In this part of the Meshtastic with Raspberry Pi (Serial) series, we will be installing Meshtastic to the LilyGo T-Beam devices. We will then create a Meshtastic Channel on one LilyGo T-Beam and replicate the channel to the other LilyGo T-Beam. We will then wire the Raspberry Pi and LilyGo T-Beam devices.
Install Meshtastic Firmware on the LilyGo T-Beam devices
Visit the Meshtastic Web Installer at https://flasher.meshtastic.org/. Select the following options:
- Device: Tbeam
- Firmware Version: Select the latest version.
NOTE: May want to install latest beta version if you want the most stable version available.
- Update or reinstall: Either option is fine. A reinstall may wipe out any settings that you have configured on the device but may be the best option for the first installation.
Click the “CONNECT” button
Select the serial port that the T-Beam is connected to. If you are uncertain, you may open the Windows Device Manager and look at Ports (COM & LPT), then look for “USB-Enhanced-SERIAL CH9102” or similar device to find the serial port.
Click “INSTALL TBEAM”
You will see the progress as it installs the firmware.
When the installation is complete, click “NEXT”
You may then click the X in the device dashboard to close the dashboard.
Repeat the steps for the other T-Beam, then close the browser.
Configure T-Beam and Create Channel
Using a mobile phone, tablet, or PC, open the Meshtastic App or Web Client. The following examples will show the Web Client and Android App.
- Android – Google Play Store
- iOS & Mac PC – Apple App Store
- Linux – Instructions
- Web client for nearly any device – Options
Web Browser on a PC
It is best to use the Android application to configure the T-Beam device. The instructions provided here for the Web Browser are incomplete as I could not determine how to set some of the options that I know are available in the Android Application. These instructions are provided to demonstrate how to access the configuration from the web browser.
With the LilyGo T-Beam connected to the PC, open a browser and navigate to https://client.meshtastic.org/. Click the “New Connection” button.
The “Connect New Device” dialog is shown. Click the “New device” button.
Select the T-Beam device from the list of devices and click the “Connect” button.
Click the device from the device list.
The selected device will turn gray to show that it is selected. Click the X in the top right corner of the “Connect New Device” dialog to close the dialog box.
If the Meshtastic application is not already installed, go to the Play Store and search for an install the Meshtastic App.
Open the Meshtastic Application and click the gear icon in the top toolbar on the right, then click the “+” in the lower right corner to add a new Meshtastic device.
On the T-Beam device, look for the device name on the LCD screen.
In the Meshtastic App, select the device name that matches the name on the T-Beam LCD Screen, in the list of available devices.
The T-Beam device will display a Bluetooth pin on the LCD Screen.
Enter the Pin in the Bluetooth pairing request screen and click “OK”.
Next, we need to set the region by clicking on the region dropdown.
NOTE: Make certain that the correct device is selected.
Select your region from the list. My region is “US”, so that is what I selected.
The selected region will be displayed in the application and the T-Beam device will reboot.
Once the device reboots, you may enter a name if you like. Do not move off this screen right away or the name may not stick. You may find that you need to reenter the name a few times before it is saved.
Click on the hamburger menu in the upper right corner and select “Radio configuration”.
Click on “Serial” from the “Radio configuration” menu.
Enter the settings for the Serial Port, then click the “Send” button.
- Serial enabled: Turn on
- RX: Pin 13
- TX: Pin 14
- Serial baud rate: Selected 38400 baud but may select different rate. Make certain this matches when writing code on the Raspberry Pi.
- Serial mode: TEXTMSG
If you want a private channel, setup the channel on one device, then scan the QR Code on the other devices in the Mesh. I will not go over setting up a channel. For more information on setting up a channel, go to Meshtastic’s Channel Configuration page.
Wire Everything Up
The connection between the Raspberry Pi and the T-Beam device only requires three wires. A wire for the ground and two for the serial connection. The serial connection will cross the transmit (TX) and receive (RX) wires so that the TX from the Raspberry Pi is connected to the T-Beam RX and the Raspberry Pi RX will connect to the T-Beam TX. Below is a diagram showing these connections.