel for touch and the display:


#18

Now the next shoe to drop, Zoltan @zoltan, with more room inside a Lantern like container, back-up/operating power with a LiPo seems viable. The only problem I had was the Atafruit LiPo chargers (or the comped LiPo chargers Syed sent to some of us in previous years) was they overheated running and charging an L-band Dreamcatcher with a Boston Power LiPo - - so it will never handle the Dreamcatcher v3.03.

My solution to going mobile is to strap on an EasyAcc 20000mAh power pack (as you suggested) and charge it as required. Not very small :disappointed_relieved:

Do you have another idea for small foot-print uninterrupted power with a small LiPo? Ken


#19

Ken, perhaps this Ravpower type, I just found on googling not verified myself (yet):

Looks the magic worlds are “pass through charging capability” very hard to investigate though, hidden from usual specifications…
I think that was mentioned in the article: https://www.ravpower.com/16750mah-portable-charger-2A%20Charger.html


#20

I’ll have to figure out how much space I have now after I move stuff around. The Ravpower is 5 x 3.2 x .86 " and the EasyAcc is 6 x 2.9 x .9 ", so might fit better under the hood :grinning:

The Atafruit with a separate LiPo battery is smaller, but only goes up to 1000mA max which is too
small for the Dreamcatcher. Most of the other manufacturers only go up to 1200 mA which might work.

adafruit

Larger LiPo charger are as big as my Lantern so don’t make any sense. I know early on you included LiPo charging on the circuit boards but abandoned that because of its instability.

Ken