Skip to main content

Using the Meshtastic CLI

This section covers using the "meshtastic" command line executable, which displays packets sent over the network as JSON and lets you see serial debugging information from the Meshtastic devices.

note

The meshtastic command is not run within python but is a script run from your operating system shell prompt. When you type "meshtastic" and the prompt is unable to find the command in Windows, check that the python "scripts" directory is in your path.

Getting a list of User Preferencesโ€‹

You can get a list of user preferences by running '--get' with an invalid attribute such as 'all'.

meshtastic --get all

Changing settingsโ€‹

You can also use this tool to set any of the device parameters which are stored in persistent storage. For instance, here's how to set the device to keep the Bluetooth link alive for eight hours (any usage of the Bluetooth protocol from your phone will reset this timer)

Expected Output
# You should see a result similar to this:
mydir$ meshtastic --set bluetooth.wait_bluetooth_secs 28800
Connected to radio...
Setting bluetooth.wait_bluetooth_secs to 28800
Writing modified preferences to device...

Or to set a node at a fixed position and never power up the GPS.

meshtastic --setlat 25.2 --setlon -16.8 --setalt 120

Or to configure an ESP32 based board to join a Wifi network as a station:

meshtastic --set network.wifi_ssid mywifissid --set network.wifi_psk mywifipsw --set network.wifi_enabled 1
note

For a full list of preferences which can be set (and their documentation) can be found in the protobufs.

Changing channel settingsโ€‹

The channel settings can also be changed, either by using a standard (shareable) meshtastic URL or you can set particular channel parameter (for advanced users).

danger

Meshtastic encodes the radio channel and PSK in the channel's URL. All nodes must connect to the channel again by using the URL provided after a change in this section by performing the --info switch.

meshtastic --ch-set name mychan --ch-index 1 --ch-set channel_num 4 --info

You can even set the channel preshared key to a particular AES128 or AES256 sequence.

meshtastic --ch-index 1 --ch-set psk 0x1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b --info

Use --ch-set psk none --ch-index 0 to turn off encryption.

Use --ch-set psk random --ch-index 0 will assign a new (high quality) random AES256 key to the primary channel (similar to what the Android app does when making new channels).

Use --ch-set psk default --ch-index 0 to restore the standard 'default' (minimally secure, because it is in the source code for anyone to read) AES128 key.

All ch-set commands need to have the ch-index parameter specified:

meshtastic --ch-index 1 --ch-set name mychan --ch-set channel_num 4 --info

Ham radio supportโ€‹

Meshtastic is designed to be used without a radio operator license. If you do have a license you can set your operator ID and turn off encryption with:

Expected Output
# You should see a result similar to this:
mydir$ meshtastic --port /dev/ttyUSB1 --set-ham KI1345
Connected to radio
Setting Ham ID to KI1345 and turning off encryption
Writing modified channels to device

Toggling set-ham changes your device settings in the following ways.

Settingset-ham DefaultNormal Default
IsLicensedtrueSee User Config - IsLicensed
LongNameYour CallSignSee User Config - LongName
ShortNameAbrv CallSignSee User Config - ShortName
PSK""See Channel Settings - PSK

Changing the preshared key:โ€‹

You can set the channel preshared key to a particular AES128 or AES256 sequence.

meshtastic --ch-set psk 0x1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b1a1a1a1a2b2b2b2b --info

Use "--ch-set psk none" to turn off encryption.

Use "--ch-set psk random" will assign a new (high quality) random AES256 key to the primary channel (similar to what the Android app does when making new channels).

Use "--ch-set psk default" to restore the standard 'default' (minimally secure, because it is in the source code for anyone to read) AES128 key.

All "ch-set" commands will default to the primary channel at index 0, but can be applied to other channels with the "ch-index" parameter.

FAQ/common problemsโ€‹

This is a collection of common questions and answers from our friendly forum.

Permission denied: โ€˜/dev/ttyUSB0โ€™โ€‹

As previously discussed on the forum

This indicates an OS permission problem for access by your user to the USB serial port. Typically this is fixed by the following.

sudo usermod -a -G dialout <username>

If the adding the user to the dialout group does not work, you can use the following command to find out which group to add your user to. In this example (from Arch Linux) the group was "uucp"

โฏ ls -al /dev/ttyACM0
crw-rw---- 1 root uucp 166, 0 Jul 20 21:52 /dev/ttyACM0

Mac OS Big Surโ€‹

There is a problem with Big Sur and pyserial. The workaround is to install a newer version of pyserial:

pip3 install -U --pre pyserial