The device firmware runs on the nodes to build the mesh for communication. Each different make and model of device requires a different build of the Meshtastic firmware in order to run properly. Thankfully, due to the design of Meshtastic, it is possible to port the firmware to new devices as they become available. The firmware currently runs on a range of ESP32 based devices, but there is also increasing support for the nRF52 microprocessor with some more recent devices coming to market.
The current firmware has support for a screen to display received messages, along with information about nodes on the mesh, and more detailed information about the device on which it is running.
Please be aware that there are significant changes between version branches 1.2.x and 1.3.x which mean that devices need to be running the same branch of firmware to be able to talk to each other. Python, Android, and other software applications will also need to be running the same branch to be able to talk to the device.
A number of devices have buttons that can be used to interact with the firmware. These buttons have a number of different functions:
- Reset button - This is present on most devices.
- Power button - This is present on some devices. A long press powers the device off or turns it back on again.
- Program button - This is present of some devices and has a number of functions:
- Single press - This changes the page of information displayed on the screen.
- Double press - This sets the Bluetooth pairing code to
123456(useful if you do not have a screen on the device).
- Long press - This adjusts the contrast of the screen.
- Long press during reboot - This turns on the software Wifi access point on devices that support Wifi.
A number of devices have screens capable of displaying the messages received, information about the mesh, and other details. On powering the device it will display the Meshtastic splash screen with the version number for a couple of seconds:
The screen is split up into pages, through which you can navigate using the program button as described above. The first page to be displayed will be the message screen where received messages are displayed along with the name of the node it came from. The devices will automatically switch to this page when a new message is received.
The next pages display information about the nodes that are currently on the mesh. This includes the distance and direction to that node, the signal strength, and the time last seen.
The next page shows information about the device, battery power, current / total nodes, number of GPS satellites seen, channel name, last digits of the MAC address, and a brief log including the names of the last nodes to join the mesh.
The final page shows current battery voltage and percent charge, as well as noting how long the device has been online and the current GPS time, and GPS location.
If the device Wifi has been enabled (only possible on ESP32 devices), another page appears displaying information about the WiFi settings, IP address, and number of devices connected to the WiFi.
With a further press of the program button, the screen will cycle round to the message page.