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Create the Boot Image

  1. Obtain a high quality microSD card.  A Class-10 card of 8GB or more is recommended.
  2. Download a Compass Linux image from
  3. The 'lite' version is without a GUI and will require hand editing of configuration files.  The full version has a GUI desktop.
  4. Unzip and copy the uncompressed image to the SD card using the procedure outlined on the Raspberry Pi site.

Boot for the First Time

  1. Place the microSD card in the Raspberry Pi.
  2. Attach a monitor and keyboard/mouse to the Raspberry Pi
  3. Attach Ethernet via the RJ-45 jack to your network.
  4. Apply power via the microUSB port next to the HDMI port 
  5. Allow the Raspberry Pi to boot up
  6. Login  (User: pi, Password: raspberry)
  7. Perform any Linux configuration specific to your installation, e.g. assign specific network addresses, install favorite tools, etc. (This is beyond the scope of NW Digital Radio support, please use Linux support resources for assistance.)
    Note: DO NOT RUN raspi-update - it will break your install
  8. You may wish to edit the /etc/hosts file and add a reference to the hostname, for example if you keep the default 'compass' hostname, add a line compass
    If you want to change the computer hostname use the command:
    sudo raspi-config
    Then select "Advanced Options" -> "Hostname" and follow the instructions.  It will update the hostname for your Raspberry Pi and will make the change in /etc/hosts
  9. Insert the ThumbDV™ and observe that it appears at /dev/ttyUSB0
    ls /dev/ttyU* will list all USB serial ports, if you have a GPS, another ThumbDV™, or other serial device they may also be listed. Be sure to locate the one with the newly installed ThumbDV™.
  10. To gracefully shutdown the Raspberry Pi, you may use the command:
    sudo halt

Install AMBEserver

Use the following commands on the command line.

For the AMBEserver:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install ambeserver
sudo systemctl enable ambeserver@ttyUSB0.service

The ThumbDV™ baud rate setting for startup defaults to 230400. For new ThumbDV™ (Rev. A) devices, the baud rate will need to be modified to 460800.  See  AMBEserver Addendum for instructions.

Reboot your system.  AMBEserver should be running and listening on UDP port 2460.


See the Addendum

NW Digital Radio is in the process of setting up various community groups at Please create a personal account at Join the main NW Digital group by sending an email from your registered email account to and then send an email to Please use the group for questions and to share your experiences, so that all ThumbDV™, PiDV™, AMBEserver users can benefit from the replies.