uConsole - Software tips and tricks general thread!

General thread for uConsole SOFTWARE tips and tricks!

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How to stop screen tearing in CM4 units.
I was experiencing bad screen tearing in Firefox and Chromium, as well as GBA emulators and other games. To fix this, we need to run the following command in a terminal.

sudo raspi-config

go to “advanced options” with the arrow keys, select with enter, select xcompositor, and turn off the xcompositor.
hit tab to select “finish” and enter to exit.
For me, using Cinnamon as my DE, this got rid of all screen tearing issues.

How to comfortably overclock the CM4.
Even though the uConsole does not have a fan and is passively cooled, I have been able to run a slight overclock on mine without overheating. Open a terminal and run these commands.

sudo cd /boot
sudo nano config.txt

under the [pi4] section write

arm_freq=1800
gpu_freq=750
over_voltage=5

under the [all] section write

gpu-mem=256

use ctrl + o to write the changes, and ctrl+x to exit. Reboot the uConsole. I’ve noticed significant performance gains in gaming thanks to the GPU overclock, and 5-8c increase in temperature which I think is acceptable. You could probably take the CPU overclock further, to do so increase the over_voltage value to 6. Depending on if you won the silicone lottery or not, you can set arm_freq to 2000 or up to 2200. As well, the gpu_mem value can be set to 512, as this value is in megabytes though it doesn’t make much sense to do so. If your unit fails to boot, stick the SD card into a secondary computer and edit the same config.txt file in the /boot directory, lowering the arm_freq value by 100 until the uConsole boots.

How to change DE’s
I changed my DE because I was having issues with running packages I installed, so if you are having this issue I recommend you try this. Gnome is called Debian default or something in tasksel btw.

sudo tasksel

(note, if you get an error, run sudo apt update -y && sudo apt upgrade -y, and then run sudo tasksel)
select your DE of choice with the spacebar, then use tab to “ok” and hit enter.
Next you need a way to select your DE at boot, so we install a new Display Manager.

sudo apt-get install gdm3 

after doing so you’ll be prompted to select which Display Manager you want to use. Select gdm3.
restart the uConsole
after you boot into gdm3, click your user, and then on the bottom right click the cog wheel, and select your new DE!

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How to install new, up to date, packages on Debian 11
using flathub i have been able to install (almost) bleeding edge versions of packages despite being on Debian 11 (what ClockworkPi OS is based off of). The method for doing this is pretty simple. Follow the instructions in this link Debian Flathub Setup | Flathub. When you want to install a package, select the package, and select the drop down menu next to “install”. Run the commands shown, in order.


As well, the flathub repository has a lot of packages that Debian 11 does not have. Really its just a bandaid to use until we get Debian 12 on the uConsole.

Also, please add your own software tips and tricks! I don’t want this to just be me posting, this is a general thread. I for example don’t have a R-01 or A-06 unit, but many of you do and can share your experiences :slight_smile:

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Thank you, these are really useful!
Personally I’m a tiling wm user and currently use i3 on my uConsole.
I struggled a bit with configuring brightness controls because the default keybinds don’t work outside of LXDE (I assume), but was able to create simple scripts and bind them to key combination in i3 config. Also had to find out a way to add battery monitoring to i3 status bar (actually I use py3status).
I will provide more details when I have a bit more time to write, might be useful to somebody.

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DO NOT install Spyder IDE then Jupyter Notebook… it corrupts the Spyder IDE configuration files - spent all day Saturday attempting a correction finally resorted to re-imaging … FYI you have been warned hopefully this will eventually be resolved…

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Good to know, thanks!

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How are you actually supposed to use the flatpaks/falthub site? All i can get is gnome-software to pickup the flathub source and install from that, but i really like the flathub site. THe button does nothing for me when i click it. A-06 with firefox.

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click the drop down arrow next to “install” and input the commands in order in a terminal.

I’ve been doing that, just making sure. I was hoping it was one of those ‘open in terminal’ type of things.

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Yeah, installing a compositor is one way to fix screen tearing. Another way is to switch to Wayland.

When using Raspberry Pi images, there are a few options for Wayland:

  • In Debian 11 you can use raspi-config to switch to Wayland. This uses lxde with Mutter as the compositor instead of openbox. I had trouble configuring this hybrid lxde+Mutter system.
  • In Debian 11, you can install stock Gnome and run in a Wayland session. Because the default Raspberry Pi install also uses Mutter, there are some strange settings install by default that override the stock Gnome experience. I ran into some issues with strange keybindings (super key not working and some other things). It’s possible to work around this with manual tinkering with dconf-editor.
  • Switch to the Debian 12-based image and install stock Gnome. This ended up being the best option for me. Gnome got a lot of big upgrades between Debian 11 (2021) and Debian 12 (2023). Additionally, the Raspberry Pi image doesn’t ship with any settings that affect Gnome because the Debian 12 image uses Wayfire by default instead of Mutter. Porting the Clockwork Pi patches from Debian 11 to Debian 12 takes a little work, but after that everything works a lot more smoothly.
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This is what ended up working for me. I am a completely new Linux user, so the past 2 weeks I have had was a great learning experience.

I tried Gnome first but found in Retroarch the screen refresh rate would jump up and down depending on what was drawn on screen. For example I enabled the seconds on my clock with gnome-extensions and every time the seconds changed on the clock, the game would stutter. Obviously I don’t need seconds on the clock but it was very surprising that would make it stutter like that.

I ended up going with LXDE-pi-wayland. Fullscreen would rapidly flicker so I had to run stuff in windowed mode. I personally have no use for title bars when windows are maximized so I added a custom css to gtk3 to remove them and it works great, just CTRL+ALT+UP when a game is loaded and it’s fullscreen.

For some reason however there is microstutter if I set Retroarch refresh rate to the LCD (59.597hz) but after playing around I found 59.500hz got rid of it, not sure why.

So far even though I managed to brick my install the first day I had it (my fault), i’m enjoying it greatly. I am slowly learning about Linux, and looking forward to learn even more.

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Looks cool, is that a Lunar game? :slight_smile:
I would be interested in what batteries you are using and what battery life you get? I got some new 3350mAh ones and was surprised that when playing old DOS games via Dosbox I barely get 1,5 hours with backlight set to minimum…