Acts as a serial Console Server, allowing you to remotely connect to ConsolePi via Telnet/SSH/bluetooth to gain Console Access to devices connected to local or remote ConsolePis via USB to serial adapters (i.e. Switches, Routers, Access Points... anything with a serial port).

TL;DR: Single Command Install Script. Run from a RaspberryPi running RaspiOS Buster (ideally a fresh image). The RaspberryPi needs to be able to reach the internet.

wget -q -O /tmp/ConsolePi && sudo bash /tmp/ConsolePi && sudo rm -f /tmp/ConsolePi

consolepi animated Demo


Feature Summary Image

consolepi-menu image

Serial Console Server

This is the core feature of ConsolePi. Connect USB to serial adapters to ConsolePi (or use the onboard UART(s)), then access the devices on those adapters via the ConsolePi. Supports TELNET directly to the adapter, or connect to ConsolePi via SSH or BlueTooth and select the adapter from consolepi-menu. The menu will show connection options for any locally connected adapters, as well as connections to any remote ConsolePis discovered via Cluster/sync. The menu has a lot of other features beyond connecting to local adapters, as shown in the image above.

  • When connecting to the ConsolePi via bluetooth, default behavior is to auto-login and launch a limited function menu. Given this user is automatically logged in, the user has limited rights, hence the limited function menu (allows access to locally attached adapters).
  • The consolepi user can also be configured to auto-launch the menu on login (option during install), this user doesn't auto-login, so it's created with typical rights and launches the full menu.

To disable auto-login via Bluetooth, modify /etc/systemd/system/rfcomm.service and remove -a blue from the end of the ExecStart line. Then issue the following to create an empty file telling consolepi-upgrade not to update the file on upgrade: touch /etc/ConsolePi/overrides/rfcomm.service.

For guidance on USB to serial adapters check out the sh#t list here

There are some lame adapters that don't burn a serial # to the chip, this makes assigning a unique name/TELNET port more challenging). The link above is a page where we note what chipsets are solid and which ones are a PITA.


Script runs at boot (can be made to check on interval via Cron if desired). Looks for pre-defined SSIDs, if those SSIDs are not available then it automatically goes into hotspot mode and broadcasts its own SSID. In HotSpot mode user traffic is NAT'd to the wired interface if the wired interface is up.

When ConsolePi enters hotspot mode, it first determines if the wired port is up and has an IP. If the wired port is not connected, then the hotspot distributes DHCP, but does not provide a "Default Gateway" to clients. This allows a user to dual connect without having to remove a route to a gateway that can't get anywhere. I commonly use a second USB WLAN adapter to connect to ConsolePi, while remaining connected to the internet via a different SSID on my primary adapter.

If a domain is provided to the wired port via DHCP, and the hotspot is enabled ConsolePi will distribute that same domain via DHCP to clients.

Automatic OpenVPN Tunnel

When an interface receives an IP address ConsolePi will Automatically connect to an OpenVPN server under the following conditions:

  • It's configured to use the OpenVPN feature, and the ConsolePi.ovpn file exists (an example is provided during install)
  • ConsolePi is not on the users home network (determined by the 'domain' handed out by DHCP)
  • The internet is reachable via the interface. (Checked by pinging a configurable common internet reachable destination)
  • When wired DHCP fallback is enabled and ovpn_share: true is set in the optional OVERRIDES: section of ConsolePi.yaml. The vpn connection will be shared with any devices connected to the wired interface (the automation will add the NAT rules).

Automatic PushBullet Notification

(Requires a PushBullet Account, API key, and the app / browser extension.)

When ConsolePi receives a dynamic IP address. A message is sent via PushBullet API with the IP so you know how to reach ConsolePi.

Push Bullet Notification image

An additional message is sent once a tunnel is established if the Automatic OpenVPN feature is enabled.

Push Bullet Notification image

Each Time a Notification is triggered all interface IPs are sent in the message along with the ConsolePi's default gateway(s).

Automatic Wired DHCP Fallback

Use with caution

The Wired DHCP Fallback function configures the wired interface of ConsolePi to fallback to static when it fails to get an address as a client via DHCP. It will then enable a DHCP Server on the wired interface (with the ConsolePi as the gateway for the clients).

This is useful when configuring factory-default devices, or on an isolated staging network. Caution should be taken on production networks.

This function also:

  • Configures traffic from the wired interface to NAT out of the WLAN interface if the WLAN has an internet connection. (The reverse of Auto-HotSpot)
  • Optionally, with ovpn_share: true set in the optional OVERRIDES: section of ConsolePi.yaml wired devices will share access to the OpenVPN tunnel if established (via Auto-OpenVPN).

The ZTP Orchestration feature will enable wired fallback to static/DHCP Server when you run consolepi-ztp. consolepi-ztp -end restores everything to pre-ZTP state. You do not need to enable it if ZTP is your only need for it consolepi-ztp will handle that.

ConsolePi Cluster / Cloud Sync

The Cluster feature allows you to have multiple ConsolePis connected to the network, or to each other (i.e. first ConsolePi in hotspot mode, the others connected as clients to that hotspot). A connection to any one of the ConsolePis in the Cluster will provide options to connect to any local serial adapters, as well as those connected to the other ConsolePis in the cluster (via the consolepi-menu command).

consolepi-menu image

Another look at the menu

consolepi-menu image

In this example only 1 adapter is connected locally (menu item 1), Items 2 - 26 are adapters discovered on other ConsolePis on the network. Items 27 - 50 are Manual Host Entries.

Supported Cluster Sync Methods:

Google Drive:

Read The Google Drive Setup for instructions on setting up Google Drive and authorizing ConsolePi to leverage the API.

  • Google Drive/Google Sheets is currently the only external method supported. Given this gets the job done, it unlikely more external methods will be added.

  • The ConsolePi will automatically exchange information with ConsolePi.csv in your gdrive under the following scenarios (all assume the function is enabled in the config):

  1. When the ConsolePi receives an IP address, and can reach the google API endpoints.

  2. When consolepi-menu is launched and the 'r' (refresh) option is selected.

  3. When a USB to Serial adapter is added or removed. (This happens on a 30 second delay, so if multiple add/removes are made in a 30 second window, only 1 update to the cloud will occur, that update will include everything that happened within the 30 second window)

    Note: The plan is to disable this update scenario in a future release, as we only need address information for the remote, not a full snapshot of the data. The remote is queried via API to ensure reachability and get the current list of adapters available, so we no longer need that data stored in the cloud.

The Gdrive function uses the hostname as a unique identifier. If all of your ConsolePis have the same hostname only one of them will be synchronized. Make Hostnames unique for each ConsolePi

In all of the above a local cloud cache which includes data for any remote ConsolePis pulled from ConsolePi.csv is updated for the sake of persistence and speed. The local cloud cache is what is referenced when the menu is initially launched


  • ConsolePis now advertise themselves on the local network via mDNS (bonjour, avahi, ...)

  • 3 daemons run on ConsolePi one that advertises details via mdns and updates anytime a change in available USB-serial adapters is detected, a browser service which browses for remote ConsolePis registered on the network, and the API described below. The browser service updates the local cloud cache when a new ConsolePi is detected.

    The API described here comes into play when enough adapters are plugged in, such that the data payload would be over what's allowed via mDNS. In the event this occurs... well here is an example: ConsolePi-A has a has enough USB to Serial adapters plugged in to be over the data limit allowed via mDNS, the mdns-register service will detect this and fall-back to advertising ConsolePi-A without the adapter data. ConsolePi-B, and ConsolePi-C are on the network and discover ConsolePi-A. B and Cs mdns-browser service will detect that the adapter data was stripped and request the adapter data from A via the API.

    UPDATE this happens in the background so I've left it as is, however on menu-load any remotes in the cache are verified to ensure reachability on the network. This verification is now done via the API, so it's validating it's on the network, and ensuring the data is the most current available from the remote.

Local Cloud Cache

  • local cloud cache: For both of the above methods, a local file /etc/ConsolePi/cloud.json is updated with details for remote ConsolePis. This cache file can be modified or created manually. If the file exists, the remote ConsolePis contained within are checked for reachability and added to the menu on launch.

  • The rename option in consolepi-menu or the consolepi-addconsole command supports assignment of custom aliases used to predictably identify the serial adapters with friendly names (udev rules). If configured these names are used in consolepi-menu, the default device name is used if not (i.e. ttyUSB0), but that's less predictable.

  • consolepi-menu does not attempt to connect to the cloud on launch, it retrieves remote data from the local cache file only, verifies the devices are reachable, and if so adds them to the menu. To trigger a cloud update use the refresh option.

Note: that ConsolePi will automatically update the local cache file when it gets an IP address, or adapters are added/removed, so the refresh should only be necessary if other ConsolePis have come online since the the menu was launched. Additionally ConsolePis will automatically discover each other via mdns if on the same network, this will automatically update the local-cache if a new remote ConsolePi is discovered.

  • Read The Google Drive Setup for instructions on setting up Google Drive and authorizing ConsolePi to leverage the API.

    If you are configuring multiple ConsolePis to use this cluster, you should consider using the ConsolePi Image Creator. Once You've installed the first ConsolePi, leverage the consolepi-image command to pre-stage the micro-sd cards for the other ConsolePis you will be creating. This script is handy, if duplicating the install across multiple ConsolePis. It can pre-stage the entire configuration and cut out some install time.

Power Control

The Power Control Function allows you to control power to external outlets. ConsolePi supports:

  • digital Loggers Ethernet Power Switch/Web Power Switch (including older models lacking rest API).
  • External relays controlled by ConsolePi GPIO ( Like this one Digital-Loggers IoT Relay ).
  • espHome flashed WiFi smart outlets (i.e. SonOff S31). These are low cost outlets based on ESP8266/ESP32 microcontrollers.
  • Tasmota flashed WiFi smart outlets These are also esp8266 based outlets similar to espHome.

    espHome/Tasmota were chosen because it allows for local control without reliance on a cloud service. So your 'kit' can include a small relatively portable smart outlet which can be programmed to connect to the ConsolePi hotspot. Then ConsolePi can control that outlet even if an internet connection is not available.

  • If the function is enabled and outlets are defined, an option in consolepi-menu will be presented allowing access to a sub-menu where those outlets can be controlled (toggle power on/off, cycle).
  • Outlets can be linked to Console Adapter(s) (best if the adapter is pre-defined using consolepi-addconsole or rn option in the menu) or manually defined host connections. If there is a link defined between the outlet and the adapter/host, anytime you initiate a connection to the adapter/host via consolepi-menu ConsolePi will ensure the outlet is powered on. Otherwise if the link is defined you can connect to a device and power it on, simply by initiating the connection from the menu Only applies when connecting via consolepi-menu.

    The power sub-menu currently only appears in the menu on the ConsolePi where the outlets are defined (Menu does not display outlets defined on remote ConsolePis). The auto-power-on when connecting to an adapter linked to an outlet works for both local and remote connections (establishing a connection to an adapter on a remote ConsolePi (clustering / cloud-sync function) via another ConsolePis menu)

The Power Control Menu

Defined Outlets will show up in the Power Menu

consolepi-menu image

Additional Controls for Digital Loggers

You may have an 8 port digital-loggers web power switch, with only some of those ports linked to devices. Any Outlets linked to devices will show up in the Power Menu, All of the Ports for the DLI (regardless of linkage) will show up in the dli menu

consolepi-menu image

Outlet Linkages

Example Outlet Linkage. In this case the switch "rw-6200T-sw" has 2 ports linked. Both are on a dli web power switch. One of the ports is for this switch, the other is for the up-stream switch that serves this rack. When connecting to the switch, ConsolePi will ensure the linked outlets are powered ON. ConsolePi does not power-off the outlets when you disconnect.

  Ensuring r2-6200T-sw Linked Outlets (labpower2:[1, 4]) are Powered ON

Connecting To r2-6200T-sw...
picocom v3.1

Refer to Power Control Setup for details on how to setup Power Control.

Manual Host Entries

The Manual Host Entries Feature allows you to manually define other SSH or TELNET endpoints that you want to appear in the menu. These entries will appear in the rs (remote shell) menu by default, but can also show-up in the main menu if show_in_main: true. Manual host entries support outlet bindings (Auto Power On when connecting through the menu).

Refer to Manual Host Entries in the Configuration section foe details on how to configure.

ZTP Orchestration

ConsolePi supports Zero Touch Provisioning(ZTP) of devices via wired ethernet/DHCP. The feature uses DHCP to trigger ZTP, and supports config file generation using jinja2 templates. For more details see ConsolePi ZTP Orchestration.

ConsolePi API

ConsolePi includes an API with the following available methods (All Are GET methods via http port 5000 currently).


  • adapters: returns list of local adapters
  • remotes: returns the local cloud cache
  • interfaces: returns interface / IP details
  • details: full json representing all local details for the ConsolePi

The swagger interface is @ /api/docs or /api/redoc. You can browse/try the less common API methods there.

The API is used by ConsolePi to verify reachability and ensure adapter data is current on menu-load.

The API is currently unsecured, it uses http, and Auth is not implemented yet. It currently only supports GET requests and doesn't provide any sensitive (credential) data. Authentication on the API is a roadmap item.

ConsolePi Extras

Toward the end of the install, and via consolepi-extras anytime after the install, you are provided with options to automate the deployment (and removal for most) of some additional tools. This is a selection of tools not required for ConsolePi, but often desired, or useful for the kind of folks that would be using ConsolePi.

Note: speed test (locally hosted browser based speed-test), is only presented as an option for Pi4.


If you have a Linux system available you can use ConsolePi image creator to burn the image to a micro-sd, enable SSH, pre-configure a WLAN (optional), mass-import configurations (if ran from a ConsolePi, optional), and PreConfigure ConsolePi settings (optional). This script is especially useful for doing headless installations.

The Following Applies to All Automated Installation methods

Note Previous versions of ConsolePi supported import from either the users home-dir (i.e. /home/pi) or from a consolepi-stage subdir in the users home-dir (i.e. /home/pi/ConsolePi-stage). The import logic directly from the home-dir has not been removed, but going forward any new imports will only be tested using the consolePi-stage directory for simplicity.

ConsolePi will optionally use pre-configured settings for the following if they are placed in the a consolepi-stage subdir in the users home folder (i.e. /home/pi/consolepi-stage). This is optional, the installer will prompt for the information if not pre-configured. It will prompt you to verify either way. Imports only occur during initial install not upgrades.

  • ConsolePi.yaml: This is the main configuration file where all configurable settings are defined. If provided in the consolepi-stage dir the installer will ask for verification then create the working config /etc/ConsolePi/ConsolePi.yaml

  • ConsolePi.ovpn: If using the automatic OpenVPN feature this file is placed in the appropriate directory during the install. Note: there are a few lines specific to ConsolePi functionality that should be at the end of the file, The installer will verify and add those lines if they don't exist

  • ovpn_credentials: Credentials file for OpenVPN. Will be placed in the appropriate OpenVPN dir during the install. This is a simple text file with the openvpn username on the first line and the password on the second line.

    The script will chmod 600 everything in the /etc/openvpn/client directory for security so the files will only be accessible via sudo (root).

  • 10-ConsolePi.rules: udev rules file used to automatically map specific adapters to user defined aliases, which map to specific TELNET ports. This file is created automatically during the install if you don't skip the predictable serial port/names workflow toward the end. It's also available after the install via the rn (rename) option in the menu, or via the consolepi-addconsole command. This is highly recommended in most use cases, and is explained further here.

  • ser2net.conf: ser2net configuration will be cp to /etc/ser2net.conf if found in the stage-dir.

  • wpa_supplicant.conf: If found during install this file will be copied to /etc/wpa_supplicant. The file is parsed to determine if any EAP-TLS SSIDs are configured, and if so the associated certificate files are also copied to the directory specified in the wpa_supplicant.conf file.

    certs should be pre-staged in consolepi-stage/cert

    WARNING EAP-TLS RaspiOS buster wpa_supplicant bug: (you can disregard if you are using psk, this only applies to certificate based authentication) The version of wpa_supplicant of an associated dependency that buster still installs has a bug that will prevent EAP-TLS from working (wpa_supplicant v2.8-devel). On my RPi 3 and 4 units I use the (described below) file to update wpa_supplicant manually like so:

    sudo apt install -y ./libreadline8_8.0-2_armhf.deb

    sudo apt install -y ./wpasupplicant_2.9-1_armhf.deb

    There may be a better way, but this is working on all my Pi3/4s, on my Pi Zero Ws installing these packages breaks wpa_supplicant entirely. For those I currently just use the psk SSID (which I expect most would do, but good tip anyway for the cool kids using certs)

  • authorized_keys/known_hosts: If either of these ssh related files are found they will be placed in both the /home/pi/.ssh and /root/.ssh directories (ownership is adjusted appropriately).

  • rpi-poe-overlay.dts: This is a custom overlay file for the official Rpi PoE hat. If the dts is found in the stage dir, a dtbo (overlay binary) is created from it and placed in /boot/overlays. A custom overlay for the PoE hat can be used to adjust what temp triggers the fan, and how fast the fan will run at each temp threshold.

Refer to google for more info, be aware some apt upgrades update the overlays overwriting your customization. I use a separate script I run occasionally which creates a dtbo then compares it to the one in /boot/overlays, and updates if necessary (to revery back to my custom settings)

  • autohotspot-dhcp(directory): If you have a autohotspot-dhcp directory inside the consolepi-stage dir, it's contents are copied to /etc/ConsolePi/dnsmasq.d/autohotspot. This is useful if you have additional configs you want to use for autohotspot, dhcp-reservations, etc. The main config for the autohotspot feature autohotspot is still managed by ConsolePi.

  • wired-dhcp(directory): If you have a wired-dhcp directory inside the consolepi-stage dir, it's contents are copied to /etc/ConsolePi/dnsmasq.d/wired-dhcp. This is useful if you have additional configs you want to use for wired-dhcp, dhcp-reservations, etc. The main config for the wired-dhcp feature wired-dhcp is still managed by ConsolePi.

  • ztp(directory): if a ztp directory is found in the consolepi-stage dir, it's contents are copied to /etc/ConsolePi/ztp. This is where your template/variable files, and custom_parsers are configured.

  • Custom post install script. This custom script is triggered after all install steps are complete. It runs just before the post-install message is displayed. Use it to do anything the installer does not cover that you normally setup on your systems. For Example my script does the following:

    • generates an ssh key sudu -u $iam ssh-keygen
    • sends that key to my NAS sudo -u $iam ssh-copy-id [email protected] 2>/dev/null
    • Then it pulls a few files common to all my systems makes executable if it applies etc
      • sftp [email protected]:/export/BACKUP/Linux/common/wlmount ... then make executable etc...
    • I pull cloud credentials for ConsolePi from my main ConsolePi system.
    • modify /etc/nanorc to my liking
    • Update wpa_supplicant if the bug version is installed (unless it's a pi Zero W)

    This is just an optional mechanism to automatically prep whatever it is you normally prep on your systems after the install completes. The custom Post install script is only executed on initial install, not on upgrade.

    Some functions/variables available to the script (will be in the environment) that you could leverage:

    • $iam (variable) is the user (script is ran as root hence the sudo -u examples above to run a command as the user that launched the installer)
    • $logit (function) logit "message to log" ["log-level" defaults to "INFO"] log-lvl "ERROR" results in script aborting if it hits, so don't set the log-lvl to ERROR

To enable the Clustering / Cloud-Sync function see the description above and the prerequisite Google Drive Setup instructions.

1. Automated Installation

Install RaspiOS on a raspberryPi and connect it to the network.

Use the command string below to kick-off the automated installer. The install script is designed to be essentially turn-key. It will prompt to change hostname, set timezone, and update the pi users password if you're logged in as pi. Be sure to checkout the image creator script if doing a headless install, creating multiple ConsolePis, or want to re-image an existing ConsolePi.

wget -q -O /tmp/ConsolePi && sudo bash /tmp/ConsolePi && sudo rm -f /tmp/ConsolePi

Command String Breakdown:

wget -q -O /tmp/ConsolePi --> Pull current install script from GitHub and place in /tmp/ConsolePi

sudo bash /tmp/ConsolePi --> Execute ConsolePi install script with sudo privs

sudo rm -f /tmp/ConsolePi --> Remove the install script (script execution is complete at this point)

The && between each command just means the command will execute given there was not an error returned from the previous command.

Silent Install

A Silent install (Installation runs without prompts) is possible cmd line arguments provided to the installer or a config file, where the path to the config is provided to the installer via the -C </path/to/config/file.conf> argument. A pre configured ConsolePi.yaml should also exist in the consolepi-stage dir described above.

Refer to /etc/ConsolePi/installer/install.conf.example for an example config. This command string will download it to your home dir as install.conf and open it in nano for editing.

wget -q -O ~/install.conf && nano ~/install.conf

The output below shows consolepi-upgrade as the command to launch, the command will be consolepi-install on an image created using the image creator script. If neither is the case you would call the installer directly (with sudo) and pass in the args (The TL;DR string at the top of this README can be modified to pass in the arguments)

[email protected]:~$ consolepi-upgrade --help

USAGE: consolepi-upgrade [OPTIONS]

Available Options
 --help | -help | help                   Display this help text.
 -silent                                 Perform silent install no prompts, all variables reqd must be provided via pre-staged configs.
 -C|-config <path/to/config>             Specify config file to import for install variables (see /etc/ConsolePi/installer/install.conf.example).
    Copy the example file to your home dir and make edits to use
 --wlan_country=<wlan_country>           wlan regulatory domain (Default: US).
 -noipv6                                 bypass 'Do you want to disable ipv6 during install' prompt.  Disable or not based on this value =true: Disables.
 --hostname=<hostname>                   If set will bypass prompt for hostname and set based on this value (during initial install).
 --tz=<i.e. 'America/Chicago'>           If set will bypass tz prompt on install and configure based on this value.
 --auto_launch='<true|false>'            Bypass prompt 'Auto Launch menu when consolepi user logs in' - set based on this value.
 --consolepi_pass='<password>'           Use single quotes: Bypass prompt on install set consolepi user pass to this value.
 --pi_pass=<'password>                   Use single quotes: Bypass prompt on install set pi user pass to this value.
    pi user can be deleted after initial install if desired, A non silent install will prompt for additional users and set appropriate group perms
    Any manually added users should be members of 'dialout' and 'consolepi' groups for ConsolePi to function properly

The Following optional arguments are more for dev, but can be useful in some other scenarios
 -noapt                                  Skip the apt update portion of the Upgrade.  Should not be used on initial installs..
 -nopip                                  Skip pip install -r requirements.txt.  Should not be used on initial installs..

  This example specifies a config file with -C (telling it to get some info from the specified config) as well as the silent install option (no prompts)
        > consolepi-upgrade -C /home/pi/consolepi-stage/installer.conf -silent

  Alternatively the necessary arguments can be passed in via cmd line arguments
  NOTE: Showing minimum required options for a silent install.  ConsolePi.yaml has to exist
        wlan_country will default to US, No changes will be made re timezone, ipv6 & hostname
        > consolepi-upgrade -silent --consolepi-pass='c0nS0lePi!' --pi-pass='c0nS0lePi!'

2. Semi-Automatic Install

Alternatively you can clone this repository to /etc manually, then run the install script. The only real benefit here is it would allow you to cp ConsolePi.yaml.example ConsolePi.yaml and make edits to your liking. If ConsolePi.yaml exists when the installer runs you'll skip a number of user input steps and go straight to verification of the provided settings.

You still get the option when using the Automated Installation to stop the install after a default ConsolePi.yaml is created, allowing you to edit then re-run bypassing input prompts.

cd /etc
sudo git clone

- or -

cd /tmp
git clone
sudo mv /tmp/ConsolePi /etc

Optionally Pre-Configure parameters, it will result in less time on data-collection/user-input during the install. Just grab the ConsolePi.yaml.example file from the repo, edit it with your settings, and rename/place in ~/consolepi-stage/ConsolePi.yaml

# example assuming logged in as pi
cd ~
mkdir consolepi-stage
sudo cp ConsolePi.yaml.example ~/consolepi-stage/ConsolePi.yaml
sudo nano ConsolePi.yaml

This example copies the configuration to the stage directory to highlight that function (importing settings from the stage directory), you could also place the configured ConsolePi.yaml file in /etc/ConsolePi.

NOTE: pre-staging only occurs on the initial install, not when using consolepi-upgrade.

Configure parameters to your liking then

  • ctrl + o --> to save
  • ctrl + x --> to exit
  • Then run the installer
sudo /etc/ConsolePi/installer/

3. ConsolePi Image Creator

!!WARNING!! This script writes RaspiOS to a connected micro-sd card. This will overwrite everything on that card. If something doesn't look right STOP. With that said I've used it 100s of times by now, so image away.

From an Existing ConsolePi:

  • Insert the micro-sd card you want to image (USB to micro-sd card adapter)
  • Launch Script with consolepi-image.

The script defaults to using RaspiOS-lite. This can be changed via cmd line argument (see below)


Using a Linux System (Most distros should work only requirement is a bash shell ... tested on RaspiOS and Mint) enter the following command:

  • curl -JLO && sudo chmod +x
  • That will download the image creator and make it executable.
  • The image creator supports both command line arguments and a configuration file (where the same settings configurable as cmd line arguments can be configured in file... handy for re-use).
  • curl -JLO To get the optional conf file for the image creator. The config file will be automatically imported if it's in cwd (current working directory).

ConsolePi_image_creator brief summary:

The "Stage dir" referenced below is a sub directory found in cwd (your current working directory). The script looks for the Stage dir which needs to be named 'consolepi-stage' and moves the entire directory to the pi users home directory on the media being imaged. When the installer runs (on the new ConsolePi) it will automatically import config items from that staging directory.

The Pre-staging described below is optional, this script can be used without any pre-staging files, it will simply burn a RaspiOS image to the micro-sd, enable SSH, and set the installer to run automatically on boot (unless you set auto_install to false via cmd line arg or config).

USAGE: sudo ./ [OPTIONS]

Available Options
 --help | -help | help                   Display this help text.
 -C <location of config file>            Look @ Specified config file loc to get command line values vs. the default consolepi-image-creator.conf (in cwd).
 --branch=<branch>                       Configure image to install from designated branch (Default: master).
 --ssid=<ssid>                           Configure SSID on image (configure wpa_supplicant.conf).
 --psk=<psk>                             pre-shared key for SSID (must be provided if ssid is provided).
 --wlan_country=<wlan_country>           wlan regulatory domain (Default: US).
 --priority=<priority>                   wlan priority (Default 0).
 --img_type=<lite|desktop|full>          Type of RaspiOS image to write to media (Default: lite).
 --img_only=<true|false>                 If set to true no pre-staging will be done other than enabling SSH (Default: false).
 --auto_install=<true|false>             If set to false image will not be configured to auto launch the installer on first login (Default true).
 --cmd_line='<cmd_line arguments>'       *Use single quotes* cmd line arguments passed on to 'consolepi-install' cmd/script on image.
 --mass_import=<true|false>              Bypass mass_import prompt presented when the system creating the image is a ConsolePi. Do it or not based on this value <true|false>.
 --edit=<true|false>                     Bypass prompt asking if you want to edit (nano) the imported ConsolePi.yaml. Do it or not based on this value <true|false>.
 --hotspot_hostname=<true|false>         Bypass prompt asking to pre-configure hostname based on HotSpot SSID in imported ConsolePi.yaml.  Do it or not based on this value <true|false>.

The consolepi-image-creator will also look for consolepi-image-creator.conf in the same directory for the above settings (or whatever path/file you specify after -C).

  This example overrides the default RaspiOS image type (lite) in favor of the desktop image and configures a psk SSID (use single quotes if special characters exist)
        sudo ./ --img_type=desktop --ssid=MySSID --psk='ConsolePi!!!'
  This example passes the -C option to the installer (telling it to get some info from the specified config) as well as the silent install option (no prompts)
        sudo ./ --cmd_line='-C /home/pi/consolepi-stage/installer.conf -silent'
# ----------------------------------- // DEFAULTS \\ -----------------------------------
# ssid: No Default ~ psk ssid not configured if ssid and psk is not provided
# psk: No Default
# wlan_country: "us"
# priority: 0
# img_type: "lite"
# img_only: false
# auto_install: true
# mass_import: Not Set (Will Prompt User)
#    mass_import=true will bypass the prompt and do the import
#    mass_import=false will bypass the prompt and will not perform the import
# edit: Not Set (Will Prompt User)
#    edit=true will bypass the prompt and open the staged ConsolePi.yaml for editing
#    edit=false will bypass, the prompt ConsolePi.yaml will remain as imported
# hotspot_hostname: Not Set (Will Prompt User)
#    edit=true will pre-configure the hostname on the image to match the HotSpot SSID
#    edit=false will bypass prompt and leave hostname as default (raspberrypi)
# --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What the script does

  • automatically pull the most recent RaspiOS image (lite by default) if one is not found in the script-dir (whatever dir you run it from)

    • It will check to see if a more current image is available and prompt for image selection even if an image exists in the script dir.
  • Make an attempt to determine the correct drive to be flashed, and display details ... User to verify/confirm before writing.

    As a fail-safe the script will exit if it finds more than 1 USB storage device on the system.

  • Flash image to micro-sd card

  • Enable SSH (handy for headless install)

    if img_only=true the script stops here

  • The entire stage dir (consolepi-stage) is moved to the /home/pi dir on the micro-sd if found in the script dir. This can be used to pre-stage a number of config files the installer will detect and use, along with anything else you'd like on the ConsolePi image.

  • Pre-Configure a psk or open WLAN via parameters in script. Useful for headless installation, you just need to determine what IP address ConsolePi gets from DHCP if doing a headless install.

  • You can also pre-configure WLAN by placing a wpa_supplicant.conf file in the stage dir. This will be copied to the /etc/wpa_supplicant dir on the micro-sd card. This method supports the typical methods along with EAP-TLS with certificates. Just place the cert files referenced in the provided wpa_supplicant.conf file in a 'cert' folder inside the stage dir. ( Only works for a single EAP-TLS SSID or rather a single set of certs ), the image creator will then move the certs to the micro-sd to the path specified in the provided wap_supplicant.conf.

  • create a quick command 'consolepi-install' to simplify the command string to pull the installer from this repo and launch. If cmd_line= argument is provided to those arguments are passed on to the auto-install.

  • The ConsolePi installer will start on first login, as long as the RaspberryPi has internet access. This can be disabled with --auto_install=false.

    If you set --auto_install=false, --cmd_line=... is ignored. You would specify arguments for the installer manually.

  • If the script is ran from a ConsolePi, the script will detect that it's a ConsolePi and offer to pre-stage it's existing settings. If a file has already been pre-staged (via consolepi-stage dir) it will skip it. It will give you the chance to edit ConsolePi.yaml if pre-staged, so you can deploy multiple ConsolePis and edit the specifics for each as you stage them.

  • Entire home directory imports: If you place /root and/or /home/pi inside the consolepi-stage directory. Those contents/sub-dirs will be imported to the respective users directory on the image.

    • You can even pre-stage a users home directory for a user that doesn't exist. When the installer runs, you are given the option to create new users. Once created if a folder is found in consolepi-stage for that user (i.e. home/pi/consolepi-stage/home/larry), the contents will be copied from the consolepi-stage dir to /home/larry.

The install script (not this image-creator, the installer that actually installs ConsolePi) will look for and if found import a number of items from the consolepi-stage directory. Gdrive credentials, ovpn settings, ssh keys refer to TODO link to section highlighting imports

This capture highlights what the script does and what it pulls via mass import if ran from an existing ConsolePi

[email protected]:~$ sudo ./
   ______                       __     ____  _
  / ____/___  ____  _________  / /__  / __ \(_)
 / /   / __ \/ __ \/ ___/ __ \/ / _ \/ /_/ / /
/ /___/ /_/ / / / (__  ) /_/ / /  __/ ____/ /
\____/\____/_/ /_/____/\____/_/\___/_/   /_/

ConsolePi Image Creator
'exit' (which will terminate the script) is valid at all prompts

Script has discovered removable flash device @ sda with the following details

------------------------------- // Device Details for sda \\ -----------------------------------

Disk /dev/sda: 29.8 GiB, 32010928128 bytes, 62521344 sectors
Disk model: Storage Device
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0xe34e0aca

Device     Boot  Start      End  Sectors  Size Id Type
/dev/sda1         8192   532479   524288  256M  c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda2       532480 62521343 61988864 29.6G 83 Linux


Press enter to accept sda as the destination drive or specify the correct device (i.e. 'sdc' or 'mmcblk0')
Device to flash with image [sda]:

Getting latest raspios image (lite)
Using image 2020-05-27-raspios-buster-lite-armhf found in /home/pi. It is the current release

!!! Last chance to abort !!!
About to write image 2020-05-27-raspios-buster-lite-armhf.img to sda, Continue? (y/n|exit): y
   ______                       __     ____  _
  / ____/___  ____  _________  / /__  / __ \(_)
 / /   / __ \/ __ \/ ___/ __ \/ / _ \/ /_/ / /
/ /___/ /_/ / / / (__  ) /_/ / /  __/ ____/ /
\____/\____/_/ /_/____/\____/_/\___/_/   /_/

Now Writing image 2020-05-27-raspios-buster-lite-armhf.img to sda standby...
 This takes a few minutes

1849688064 bytes (1.8 GB, 1.7 GiB) copied, 221 s, 8.4 MB/s
442+0 records in
442+0 records out
1853882368 bytes (1.9 GB, 1.7 GiB) copied, 233.167 s, 8.0 MB/s

Image written to flash - no Errors

 ~ Mounting boot partition to enable ssh.................................OK
 ~ Enabling ssh on image.................................................OK
 ~ unmount boot partition................................................OK
 ~ Mounting System partition to pre-configure ConsolePi image............OK
 ~ Script Option to pre-config psk ssid..................................Skipped - Not Configured
 ~ Configure Auto-Install on first login.................................OK
     Configured with the following args -C consolepi-stage/install.conf
 ~ consolepi-stage dir found Pre-Staging all files.......................OK
 ~ SSH authorized keys found pre-staging.................................OK
 ~ SSH known_hosts found pre-staging.....................................OK
 ~ wpa_supplicant.conf found pre-staging on image........................OK
 ~ staged wpa_supplicant includes EAP-TLS SSID looking for certs.........OK

   -- Performing Imports from This ConsolePi --
 ~ /etc/ConsolePi/ConsolePi.yaml.........................................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf...............................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules..................................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /etc/ser2net.conf.....................................................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /home/pi/.ssh/authorized_keys.........................................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /home/pi/.ssh/known_hosts.............................................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /etc/ConsolePi/cloud/gdrive/.credentials/credentials.json.............Imported
 ~ /etc/ConsolePi/cloud/gdrive/.credentials/token.pickle.................Imported
 ~ /etc/openvpn/client/ConsolePi.ovpn....................................Skipped - Already Staged
 ~ /etc/openvpn/client/ovpn_credentials..................................Skipped - Already Staged

Consolepi image ready

Once Complete you place the newly blessed micro-sd in your raspberryPi and boot. The installer will automatically start unless you've disabled it. In which case the consolepi-install will launch the installer (unless img_only=true, if so consolepi-install command is not created).

Alternative Hardware Installs

For my use case I manually installed these, but depending on the system/use-case you could use the installer in the same method described above. results may vary :)

Testing and extending the installer to natively detect and support installation on non RaspberryPi devices is planned for a future release. It currently has not been tested.

The Use Cases

  1. ConsolePi running on a Linux Mint laptop

    • desire was to be able to load the menu, see the remotes, and use a locally connected adapter if I wanted, but to only sync one way (discover remote ConsolePis, but don't advertise to them). This is because the laptop is used ad-hoc and if I'm using it I'm on it, not remote.
    • Install Process was simply (this is from memory so might be off a bit):
    sudo apt install python3-pip virtualenv git
    cd /tmp
    git clone
    cd ConsolePi  # Should now be in /tmp/ConsolePi
    python3 -m virtualenv venv
    sudo mv /tmp/ConsolePi /etc
    sudo cp /etc/ConsolePi/src/ /etc/profile.d && . /etc/profile.d/ # <-- adds consolepi-commands to PATH
    consolepi-sync -pip # <-- updates perms installs (pip) requirements
    cp /etc/ConsolePi/ConsolePi.yaml.example /etc/ConsolePi/ConsolePi.yaml
    consolepi-config # <-- edit as required ~ `cloud_pull_only: true` option in the OVERRIDES: section for this use case.
    sudo cp /etc/ConsolePi/src/systemd/consolepi-mdnsbrowse.service /etc/systemd/system
    sudo systemctl enable consolepi-mdnsbrowse
    sudo systemctl start consolepi-mdnsbrowse
    consolepi-menu # <-- See Note Below Regarding initial cloud AuthZ if using Gdrive Sync

    test the menu (note if cloud sync enabled you still need to put the creds in the dir).
    Select option r (refresh) if cloud enabled and creds in place.
    If you've completed Google Drive Setup, and need to authorize ConsolePi for the first time launch the menu with the cloud argument (consolepi-menu cloud) (then select the r (refresh) option). This is only required to create the credential files for the first time, you can use consolepi-menu without arguments to launch after the creds have been created.

    I think that's it. So the above will allow use of the menu on the LapTop, will detect any local adapters if any are plugged in, will discover and allow connection to any remotes, manually defined hosts, power outlets, etc, but will not advertise itself to any other ConsolePis.

    If you did want the system to advertise itself on the network, so other ConsolePis could discover it: Repeat the commands above related to consolepi-mdnsbrowse.service but swap in consolepi-mdnsreg.service.

  2. ConsolePi running on wsl-ubuntu (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

    • Use Case... I just wanted to see if it would work. I also have it open a lot so handy to be able to just run from there.
    • No local-adapters wsl would be remote only.
    • Install process: Same as above with the exception of leave out the consolpi-mdnsbrowse bit (no systemd on wsl)
    • It works as expected, with the minor caveat that it's only source to get remote details is via cloud-sync. Adapter data is still refreshed on menu-load by querying the remote directly. You also can not create the cloud credentials files (do the initial Authorization) in wsl. That needs to be done on another system and copied over.

For Alternative installs. Use consolepi-sync to update ConsolePi rather than consolepi-upgrade. or just git pull from the /etc/ConsolePi directory. consolepi-upgrade is the installer (which will detect ConsolePi is already installed and run as upgrade), has not been tested on non RaspberryPi installs yet.

ConsolePi Usage


The Configuration file is validated and created during the install. Settings can be modified post-install via the configuration file /etc/ConsolePi.yaml (Some Changes will require consolepi-upgrade to be ran to take effect). See ConsolePi.yaml.example for an example of the available options.

consolepi-menu sorting and connection settings

When you assign a friendly alias to an adapter for predictability via the rn (rename) option in consolepi-menu or via consolepi-addconsole an alias (udev rule) is created for that adapter and ser2net.conf is updated with a pointer to that alias using the next available TELNET port in the 7xxx range which includes the desired serial settings. The consolepi-menu parses the ser2net.conf to retrieve the serial settings for each device, but it also uses this file to determine the order the adapters appear in the menu. The menu is sorted by TELNET port#. So if you want re-arrange the order devices show up you just need to re-arrange the port #s mapped in /etc/ser2net.conf for the devices. Just ensure each device is mapped to a unique port (no duplicate ports).

You can use the tp option in consolepi-menu to display the TELNET ports mapped to each device. Re-arranging them still needs to be done manually by editing /etc/ser2net.conf

Configuring Manual Host Entries

The Manual Host Entries Feature allows you to manually define other SSH or TELNET endpoints that you want to appear in the menu. These entries will appear in the rs remote shell menu by default, but can also show-up in the main menu if show_in_main: true. Manual host entries support power outlet bindings as well. To configure this feature simply populate the optional HOSTS: section of ConsolePi.yaml. Using the following structure:

    method: telnet  # This field is now optional defaults to ssh if not specified.
    show_in_main: true
    group: WLAN
    method: ssh
    username: wade
    show_in_main: true
    key: wade_arubaos_pub.key
    group: WLAN
    method: ssh
    username: wade
    method: ssh
    username: root
    group: WADELAB-HOSTS

The Above Example highlights different options

  • The address field can be a IP or FQDN and a custom port can be included by appending :<port> to the end of the address if no port is defined the standard port for the protocol specified via the method key is used (22 for ssh 23 for TELNET).
  • mm1 shows the address with an optional non-std port defined. Connection would be made via TELNET on port 7001
  • mm1 will use wade_arubaos_pub.key as the ssh private key/identity rather than the default identity file (typically ~/.ssh/id_rsa)

    The key specified can be in a number of places.

    1. The script always looks in ~/.ssh first
    2. full path and relative (to cwd) path are also valid in the config (i.e. key: /home/pi/mykeys/wade_arubaos_pub.key)
    3. Lastly if you create the dir /etc/ConsolePi/.ssh and place the key there. It will be copied to the users .ssh dir (~/.ssh) on menu launch and permissions/ownership will be updated appropriately for the logged in user.

    Option 3 has the benefit of providing a single global identity file for the host regardless of what user you are logged in as on the ConsolePi. If the file in /etc/ConsolePi/.ssh is updated, the menu will detect the change, and copy the new file.

  • mm1 and mc1 will show up in the main menu both grouped under the WLAN sub-head
  • LagDigi1 does not define a group or set show_in_main (both are optional). It will show up in the rshell menu in group "user-defined".
  • omv will show up in the rshell menu under group "WADELAB-HOSTS"
  • outlet bindings with these devices are supported by adding the device name in linked_devs for an outlet defined in the POWER: section of ConsolePi.yaml.

    Ensure names are unique across both hosts defined here and the adapters defined via the menu or consolepi-addconsole. If there is a conflict the serial adapter wins.

Local UART Support

ConsolePi supports use of the onboard UARTs for external connections. The Pi4 actually has 6 UARTs onboard (5 useable). The additional UARTs would need to be enabled. The examples below should get you there if you want to make use of the extra UARTs, obviously you can search the internet or refer to the Pi4 data-sheet for info beyond that.

Note: The RaspberryPis onboard UARTs are TTL level. This is useful for connecting to other devices with TTL level UARTs (i.e. Another Rpi, Arduino, or Aruba APs that used the flat 4 pin connector (The grey Aruba Adapter used to connect to these APs AP-SER has a TTL to RS232 level shifter built into the cable)). To use these to connect to RS232 ports typically found on Network Hardware and other equipment you need a ttl<-->RS232 level shifter i.e. (max232 family).

To Enable Support for GPIO UARTs (ttyAMA):

Update 10-ConsolePi.rules if necessary

If /etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules already exists on the system, and was created prior to v2020-4.5 (Sept 2020). You will likely need to update the file to support the additional GPIO UARTs on the Pi4. The GPIO UARTs were initially configured to use it's own separate rules file (11-ConsolePi-ttyama.rules). With v2020-4.5 it was added to the common rules file 10-CosnolePi.rules. The format/template used to build 10-ConsolePi.rules had to be updated to support the GPIO UARTs (ttyAMA devices).

You can verify by checking /etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules for KERNEL=="ttyAMA[1-4]*", GOTO="TTYAMA-DEVS" near the top of the file (line 2).

If /etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules does not exist, nothing needs to be done. If it does and the verification above indicates it needs to be updated you can either delete it (which will remove any current aliases, you'll be startig over, but the file will take on the new format). -- or -- if you want to avoid the need to rename the serial devices you've already set aliases for, you can...

sudo mv /etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules ~/ # move the file out of the rules dir (to your home dir)
sudo cp /etc/ConsolePi/src/10-ConsolePi.rules /etc/udev/rules.d  # copy the new file template to the rules dir
cat ~/10-ConsolePi.rules  # cat the old file contents.
# Select and copy only the lines with aliases that were previously configured
sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules  # open the new rules file for editing
# paste in the lines with aliases from the previous rules file, in the same section they existed previously
# Be sure not to remove any of the existing comments/lines
# repeat cat, copy, edit, paste as needed if content existed in multiple sections.
consolepi-resetudev  # trigger/reload udev to update devs based on new file content.
consolepi-showaliases  # This utility verifies All aliases set in the rules file also exist in ser2net and vice versa.

Configure /boot/config.txt

# related snippet from /boot/config.txt

#Enable Default UART (used to access this ConsolePi not externally)

# Enable Additional UARTs
# dtoverlay=uart0,<param>=<val>
# Params: txd0_pin                GPIO pin for TXD0 (14, 32 or 36 - default 14)
#         rxd0_pin                GPIO pin for RXD0 (15, 33 or 37 - default 15)
#         pin_func                Alternative pin function - 4(Alt0) for 14&15,
#                                 7(Alt3) for 32&33, 6(Alt2) for 36&37

# Enable uart 2 on GPIOs 0,1

# Enable uart 3 on GPIOs 4,5

# Enable uart 4 on GPIOs 8,9

# Enable uart 5 on GPIOs 12,13

Configure /boot/cmdline.txt

# /boot/cmdline.txt

# The default UART is enabled for "inbound" access to this Pi, the pins are actually not accessible in my setup so they are not used at all
console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=PARTUUID=73aabb97-02 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait

# the remaining UARTS configured for external access, Note that uart3 is not actually being used due to pin access

Configure ConsolePi.yaml

ConsolePi.yaml needs to include a TTYAMA: key (where TTYAMA is not indented, it should be at the same level as CONFIG or the optional OVERRIDES, HOSTS, and POWER keys)

Given the example above with 3 uarts enabled (technically 4 but the default UART is used for "inbound" access)

TTYAMA: [ttyAMA1, ttyAMA2, ttyAMA3]

The onboard UARTs will then showup in the consolepi-menu as ttyAMA#, you can then use the rename option to assign a friendly name and configure custom serial settings (i.e. change the baud used by the menu, the rename option will also add the device to ser2net using the next available TELNET port in the 7xxx range)

Power Control Setup

Refer to Power Control Setup

ZTP Orchestration

Refer to ZTP Orchestration


Optional Overrides to prevent consolepi-upgrade from updating ConsolePi related system files

To Upgrade ConsolePi it's recommended to use the consolepi-upgrade command. This runs the install/upgrade script which on upgrade will verify some of the system configuration related to ConsolePi functionality. If you've made customizations to any of the system files ConsolePi initially configures, the upgrade script will backup the file (to /etc/ConsolePi/bak) and replace it. This may be undesired if you've made customizations, to prevent this from occuring simply create an empty file (doesn't technically have to be empty) with the same name as the file you want to prevent being modified by ConsolePi in '/etc/ConsolePi/overrides' (i.e. touch /etc/ConsolePi/overrides/dhcpcd.conf)

consolepi-upgrade is the preferred method, but you can run consolepi-sync described in Convenience Commands or alternatively simply do a git pull from within /etc/ConsolePi to Upgrade. However there is some risk, as references to system paths/symlinks etc. may have changed, and consolepi-sync doesn't automate any of the system changes that may be part of the upgrade.

List of files ConsolePi will verify and potentially update

  • /etc/dhcpcd.conf
  • /etc/network/interfaces verified, but no changes from the system default are typically necessary
  • /etc/default/hostapd
  • /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf
  • /etc/profile.d/ This file adds the consolepi-commands directory to PATH, but also prints the ConsolePi ascii banner on login, to get rid of the banner, or create a custom banner you could modify the file and place an empty in overrides dir, you do need the PATH update for any of the consolepi-... commands to work.
  • /etc/hosts Hostname is added mapped to hotspot IP, needed for proper resolution if client were to connect to the hotspot and try to access by hostname

Service Files

Overriding Service files not only turns off validation of the contents of the systemd unit file, but also the state of the service (enabled/disabled)

  • hostapd.service If AutoHotSpot is enabled, Script will configure based on config and ensure the servie is disabled as startup is handled by AutoHotSpot
  • bluetooth.service
  • rfcomm.service You can override rfcomm.service if running ConsolePi on older hardware lacking bluetooth (it'll fail given no hardware is present)

On ConsolePis Built prior to v2020.2 (merged in April 2020) the following may also apply (AutoHotSpot now uses it's own dnsmasq service separate from the default dnsmasq service)

  • dnsmasq.service Script will modify for hotspot and ensure the servie is disabled as startup is handled by AutoHotSpot

Optional override Variables in ConsolePi.yaml

ConsolePi.yaml also supports a few customizations via the optional OVERRIDES section. Examples of most of them should be in your configuration after the install (with the default values, so they are not overriding anything just in place as a reference).

A summary of available overrides:

  • skip_utils: Instruct the upgrade script to skip the optional utilities step (this step can be done outside the installer via consolepi-extras).
  • default_baud: This rarely comes into play. It only applies to a device that is detected, but has no entry in ser2net.conf Given ser2net.conf is pre-populated with 20 devices for ttyUSB# and ttyACM# both, it's unlikely default_baud would ever apply to a device. (default_dbits, default_parity, default_flow, default_sbits - are all available as overrides as well)
  • cloud_pull_only: Primary use case is for Non-rPi where you want to launch the menu and access adapters on remotes (i.e. a laptop). This only applies if cloud-sync is enabled. Will result in pulling data from the cloud, but not updating the cloud with the laptops details (so the laptop would never show up in the menu if accessed from one of the other ConsolePis)
  • compact_mode: This feature is still a bit of a test use, and will only apply if you have multiple remotes (multiple ConsolePis that discover each other via mdns or cloud sync). Remotes are typically broken into groupings by remote ConsolePi, compact_mode: true will result in all remote adapters appearing in the same group.
  • remote_timeout: If remotes have been discovered ConsolePi fetches current adapter details from that remote when the menu is launched to ensure adapter data is current and verify the remote is reachable. The default timeout is 3 seconds, if the request takes longer it's considered unreachable and doesn't show up in the menu. This is normally a good balance. If it's too high verification and menu_load is delayed when remotes are not reachable, however I have seen cases where 3 seconds may be too low. Typically on very old Raspberry Pis with a lot of adapters connected (i.e. had the issue on original Pi B with ~ 20 adapters).

Console Server


Don't overlook consolepi-menu which supports remote ConsolePi discovery and provides a single launch point into any local and remote connections discovered

  • Serial/Console adapters that show up as ttyUSB# devices when plugged in are reachable starting with telnet port 8001 +1 for each subsequent adapter plugged in (8002, 8003...). If you use multiple adapters then it may be a crap shoot which will be assigned to each telnet port (or which root dev (ttyUSB#) they appear as). Hence the next step.

  • Serial/Console adapters that show up as ttyACM# devices start at 9001 +1 for each subsequent device.

Most USB to serial adapters present as ttyUSB, some embeded adapters; i.e. network devices with built in USB consoles typically show up as ttyACM#

  • The install script automates the mapping of specific adapters to specific ports (provided you don't skip the step). The defined predictable adapters start with 7001 +1 for each adapter you define. The reasoning behind this is so you can label the adapters and always know what port you would reach them on. This can also be accomplished after the install via the consolepi-addconsole command or via rename (rn) option in consolepi-menu.

!! It is recomended to use consolepi-addconsole or the rn option in the menu to provide a consistent alias for each adapter/device. If more than one adapter is plugged in, they are assigned the root device names (ttyUSB#/ttyACM#) in the order they are detected by the kernel. The can occasionally change after reboot / or if an adapter is disconnected. Setting the aliases is the only way to ensure predictability.

Note: Some cheap [email protected]# serial console adapters don't define serial #s, which is one of the attributes used to uniquely identify the adapter. The rename function/consolepi-addconsole command now support these adapters, but with caveats explained by the script when such a case is detected.

Note: the 8000/9000 range is always valid even if you are using an adapter specifically mapped to a port in the 7000 range. So if you plug in an adapter (ttyUSB) pre-mapped to port 7005, and it's the only adapter plugged in, it would also be available on port 8001

  • Port monitoring/and control is available on TELNET port 7000. This allows you to change the baud rate of the port on the fly without changing the config permanently. The installer configures all ports to 9600 8N1.
  • Serial Port configuration options can be modified after the install in /etc/ser2net.conf or via the rename option in the menu (just specify the same name, you are offered the option to change serial settings after specifying the new name)

SSH / BlueTooth

The consolepi-menu command can be used to display a menu providing options for any locally connected USB to Serial adapters. In addition to any remotely connected USB to serial adapters connected to other remote ConsolePis discovered (either via mdns or the Cloud Sync function). When connecting to ConsolePi via bluetooth this menu launches automatically.

Note that when using bluetooth the menu is limited to local adapters and remotes found in the local-cache file. Connect via SSH for full remote functionality in the menu.

Serial Adapter connection options (baud, flow-control, data-bits, parity) are extracted from ser2net.conf by consolepi-menu. If there is an issue getting the data it falls back to the default of 9600 8N1 which can be changed in the menu (option c)

Convenience Commands:

There are a few convenience commands created for ConsolePi during the automated install

  • consolepi-menu: Launches ConsolePi Menu, which will have menu items described in the list below.

    • Connection options for locally attached serial adapters
    • Connection options for serial adapters connected to remote ConsolePis (discovered via mdns or cloud-sync as described here)
    • Connection options for any manually defined hosts
    • sub-menu to automate distribution of ssh keys to remote ConsolePis.

      Distributing SSH keys allows you to securely connect to the remote adapter seemlessly without the need to enter a password.

    • Remote Shell sub-menu, providing options to ssh directly to the shell of any discovered remote ConsolePis.
    • Power Control sub-menu if power relays have been defined (as described here)
    • Refresh option: Refresh will detect any new serail adapters directly attahced, as well as connect to Gdrive to sync.
      • If Cloud-Sync is enabled ConsolePi only reaches out to the cloud when the refresh option is used, NOT during initial menu-load.
    • Rename option: rename/define predictable names for a local or remote adapter

      Some menu items only appear if the feature is enabled.

    consolepi-menu also accepts a single argument "sh". Which will launch the original consolepi-menu created in bash. It's been crippled so it only displays local connections, it loads faster because it's local only, and doens't need to import any modules. This is currently the default menu that launches when connecting via bluetooth. If running on an older Raspberry Pi (certainly the original Pi you may notice a difference in load time vs the full menu)

    Bonus Funny Story: I spent a bunch of time improving the adapter data for use in the rename function, had it all ready to merge until I went to test it on my original Pi B+ (256M RAM). 27 seconds... That's how long it took just to detect the locally connected adapters. No noticable difference on my Pi4 used for dev, but this is why I have the old ones around :( ... some time later and a re-write in a dict-comprehension and it was back to normal.

  • consolepi-upgrade: Upgrades ConsolePi: Preferred method to properly update ConsolePi. In general this verifies that all configurations system services etc related to ConsolePi functionality are configured as expected. This means if you've customized any of the related system files the upgrade might revert them. It will back up the original if that occurs, but to facilitate customizations for anything you don't want the upgrade script to validate simply place a file by the same name in the overrides directory (just touch an empty file with the same name i.e. touch /etc/ConsolePi/overrides/dhcpcd.conf) will tell the upgrade script not to validate dhcpcd.conf.

    Reducing potential areas of conflict with other functions you might want running is an ongoing task, and will continue to improve as I find mechanisms to reliably do so. Leverage the overrides dir & worst case the original will be in the bak dir if an overwrite occurs you didn't anticipate. Obviously if the systems primary use is dedicated to ConsolePi, none of this should be an issue.

  • consolepi-sync: Alternative Upgrade: Primarily created to speed testing of remote ConsolePis during development, but can be used to Upgrade. However note that no system changes will occur, so any systemd unit file updates, configuration file updates, symlink changes, etc. won't occur, which could break functionality. It essentially just does a git pull, but has a number of options on top of that. consolepi-sync --help to see the available options.

  • consolepi-config: Launch ConsolePi Configuration file for editing in nano with tabs=2 spaces.

  • consolepi-image: Launch ConsolePi Image Creator.

  • consolepi-ztp: See ZTP Orchestration.

  • consolepi-details: Displays full details of all data ConsolePi collects/generates. With multiple available arguments.

    • consolepi-details : Displays all collected data
    • consolepi-details local : Same as above but without data for remote ConsolePis
    • consolepi-details [<remote consolepi hostname>] : Displays data for the specified remote ConsolePi only (from the local cloud cache)
    • consolepi-details adapters : Displays all data collected for discovered adapters connected directly to ConsolePi (USB to Serial Adapters)
    • consolepi-details interfaces : Displays interface data
    • consolepi-details outlets : Displays power outlet data
    • consolepi-details remotes : Displays data for remote ConsolePis from the local cloud cache
    • consolepi-details remotes del [<remote consolepi hostname>] : remove a remote from local cloud cache

    consolepi-menu will automatically remove any remote from the local cache if it has been found unreachable 3x. Reachability is verified on menu load and during refresh.

    This command currently does not support --help, that will come with the planned migration from these consolepi-... commands to a true cli app.

  • consolepi-logs: By default follows tail on both the consolepi main log file, and portions of syslog related to ConsolePi.

    • consolepi-logs -f Follow tail on the primary consolepi log file only.
    • consolepi-logs -30 | consolepi-logs 30: Display last 30 lines from primary consolepi log file.
    • consolepi-logs -all | consolepi-logs all: Display contents of the consolepi log file.
    • consolepi-logs -install [-f|-##|-all] Same as above but with the install log. The hyphen in the optional flags are optional, f and -f will yield the same results.
  • consolepi-addssids: Automates the creation of additional SSIDs which ConsolePi will attempt to connect to on boot. Supports psk and open SSIDs.

  • consolepi-addconsole: Automates the process of detecting USB to serial adapters so friendly names can be defined for them (used in consolepi-menu) and mapping them to specific TELNET ports. It does this by collecting the data required to create a udev rule. It then creates the udev rule starting with the next available port (if rules already exist).

  • consolepi-showaliases: This is a validation utility/command, It will display all configured aliases (configured via consolepi-addconsole or the rn option in the menu). This utility will show if there are any orphaned aliases.

    An orphaned alias is an alias that only exists in 1 of the 2 files involved (/etc/udev/rules.d/10-ConsolePi.rules and /etc/ser2net.conf)

  • consolepi-autohotspot: This script re-runs the autohotspot script which runs at boot (or periodically via cron although the installer currently doesn't configure that). If the wlan adapter is already connected to an SSID it doesn't do anything. If it's acting as a hotspot or not connected, it will scan for known SSIDs and attempt to connect, then fallback to a hotspot if it's unable to find/connect to a known SSID.

  • consolepi-testhotspot: Toggles (Disables/Enables) the SSIDs ConsolePi is configured to connect to as a client before falling back to hotspot mode. This is done to aid in testing hotspot mode. After toggling the SSIDs run consolepi-autohotspot to trigger a change in state. (specifically it prepends 'DISABLED_' to all configured SSIDs)

  • consolepi-pbtest: Used to test PushBullet this commands simulates an IP address change by calling the script responsible for sending the PB messages and passing in a random IP to force a notification.

  • consolepi-leases: Simply prints the active leases issued to any clients connected to the HotSpot or via Wired DHCP Fallback.

  • consolepi-browse: Runs the mdns browser script which runs as a daemon in the background by default. When ran via this command it will display any ConsolePis discovered on the network along with a summary of the data being advertised by that remote ConsolePi. Primarily good for testing mdns.

  • consolepi-killvpn: gracefully terminates the OpenVPN tunnel if established.

  • consolepi-bton: Make ConsolePi Discoverable via BlueTooth (Default Behavior on boot)

  • consolepi-btoff: Stop advertising via BlueTooth. Previously paired devices will still be able to Pair.

  • consolepi-extras: Launches optional utilities installer

  • consolepi-version: Displays ConsolePi version (which is in the format YYYY-MajorRel.MinorRel)

  • consolepi-help: Shows this output