I am using web3.js 0.20.6 and I want to unlock an account to execute a smart contract method on a private blockchain. The account is used to pay for the gas. I have used the following code to unlock the account:

web3_1.personal.unlockAccount(web3.eth.accounts[0],password,time, function(error,result){
    if (result){
        // account unlocked so call smart contract function
        contract_instance.publishNode(param1, param2,{from:web3.eth.accounts[0],gas:300000});

and I get the following error:

    throw errors.InvalidResponse(result);

Error: account is locked
at Object.InvalidResponse (/home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/errors.js:38:16)
at RequestManager.send (/home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/requestmanager.js:61:22)
at Eth.send [as sendTransaction] (/home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/method.js:145:58)
at SolidityFunction.sendTransaction (/home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/function.js:167:26)
at SolidityFunction.execute (/home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/function.js:253:37)
at Object.exports.publish_node (/home/davide/WebApp/red5Network.js:117:16)
at Object.callback (/home/davide/WebApp/app.js:61:16)
at /home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/method.js:142:25
at /home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/requestmanager.js:89:9
at XMLHttpRequest.request.onreadystatechange (/home/davide/WebApp/node_modules/web3/lib/web3/httpprovider.js:118:13)

On the other end if instead of calling a smart contract function I send ether from an account to another everything works. What is the issue?

  • can you say exactly what request does throw the error log you posted? – Kaki Master Of Time Apr 2 '18 at 13:50
  • @MedMansour I added the Smart contract call that throws the error – David Apr 2 '18 at 14:16
  • Are you sure the unlockAccount worked correctly? Because you do not check the error returned. Another possibility is that timeout value is too low. – Ismael Apr 2 '18 at 19:42
  • @Ismael I have just tried and error is null while result is true. The unlockAccount works when sending ether to another account as I can see the mined transaction and the new balances. I have setup also the default account to be eth.accounts[0] but I am still not able to call smart contract functions. I also tried to specify the timeout=15000 but it still does not work – David Apr 2 '18 at 19:52

Are you sure, you can use callback for this method? I am not aware of it. Try this code to figure out if it works:

try {
      web3.personal.unlockAccount(acc, pass);
    } catch(err) {
      return false;
  • I get the same error – David Apr 2 '18 at 15:05
  • OK... Check permissions, which you have set. It should include these: --rpcapi eth,web3,personal – Vanja Dev Apr 3 '18 at 9:49
  • I was already using those options. I am starting geth with this command: ./geth identity "1" --datadir /home/.../path-to-datadir --networkid 4999 --rpc --rpcport 40901 --rpcapi db,eth,net,web3,shh,personal --rpccorsdomain "*" --port 30303 --nodiscover --shh I have tried to use different versions of geth but I still get the same error – David Apr 3 '18 at 12:40

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