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32 servers and 1 TinyPilot

By @alex123
    2021-07-03 13:19:56.330Z

    Hello,
    Can 32 servers be connected to 1 TinyPilot? For example via 4 https://www.amazon.com/MT-VIKI-Switch-Switcher-Desktop-Control/dp/B08K9235LJ/

    Solved in post #2, click to view
    • 10 replies

    There are 10 replies. Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

    1. Thanks for reaching out!

      I don't think 32 would be possible. Users have found TinyPilot-compatible KVM switches that work for up to 8 severs, however:

      https://github.com/tiny-pilot/tinypilot/wiki/KVM-compatibility

      Reply1 LikeSolution
      1. Ddragon788 @dragon788
          2021-10-12 16:35:46.633Z

          The TESmart KVMs come in up to 16x port sizes, so with two of those and maybe using a cheap/simple 2 port HDMI KVM switch with an IR remote or serial connection you could view 32 nodes from one TinyPilot and switch the keyboard/mouse between the larger KVMs using the simple one. I've actually been meaning to test whether an HDMI switcher (no keyboard/mouse) daisy chained from an HDMI KVM would allow me to "monitor" certain devices by using an HDMI splitter to let the device display to a TV and the switcher, and since I don't need to send keystrokes to those devices not having the TinyPilot plugged into that switcher would be fine.

          1. Oh, that's a good point. I didn't realize that TESMart KVMs went up to x16, but I found the one you're talking about:

            https://buytesmart.com/products/tesmart-16x1-hdmi-kvm-switch-16-port-enterprise-grade-support-4k-60hz-ultra-hd-console-rack-mount

            1. Jess Jones @JessicaLee
                2021-11-30 23:13:20.571Z

                I'm currently mucking about with a similar TESmart KVM (though it only supports 4K@30Hz -- I don't care because I'm managing a bunch of console devices anyways 😛)... I've got it mostly working, though keyboard hotkeys don't work because you have to have the TinyPilot USB connected to the "hub" ports of the KVM and it doesn't register hotkeys there. However now I'm running into a weird video issue... I suspect the other RPi (might be a 2B or 3B?) I have on the KVM may be the culprit, as video seems to work fine until I switch to the Pi, but once I switch to the Pi the display gets mangled and remains mangled until I unplug/replug the HDMI cable to the TinyPilot. While I'm switched to the Pi, the display blinks randomly between the two screens shown and "No Signal", while other mangled inputs don't blink (but remain mangled).

                Here's another input device before switching to the Pi...

                Here's one of the Pi's mangled blinks...

                Another mangled blink...

                And what the previous input looks like after switching back to it from the Pi...

                1. Ddragon788 @dragon788
                    2021-11-30 23:40:33.241Z

                    I ran into some weird issues with the Asus Chrome bits when I had them plugged in as managed devices if they went to their screensaver mode they wouldn't properly wake up even trying all the possible keystroke macros on the tiny pilot, but unplugging and replugging the USB from the KVM to the device would wake it up.

                    They didn't have quite this bad of graphical issues but they would fake out the KVM into thinking nothing was attached.

                    1. Jess Jones @JessicaLee
                        2021-12-01 13:12:17.676Z

                        My KVM itself doesn't seem to have a problem -- with a monitor directly connected, I can switch freely between inputs (including the Pi) and everything displays just fine.

                        Evidently the TinyPilot doesn't like mode 16? (1920x1080 @ 60Hz) which evidently the KVM advertised as compatible while the Pi wasn't the active input (but is no longer listed in tvservice -s when the Pi is the active input and being piped to the TinyPilot). Forcing the Pi to group 1/mode 4 (1280x720 @ 60Hz) seems to play nice, and since it's all text mode anyways that's perfectly fine with me.

                        Mode 34 (1920x1080 @ 30Hz) works too, for anyone else who might be trying to run another Pi through TinyPilot and actually want the higher rez, but 1280x720 doesn't eat my entire screen on my local computer so I can actually see the onscreen keyboard 😆

                        1. Jess Jones @JessicaLee
                            2021-12-01 13:29:52.861Z

                            Of note to the OP @alex123 , you can control the TESmart units via IP, so if you can connect them to your network, you could possibly stack them with two 16 port KVM switches plugged into an 8 port KVM switch. I haven't tried these stacked (and don't have a justification for the cost of buying more to test it) but it might work? 😅

                            Use the Windows-based (ew, but at least it runs under wine -- tested with q4wine) configuration utility to configure their IPs appropriately for your network and then you could whip up a crude web management page that controls them more cleanly -- I wrote something in PHP that can successfully manage my 16-port switch. You could translate the UI into something cleaner where clicking one button sends the relevant commands to both switches (e.g. 32 numbered -- or even named -- buttons that send a command to the "front" switch to use port 1 or 2 appropriately, and another command to the relevant "rear" switch to select the appropriate port).

                            If stacking these does work, the bonus is you'd have six open ports on your "front" KVM for extra devices, and in theory could attach six more 16-port switches to manage up to 128 devices (or to be really insane, use a 16-port switch in the front too and manage 256 devices!)

                            You could always buy two 16-port switches and temporarily stack them to see if it works. If it does, get the 8-port one and go at it; if it doesn't, you could get a second TinyPilot and have each 16-port switch on its own TP (so you'd have to browse to TP1 for ports 1-16, and TP2 for ports 17-32).

                            1. Ddragon788 @dragon788
                                2023-07-22 16:45:06.484Z

                                You don't actually need the Windows software to set these up if you live in Linux or macOS only. There are several Bash and Python scripts that can send the appropriate configuration options to the KVM via the network or serial, via the network it is just using netcat to send some hex values in a specific sequence to make the changes or switch ports etc.

                  • D
                    In reply toalex123:
                    dragon788 @dragon788
                      2021-10-12 16:40:04.192Z

                      Those devices don't support stacking, so you would need ANOTHER 4 port KVM to switch between the 4x 8 port KVMs.

                      A quicker option (though with much crappier video) if you are managing actual "servers" where you don't need high fidelity, is to plug the TinyPilot into a refurbished "enterprise" IP KVM and use the TinyPilot as the "local console" option (instead of plugging in a keyboard/mouse/monitor to the KVM), and with the advantage of being able to avoid putting the IP KVM on your network (though some support HTML5, you'll find that is rare), since often they have old unsupported SSL/TLS versions and deprecated SSH protocols that aren't really safe to expose to the internet.

                      1. Ddragon788 @dragon788
                          2021-10-12 17:45:32.217Z

                          It appears a crazy person (genius? it is a fine line...) has set up a chaining solution for a different software, but this really seems like a painful way to manage many devices.

                          https://github.com/semool/kvmd/commit/d950c1c771ad30d5f2adea62a1d7eb6082f1da69