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  • I plugged in my Time Machine and it doesn't come on. WTF?
    Please allow at least 1 minute after plugging in your Time Machine for the screen to illuminate. The screen doesn't come on until the Raspberry Pi is completely booted up, and it is running the Time Machine program. We are working on a way to make this clearer, because it confuses everyone (even us, sometimes!). Bottom line: wait at least a minute for the screen to come on.
  • The screen is dark, how do I get it to wake up?"
    The screen goes off after 1 hour of inactivity. It should wake up after any action that causes the staged date to change. So, turning any of the knobs should wake it up. You can also press the year or day button, which will cause the staged date to change.
  • I waited a minute, and it's still not on. WTF?"
    The next most common problem we have seen is that the power source is too weak to drive the Time Machine. You must use a USB adapter which can supply at least 3 Amps of current (for Time Machines with a Raspberry Pi 4. For the 3A+, 1 Amp should do, but 3 Amps cannot hurt). Many USB adapters provide enough power, but there are some weak ones out there. Please use the adapter that was shipped in the box, and if it doesn't work, try another one. (We can't test each one, but they should work). Also, a defective USB cable can cause the Time Machine to not come on. And these cables will go bad after multiple plug/unplugs. Please use the cables provided, which really should work. If there's a problem, though, try another cable.
  • My Time Machine comes on but I can't connect to WiFi. WTF?
    See the connecting to WiFi page in the Operating Instructions.
  • I connected to WiFi, but the Time Machine doesn't play. WTF?"
    Ensure that you have connected to Audio. See the Operating instructions page
  • I swapped the USB cable and adapter, still no luck. WTF?"
    If the screen does not come on after trying the above things, then you have a defective machine. Please return it to us for an exchange or refund.
  • How can I connect to a different WiFi?
    The Time Machine prompts you to connect to WiFi whenever it cannot connect to the network on bootup. So, if you go to a friend's home, or change your WiFi, the Time Machine will prompt you to input the WiFi name and passkey. But what if you have two or more WiFi's in your home, and you want to connect the Time Machine to a different WiFi, even though it is already connected? To force a reconnection to WiFi: Restart the Time Machine (power off, wait 10 seconds, and press the power button again). When the Time Machine screen says "Welcome" in red letters, (the first message on the screen after bootup) press the "rewind" button. Follow the on-screen instructions to connecto to WiFi.
  • How can I update the software on the Time Machine?
    To update the software on the Time Machine: While the Time Machine is on, press and hold the "stop" button for 10 seconds. The screen will say "Hold 5s to Update Code and Restart" Continue holding the "stop" button for 5 more seconds. When the screen goes dark you can release the "stop" button. The screen will play a song, and display "Updating Code. Stand By" When the song stops playing, then the screen will prompt you to "Turn Any Knob". At that point, turn any knob. The screen will prompt you to "press Stop button". Press the "stop" button. The Time Machine will restart with the latest version of the software
  • How can I reset my Time Machine to the factory software?
    To restore the software on your Time Machine to the version that it came with, Restart the Time Machine (power off, wait 10 seconds, and press the power button again). When the Time Machine screen says "Welcome" in red letters, (the first message on the screen after bootup) press the "stop" button. Use the "Year" knob to choose a different software environment. For the factory software choose ".factory_env". ie, turn "Year" until you see "> .factory_env" in red text. Press the "select" button to select the factory environment. The Time Machine will reboot automatically, into the environment which you have selected.
  • What kind of speakers do I need to use with the Time Machine?
    The Time Machine has 2 audio outputs: The analog audio comes out a headphone jack (1/8") and digital audio comes out the HDMI output. You can connect the audio from the headphone jack into a stereo amplifier and out to regular speakers. Or you can plug the headphone jack into a pair of "powered speakers", like computer speakers. I use these in my office: ( Another customer has used this inexpensive amplifier ( to drive a pair of regular speakers. You can also plug the HDMI into a TV or computer monitor, but on the screen you will just have a bunch of computer text.
  • What is the audio quality of the shows on the Time Machine?
    The shows are streamed from either and The quality is largely determined from the quality of those tapes. We say "largely" instead of "completely" because we do NOT stream the shows in lossless formats when they are available, but instead use either .mp3 or .ogg files. The only Grateful Dead tapes which are available in lossless format are audience recordings. The soundboard shows are only available in .ogg and .mp3 (lossy) formats. I choose the .ogg by default, and .mp3 if no .ogg is available. The reason that the Time Machine does not play lossless formats is that it occasionally leads to gaps between the tracks. Presumably because there just isn't enough time for the player to download a chunk of the next track before the current track ends, and glue them together for a seamless transition. With lossless formats, that problem almost never occurs. We feel that seamless track boundaries are more important than the quality improvement that lossless would provide. As for the analog audio quality which comes out of the Raspberry Pi, it's probably not great by an audiophile standard, but it is quite good for just about everyone. Audiophiles may prefer to send digital audio out the HDMI connector, which is as good as the source allows. Bluetooth will eventually work as another digital audio output.
  • How does the Time Machine choose a tape for a given show
    On there can be many tapes of the same show. For the Grateful Dead collection, for example, there are about 8 tapes per show on average. The Time Machine chooses which tape to play (by default) for a given date according to several criteria. In order of decreasing importance, these criteria are: soundboard or audience recording, taper name in favored tapers ("miller" is default, but it's configurable), number of downloads (ie, listens), how many tracks there are, how many tracks have names, average rating. Note: the average weighting is not high in importance because it tends to be more about the show than the individual tape. If you find dates for which you think the wrong tape is preferred, let me know. Sometimes I can tweak the algorithm to fix it, sometimes I can't. So far, there are one or 2 that I think are wrong and I can't fix (yet). Also note: the Time Machine allows you to reach any of these tapes. To reach a tape which is not the default tape, press and hold the select button. This will cycle through all tapes for the staged date. When you see the tape identifier that you would like to listen to, release the select button.
  • How do I use the Power Button?
    The power button is on the top left of the Time Machine. There are a couple of confusing points about the power button. When you first plug in the Time Machine, it is in the "on" state. But you don't see any indication that it is on for about a minute, when the screen comes on. Note, there are LEDs on the Raspberry Pi that indicate this, but you can't easily see them through the case. Pressing the power button turns the Time Machine off after plugging it in. It takes a few seconds to turn off. Once it's off, pressing power again will turn it back on. Again it takes a minute. It is a good idea to turn the Time Machine off with the power button and wait a few seconds before unplugging the power from it. Unplugging the Time Machine while it is on can damage the SD card, and make the Time Machine unusable.
  • I am new to soldering. Can you give me some tips?
    Start by soldering the screen to the board. Solder one pin and make sure that the screen is flat against the board. Adjust if necessary by re-heating that pin and moving the screen/board. Once it's flat, solder the remaining pins. Solder the buttons. These are easy. Flip the board over and solder the connector onto the BACK of the board. Again, solder one pin, make sure the connector is flat against the board (it always is, but it's good to check), and continue. Place the knobs on the board and solder one of the pins of each knob from the FRONT side. This requires the soldering iron to be used at a sharp angle, but it is the best way to ensure that the knob stays in position. You can reheat the pin and adjust if the knob looks off-kilter. Then flip the board and solder all of the pins on the knobs on the back side.
  • How can I get the highest quality audio from my Time Machine?
    The audio quality which comes from the Raspberry Pi's headphone jack is already quite good. Plug that into your stereo, or a pair of powered speakers and you will enjoy the music. For higher fidelity audio, you can use the digital audio from the HDMI connector. See instructions in the operating instructions page. For even higher quality audio, you can connect your Time Machine to a USB DAC like this . You may need to route the audio to the DAC by visiting the configuration page and setting the audio sink to your DAC. The sound quality does improve noticeably when using a USB DAC like the Khadas Tone Board, but it's too costly to include in the basic Time Machine package. If you are interested in learning more about this, send us an email at
  • What do I need to play the sound from a Time Machine?
    See the audio connection guide. Basically, you will need either a stereo, or computer speakers which have an audio input. You can also use any HDMI device, like a TV, a soundbar, or a computer monitor.
  • How can I play Time Machine through Bluetooth?
    Update (3/28/2022): The latest version of the Time Machine does support Bluetooth, and we have gotten it to work on at least a few Bluetooth devices. If your Time Machine's web server shows you that it is running on Raspbian version 11, then you will be able to configure it to try and connect to your Bluetooth devices. NOTE: we can't be sure that it will work on your device!!! See If your Time Machine's web server does not show that you are running Raspbian version 11, then you may want to upgrade to the newer version. We tried really hard, but could not figure out how to do this automatically. See here to see how to either download and flash, or purchase an SD card with the image that you need.
  • Can I use HDMI audio?
    Yes, see the connect audio page for details
  • How can I raise and lower the volume from the Time Machine?
    Supposing you are using your Time Machine with earphones, and you don't have an amplifier volume knob to control the volume. How can you change the volume? To raise/lower the volume, first put the Time Machine into "experience mode" by pressing the Month button. Then, the rewind button lowers the volume, and the ffwd button increases the volume. To exit experience mode, press the Month button again.
  • How can I listen to other artists from the archive?
    See the Options Server to see how to visit the options server web page. On the options server page, set the COLLECTIONS string to a comma-separated list of the artists that you would like to listen to. For example "GratefulDead, Phish". Submit, and then return to the page and press the "Restart Timemachine Service" button. This will restart the Time Machine and it will access all collections in your list. Note: The Time Machine will take longer to load when you add other artists, but it will behave normally once it is loaded.
  • How can I change the volume?
    If you are playing your Time Machine through headphones, or a stereo without volume control, you might want to adjust the volume. To adjust the volume, Put the Time Machine in Experience Mode by pressing and holding the Month knob for 1 second. Once you are in Experience Mode, press rewind to decrease the volume, and ffwd to increase the volume.
  • What does the Power button on the Time Machine do?
    The power button uses a feature on the Raspberry Pi that allows you to trigger it to shut down, or boot up, when a certain GPIO pin is grounded. This allows you to shut it down before unplugging the power, which could damage the SD card. And to turn it back on. Plugging and unplugging the USB cable will also damage the cable after a while. I've burned through a couple of the cables I use to test the Time Machines.
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