While the Pi-Star DMR gateway has automatic updates, the latest release (3.4.17) is still based on an old version of Debian (Debian 8 jessie) which is no longer supported. It is however relatively easy to update to the latest release candidate of Pi-Star 4.1 (based on Debian 10 buster), as long as you have a spare SD card (4 GB minimum).

Download the required files and copy to an SD card

First of all, download the latest RC image and your local configuration (remember the default account name is pi-star). I like to also print a copy of that settings page since it's much easier to refer to if things go wrong.

Then unzip the image and "burn" it to a new SD card (no need to format it ahead of time):

sudo dd if=Pi-Star_RPi_V4.1.0-RC7_20-Dec-2019.img of=/dev/sdX status=progress bs=4M

where /dev/sdX is the device name for the SD card, which you can find in the dmesg output. Don't skip the sync command or you may eject the card before your computer is done writing to it.

Then unmount the SD card and unplug it from your computer. Plug it back in. You should see two drives mounted automatically on your desktop:

  • pistar
  • boot

Copy the configuration zip file you downloaded earlier onto the root of the boot drive and then eject the drive.

Run sync again before actually unplugging the card.

Boot into the new version

In order to boot into the new version, start by turning off the Pi. Then remove the old SD card and insert the new one that you just prepared. That new card will become the new OS drive.

Boot the Pi and ideally connect a monitor to the HDMI port so that you can see it boot up and reboot twice before dropping you to a login prompt.

Login using the default credentials:

  • Username: pi-star
  • Password: raspberry

Once logged in use top to see if the pi is busy doing anything. Mine was in the process of upgrading Debian packages via unattended-upgrades which made everything (including the web UI) very slow.

You should now be able to access the web UI using the above credentials.

Update to the latest version

From the command line, you can ensure that you are running the latest version of Pi-Star by running the following command:

sudo pistar-upgrade

This updated from 4.1.0-RC7 to 4.1.0-RC8 on my device.

You can also run the following:

sudo pistar-update

to update the underlying Raspbian OS.

Check and restore your settings

Once things have settled down, double-check the settings and restore your admin password since that was not part of the configuration backup you made earlier.

I had to restore the following settings since they got lost in the process:

  • Auto AP: Off
  • uPNP: Off

Roll back to the previous version

If you run into problems, the best option is to roll back to the previous version and then try again.

As long as you didn't reuse the original SD card for this upgrade, rolling back to version 3.4.17 simply involves shutting down the pi and then swapping the new SD card for the old one and then starting it up again.