Introduction: Raspberry Remote Control With Telegram

Picture of Raspberry Remote Control With Telegram

Telegram is a very versatile instant messaging software that can be used with the same phone number on different devices simultaneously.
In this tutorial we saw how to install it, and we tried to send text and media messages.
We have also seen that it is possible to set the Raspberry to send messages automatically.
In this tutorial we will ask Raspberry to take a specific action as a function of the received message, for example, we could send a text message with the word "photo" and Raspberry will sends us a photo of the apartment, or "lamp" to turn a lamp, or "open" to open the garage door.
Well, let's start

You need:

a Raspberry Pi B or B+, with the latest version of Raspbian, or our MIcroSD Card 8GB Class 10 Raspbian preinstalled.

Step 1: Installation

Picture of Installation


Read this tutorial, we use this configuration as start point.

To intercept a new incoming message we create a file action.lua

"Lua is a powerful, fast, lightweight, embeddable scripting language.

Lua combines simple procedural syntax with powerful data description constructs based on associative arrays and extensible semantics. Lua is dynamically typed, runs by interpreting bytecode for a register-based virtual machine, and has automatic memory management with incremental garbage collection, making it ideal for configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping." From

sudo nano /home/pi/tg/action.lua

with this content

function on_msg_receive (msg)
      if msg.out then
      if (msg.text=='ping') then
         send_msg (msg.from.print_name, 'pong', ok_cb, false)
  function on_our_id (id)
  function on_secret_chat_created (peer)
  function on_user_update (user)
  function on_chat_update (user)
  function on_get_difference_end ()
  function on_binlog_replay_end ()

Save and exit, when incoming text message is "ping", Telegram answers us with a text message containing "pong".

move in tg

cd /home/pi/tg

then type

bin/telegram-cli -k -W -s action.lua

Try to send a message, if all goes well, Telegram answers only on "ping" and not "PING", we should see something like this

Raspberry Telegram onreceive


Raspberry Telegram onreceive

Ok, let's do something more interesting.

Install the Raspberry Camera, see this tutorial, then create a new folder where we will save the captured photos.

sudo mkdir /home/pi/camera

create a new file

sudo nano /home/pi/camera/

with this content

  raspistill -w 800 -h 600 -o /home/pi/camera/photo.jpg 

save and exit, give it execution permissions

sudo chmod -R 0655 /home/pi/camera/

Edit action.lua

sudo nano /home/pi/tg/action.lua

add this lines in function on_msg_receive

if (msg.text=='photo') then
     send_photo (msg.from.print_name, '/home/pi/camera/photo.jpg', ok_cb, false)

Raspberry Telegram action.lua

Step 2: Test

Picture of Test

Test it

bin/telegram-cli -k -W -s action.lua

Now if you send a text message with "photo", Raspberry answer with a photo

Raspberry telegram send photo

Raspberry photo with Telegram

To enter additional commands simply change the file action.lua inserting a new if block , for example, we could activate a relay or ask the status of a sensor.

In the next tutorials will achieve some other example of use.

Follow us on social to stay informed.


MahdiA32 (author)2017-12-14

for beter compiling telegram cli, In file tgl/mtproto-utils.c,replace in lines 110:

assert (0);

and replace in lines 101 and 115:

assert (0); // As long as nobody ever uses this code, assume it is broken.
//assert (0); // As long as nobody ever uses this code, assume it is broken.
and run make again.

(or delete the lines) and run make again.

saputroyulianto (author)2015-10-21

how if i want to run "bin/telegram-cli -k -W -s action.lua" automatically at boot ?

MahdiA32 (author)saputroyulianto2017-12-14

put this line at the end of this file "/etc/rc.local"

C_K_P (author)2016-05-04

Hi I get this error when I try to take a still photo with the photo command

User Abcd online (was online [2016/05/04 14:08:45])

mmal: main: Error opening output file: /home/pi/camera/photo.jpg~

No output file will be generated

[14:03] Abcd >>> photo

*** 1458323157.993260 lua: attempt to call a nil value

MahdiA32 (author)C_K_P2017-12-14

are you sure your camera is enable?

if you are on raspbian:


you should enable your camera by typing this command:

sudo raspi-config

Interfacing Options>enable camera


else, type this command:


sudo apt-get install raspi-config
sudo raspi-config

Interfacing Options>enable camera


finaly reboot your py.

mahdi ahmadvand

WalterG30 (author)C_K_P2016-05-16

I've same issue. You fix it?

PandiyanK (author)2017-06-22


i have running the telegram bot in putty using raspberry.if turn off putty my telegram bot not working on raspberry. i need to run telegram bot 24/7 . what i need to do further to run telegram bot automatically in background using raspberry.

kindly help me.



sidnet03 (author)2016-10-30

If i change the lua script, it doesnt take effect - i have to reboot the system and then the change is effective. Why? how can i make script changes take effect without rebooting?

mcchots (author)2016-07-08

Thanks for this guide. Works well for me.

tulo69 (author)2016-03-25

Just published a "Telegram Device/server monitor/commander" on github.

Feel free to use it and extend it:

BorjaR1 (author)2016-03-21

i need help

telegram-cli: tgl/structures.c:1973: tglm_message_insert_tree: Assertion `M->id' failed.

SIGNAL received

how i can fix this ?It works, but after a few minutes it appears and exits

BorjaR1 (author)2016-03-21

i need help

telegram-cli: tgl/structures.c:1973: tglm_message_insert_tree: Assertion `M->id' failed.

SIGNAL received

how i can fix this ?It works, but after a few minutes it appears and exits

BorjaR1 (author)2016-03-21

i need help

telegram-cli: tgl/structures.c:1973: tglm_message_insert_tree: Assertion `M->id' failed.

SIGNAL received

how i can fix this ?It works, but after a few minutes it appears and exits

Miguel AngelR12 (author)2016-03-15

Good morning I have a question . Where I could find information on the send_message function , the question is I want to print a string instead of a message and can not find the way . Thanks and best regards

1111111111 (author)2016-02-07

hi. I have a android project and i want to connect to tgcli and by this way send photo to telegram. how can i do this?

alessio.demitri.3 (author)2015-03-17

Hi, great Instructable!

I made it but..telegram logs in automatically with the first number I signed in and now I would like to change the number.

Is there any way to logout? In the help there are no instructions on this..

I've tried to delate and reinstall everything but keeps on loggin in automatically with the old number..

If you would like to start afresh with telegram-cli you can delete the folder located at /home/[username]/.telegram-cli. This folder is not visible in the file listings, it can be deleted with the command: rm -rf .telegram-cli be sure to navigate to the containing folder before running the command. After deleting the folder the cli should ask for the number when run. If the cli does not ask for the number, you may execute the following command: bin/telegram-cli -q -k as you would normally, but with the -q flag set.

Hope it helps.

Try bin/telegram-cli -N

uh, no success, but thanks )

bin/telegram-cli -q

Just done it myself, and its asking for a phone number again. used 2 numbers on it now

yasharne (author)2015-08-18

thanks for your tutorial, I added a statement to action.lua which when user types sample, sends back output of a script which prints 30, in on_msg_receive function, for that if statement I wrote: send_msg(msg.from.print_name, os.execute(./sample), ok_cb, false) but it prints output in RPi instead of send it back to me via telegram.

How can I solve it?

arron.trevis (author)2015-03-13

You're missing the callback function ok_cb which is called after the send_msg and send_photo has sent

Add this into file to remove error, as it could cause errors later in sequence. this will remove nil value error

function ok_cb (extra, success, result)


I've add that function, but I still get the nil value error, any clues?

rbninstruct made it! (author)2015-02-02

Nice Instructable. I actually modified the test.lua script that comes with the telgram-cli installation. In order to get this to work properly I also had to install lua-lgi and libnotify-dev using

sudo apt-get install lua-lgi libnotify-dev

I found that your action.lua script, although working gave an error message
*** lua: attempt to call a nil value

Instead I modified the function on_message_receive in the test.lua file and added extra commands in there within the function on_msg_receive(msg)

I now have photo taking and turning a led on and off with separate commands all working.

I will do a separate write up of this on my blog (giving you credit for my source) shortly.

Here is a photo showing messages send and responses. You can see the led changing from on to off in the photos.

arron.trevis (author)rbninstruct2015-03-13

See my other comment about nil value

How did you fix the '*** lua: attempt to call a nil value' error?

mironov (author)2015-05-02

Hey guys, we provide REST API for Telegram at

It is much easier to use, because we take care of stability and deliverability of your messages.

Just create an account with Jaconda, and you will be able to send and receive messages over HTTP.

GuillermoP (author)2015-04-22

If you want run ANY command safely by Telegram in RaspberryPi or any Linux system I have just published 'Obedience'
Test it!

HectorV (author)2015-03-31

woww! thanks a lot! i made it!

can i run telegram in daemon mode?

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