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Uses of the meshtastic command line interface tool

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 Preferences

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

meshtastic --get all

Changing 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 protocol from your phone will reset this timer)

Expected Output
# You should see a result similar to this:
mydir$ meshtastic --set wait_bluetooth_secs 28800
Connected to radio...
Setting preference 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 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
note

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

warning

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. Please refer to Multiple Channel Support.

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 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 KI1345
Connected to radio
Setting Ham ID to KI1345 and turning off encryption
Writing modified channels to device

Changing the preshared key:

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 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