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First steps

First power on

Optional setting up Wi-Fi

Warning

There is nothing more reliable than wired Ethernet, so it's better to use the cable. But who are we to stop you... :)

If you want to connect PiKVM to Wi-Fi network, you need to tell the device ESSID and password before first boot. To do this, mount the first partition of the memory card (FAT32) and edit the pikvm.txt file there. Do not remove line FIRSTBOOT=1 or FIRST_BOOT-1, just add your wifi settings like this:

FIRSTBOOT=1
WIFI_ESSID="mynet"
WIFI_PASSWD="p@s$$w0rd"

There is a possibility that, in countries that support CH13, the device will not connect. You will need to configure your router to disable channels 12-14 or disable Auto scan mode so it will connect.

Save, unmount and follow the next step.

Warning

pikvm.txt will be removed once its been used. You will need to recreate it again if you did not provide the correct info

Power up the device.

Do not turn off the device until it's fully booted for the first time

After turning on the power, PiKVM OS will generate unique SSH keys and certificates and will perform the necessary operations on the memory card.

Getting access to PiKVM

By default, PiKVM receives a dynamic IP address via DHCP.

Finding PiKVM in the network

To determine the IP address of your PiKVM, use one of the following methods:

  • Common way: Open the web interface of your router and find the list of issued IP addresses there. It depends on the router model.
  • Linux-only: Use command arp-scan --localnet.
  • Linux, MacOS, Windows: Download and run Angry IP Scanner.
  • Windows PowerShell: Use command arp -a.

In order to find your RaspberryPi using the arp commands, you need to look for the following MAC Address's: B827EB, DCA632 or E45F01

For future examples, let's assume that your PiKVM has received the address 192.168.0.100, which you have successfully detected using the instructions above. Then your device was assigned a hostname: pikvm.

Access to PiKVM Web Interface

In most networks you should be able to reach PiKVM via any browser with the URL https://192.168.0.100/ or https://pikvm/. Google Chrome (Chromium), Firefox and Safari work best. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are not supported.

The default user is admin and the password is also admin. After logging in, you will get access to the menu with the main functions. Using the Web terminal, you can change system settings and passwords.

The latest versions of Chrome on Mac OS do not allow access to the page with a self signed certificate, which is used in PiKVM by default. You can proceed by typing thisisunsafe and Chrome will then load the page.

Access to PiKVM via SSH

SSH is the most common remote access method in the Linux world. PiKVM is accessible via SSH. This method is used to manage the device:

  • Linux, MacOS: Open any terminal application and run: ssh root@192.168.0.100 or ssh root@pikvm.
  • Windows: Use PuTTY for this.

The default root password is root.

✮ ✮ ✮ CHANGE THE PASSWORDS! ✮ ✮ ✮

PiKVM comes with the following default passwords:

  • Linux admin (SSH, etc.): user root, password root.
  • PiKVM Web Interface: user admin, password admin.

These are two separate entities with independent accounts. To change passwords, you will need to use the terminal (read below) access via SSH or Web Terminal. If you are using the Web Terminal, use the su - command to get root access (enter the root user password).

# rw
# passwd root
# kvmd-htpasswd set admin
# ro

Configuring PiKVM

Most of the PiKVM settings are done through configuration files. All configuration changes must be made from under the root user (that is, the administrator).

Obtaining root access

  • If you have logged in via SSH, then most likely you are already root.
  • To get root in the Web Terminal, use command su - and enter the root password.

The PiKVM memory card is mounted in read-only mode. It protects the filesystem from damage in case of sudden power outage. To edit any files and make changes, it is necessary to remount the file system to the read-write mode.

Enabling write mode

  • To enable write-mode, run command rw (under root).
  • To disable it, run command ro.
  • If you receive the message "Device is busy", perform reboot.

In this handbook, you will often find instructions for editing configuration files. The simplest and most beginner-friendly text editor is nano, but you can also use vim.

Editing files in the Web Terminal
$ su -
# rw
# nano /etc/kvmd/override.yaml
# ro

Structure of configuration files

Most of the PiKVM configuration files are located in the /etc/kvmd directory.

The /etc/kvmd/main.yaml file defines the platform config and you should never edit it. To redefine system parameters use the file /etc/kvmd/override.yaml. All other files that are also not recommended for editing have read-only permissions.

In the /etc/kvmd/meta.yaml file you can specify some information regarding the host that this PiKVM manages.

Tip

A complete list of all parameters can be viewed using the kvmd -m command.

Files with the suffix *.yaml uses the YAML syntax and describes a parameter tree with key-value pairs of different types. To define the parameters within one section, an indent of 4 spaces is used. Comments starts with the # symbol.

Only 4 spaces should be used for indentation

Be careful when editing YAML and follow this rule. Invalid indentation or tabs instead of spaces will cause an error when starting the services.

Sections under the same keys should be merged
  • Wrong:

    kvmd:
        gpio:
            drivers: ...
    kvmd:
        gpio:
            scheme: ...
    
  • Correct:

    kvmd:
        gpio:
            drivers: ...
            scheme: ...
    

What's next?

  • Set up Internet access using port forwarding or Tailscale VPN.
  • Explore PiKVM features using the table of contents on the left.
  • Join our Discord to contact the community and developers.
  • Check out the GitHub - PiKVM is a fully Open Source project!

FAQ and Troubleshooting

If you have any questions or run into problems, take a look at the FAQ. Seriously, it's really useful! We've probably already found a solution for it :)

For any other help and support, you can contact us via the Discord chat.

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