LimeSDR Mini - Out of the box setup questions

I was happy to get my LimeSDR Mini the other day, and wanted to get right to test driving it with some simple data capture exercises. I installed the SopySDR software, read up on the LimeSuite tools (then installed them), and found a nice SopySDR example program to “survey some spectrum”. I was going along just fine - everything worked out of the box - the software found the board right away. I updated the firmware on the mini to 1.24 with LimeUtil - no issues. THen, I ran the survey program.

The program ran reasonably, but I received a couple of errors. One was MCU 5, which seemed to indicate that the signal levels were not set correctly, or some other signal flow settings were incorrect. The odd one was an error telling me the frequency was not available (100.1 MHz) when I tuned the mini to receive that frequency. ALl I was trying to do was scan the broadcast FM band and see which channels reported energy on them (scan from 88.1 MHz to 107.9 MHz by 200 KHz increments.

As I began to look for information, I found a lot of confusion between identifying the info that was for the big brother and the info for the mini. Things like the “.ini files” for LimeSuite, port names, etc.

Is there anything out there that will configure the mini such that all a newbie needs to do to collect some data is just set the frequency, bandwidth (sample rate) and gain? I know the 7002 is a beast to configure with over 1000 registers. But if I need to understand all of that before I can just simply capture some basic RF sample data, well then I think I have made a mistake in getting the mini. This all seems very much at odds with the goals of open SDR platforms like gnuRadio, SoapySDR, etc. I hope there are some tools and info out there to help get the mini up and demostrating basic functionality with minimal effort.

If anybody has info or ideas, I’m all ears!

Hi @gregk,

I would suggest to try this one:

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That’s only for Windows users. I think it would be good to have a document with first steps for total newbies to SDR (like me), so that you can get an idea what you can do with the platform. Just a suggestion. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for echoing my sentiments exactly @matthias.bgg! I am an Ubuntu user. I just want to make the LimeSDR Mini do something simple out of the box. I would have thought there would have been at least a simple Getting Started page and example available on Day 1 of the product delivery to customers. I don’t think I’m asking for too much here - even in the scenario of a Crowd-funded development.

As an aside - I did ask this question directly to the LimeSDR folks. They politely referred me to this blog in a 1-sentence reply. (sigh…) Hopefully someone who is capable and has deep experience with the LM7002 will post something like what I am looking for soon. I can’t be the only one in this situation.

I don’t get it, why don’t you use GNU Radio Companion then? This is the best framework I can think of for rapid development of simple examples and exercises. And as you requested, all you need to do is to specify the frequency, antenna name, sample rate and gains and you are ready to go, you don’t have to worry about calibration nor manually setting reqisters of LMS7002 chip.

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I appreciate your suggestion @ccsh, but I think the real goal of the openSDR movement is to be able to use new hardware with existing applications without having to go through a specific application just to get the board working. Nothing wrong with gnuRadio - I use it and love it. But I have some existing applications applications I built with SoapySDR that I just want to change the SDR and run. At some point I should expect to be able to do this. Just not sure when this will be.

Once again I don’t understand your problem - LimeSDR is supported via SoapySDR, so what is the real issue here?

My program builds and runs, but I get no useful output. The LimeSuite runs as well, with same result. In the first post of this thread, I outlined my approach.

to use your gnuradio stuff with the limesdr mini you use the osmocom source. Device arguments = “soapy=0,driver=lime” then carry on using GRC. For tx, osmocom sink, device arguments = “soapy=0,driver=lime”