Beta testing RxOS release 4.0 - Skylark. Link in thread!


Beta testing RxOS release 4.0 - Skylark. Link in thread!


RxOS release 4.0 is a completely new User Interface - Skylark, which replaces Librarian, and does a lot of internal things differently.

I am asking for a few volunteers to help beta-test the new release. For the time being, its expected that some things will be broken - so as a beta tester, it would be ideal if you could help with diagnosing the problems(s).

The new release brings with it enough changes that there is no way to upgrade to it using the .pkg updates. So flashing over USB is the only way to move to it. I have also created a new flasher based on VMs, which should be usable on windows, linux and macOS. (The new flasher would also of course need to be tested). You would still need a FEL header to connect the CHIP FEL pin - but no futzing around with usb
drivers, chip-tools, linux command line etc. All you need is to install VirtualBox and VirtualBox extension pack.

Also, there is no v4.0 release for RPi3. CHIP-only.

@sam_uk, @kenbarbi, @Seasalt. What say you? :slight_smile:

Edit: I should have explained the FEL header. It is simply a wire that can be used to connect two pins on the CHIP, like this picture:

A regular metal paperclip should be able to serve the same purpose in a pinch. Its only needed while flashing, not permanently attached.


I don’t know what a FEL header is, but assuming it’s cheap and easy to obtain (or software!) i’ll give it a go. I’m on Ubuntu.

I do already own a paperclip, so i’m in :slight_smile:

The FEL pin is on the CHIP. You short it to ground to kick it into flash mode. Just like the picture above shows. You would use the browser based flashing tool from the chip website.

Count me in. I have both RPi3 (got it working yesterday with 3.1) and CHIP. I could prolly run both side by side as I have enough junk and a DIY kit too.

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@Mark_Phillips: thanks!

Which OS do you use/are comfortable with as your desktop? Linux/Windows/macOS?

As NTC has not made their chrome-flasher open, we can’t use that to flash, so I have instead built a Virtual Machine-based flasher. I will be distributing it as an OVA file that can be imported into most virtualization software - VirtualBox, VMware, Parellels, etc. Though Virtualbox is the only supported one.

So the process would be:

  1. Install VirtualBox on your desktop Linux/Windows/macOS machine.
  2. Install Virtualbox Extension Pack.
  3. Import the .OVA file I give you by simply double-clicking it.
  4. Powerdown the CHIP, and remove the radio from its USB port.
  5. Connect the FEL header as shown in picture:
  6. Connect the CHIP (with the FEL header connected) to your linux/windows/macOS machine(same as in 1 above) via the microusb port.
  7. If the CHIP powers up automatically, thats great. If not, press the button on the CHIP to power it up.
  8. Start the Flasher VM from the Virtualbox UI.

At this point the Flasher VM should detect the FEL-enabled CHIP and start flashing it. It will take about 2 minutes. The the CHIP will continue to boot and first boot after a flash can take another 2-3 minutes. Once done, its LED will start blinking. Do not power down / disconnect until this LED has started blinking. It is safe to remove the FEL header at this point too.

Note that this method of flashing erases all files from the CHIP internal storage, including your old downloads!

OTAs are currently being worked on - and I have finally made it possible to deliver OTAs over the Outernet link itself. So once the new release settles down, the receiver will update itself transparently, with no action needed from Users. But this will happen over the next couple weeks. Though of course a one-time FEL-flash will be needed to move from Releases older than 4.0 to Release 4.0.

During the beta testing, you might need to FEL-flash multiple times as I make further beta releases.


Thanks, Sam!

I should be dropping the releases in a few hours today.

I’m an Ubuntu user but also OK with VirtualBox. There are just some things that you cannot get away from on Windows (such as programming my MD380 radio)

Ok. Virtualbox on Linux should be usable for both you, @Mark_Phillips, and @sam_uk.

If you do not have the correct rules in the udev config, it might be necessary to run Virtualbox under sudo and import the RxOS flasher VM there.

$ sudo gnome-open _path_to_ova_file # to import OVA in roots' virtualbox $ sudo virtualbox # to start the virtualbox

I would like to help to bring the beta to RPi! (and also be a beta tester)

Does Syed know about this mutiny? Just kidding :slight_smile:
So, I guess my RPi 3 B is going to fade to black soon.

As we move closer to a fully integrated Outernet receiver, we have decided to drop support for platforms other than CHIP.

This means there will be no more releases for RPi3, no new desktop/linux installers, and no new Outernet-In-A-Box. Though the last one will continue to be maintained for now as a quick way to test availability of Outernet Signal.

This allows us to move faster, enables true OTAs, and greatly simplifies testing and release.

I’m fairly new to Outernet, but have the receiver kit, which I purchased, up and running. I’ve also managed to flash another blank CHIP “futzing around with usb drivers, chip-tools, linux command line etc.” using Ubuntu. I was also a member of AMSAT many years ago and did quite a bit of digital satellite communications in the old days, but have drifted away from it lately. I’m still KK4XZ.

I’ll be glad to give the beta testing a try if needed.


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thanks, @thomslik! Keep watching this thread.

Beta tester…Count me in.

What about the processing power of CHIP compared to the other platforms?
Will CHIP be future proof of running rxOS as updates gets bigger and bigger, where does it end?

I am not quite sure what the question is. Every electronic product has a lifecycle.

A lot of thought and experimentation has gone into deciding on a platform. CHIP fits the bill nicely. RPi3 doesn’t.

“RPi3 doesn’t”

Why? I get that it’s $20 more than a CHIP but other than that?

One can’t build an integrated product out of the RPI3 platform. So its disqualified anyway.

Oh. OK. Didn’t know that. I guess that’s why the pi-Top products such as the RPi laptop require you to buy your own RPi?

exactly. I mean, they could become a Rpi3 reseller and sell you a rpi3 along with their product. but thats pointless.

Making a unified product is what is not possible.