Vu+ with Black Hole v2 image and MGcamd – made easy!

BEFORE PROCEEDING, PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING IF THIS POST HELPED YOU OUT. DONATIONS WILL KEEP ME MOTIVATED!

 

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This post is based on my previous posts on the same subject – keep them handy for reference.

https://www.engren.se/2012/08/18/vu-solo-with-blackhole-and-mgcamd-how-to/
https://www.engren.se/2012/09/09/vu-blackhole-image-and-mgcamd-results-i-black-screen/
https://www.engren.se/2013/07/13/vu-with-black-hole-v2-image-and-mgcamd-made-easy/

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Since I created my original How To post for the v1.7.6 Black Hole + mgcamd back in August 2012, I’ve gotten repeated questions about if I was interested in updating my post for newer BH images, and maybe even making the installation easier.

After some careful consideration, I realised that alot of people are making silly amounts of money of preparing these boxes – when it really is a piece of cake. In this updated post, I’ve included a small *NIX shell script that does all the dirty work for you. No need to get your hands too dirty with the command line interface – some manual work WILL be required, but don’t be alarmed!

I’ll write and screenshot your way through.

First of all – download my zip file here. The zip contains everything you need to get Black Hole v2 and MGcamd 1.35a loaded on any Vu+ box – Solo, Solo2, SoloSE, Uno, Duo, Duo2 and Ultimate. My script is assuming you use the extended newcamd protocol, and not separate ports. If you use separate ports for each card, you need to edit the configuration manually (or bug me enough to update the script to take that into account – it’s doable, I just don’t think anyone is doing it that way).

The zip also includes some settings specific for the Vu+ boxes, and hopefully makes sure that you don’t have to care about the Vu+ and black screen issue I’ve written about previously.

You should also download and install PuTTy if you don’t have PuTTy or another telnet client – PuTTy a free telnet and SSH client, perfect for our need here since you will telnet into the Vu+ settopbox to finalize the configuration:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

Now, go find an USB device, 2GB is more than enough for this purpose. I used an USB stick that was shipped with some Clavister units I prepped some time ago.

IMG_20130712_212322

Make sure you format it as specified. FAT32 will not work.

e4f4cba2cef90068c8afc5b401eb1299

Copy the files from the ZIP directly into the root of your USB card. Your USB device should only contain one directory named “vuplus”, four .tgz files, mg_cfg, satellites.xml and a .sh fle. Just like this picture.

directory2

Next step – plug your USB stick into the FRONT USB port of your reciever. Now, it’s time to put the power cable in, and with that, powering on the unit. If your USB stick doesn’t have an activity light, pay attention now.

 


 

For Duo: Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Solo: Update is done when green light blinks on the front panel.

For Uno: Push Ch- button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Ultimo: Push – button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Solo2: Push power button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Zero: Update is done when LED blinks on the front panel.

Please note, any button presses refers to the actual unit, not the remote control.

Once the unit has gotten power, the power light will remain red for quite some time. With my very slow Clavister USB stick, the upgrade/reflash took almost 5 minutes with both a Uno and Solo box.

It’ll remain red until completed – and once completed, the power light will *blink* green, twice per second if you don’t have a display, and otherwise it’ll say “Finished. Remove USB and reboot” when it’s done. If something goes wrong, odds are you’ll see another colour pattern blinking and an actual error message if you have a display. Fear not, try the power cycle again. If this fails, you might want go for another USB stick as the one you’re using could be defect.

Unplug the USB stick in the front. Leave it out for now. Power cycle the unit, and you’ll end up with the main Black Hole screen, stating “starting GUI”. Press the menu button, and do the basic configuration – like language, network, resolution etc. Use the Wizard to set up all basic features.

Once you have gone through everything, it’s time to plug the USB stick into the back of the Vu+ box.

To find your Vu+ IP, press the MENU button, and then setup => system => network => adapter settings.

Now, telnet from your PC using putty to the IP as found above, and login using the username “root”. See below for the rest.

putty

 

telnet-login

NOTE NOTE NOTE: Please be aware of that IF your device has an internal harddrive, the device name “sda1” will likely be named “sdb1” instead. Please adjust your input commands accordingly. A big thanks to gjersbol for pointing it out!

This script will copy the relevant files, and ask some configuration questions for mgcamd. Once you get to the “press any key to continue”, just press enter to start going through the install – and answer any questions that pops up.

Once the script has been completed, it’s time to install mgcamd and make sure it’s the default cam to use.

Use your remote control. Press the green button, directly followed by yellow button. Select the menu option to manually install a Bh package. Make sure you pick the package Mgcamd_135a_E2_bh.

When finished, exit the way back to the main screen, and press the BLUE button. Select Mgcamd-135a as your cam.

Boom. After using the built in functions to scan for channels, you’re good to go. Your Mgcamd configuration will be used to decode any incoming channels that your subscription card carries.

Remember that using the information in this post is your own responsibility. If you use it for illegal activities, I will be fairly disappointed. If you use it to expand your own subscription card into the bedroom or the upstairs TV, you are most likely violating the subscription terms, but not any swedish laws that I know of. (If I’m wrong here, please let me know and I’ll adjust/remove the relevant posts accordingly). If you blow up your box, you probably didn’t follow my guide exactly – again, not my fault at all.

Don’t forget to leave a note in the comments section if you used my guide – successful or not, I really want your feedback!

Good luck!

PS. The latest Black Hole image seems to be supporting IPv6 fully. That’s a good thing. Unfortunally, Mgcamd does not support IPv6. If anyone knows of a worthy replacement cam that works over IPv6, let me know in the comments section and I’ll look into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to restore Vu+ satellite reciever to original image/firmware

So,

For some reason, you want to roll back your Vu+ box you upgraded to Black Hole using any of my guides? Maybe you’re selling it, or returning it for warranty due to a broker tuner? Maybe you’re actually on the original image, like it, and just want to upgrade to the latest available version?

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Fear not, the restore/upgrade is just as simple as upgrading to Black Hole using my guide.

Before proceeding, don’t forget to read my guide on how to upgrade the CFE (controller firmware) on the Vu+ boxes. If you have never done this before, make sure to check the guide out or you might end up with a non-bootable Vu+ (that you ofcourse can fix easily by upgrading to an older Vu+ original or BH image – but let’s avoid the panic here)

First of all, you need to download an image from http://code.vuplus.com/ – select either a 1.6 or 2.1 image on the left, and download the latest available ZIP file. You can leave the NFI file, you don’t need it.

 


 

Extract the zip file, so you have the vuplus folder in the root of your USB device with all corresponding software below that.

example; F:\vuplus\duo\

Turn off your VuPlus set and insert your USB stick to the front USB port on the settop box.

Turn it back on.

For Duo: Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.
For Solo: Update is done when green light blinks on the front panel.
For Uno: Push Ch- button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.
For Ultimo: Push – button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.
For Solo2: Push power button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

Remove the USB memory and turn off the set and back on.

Voila! You’re now running on the original Vu+ software of your choice.

 

Vu+ with Black Hole v2 image and MGcamd – made easy!

 

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Update 2014-08-23: This post is no longer supported. Please read the post regarding v2.1.1. This post remains as it is for historical reasons!

https://www.engren.se/2014/08/23/vu-with-black-hole-v2-1-1-image-and-mgcamd-made-easy/

================================================

This post is based on my previous posts on the same subject – keep them handy for reference.

https://www.engren.se/2012/08/18/vu-solo-with-blackhole-and-mgcamd-how-to/
https://www.engren.se/2012/09/09/vu-blackhole-image-and-mgcamd-results-i-black-screen/

Since I created my original How To post for the v1.7.6 Black Hole + mgcamd back in August 2012, I’ve gotten repeated questions about if I was interested in updating my post for newer BH images, and maybe even making the installation easier.

After some careful consideration, I realised that alot of people are making silly amounts of money of preparing these boxes – when it really is a piece of cake. In this updated post, I’ve included a small *NIX shell script that does all the dirty work for you. No need to get your hands too dirty with the command line interface – some manual work WILL be required, but don’t be alarmed!

I’ll write and screenshot your way through.

First of all – download my zip file here. The zip contains everything you need to get Black Hole v2.0.4 and MGcamd 1.35a loaded on any Vu+ box – Solo, Solo2, Uno, Duo, Duo2 and Ultimate. My script is assuming you use the extended newcamd protocol, and not separate ports. If you use separate ports for each card, you need to edit the configuration manually (or bug me enough to update the script to take that into account – it’s doable, I just don’t think anyone is doing it that way).

The zip also includes some settings specific for the Vu+ boxes, and hopefully makes sure that you don’t have to care about the Vu+ and black screen issue I’ve written about previously.

You should also download and install PuTTy if you don’t have PuTTy or another telnet client – PuTTy a free telnet and SSH client, perfect for our need here since you will telnet into the Vu+ settopbox to finalize the configuration:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

Now, go find an USB device, 2GB is more than enough for this purpose. I used an USB stick that was shipped with some Clavister units I prepped some time ago.

IMG_20130712_212322

Make sure you format it as specified. FAT32 will not work.

e4f4cba2cef90068c8afc5b401eb1299

Copy the files from the ZIP directly into the root of your USB card. Your USB device should only contain one directory named “vuplus”, four .tgz files, mg_cfg, satellites.xml and a .sh fle. Just like this picture.

directory2

Next step – plug your USB stick into the FRONT USB port of your reciever. Now, it’s time to put the power cable in, and with that, powering on the unit. If your USB stick doesn’t have an activity light, pay attention now.

 


 

For Duo: Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Solo: Update is done when green light blinks on the front panel.

For Uno: Push Ch- button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Ultimo: Push – button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

For Solo2: Push power button when message shows. Update is done when complete message is displayed on the VFD.

Please note, any button presses refers to the actual unit, not the remote control.

Once the unit has gotten power, the power light will remain red for quite some time. With my very slow Clavister USB stick, the upgrade/reflash took almost 5 minutes with both a Uno and Solo box.

It’ll remain red until completed – and once completed, the power light will *blink* green, twice per second if you don’t have a display, and otherwise it’ll say “Finished. Remove USB and reboot” when it’s done. If something goes wrong, odds are you’ll see another colour pattern blinking and an actual error message if you have a display. Fear not, try the power cycle again. If this fails, you might want go for another USB stick as the one you’re using could be defect.

Unplug the USB stick in the front. Leave it out for now. Power cycle the unit, and you’ll end up with the main Black Hole screen, stating “starting GUI”. Press the menu button, and do the basic configuration – like language, network, resolution etc. Use the Wizard to set up all basic features.

Once you have gone through everything, it’s time to plug the USB stick into the back of the Vu+ box.

To find your Vu+ IP, press the MENU button, and then setup => system => network => adapter settings.

Now, telnet from your PC using putty to the IP as found above, and login using the username “root”. See below for the rest.

putty

 

telnet-login

NOTE NOTE NOTE: Please be aware of that IF your device has an internal harddrive, the device name “sda1” will likely be named “sdb1” instead. Please adjust your input commands accordingly. A big thanks to gjersbol for pointing it out!

This script will copy the relevant files, and ask some configuration questions for mgcamd. Once you get to the “press any key to continue”, just press enter to start going through the install – and answer any questions that pops up.

Once the script has been completed, it’s time to install mgcamd and make sure it’s the default cam to use.

Use your remote control. Press the green button, directly followed by yellow button. Select the menu option to manually install a Bh package. Make sure you pick the package Mgcamd_135a_E2_bh.

When finished, exit the way back to the main screen, and press the BLUE button. Select Mgcamd-135a as your cam.

Boom. After using the built in functions to scan for channels, you’re good to go. Your Mgcamd configuration will be used to decode any incoming channels that your subscription card carries.

Remember that using the information in this post is your own responsibility. If you use it for illegal activities, I will be fairly disappointed. If you use it to expand your own subscription card into the bedroom or the upstairs TV, you are most likely violating the subscription terms, but not any swedish laws that I know of. (If I’m wrong here, please let me know and I’ll adjust/remove the relevant posts accordingly). If you blow up your box, you probably didn’t follow my guide exactly – again, not my fault at all.

Don’t forget to leave a note in the comments section if you used my guide – successful or not, I really want your feedback!

Good luck!

PS. The latest Black Hole image seems to be supporting IPv6 fully. That’s a good thing. Unfortunally, Mgcamd does not support IPv6. If anyone knows of a worthy replacement cam that works over IPv6, let me know in the comments section and I’ll look into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vu+ Blackhole image and mgcamd results i black screen?

You just got your new shiny Vu+ reciever, and you followed my advise to the letter in regards to installing mgcamd on it?

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So far, so good. You probably hooked it up to your TV and your LNBFs, and you are now trying to communicate with your subscription card – but nothing really happens on your screen (all black) when trying to watch encrypted channels, even though the logs on the server says that you are decoding?

You probably need to do some adjustments to the mgcamd configuration – apparantly, in some setups, mgcamd has a problem identifying the chipset on the settop box and this presents a problem when trying to decode the TS streams from the air.

Edit /var/keys/mg_cfg , and locate the line that looks like B: { 00 } at the moment.

# box type
# 00 autodetect, change only if you think wrong type detected.
# 01 dbox2
# 02 dreambox
# 03 triple-dragon
# 04 relook
# 05 openbox
# 06 dreambox/mips
# 08 stapi/kathrein
# 09 stapi/ipbox
# 11 stapi/openbox
B: { 00 }

 


 

Change this into;

B: { 06 }

And ofcourse, either restart the mgcamd via the menus or just reboot the entire box once edited for the changes to be picked up.

You should be allright after this – if not, feedback via comments is highly appreciated!

 

My Toroidal recommendations

If you’re intrested in my recommended setup for the WaveFrontier Toroidal, I’m refering you to  a direct link that goes to satlex.eu, and lists all relevant satellites.

I’ve decided to go between 33E and 1.0W here. The reason for that is that I will have 16E as my center LNBF, and point the dish straight south – WITHOUT a need for a complex skew. The skew here is at 89.44 degrees, ie 0.56 degrees West. That’s pretty close to “nothing”.

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http://www.satlex.eu/sv/wavefrontier_calc-params.html?satlo_east=33.0&user_satlo_east=&user_satlo_east_dir=E&satlo_west=-1.0&user_satlo_west=&user_satlo_west_dir=W&location=60.70%2C17.10&la=60.70&lo=17.10&country_code=se

PLEASE NOTE!

Use Google Maps and find the exakt GPS coordinates where you are looking at placing the Toroidal. This helps, and gives you the best accurate numbers on how to configure the Toroidal dish and LNBFs. Giving the wrong location for input is not going to make your life easier!

On the other hand, if you use a Maximum Toroidal antenna, you need to move forward a bit differently.

The baseline here, to recieve the satellites 28.2E, 13E, 4.8E and 0.8W, your baseline settings should be;

Azimuth – 178 degrees.
Skew – about 95 on the scale. Will need adjustment.
Elevation – 27 degrees. Maybe a bit lower.

L14 => 28.2E Sky UK / Eurobird 1
0 => 13E Hotbird
R10 => 4.8E Sirius
R14 => 0.8W Thor

Ofcourse, there will be more finetuning needed to get proper reception on all four, but this is a good starting point.

 

Toroidal t55 t90 How to configure mount, setup and finetune – installation

The illustration shows how signal travels through WaveFrontier Toroidal. Signals are reflected twice; 1st on the main reflector and 2nd on the sub reflector. This is how Toroidal can capture multiple signals within 40 degrees in arc. [In other words, you can capture satellites from 90W ~ 130W or 60W ~ 100W or 110W ~ 150 or 1W ~ 33E.]

Please note that LNBF for your upper right satellite (e.g.1.0W) is on the left side of guide at R20 (if you stand behind the dish).

You will find markings (from R20 to L20) on both guide(A4) and holder supporter(A9).

 

 

 

 

Get your preferred setup out in front of you before proceeding. Ofcourse, if you are trying to rip off my base setup (which makes sense, since it’s awesome), I’ll simply refer you to my other post that contains all necessary information so you can pick and choose from the available satellites between 33E and 1W.

If your LNBF neck diameter is less than 40mm, you will need an adapter. With the Toroidal TD90 dish, you will recieve 5 LNBF holders – and 5 adapters.
Align the LNBF holder line to the corresponding scale on the holder supporter. If your setup info indicates that “A” satellite is L10, rotate the holder till holder line reaches the L10 line on the supporter.

This adjustment has a minimal impact on signal strength. If your setup info indicates a value with decimal number such as L14.7, place between L10 and L20.

 

 

 

 

Place your pre-assembled holder onto the guide. Locate the center of the holder to the
value give on the information. If your setup info indicates that “A” satellite is at L10, place the holder at L10 on the guide.

You will be making adjustment of this location when you do the fine tuning of Toroidal
alignment at the final stage.

 

 

 

 

Tip: You will be making adjustment on elevation, skew and azimuth angles when  optimizing your setup throughout the process.

Do not use excessive force when assembling moving parts.

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that your pole mount is in absolute vertical position.

Use angle scale locator or adjust ‘Edge Elevation Indicator’ to the value provided.

Note that elevation is the most important and critical factor in aligning Toroidal dish.

 

 

 

Adjust skew angle as given in the setup
information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If possible, align Toroidal on the ground level with your receiver and monitor right next to Toroidal. (or use a sat finder equipment). It is MUCH FASTER, EASIER and SAFER.

1. Connect your receiver to the center LNBF (closest one to the center).

2. Swing the dish left/right to find signal on your center LNBF. You may also need to
adjust elevation to do this.

3. Once you found signal, do the fine-tuning by adjusting elevation and azimuth and
check signal strength simultaneously, get the best possible signal you can get.

4. You will need to move the dish (up/down and left/right) a little by little to get the
best signal. It will take time and patience.

 

 

 

 

Once you have a satisfactory signal on the center LNBF, move on to the next LNBF.

You can also make adjustment on location of each LNBF (except center-LNBF) to get a better signal.

Tip: Even if your azimuth is off from the calculated setup info, you can recover azimuth offset by adjusting LNBF location on the guide.

 

 

The alignment process of Toroidal is to adjust two lines in parallel.

Assume that “A” line is formed by your LNBFs and “B” line is formed by your target satellites.

The alignment process of Toroidal is to make these two lines parallel.

To make things worse – in reality, the line B is not a straight line.

 

 

 

Assume that you have 3 satellites that you want to target.

Assume Your signal readings are as follows after the initial alignment process;

x LNBF A: No signal
x LNBF B: 75%
x LNBF C: 95%

 

 

 

You will need to lower elevation since your center-LNBF is at a higher point than the satellite B’s focal point.

After elevation adjustment, signal readings will be:

x LNBF A: 75%
x LNBF B: 95%
x LNBF C: 75%

Now your LNBF A is at higher point and  LNBF C is at lower point.

 

The final step would be changing a skew angle to align A & C.

After the skew angle adjustment:

x LNBF A: 95%
x LNBF B: 95%
x LNBF C: 95%

The adjustment of skew angle is same as adjusting the elevation angles for sat A &
C.

 

 

 

 

How to – update Vu+ satellites.xml

If your Vu+ is slow and feels bulky when scanning through your satellites that you have configured, odds are that the file that contains a list of all transponders and other satellite information is outdated or invalid, containing alot of junk information slowing the process down.

The best way to sort this problem out is to generate a custom satellites.xml file for only the satellites that you are intending on recieving. Updating this once a year or so is a good idea, since the configuration of these transponders can change – some are added, some are removed.

Firstly you need to download an up-to-date satellites.xml which can be downloaded from the link below. Just go and select the satellites you want and download it at the bottom of the page.

http://satellites-xml.org/

Once this has been downloaded to your computer, it’s time to transfer it to your Vu+ box. This can be done with scp, ftp or even with telnet cut’n’paste if you’re a bit tech savvy. Ask the person that helped you configure your Vu+ initially for details exactlh how this process could work best for you.

Save the satellites.xml file in /etc/enigma2/ – absolutely not in /etc/tuxbox.

Restart your box. Voila. The new satellites.xml is in place, ready to be used for scanning your favourite satellites.

Now some of you might be wondering “Why use etc/enigma2 and not etc/tuxbox…?”. Easy!

The image comes with a built-in satellites.xml, located in etc/tuxbox. This is a system-file and is being updated as soon as an online update of the image is carried out. Also, there could be a possibility the file in this location maybe overwritten by the system.

You can also use a customised satellites.xml, placed in etc/enigma2. If one is available here, it takes priority over the system-file in etc/tuxbox. If this one is messed up, it can be deleted and the system-file will take over immediately (after an E2-restart).

Vu+ Solo with Blackhole and mgCamd – how to

Update 2013-07-13: New post on this topic, for Black Hole v2. Follow this guide instead – it makes your life easier.

https://www.engren.se/2013/07/13/vu-with-black-hole-v2-image-and-mgcamd-made-easy/

 

I was asked yesterday on how to upgrade a Vu+ Solo to the custom firmware Blackhole, and how to include mgcamd on the image.

Now, purchase a Vu+. Shameless plug here, my suggestion is to get it from www.nettosat.se. Decent pricing, awesome support. Avoid Dreamboxes though. Seriously. Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

Get a USB stick, 512 megs or bigger. Make sure you format it with FAT, or it won’t work.

Download the firmware from here – BlackHole-1.7.6-vusolo_usb.zip (Duo image: BlackHole-1.7.6-bm750_usb.zip)

Place the unpacked zip with intact directory structure directly in the root of the USB stick, it should look like this:

/vuplus/solo/boot_cfe_auto.jffs2
/vuplus/solo/kernel_cfe_auto.bin
/vuplus/solo/root_cfe_auto.jffs2

Download the mgacmd_BH1.3.6.zip and place all four .tgz files in the root of your USB stick.

The next step is to plug the USB stick into the USB port behind the front cover of the Vu+. If the box is powered up, press the reset button on the back, otherwise just power it on. Once the indicator lamp on the front of the Vu+ is blinking rapidly (can take up to 5 minutes), it’s time to unplug the USB stick and press the reset button.

Congratulations, your Vu+ is now running the v1.7.6 BlackHole image!

Next step is to go through the settings of your BlackHole to find the IP of your Vu+.

Telnet to this IP, and login using the user “root” and with a blank password. Use the passwd command to set the password to something you WILL remember (perhaps “password” is a good choice here – or write down the password on a sticker that you tape on the bottom of the box. You don’t want to loose it!) so you can scp files into the box should you ever need it.

 


 

Plug the USB stick in the BACK USB port, and mount the USB stick with the two commands when logged in with telnet;

mkdir /mnt/testing
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/testing

and then copy the relevant .tgz files to /tmp/;

cp /mnt/testing/*tgz /tmp/

If this is done properly, you will now be able to browse to the plugin menu (green and then red button) and install plugin from zip file. You want to select Mgcamd_135a_E2_bh – ignore the newcs version for now. That’s a different basket of eggs, and is only to be used if you intend to use your Vu+ as a card reader to serve other Vu+ boxes in your house. This howto explains only how to setup your Vu+ as a client.

Now, it’s time to configure mgcamd. Edit the settings below to correctly reflect your server setup at home, and then paste one line at t time in the console window when logged in with telnet;

echo >/usr/keys/newcamd.list CWS_KEEPALIVE = 300
echo >>/usr/keys/newcamd.list CWS_INCOMING_PORT = 21000
echo >>/usr/keys/newcamd.list CWS = 192.168.1.100 20000 username password 10 02 13 04 15 06 17 08 01 10 11 12 13 14 wan cardsrv
echo >>/usr/keys/mg_cfg “G: { 01 }”
echo >>/usr/keys/mg_cfg “P: { 00 }”

Type “sync” to ensure that the file system is synced, and then “reboot” to force a reboot. This is just done to be 100% certain that your actions above has been taken accordingly.

Once the box has booted, use the BLUE button to change your default CAM from “CI” to mgcamd.

With all this in place, you are now ready to move forward with setting up your box on the satellite side. This is already covered in the included getting started manual for your Vu+ box, and should be fairly simple.

Good luck, and remember that using the information in this post is your own responsibility. If you use it for illegal activities, I will be fairly disappointed. If you use it to expand your own subscription card into the bedroom or the upstairs TV, you are probably violating the subscription terms, but not any swedish laws that I know of. (If I’m wrong here, please let me know and I’ll adjust the posts accordingly). If you blow up your box, you probably didn’t follow my guide exactly – again, not my fault at all.

 

Update 2012-09-09 ; I found some weird behaviour from mgcamd on certain Vu+ models. Not all though. If you experience a black screen on your Vu+ even though your home server says that it’s decoding, odds are that your mgcamd installation has not been able to identify the chipset on the settop box and therefor is unable to present the decoded image properly.

Look no further though, I have the solution for you. :-)

https://www.engren.se/2012/09/09/vu-blackhole-image-and-mgcamd-results-i-black-screen/

 

Cardservproxy

Another thing that I’ve been poking around with alot lately is software for cardsharing. Not for distributing it to other people, but instead ensuring that I can watch TV on my Media Center HTPC setup, rather than the supplied settop-box from the TV supplier.

TV – as *I* want it.

While testing this, I’d be out of my mind not to investigate and test what options that are available for this – and one thing that I have absolutely no use for but was interesting enough to catch my attention, was a software called “cardservproxy”. It’s basically what it sounds like – a proxy for the newcamd protocol, allowing you to hook up as many cards from one or more suppliers as you can, and get redundancy, scalability and the ability to have your actual physical card servers hidden from the machines connecting with mgcamd or acamd.

First of all, just to make it clear, it’s not a cam emulator or even a card server. It knows just about nothing about CA systems, DVB concepts, ISO7816 or the MD API. It’s 100% memory- and CPU hogging Java, intended to run on stable servers with alot of RAM, absolutely not on STBs or in most cases not even desktop PCs.

It’s absolutely not for everyone. It could be considered an SDK for building custom sharing solutions, or integrating sharing into existing communities. If you don’t have any past experience writing code, this proxy is probably not for you.

Yes, it’s very controversial. Used properly, a cluster of 2 proxies could handle several thousand clients with a handful of cards, bandwidth being the only real limit. This ofcourse assumes a complete and full understanding of most, if not all, aspects of the newcamd protocol.

In short, cardservproxy is a scalable proxy primarily for the newcamd protocol, with load balancing and cluster handling built in. It will keep track of 2 or more cardservers (typically newcs) and accept incoming connections from clients (any client that support the newcamd or radegast protocols). It removes the need for complex clients or servers, by centralizing all of the complexity.

One of the features with the proxy is that it hides the actual card servers from the clients. New card servers can be added/removed on the fly without affecting traffic or having to change the clients configurations. The proxy hides the clients from the servers, the servers will only ever have a single very busy user (the proxy) from a fixed ip.

User management is centralized in the proxy, the servers will not have to be updated to add new users. The proxy user manager is pluggable and can be connected to any external user database with a minimum of coding.

Connected servers don’t have to have identical card subscriptions, the proxy can keep track of which services will decode on which card, and route requests accordingly.

The proxy will use fairly sophisticated load balancing to make sure requests are routed to the least loaded card that has the service in question. It will monitor the utilization for each card and give a clear indication when there are bottlenecks or excess capacity.

Multiple providers with different ca-systems can be hosted by the same proxy, by defining separate profiles. Each profile is assigned its own listener port(s) and any number of card servers (exactly which ca-systems are used or whether it is dvb-s/c/t doesn’t matter).

Caching is centralized to the proxy (ideally the caches of the individual cardservers will never score a hit). This means that as long as someone in the same proxy or proxy cluster is watching a service, an infinite number of others can watch the same service without causing any extra traffic towards the card servers. Once there are enough cards connected to always keep all the providers services in cache at any given moment, the number of users becomes limited only by bandwidth.

The proxy is prepared for integration into existing communities (irc bots, web forums, torrent trackers) and provides an example webgui on top of an ajax-friendly generic http/xml query interface.

Multiple proxies can be clustered together by real time cache-sharing. If user a is watching a service on proxy1, then user b can watch the same service on proxy2 without causing any requests towards a card server.

The proxy can be used as a protocol analyzer or general troubleshooting tool, since it decrypts/encrypts newcamd and allows user created plugins to be added.

Nearly all changes to configuration can be performed without restarts, the proxy monitors the config file proxy.xml and most other resources.

And, the best thing – the full java source is publically available for anyone to make additions/modifications if one would want to.

So, to summarize – this software is not something I have a need for, but the expansion capabilities of connecting to IRC and getting debug information out from this software got me very interested, and it’s working like a charm on the LAN here. Unsure about WAN capabilities and latency introduced by long distance connections, but if anyone has experience of that, feel free to comment!