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Command line interface

This pip package will also install a "meshtastic" command line executable, which displays packets sent over the network as JSON and lets you see serial debugging information from the meshtastic devices. The source code for this tool is also a good example of a 'complete' application that uses the meshtastic python API.


This command is not run inside of python, you run it from your operating system shell prompt directly. If when you type "meshtastic" it doesn't find the command and you are using Windows: Check that the python "scripts" directory is in your path.

To display a (partial) list of the available commands:

meshtastic -h

Changing device settings#

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 protcol from your phone will reset this timer)

Expected Output
# You should see a result similar to this:mydir$ meshtastic --set wait_bluetooth_secs 28800Connected to radio...Setting preference wait_bluetooth_secs to 28800Writing 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 wifi_ap_mode false --set wifi_ssid mywifissid --set wifi_password mywifipsw

Or to configure an ESP32 to run as a Wifi access point:

meshtastic --set wifi_ap_mode true --set wifi_ssid mywifissid --set wifi_password mywifipsw

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

Changing channel settings#

The channel settings can be changed similiarly. Either by using a standard (sharable) meshtastic URL or you can set partiular channel parameters (for advanced users).

The URL is constructed automatically based off of the current channel settings. So if you want to customize a channel you could do something like:

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

This will change some channel params and then show device info (which will include the current channel URL)

You can even 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:

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

Ham radio support#

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 KI1345Connected to radioSetting HAM ID to KI1345 and turning off encryptionWriting modified channels to device

FAQ/common problems#

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

Permission denied: ‘/dev/ttyUSB0’#

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>

Mac OS Big Sur#

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

pip3 install -U --pre pyserial

Afterwards you can use the meshatstic python client again on MacOS.