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Oct 4, 2017

A DIY IPMI / IP KVM system utilizing the Raspberry Pi

A web-accessable IPMI / IP KVM system that provides full keyboard control, monitor view, and and the ability to reboot computers with standard motherboards remotely as if you were sitting in front of them with a keyboard and monitor.



A full wishlist totaling under $120 at the time of this writing can be found at

Before assembling

On the Pi3, flash As of this writing you may use the latest Stretch version, however this was the version used successfully.

On the Pi0, flash You must use this version for this to work. There aren't really security implications since the Pi0 can only be accessed from a serial session on the Pi3.

Before putting the SD into the Pi0, add this to the end of /boot/config.txt:


Before putting the SD into the Pi3, create a blank file called SSH on the boot drive to enable SSH.

Also, if you will be connecting via Wifi, create a file in boot called wpa_supplicant.conf that uses unix based line feeds. To ensure that is the case, use Notepad++ or another editor that allows you to change line feed types (bottom right), or copy the config.txt file and rename it. Include the following:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


Setting up the hardware

Here is a diagram of how you connect all of the pieces:


View the high resolution version

The detailed process is to:

Quick Install

The quick method of installation is to simply run the install script on the Pi3 as the pi user:

chmod +x

Everything will be done on the Pi3 and Pi0 automatically with the video input defaulting to s-video.

If you would like to manage multiple servers with one IPMI system, please see the Managing multiple servers section below.

Be sure to check the bottom of this README for Tips and Troubleshooting!

The long way

If you would like to do things step by step to understand how things work, the following instructions can be used.

Setting up the Pi 3

First, let's get all the software we need:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install libav-tools screen lighttpd php php-cgi git
cd /opt
sudo git clone
sudo chown pi diy-ipmi -R
chmod +x /opt/diy-ipmi/Pi3/*.py
chmod +x /opt/diy-ipmi/Pi3/*.sh

To test the ability to reboot the computer via the relay board, run:


Test this script to see if it resets the computer. If you are interested, look in the python script to see the numbers associated with which of the 8 relays you could use for multiple computers.

Next, set up the HTTP server.

read -s -p "Password for web IPMI console (user 'ipmi'): " IPMIPASS
echo ""
echo "ipmi:${IPMIPASS}" | sudo tee --append /var/www/ipmipasswd

sudo lighty-enable-mod fastcgi-php
echo '' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sudo adduser www-data gpio
echo 'server.modules += ( "mod_auth" )' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo 'auth.debug = 2' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo 'auth.backend = "plain"' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo 'auth.backend.plain.userfile = "/var/www/ipmipasswd"' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo 'auth.require = ( "/" =>' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo '        (' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo '                "method" => "basic",' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo '                "realm" => "Password protected area",' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo '                "require" => "user=ipmi"' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo '        )' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
echo ')' | sudo tee --append /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

cd /var/www/
sudo mv /var/www/html /var/www/html.orig
sudo ln -s /opt/diy-ipmi/Pi3/html /var/www/html

echo '[Server 1]' | sudo tee --append /etc/ipmi.conf
echo 'TTY=/dev/ttyUSB0' | sudo tee --append /etc/ipmi.conf
echo 'VID=/dev/video0' | sudo tee --append /etc/ipmi.conf
echo 'INP=1' | sudo tee --append /etc/ipmi.conf
echo 'PIN=2' | sudo tee --append /etc/ipmi.conf

sudo service lighttpd force-reload
sudo systemctl restart lighttpd
sudo systemctl enable lighttpd

Lastly, get everything running right by completing some tasks and updating /etc/rc.local to ensure they happen at boot:

sudo chmod a+rw /dev/video0
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/ramdisk
sudo mount -t tmpfs -o size=3m tmps /mnt/ramdisk
sudo chown www-data /mnt/ramdisk
sudo v4l2-ctl -d /dev/video0 --set-input=1
sudo chmod a+rw /dev/ttyUSB0

sudo sed -i 's/exit 0//g' /etc/rc.local
echo "chmod a+rw /dev/video0" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local
echo "mkdir -p /mnt/ramdisk" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local
echo "mount -t tmpfs -o size=3m tmps /mnt/ramdisk" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local
echo "chown www-data /mnt/ramdisk" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local
echo "v4l2-ctl -d /dev/video0 --set-input=1" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local
echo "chmod a+rw /dev/ttyUSB0" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local
echo "exit 0" | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local

Setting up the Pi 0

Make sure you can access the Pi0 from the Pi3 by running:

screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

Press enter until you see a login prompt. Do not login. Instead, exit the session by hitting Control-A then typing :quit and pressing enter.

On the Pi3, run:


echo "sudo systemctl enable serial-getty@ttyAMA0.service" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "sudo cp /lib/systemd/system/serial-getty@.service /etc/systemd/system/serial-getty@ttyAMA0.service" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "sudo sed -i 's/agetty --keep-baud 115200/agetty -a pi --keep-baud 115200/g' /etc/systemd/system/serial-getty@ttyAMA0.service" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "sudo systemctl daemon-reload" >> /dev/ttyUSB0

echo "sudo systemctl disable networking" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "sudo apt-get -y remove dhcpcd5 isc-dhcp-client isc-dhcp-common" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
sleep 60

echo "rm -f /tmp/B64" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
for LINE in $(base64 /opt/diy-ipmi/Pi0/; do echo "echo $LINE >> /tmp/B64" >> /dev/ttyUSB0; done
echo "base64 -d /tmp/B64 > /home/pi/" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "chmod +x /home/pi/" >> /dev/ttyUSB0

echo "rm -f /tmp/B64" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
for LINE in $(base64 /opt/diy-ipmi/Pi0/sendkeys.c); do echo "echo $LINE >> /tmp/B64" >> /dev/ttyUSB0; done
echo "base64 -d /tmp/B64 > /home/pi/sendkeys.c" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "gcc -o /home/pi/sendkeys /home/pi/sendkeys.c" >> /dev/ttyUSB0

sudo apt-get -y install libusb-dev
cd /opt/diy-ipmi/Pi0/
gcc -o hub-ctrl hub-ctrl.c -lusb
for LINE in $(base64 hub-ctrl); do echo "echo $LINE >> /tmp/B64" >> /dev/ttyUSB0; done
echo "base64 -d /tmp/B64 > /home/pi/hub-ctrl" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "chmod +x /home/pi/hub-ctrl" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
cd -

echo "sudo /home/pi/" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "sudo sed -i 's/exit 0//g' /etc/rc.local" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "echo /home/pi/ | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local" >> /dev/ttyUSB0
echo "echo exit 0 | sudo tee --append /etc/rc.local" >> /dev/ttyUSB0

Access the IPMI

You should now be able to access the IPMI console at http://<RaspberryPi3IP>/. From here you can set up SSL and port forwarding to the device as your situation requires.

Managing multiple servers

Multiple servers can be managed by using multile USB capture devices (one per server), multiple USB-to-Serial adapters each with their own Pi0 (one per server), and using one of the 8 relays on the relay board as the reset button. Once installed, edit /etc/ipmi.conf. The format should be:

[My first server]

[My second server]
  • When hooking up multiple TV tuners and USB-to-Serial devices to Pi0s, it is recommended to use a powered USB hub.
  • The INP field is 1 for s-video or 0 for composite. You can actually use one capture device for two servers by using both inputs.
  • The PIN value is the pin on the relay board. The valid values are 2, 3, 4, 17, 27, 22, 10, 9.


If you're using this on a Linux headless machine that's not running X11, it's easier to read the console if things are nice and big. Disabling the video driver is an easy way to accomplish this as it will just default to a generic NTSC or PAL signal. For instance, with an nVidia card, you could follow these directoins:

To enable SSL, you need a combined PEM file which can be created by:

cat myserver.key mycert.crt > mypem.pem

Then add this into the /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf file (editing as required):

$SERVER["socket"] == ":443" {
	ssl.engine = "enable"
	ssl.pemfile = "/opt/certs/mypem.pem" = ""
	server.document-root = "/var/www/html"
	ssl.use-sslv2 = "disable"
	ssl.use-sslv3 = "disable"
	ssl.use-compression = "disable"
	ssl.honor-cipher-order = "enable"
	server.errorlog = "/var/log/lighttpd/serror.log"
	accesslog.filename = "/var/log/lighttpd/saccess.log"


If you're not getting video, here are some troubleshooting methods:

First make sure the INP field in /etc/ipmi.conf is set to the right input. Input 0 is usually Composite, and Input 1 is usually S-Video.

Connect a source and test to see if it's working.

apt-get install mencoder
mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:norm=NTSC:device=/dev/video0:input=1:fps=5 -nosound -ovc copy -o test.avi
v4l2-ctl -d /dev/video0 --set-input=1
avconv -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0 -vframes 1 -s 720x480 test.jpg

Control-C that, and sftp the files to a host for viewing and playback:

sftp test.avi root@hostname:/folder/test.avi
sftp test.avi root@hostname:/folder/test.jpg

You can test keyboard control from the Pi0 with commands like:

/home/pi/sendkeys /dev/hidg0 keyboard

You will need to type things like "a" and press ENTER to send the "a." Other ways to send keys include things like:

echo 'a' | /home/pi/sendkeys /dev/hidg0 keyboard
echo 'return' | /home/pi/sendkeys /dev/hidg0 keyboard
echo 'shift a' | /home/pi/sendkeys /dev/hidg0 keyboard
echo 'left-meta space' | /home/pi/sendkeys /dev/hidg0 keyboard

To reset the keyboard controller run this on the Pi3:


If you get wierd USB errors, make sure your power brick is strong enough and that you're not trying to power the HDMI to S-Video converter via the Pi3.