Talk to your Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins

gpio - talk to your Raspberry Pi's gpio headers

Important note

I haven't maintained this project for a while now, and it's unlikely I will provide any updates going forward given other more mature gpio libraries out there. If you're looking for a reliable way to communicate with the raspberry pi in JavaScript, check out the wiring-pi JavaScript library. It provides direct bindings to the fully-featured Wiring Pi C library.


Get node.js on your Raspberry Pi

On Raspbian, you can simply run apt-get install nodejs, otherwise, compile it


This library is an npm package, just define "gpio" in your package.json dependencies or

npm install gpio
Note: you must be running as root or have the proper priviledges to access the gpio headers
Standard setup
var gpio = require("gpio");

// Calling export with a pin number will export that header and return a gpio header instance
var gpio4 = gpio.export(4, {
   // When you export a pin, the default direction is out. This allows you to set
   // the pin value to either LOW or HIGH (3.3V) from your program.
   direction: 'out',

   // set the time interval (ms) between each read when watching for value changes
   // note: this is default to 100, setting value too low will cause high CPU usage
   interval: 200,

   // Due to the asynchronous nature of exporting a header, you may not be able to
   // read or write to the header right away. Place your logic in this ready
   // function to guarantee everything will get fired properly
   ready: function() {
Header direction "in"

If you plan to set the header voltage externally, use direction in and read value from your program.

var gpio = require("gpio");
var gpio4 = gpio.export(4, {
   direction: "in",
   ready: function() {
API Methods
// sets pin to high
// sets pin to low (can also call gpio4.reset())
// Since setting a value happens asynchronously, this method also takes a
// callback argument which will get fired after the value is set
gpio4.set(function() {
   console.log(gpio4.value);    // should log 1
gpio4.set(0, function() {
   console.log(gpio4.value);    // should log 0
// unexport program when done

This library uses node's EventEmitter which allows you to watch for value changes and fire a callback.

// bind to the "change" event
gpio4.on("change", function(val) {
   // value will report either 1 or 0 (number) when the value changes

// you can bind multiple events
var processPin4 = function(val) { console.log(val); };
gpio4.on("change", processPin4);

// unbind a particular callback from the "change" event
gpio4.removeListener("change", processPin4);

// unbind all callbacks from the "change" event

// you can also manually change the direction anytime after instantiation            


Cycle voltage every half a second
var gpio = require("gpio");
var gpio22, gpio4, intervalTimer;

// Flashing lights if LED connected to GPIO22
gpio22 = gpio.export(22, {
   ready: function() {
      intervalTimer = setInterval(function() {
         setTimeout(function() { gpio22.reset(); }, 500);
      }, 1000);

// Lets assume a different LED is hooked up to pin 4, the following code 
// will make that LED blink inversely with LED from pin 22 
gpio4 = gpio.export(4, {
   ready: function() {
      // bind to gpio22's change event
      gpio22.on("change", function(val) {
         gpio4.set(1 - val); // set gpio4 to the opposite value

// reset the headers and unexport after 10 seconds
setTimeout(function() {
   clearInterval(intervalTimer);          // stops the voltage cycling
   gpio22.removeAllListeners('change');   // unbinds change event
   gpio22.reset();                        // sets header to low
   gpio22.unexport();                     // unexport the header

   gpio4.unexport(function() {
      // unexport takes a callback which gets fired as soon as unexporting is done
      process.exit(); // exits your node program
}, 10000)
Controlling an RC car

Source code here: