PiKVM is a feature-rich, production-grade, open-source, Raspberry Pi-based KVM over IP device. It will help you to manage servers or workstations remotely, whatever the state of the operating system or whether one is installed.
PiKVM allows you to turn on/off or restart your computer, configure the UEFI/BIOS, and even reinstall the OS using the Virtual CD-ROM or Flash Drive. You can use your remote keyboard and mouse or PiKVM can simulate a keyboard, mouse, and a monitor, which are then presented in a web browser as if you were working on a remote system directly. It’s true hardware-level access with no dependency on any remote ports, protocols or services!
The PiKVM v3 HAT is designed to work with the Raspberry Pi 4 and provides the following features:
- HDMI Full HD capture based on the TC358743 chip (extra low latency ~100ms and many features like compression control).
- OTG Keyboard & mouse; Mass Storage Drive emulation.
- Ability to simulate "removal and insertion" for USB.
- Onboard ATX power control.
- Onboard fan controller.
- A real-time clock.
- RJ-45 and USB serial console port (to manage PiKVM OS or to connect with the server).
- Optional AVR-based HID (for some rare and strange motherboards whose BIOS doesn't understand the OTG emulated keyboard).
- Optional OLED screen to display network status or other desired information.
- No need for soldering or breadboarding. It's a ready-made, reliable board which you can use yourself or provide to your clients.
- Continued use of PiKVM OS - all the software will be fully open.
Fully-featured and modern IP-KVM
- Easy to build: a ready-to-use OS images and friendly build environment. The hardware can be made in half an hour and without soldering.
- Very low video latency: ~100 milliseconds of video latency. This is the smallest delay of all existing solutions.
- Extra lightweight Web UI and VNC: No weird proprietary clients. No ugly applets. Just use your favorite browser to connect to the PiKVM. No flash plugins either! Ah, and VNC is also supported.
- Keyboard & mouse: Mouse usage works directly in the browser. The keyboard emulator supports displaying the state of the keyboard LEDs.
- Mass Storage Drive: On the Raspberry Pi 4 and ZeroW, PiKVM can emulate a virtual CD-ROM or Flash Drive. A live image can be uploaded to boot the attached server.
- ATX power management: With a very simple circuit that can be assembled on a breadboard, the power button of the attached server can be controlled using the ATX button headers on the motherboard.
- Security: PiKVM can be opened to the Internet and no one will get access without the authorization. SSL is used to protect traffic from being intercepted by third parties.
- Local monitoring: PiKVM monitors the health of the Raspberry Pi board and will warn you if it's too hot or is not receiving enough power.
- GPIO management: You can control GPIO and USB relays via the web interface. The extensible interface allows you to make anything out of it.
Linux-based embedded OS
The PiKVM OS is based on Arch Linux ARM and can be customized for any needs. Thousands of pre-built binary packages are at your service and can be updated with a single command!
By default, the OS runs in read-only mode, as an embedded system should. This prevents damage to the memory card due to a sudden power outage.
The managed server and its BIOS can be accessed using a regular VNC client which supports JPEG compression.
IPMI BMC/SoL and Redfish
Use ipmitool, ipmiutil or any existing network infrastructure that supports IPMI to manage the server's power and access to serial port via LAN. Redfish and redfishtool supported too.
PiKVM can be configured to power up a managed server using WoL. This will be available in the Web menu.
Extensible authorization methods
Multiple PiKVMs can be configured to use a common authorization service. PAM and its rich authorization mechanisms can also be used to integrate PiKVM into your existing authentication infrastructure.
If repetitive actions must be performed on the attached server (or on several different servers), a macro can be recorded with keyboard & mouse actions and can be played back multiple times.
Open & free
PiKVM is Free and Open Source Software released under the GPLv3.
Community & support
PiKVM has a large community. Join the Discord chat if you have any questions.
PiKVM was designed as a set of microservices with a plug-in architecture. It's very easy to modify and maintain.
Everything that can be done via the user interface can also be done via a powerful HTTP API.
We created our very own MJPG video server written in C with multi-threading support and GPU video encoding - the fastest streaming solution available to provide the best video quality for PiKVM. We also tested a lot of hardware configurations so that you can be sure devices you assemble will work reliably.
- The PiKVM v3 HAT for Raspberry Pi 4
- USB-C bridge board
- ATX adapter board
- Flat CSI-2 cable
- 7x colourful jumpers
- 4x brass standoffs
- 8x screws
- Wires for connecting the ATX interface to the motherboard
To use PiKVM v3, you will need the following things, which are NOT included in the kit:
- Raspberry Pi 4 (any amount of RAM)
- 5.1v 3A power supply with USB-C
- A quality HDMI cable
- USB-C to USB-A cable with DATA lines (for keyboard and mouse emulation)
- Straight Ethernet cable (NOT crossover, to connect the HAT board and ATX board)
- Micro-SD card (at least 16 Gb and class 10 is strongly recommended)
- The actual frame rate of the image received via HDMI will depend on the network bandwidth, resolution and the load on the Raspberry Pi. This is usually ~20-24 FPS for 1080p over LAN.
- AIMOS switches are not fully compatible with the video capture device (as with regular HDMI CSI bridge).
- There may be compatibility issues with some motherboards (such as HP or DELL) which are the same as those that exist with PiKVM v2. Not everything is perfect, but if you have already used PiKVM v2 - our new v3 will work perfectly and please you. If there is no image from the BIOS, you can fine-tune the HDMI settings, but it is possible that the USB keyboard or Mass Storage devices will not be available in the BIOS.
Upcoming Software Features
- The audio capture device via HDMI works, but is not currently supported by PiKVM software.
- The fan controller operates at a constant speed, but will learn to adjust the speed smoothly in the future.
- Currently, MJPEG is used for video transmission, but you will soon get H.264 support.
- All of these features will be available in one of the future free updates of the operating system.
Video (Early Prototype)
This is a review of an early prototype. Specifications, kit contents and prices may differ from the product currently available, but it will give you a good idea of how the product works.
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