Using the Dreamcatcher 3.05 with Slackware-arm

Hello Everybody,

I managed to boot a less common Linux distribution (Slackware Linux’ ARM port) on my Dreamcatcher 3.05 board.
I tried to look for instructions on how to use the RF part of the board, and I know they have been available for Armbian at some point, but those links are long dead by now (https://docs.outernet.is/Armbian%20Operating%20System%20Images.html).

This is what I was able to uncover so far:

  • the tuner and lnb reside under address 0x60 on the first (number 0) i2c bus
  • the RF part is supposed to be R820T2-based
  • in the skylark image I could find no trace of loading any driver for i2c address 0x60
  • those devices seem to be manipulated by scripts using i2cget and i2cset commands
  • I could see no trace of any of the rtl-sdr drivers being loaded
  • I could see no RTL-SDR device on the USB bus
  • the devices residing under i2c-0 0x60 were not listed in the dtc and dtb files either, necessitating manual loading of any drivers.

So I tried to use the rather vague instructions found here, and I managed to get the rtl-sdr drivers installed, but I’m stuck at that point.
What were the necessary steps to using the radio on Armbian?
How can I load the necessary drivers into the kernel? Which exact driver should I use?

Thanks!

Best Regards,
János

Have you tried the Wayback Machine website? (https://web.archive.org/) I inputted “https://docs.outernet.is/” as the search term and it returned 13 captured pages. The pages aren’t complete but there’s still plenty of useful information. Hopefully, it has what you’re looking for. Good luck.

Hi Mr_B,

Thanks for the suggestion. One of my first attempts was to look up these links in the Wayback machine:
https://docs.outernet.is/Armbian%20Operating%20System%20Images.html
https://docs.outernet.is/Dreamcatcher%20Armbian%20Code%20Snippets.html

But only the second one had any useful results, the rest were 404s.

The 3.05 does not use an R820. It instead used a hardware radio (rather than RTL-SDR). The component is the Semtech SX1281. There is also a Qorvo RFFC5072 connected to the Allwinner A13 (and SX1281).

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Sometimes you have to check the url’s for all the dates. I found 5 pages that were saved: Snippets, DIY Kit, FM, APRS, and WSPR. Also using the RadioNerds.com url, I found the Dreamcatcher page was still active. (DreamCatcher - RadioNerds) This page includes a lot of the info and code found on the other pages indicated on the Wayback Machine’s list. It also has available older Armbian and Skylark images and some datasheets. Hopefully that can be useful. Good luck.

Thank you Syed for the information!
Did you use any open-source drivers for these devices in Skylark? As far as I could see, there are no open source drivers for these devices in the mainline Linux kernel currently.

The drivers on Skylark were/are not open source, but you can find code to control the SX1281 and RFFC5072 elsewhere:

Thank you Syned! I will check it out.

Please let me ask you one more thing.
Then which was the last Dreamcatcher board revision that had RTL-SDR type radio integrated to it? Was it the 3.03 or the 2.03?

Thanks!

1 Like

It was 2.03. The 3.xx versions of Dreamcatcher all used the LoRa transceiver from Semtech.

Hi Syed,

Are there any special quirks to make the 3.5" jack connector work? I tried it on Armbian, and on Slackware, but couldn’t manage to make it work on either one as an audio output for mp3 playback for instance.