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This script is meant to automate the many setup steps involved with configuring a Raspberry Pi 3b, 3b+, 4 or similar single board computer (SBC) running Ubuntu or Raspbian, so that it can be an Astrophotography hub using INDI, KStars, and Ekos. I first developed the series of steps by research, trial, and error in 2016. Then several users on, especially James Taylor ( u2pilotjt ), tested my steps and helped me revise them. James Taylor wrote a beginners guide which can be accessed here: In Fall 2017, I was configuring another PI, went back to my instructions and his guide and followed both. I revised my steps and then turned it into this script. Hopefully this is much easier to use.

Running KStars on Pi 3 Running Ekos on Pi 3 Running Ekos on 64 bit SBC Running Ekos on 64 bit SBC

Before running the script, please be sure to do some research and read up on all that it will do to your Raspberry Pi or other SBC. You may want to use the script as is or add or remove certain lines before running it by adding or removing comment symbols from the front of the line (#).

When you are ready, you can follow these steps:

  1. Download latest version of an image for your SBC. Some sources:
  1. You will need to flash that img file to the SD card. The easiest way to do this is to download the free program Etcher (

  2. Drag and drop the disk image you downloaded into etcher along with the mounted SD card. Click to initialize the flash.

  3. If you are installing Ubuntu-MATE on the Pi 3 (not the Pi 4) you will need to edit the /boot/config.txt file before you remove it from your computer. Apparently there is an issue where one of the settings is optimized for the Pi 4, but does not work on the Pi 3. Luckily it is a fairly simple solution. Just change




    For reference:

  4. Insert the SD Card into the SBC, connect a mouse, keyboard, and display. Also be sure to connect it to the internet with an Ethernet Cord (not WIFI, since it might lose the connection later) Then turn it on. Often the SBC will reboot the first time to resize the partition. Note: Until you finish the script, be sure to keep an HDMI display connected while you are setting up the pi, so that the HDMI connection does not go to sleep. Also be sure to keep it connected to Ethernet, not WIFI, since it will probably lose the connection and not finish halfway through if you use wifi. (Once you have run the script, you can plug in an HDMI monitor or use WIFI at any time)

  5. You should get a setup window if you are using a Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu-MATE that will allow you to setup your login name and computer name. This is difficult to change later, so set it up carefully. Note that it may say your name is unavailable at first, but when you enter your login name that may change. After the configuration, your pi will restart. You may need to restart it again to get your wifi network connection started. If you are running Raspbian or some other SBC, you might not have the option to setup the login name or computer name in the setup script. I would recommend that you try to do this before you run my script.

  6. Copy the scripts in this GIT Repo to your SBC and Open a Terminal Window. You could type the following commands into Terminal to accomplish this goal.

    sudo apt-get install git
    git clone
  7. Navigate to the Folder containing the script. Assuming you typed the above commands, you can type the following to do this:

    cd AstroPi3
  8. Run one of the following scripts using sudo. Choose the right one for your system.

    • The is for a Raspberry Pi 3b or 3b+ running Ubuntu-Mate in the armhf architecture.

    • The script is for an SBC system running Ubuntu on any architecture such as an Odroid C2.

    • The script is for an SBC system running Debian on any architecture such as a Rock64.

    • The script is for a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian.

      sudo ./

      sudo ./

      sudo ./

      sudo ./

Here is a list of what the script does (If you want to disable or modify any of these, please edit before running the script):

  • (DISABLED) Can hold Firefox back to an older version for installing on Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 (since updates break it)

  • (DISABLED) Updates the Raspberry Pi Kernel if desired (Raspberry Pi script only)

  • Uninstalls unattended-upgrades since they can slow down imaging and cause issues with updates.

  • Updates/Upgrades the SBC

  • Sets the user account to auto-login

  • Sets the HDMI to force-hotplug so that it doesn't turn off HDMI when it doesn't immediately detect a display (Raspberry Pi scripts only--Helps to solve issues)

  • Sets the HDMI group and HDMI mode for a certain display resolution (Raspberry Pi scripts only--Please see the comments in the scripts for details and the file /boot/config.txt on the SD card for options.)

  • Disables the screen lock and screen saver to prevent them from causing issues when connecting via VNC

  • Disables the CUPS modules for parallel printers since none are attached and it slows down boot (Raspberry Pi script only)

  • Installs Synaptic Package Manager (makes it easier to uninstall what you don't want)

  • Enables SSH which is disabled by default on Raspberry Pi. (Raspberry Pi script only, unless you enable it.)

  • Optionally gives the SBC a static IP address by editing /boot/cmdline.txt so that in the field you can connect via a direct Ethernet cable if desired

  • Optionally edits the /etc/network/interfaces file so that the static IP address does not interfere with DHCP

  • Installs RealVNC Server (Raspberry Pi Script) or x11VNC (64 bit script)

  • Makes a folder called utilties on the Desktop

  • Creates a shortcut/launcher for the UDev Script in utilities on the Desktop

  • Creates a shortcut/launcher for the Astrometry Index File Install Script in utilities on the Desktop

  • Turns off powersave for Wifi so hotspots/adhoc networks don't shut down in the observing field

  • Creates a hotspot Wifi profile for the observing field

  • Makes a shortcut/launcher in utilities on the desktop to start the hotspot

  • Makes a shortcut/launcher in utitlies to restart nm-applet for NetworkManager which crashes sometimes

  • Sets up samba and caja filesharing so you can share any folder by right clicking

  • (DISABLED) Creates 2GB of Swap memory to increase the memory capacity of the SBC

  • Creates zRAM to get ~ 1.5x the current RAM capacity

  • Ensures Serial connections will not be disabled

  • Installs INDI and KStars

  • Installs the kdeglobals configuration file so that KStars can have breeze icons

  • Installs GSC

  • Installs

  • Installs PHD2

  • Puts Shortcuts for Kstars and PHD2 on the Desktop

  • Installs INDI Web Manager App, indiweb, and python3-pip

  • Places a shortcut/launcher for INDI Web Manager App on the Desktop

  • I also recently added a night vision script to the utilities folder. But it only seems to affect real displays, not VNC.

Icons included in repo: The icons for INDI, KStars, and PHD2 are included in their respective packages and are the same no matter what operating system you are currently using. The icons I used for my scripts in the utilities folder are available freely on Ubuntu-MATE systems, but are not all available on other operating systems. To make them appear the same on different systems, I have included these in the icons folder. These are listed below with their respective source and copyright info:

irda.png (Hicolor icon theme, GPL) mate-preferences-desktop-display.svg (Hicolor icon theme, GPL) plip.png (Hicolor icon theme, GPL) preferences-system-network.svg (MATE icon theme, GPL) system-software-update.svg (Humanity icon theme, GPL) system-upgrade.svg (MATE icon theme, GPL)


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