Installing an eRVin Software Image
What’s an Image?
An eRVin image is a data file that contains all the necessary software for your eRVin hardware allowing it to control your RV, this includes the operating system (OS) as well as all the application and configuration files. The uncompressed size of the image is about 3.5GB, the zipped download is about 1.1GB.
This post describes how to download an image and flash it to a micro SD card. The download might take a while depending on the speed of your internet connection, however the flashing process is very simple and takes just a few minutes. Once the image is downloaded to your Mac or Windows PC, it can be flashed to a micro SD card, then the SD card is simply removed from the PC/Mac and inserted in your eRVin Raspberry Pi (with the power off).
Update 20210217: Because the OS doesn’t change that often, but the configuration files do, as of eRVin OS v0.5, the image has been unified. Now there is just one ‘eRvin OS’ image for everyone and separate configuration (aka ‘flow’) files for various coach models/floorplans. The configuration files are available for download and installation by the end user thru a new menu built-in to the eRVin “app” (aka “dashboard”). The flow files are tiny compared to the image so download very quickly. This makes it much easier and faster to load new or updated configuration files. It also makes it a lot easier for me to create and post them.
Update 20220807: There is a new imaging procedure described below. It uses the Raspberry Pi Imager instead of Balena Etcher. The primary benefit of the RPi Imager is that it allows configuration of your WiFi info directly in the imaging tool, thereby eliminating the additional (and sometimes troublesome) steps required with the Balena Etcher process (for you techies, the RPi Imager eliminates the need to create, configure and copy a wpa_supplicant.conf file to the boot partition).
If for some reason you prefer to use the Balena Etcher method that procedure has been archived here.
The changelog lists updates, changes and fixes for both eRVin OS and the eRVin configuration files (flows).
Make An Image:
Gather the following items:
- A Windows or Mac system with a connection to the internet.
- A 16gb or larger Class 10 micro SDHC card. An 8gb card should work but we recommend a 16gb card to provide for future expansion. 32gb or 64gb cards will work also but may be overkill unless you know you will eventually require the additional resources. We recommend a well known name brand SD card to avoid potential quality and/or performance issues. The Sandisk cards have so far proven to be very reliable. While the eRVin devices have been extremely reliable, we suggest always having a second backup micro SD card on hand, especially if you will be experimenting with your own modifications.
Note: Check pricing as of summer 2022 a 32gb card was cheaper than a 16gb.
- An SD card reader, either built in to your Windows or MacOS device or a USB dongle.
- The SSID (network name) and password for your RV WiFi network where eRVin will be connected.
Create your image:
WARNING: If you already have a running eRVin or CoachProxy system DO NOT overwrite the existing SD card! Purchase a new card (they are cheap), that way you can easily revert to the original should something go wrong.
- Download an eRVinOS image file to your Windows or MacOS device. The newer image files have a format of ervinos_version_yearmonthday.zip such as ervinos_v060_20220819.zip In most cases you will want to chose the image with the most recent date. Image files are around 1.1GB so could take a while depending on your network. For more info on which image to choose see here.
- Download the free Raspberry Pi Imager application to a Windows or Mac.
- Insert the SD card in the Windows or MacOS device. Ignore and cancel any error messages or prompts to format the card.
- Run the Raspberry Pi Imager application.
- Click “CHOOSE OS”.
- Scroll down and select “Use custom”:
- Navigate to the downloaded eRVin image on your Windows or Mac, select it and click open.
- This will bring you back to the main screen. If not already, insert your SD card and click “CHOOSE STORAGE”. If you have more than one external drive, be sure to select the SD card that you want to copy the image to. On my PC I happened to have several devices attached, your results will look slightly different.
- This will once again bring you back to the Main screen. Now click on the Gear icon so we can preconfigure the WiFi and some other things:
- Here you want to check the box next to “Configure Wireless LAN” and enter the network name (SSID) and password for the WiFi on your RV.
- Now scroll down and set “Wireless LAN Country” to US – don’t bother with the drop down, it takes forever to scroll thru the country list, just type in US. Then check the box for “Set Locale Settings” and set your time zone and keyboard layout.
- Click Save. Once again you will return to the main screen. Now click the “WRITE” button.
- Confirm you really want to erase the SD card and go get a coffee.
- Ignore and cancel any messages or windows that might pop up at this point asking you to format or insert a card. You should see the status bar progressing, after writing it will do a verify. On my windows laptop the image build took about 5 minutes.
- When its done you will get the following display so go ahead and remove the card from your Mac or PC:
- Make sure the eRVin device is powered off and insert the newly imaged SD card into the micro SD slot on the eRVin Raspberry Pi.
- You are now ready to boot eRVin! For the next steps go to Connecting eRVin to your RV.