Debian 8.x (Jessie) to 10.11 (Buster) upgrade for Kiwis using BeagleBone Green/Black



  • Thank you @jks

    The CRCs totally match, and I'm at total lost what could be a problem... So I'll leave it run at v1.461 Debian 8 then, at least it runs. I'm not exposing it to the 'Net, so hope it'll survive.

    Though, on second thought, the WSPR extension is pushing spots to, could that be a security exposure issue?...

    Anyway, thank you...

  • What size sd cards did you use?

    When re-flashing did it seem to go through the normal "back-and-forth" LED pattern before it finally ended in all of them flashing quickly? A Debian 10 re-flash should take much longer than Debian 8 due to the increased size of the image.

  • @jks I've tried 16GB, 8GB, could not find a 4GB so just overwritten the original 4GB card that came with my KiwiSDR - nothing worked! Yes, it went through all the "back-and-forth" for quite long time, and always ended with 4 LED blinking on-off in unison... I've even once left it blinking like that for 30+ minutes. Restarting BBB afterward always ends up again with all 4 LEDs blinking.

    I've tried to do an in-place (by editing the /etc/apt/sources.list), but ended with "You don't have enough free space in /var/cache/apt/archives/" error...

    So, possibly the last resort is clean install Debian (which version should I take?) then install KiwiSDR from source? What do you advise?


  • Is this really necessary? My Kiwi's 6 or 7 years old and has run perfectly fine the whole time. I know zip about Linux and don't understand a word of this code.

    I'd rather buy an new KiwiSDR and toss this one in the garbage than fight my way through this code and ruin a good radio.


    Ken VE3HLS

  • Hi Ken.

    If your Kiwi is running a relatively recent version of the Kiwi code (like v1.6xx) then you don't need to upgrade to Debian 10. You'll continue to receive Kiwi updates with Debian 8.

    If you do want to upgrade but don't care about preserving the configuration then there is an easier procedure. You can just place a Kiwi-customized copy of Debian 10 on an SD card and re-flash the Beagle. Instructions for doing that are here:

    What's described above is a way to save and restore all the customizations you've made. It's intended for people who've made extensive changes like an extensively curated set of DX labels that they don't want to lose.

    Please let us know what your situation is and we'll help you through the process (if it's even needed).

  • Thanks John,

    I don't have anything special configured so it looks like I just need to upgrade to Debian 10. I assume I also have to install the KiwiSDR software on the card as well before I plug in the new one?



  • Okay. No, you don't have to install the Kiwi software additionally.

    The image file mentioned in the instructions is a Debian 10 image that has already had the Kiwi software installed. It's an old Kiwi version (v1.486 I think). But that's okay because as soon as you've re-flashed, and then started up again, the Kiwi will update over the Internet to the latest Kiwi software version (assuming it has an Internet connection).

  • It is once again possible to use the SD card supplied in the original Kiwi product box to re-flash the BBG/BBB.

    A number of months ago that SD card stopped working due to having archived Debian 8.

    We have now found a way around this issue by making a change in the current release (v1.624) build process. So it's once again possible to re-flash to v1.2 using the supplied SD card and update over the Internet all the way to the current release in one go.

    It is still recommended that you consider upgrading to a later version of Debian for the security benefits.

  • I dont follow the last part of Part 1 instructions:


    Make a full backup of your current Debian 8 system. Go to the admin page, "backup" tab.

    What backup tab?

  • On the admin page. See below.

  • My version must be way to old. I don’t have that tab.

  • jksjks
    edited September 2023

    See where it says "Config: v1.2"? This means what you're running is the factory image, which is incredibly old (2016). There is no point in backing this version up.

    Now, how did you get here? This can't possibly be the version you've been running on your Kiwi for any length of time (at least I hope not). Did you re-flash from the supplied SD card recently? Is this a "new" Kiwi that hadn't managed to get updated over the Internet?

    Instead of following the instructions here, which preserve your customizations during the upgrade, just follow these simplified instructions for re-flashing with the Debian 10 image:

  • This is what I have.

  • My power supply died. When I plugged in a new power supply I accidentally had the microSD card inserted when the Kiwi/Beagle booted up and I guess it reinstalled old Debian and Kiwi and I don't see Backup menu anywhere.

  • Okay, so a re-flash occurred and you've lost all the prior configuration data. Hopefully it was not too extensive. Or perhaps you have a backup on another SD card.

    There are a couple of ways to go from here. You can simply let the Kiwi update to the latest version (from v1.2) if it has access to the Internet. That is, the local Ethernet connection goes to a router with Internet access. There was a period of time where updating to the latest version using the supplied v1.2 cards didn't work. But I fixed this recently. An update is attempted after each power on or restart. From v1.2 the update to v1.625 (current release) takes a long time. As much as an hour. So be patient. This leaves you running Debian 8.

    Or if you want you can download the Debian 10 image from the onto another SD card, re-flash from that (you get v1.4xx something from that) and let the Internet update procedure take you to v1.625.

  • I was having difficulty getting the flash to work using the instructions from here:

    I don't know why but I could never get the flashing to work, it always stayed as Debian GNU/Linux 8 (jessie) Kernel: Linux 4.4.9-ti-r25 running KiwiSDR v1.2. I pressed to boot button until the led lights came on. Would not flash

    So I decided to download Debian 10 image from Not sure if I was supposed to do that. I got the image from here:

    And used these instructions:

    So now I checked from and I am running Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster), Kernel: Linux 4.19.94-ti-r42. Somehow the flashing process worked this time. But I'm not sure where to go from here. Is there a way to download the kiwisdr program with an apt-get command? Or do I need to start over and try to reflash again using an image from the site?

  • Login as "debian" password "temppwd". Then "sudo su" using "temppwd" password again. Now "cd". Then "pwd". Should say "/root".

    Now "git clone"

    Then "cd Beagle_SDR_GPS", "make", "make install", "reboot".

    If you get stuck with this, and you can't make it work, then it'll be easier to try re-flashing using a Kiwi image. Try a different sd card or something. The Kiwi images are designed to avoid me having to talk you through an install on an unknown distro. I just don't have the time. Especially not now..

  • Quote:

    Login as "debian" password "temppwd". Then "sudo su" using "temppwd" password again. Now "cd". Then "pwd". Should say "/root".

    Now "git clone"

    Then "cd Beagle_SDR_GPS", "make", "make install", "reboot".

    Completed all the steps above, but it didn't work. I'm going to try flashing a Kiwi image again.

  • Yes, that's really the best way to go. Anything else just has too many unknowns.

  • Hi, new here. I maintain a used , zapped kiwi (accidently, 12V were applied to the DC-plug) from the local club. The Kiwi itself is not working, but as long as i wait for the tech-guy to repair it , i wanted to update from debian8 to 10. The beagle is reachable via ssh, but no webserver is running. As i write this, i perform "cd Beagle_SDR_GPS", "make", "make install", "reboot". I'm not sure if this helps. So far, i have:

    $ uname -a

    Linux kiwisdr 4.19.94-ti-r42 #1buster SMP PREEMPT Tue Mar 31 19:38:29 UTC 2020 armv7l GNU/Linux


    debian@kiwisdr:~$ cat /etc/issue

    Debian GNU/Linux 10 \n \l Debian Buster IoT Image 2020-04-06

    but a connection via port 8073 is refused.

    Any ideas what to do.

  • I should have said that I have no original SD-card with Debian8, just the Beagle and the Kiwi, nothing else.

    I managed to flash the Image to a new card and boot from it, pressing the button near the card slot. After a long while the Beagle responded to my attempts to connect via ssh, but i failed to connect to the webserver. Running HTOP shows no entries of nginx.

    Please advise me what to do, i am familiar with linux (i'm not an expert at all, just a long time user)


  • edited January 19

    Hi Martin,

    Running HTOP shows no entries of nginx.

    Kiwi doesn't make use of nginx or any other standard webserver package. Look for kiwid; that's the main process which contains its own webserver.

    But unless the kiwi hardware is repaired, you probably can't expect kiwid to run and respond normally.



  • kiwid will not run, and there will be no response on port 8073, unless the Kiwi board is installed and responding. Do you have reason to believe the Kiwi board is damaged?

    Does the Beagle not run when the Kiwi board is installed and power applied to it? If so, the common mode choke on the Kiwi board may be damaged and need to be jumpered around as described here:

    When you rebuilt the Kiwi software (cd Beagle_SDR_GPS; make; make install) did it seem to compile without any errors?

  • edited January 19

    Thanks for the replies. Yes , the kiwi board is damaged, i measure 5V, but there is no 3.3V, no 1.8V etc. .

    So, we need to replace the voltage regulator , i suspect?


    Edit: I mated the Kiwi and the Beagle , fed 5V to the DC socket and now measure all voltages. Wew!

    Maybe it was just a intermittent in the power cable.

    Currently, the beagle flashes the blue led's back and forth, so i think it is updating. I'll let you know if it runs or not when it has finished.

  • jksjks
    edited January 19

    Don't jump to conclusions too early. Study the schematic first:

    I don't believe anyone has ever had to replace voltage regulators on the Kiwi board (except for one time where it physically got knocked off the board).

    5V flows from the Kiwi power connector directly to the Beagle header (5VE header pin) and down to the Beagle. It doesn't go anywhere else on the Kiwi board. The Beagle switches this 5V and send 3.3 and 5V back up to the Kiwi via the header (5V and 3.3 pins on header). So check those three voltage points on the header first.

    Be very careful when probing the pins on the header. For example, if you accidentally short 5VE and 3.3 together then it's Game Over.

    If all three are in order then look at the regulator test points on the Kiwi board: 1V, 1.8V, 3.3A, 3.3G. See the troubleshooting document:

  • edited January 20

    Thanks, jks .

    All voltages there!

    Just waiting for the led's to stop flashing, then i will return here.


    Edit: Kiwi is alive and kicking! I can connect to the webserver, it receives, all good. Just now it is updating to a version 1.6xx . It seems i messed up with the password for ssh. Can i set that from the admin panel?

  • Congrats!

    Can i set that from the admin panel?

    Yes. Hit connect in the console tab, then you can use the normal linux passwd command as probably familiar.

    If you want to login as root via ssh, you must also change PermitRootLogin in /etc/ssh/sshd_config to yes (if not already done). Then execute service ssh restartto let the changes take effect immediately.

  • Ha!

    Just a few minutes before i read your post i tried exactly that. I successfully set a new password via the console.

    Thanks anyway. I'm no friend of root-login, so i will not do that, but I copied a RSA-key file onto the beagle , so i don't need to remember the password. User debian now logs in with rsa-keys.

    73, Martin

  • Yes, that's my preferred method: /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

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