Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yet another guide to setting up RTL-SDR, Zadig Drivers, and SDR# on Windows

NOTE: This was written some time ago and hasn't been checked or updated since, so things may be slightly different for recent versions.

One-time driver setup

Don't install the "official" USB drivers that came with your RTL-SDR device.  No harm if you do, but they're not used as the "Zadig" step below tells Windows to use a different driver instead.

Plug in your RTL-SDR device, don't let Windows install any drivers for you.

Download, unzip and run " ExtIO_USRP+FCD+RTL2832+BorIP-BETA_Setup.zip" from here: http://wiki.spench.net/wiki/USRP_Interfaces#Installer

Minimal selection is:
- Support files
- Libusb
- VC++ Runtime

Run "Zadig", if it isn't run by the setup program.

Select your RTL-SDR device, and hit "Install Driver".

Close Zadig.

SDR# Installation

Download the SDR# application and the RTLSDR plugin from here: http://sdrsharp.com/index.php/downloads

Unzip SDR# to somewhere.

Unzip RTLSDR plugin to the same place.

From the "config" folder in the plugin zip, copy the SDRSharp.exe.config to the main folder, replacing the existing configuration file.  This enables the option of choosing the RTLSDR plugin for input.

Download this: http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/raw-attachment/wiki/rtl-sdr/RelWithDebInfo.zip

Open that, and find the file "rtl-sdr-release\x32\rtlsdr.dll".  (x32, even if you're using 64 bit Windows).  Put that DLL file in the SDR# folder as well.  This is the DLL that the plugin uses.  Due to licensing reasons, it isn't bundled with the plugin.

Quick Start

Run SDRSharp.exe.

Choose "RTL-SDR / USB" at the top.

Check that the center and frequency is set to something sensible (not 0).  e.g. "94500000".

Click "Play".  An easy test is a FM radio station, so tune to its frequency, and choose "WFM" (Wide FM).

If you're doing signal strength comparisons, turn off the two AGC options in the dialog that opens when you click "Configure" at the top.

If you have limited CPU power, turn down the sample rate in the "Configure" dialog, and choose a lower resolution on the FFT.

Extra Information

A guide to SDR#, including the installation steps, is here: http://www.atouk.com/SDRSharpQuickStart.html


jdow said...

Please note that for SDRSharp installation you are best off to go down the download page to the sdr-install.zip link. It is a small batch file that gets what you need with the appropriate config file data to make rtlsdr.dll function. Trying to do it the way described above leads too many users into mental states of despair.


sstteevvee said...

Yeah, that batch file is definitely the best way to do it now!