Fast GPIO, PWM, servo control, state change notification and interrupt handling with Node.js on the Raspberry Pi
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README.md

pigpio

A wrapper for the pigpio C library to enable fast GPIO, PWM, servo control, state change notification and interrupt handling with Node.js on the Raspberry Pi Zero, 1, 2 or 3.

pigpio supports Node.js versions 4, 6, 8 and 10.

Mentioned in Awesome Node.js

Contents

Features

  • Digital IO
    • Up to 2.1 million digital reads per second *)
    • Up to 2.3 million digital writes per second *)
  • PWM on any of GPIOs 0 through 31
    • Multiple frequencies and duty cycle ranges supported
  • Servo control on any of GPIOs 0 through 31
    • Jitter free
  • Alerts when any of GPIOs 0 through 31 change state
    • The time of the state change is available accurate to a few microseconds
  • Notification streams for monitoring state changes on any of GPIOs 0 through 31 concurrently
    • The time of the state changes are available accurate to a few microseconds
  • Low latency interrupt handlers
    • Handle up to 20000 interrupts per second *)
  • Read or write up to 32 GPIOs as one operation with banked GPIO
  • Trigger pulse generation
  • Pull up/down resistor configuration

*) On a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B V1.2 running at 1.2 GHz (Performance)

Installation

Step 1 - Install the pigpio C library

The pigpio Node.js package requires the pigpio C library V41 or higher.

Raspbian Jessie 2016-05-10 or newer comes with the pigpio C library pre-installed so it need not be manually installed.

Raspbian Jessie Lite 2016-05-10 or newer does not come with the pigpio C library pre-installed so it must be manually installed with the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pigpio

The pigpio C library contains a number of utilities. One of these utilities is pigpiod which launches the pigpio C library as a daemon. This utility should not be used as the pigpio Node.js package uses the C library directly.

Installation instructions for the pigpio C library on versions of Raspbian prior to 2016-05-10 can be found here.

Step 2 - Install the pigpio Node.js package

npm install pigpio

Usage

Assume there's an LED connected to GPIO17 (pin 11) and a momentary push button connected to GPIO4 (pin 7).

Pulse an LED with PWM

Use PWM to pulse the LED connected to GPIO17 from fully off to fully on continuously.

const Gpio = require('pigpio').Gpio;

const led = new Gpio(17, {mode: Gpio.OUTPUT});

let dutyCycle = 0;

setInterval(() => {
  led.pwmWrite(dutyCycle);

  dutyCycle += 5;
  if (dutyCycle > 255) {
    dutyCycle = 0;
  }
}, 20);

Buttons and Interrupt Handling

Turn the LED connected to GPIO17 on when the momentary push button connected to GPIO4 is pressed. Turn the LED off when the button is released.

const Gpio = require('pigpio').Gpio;

const led = new Gpio(17, {mode: Gpio.OUTPUT});
const button = new Gpio(4, {
  mode: Gpio.INPUT,
  pullUpDown: Gpio.PUD_DOWN,
  edge: Gpio.EITHER_EDGE
});

button.on('interrupt', (level) => {
  led.digitalWrite(level);
});

Servo Control

Continuously move a servo connected to GPIO10 clockwise and anti-clockwise.

const Gpio = require('pigpio').Gpio;

const motor = new Gpio(10, {mode: Gpio.OUTPUT});

let pulseWidth = 1000;
let increment = 100;

setInterval(() => {
  motor.servoWrite(pulseWidth);

  pulseWidth += increment;
  if (pulseWidth >= 2000) {
    increment = -100;
  } else if (pulseWidth <= 1000) {
    increment = 100;
  }
}, 1000);

Measure Distance with a HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor

The trigger function can be used to generate a pulse on a GPIO and alerts can be used to determine the time of a GPIO state change accurate to a few microseconds. These two features can be combined to measure distance using a HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor.

const Gpio = require('pigpio').Gpio;

// The number of microseconds it takes sound to travel 1cm at 20 degrees celcius
const MICROSECDONDS_PER_CM = 1e6/34321;

const trigger = new Gpio(23, {mode: Gpio.OUTPUT});
const echo = new Gpio(24, {mode: Gpio.INPUT, alert: true});

trigger.digitalWrite(0); // Make sure trigger is low

const watchHCSR04 = () => {
  let startTick;

  echo.on('alert', (level, tick) => {
    if (level == 1) {
      startTick = tick;
    } else {
      const endTick = tick;
      const diff = (endTick >> 0) - (startTick >> 0); // Unsigned 32 bit arithmetic
      console.log(diff / 2 / MICROSECDONDS_PER_CM);
    }
  });
};

watchHCSR04();

// Trigger a distance measurement once per second
setInterval(() => {
  trigger.trigger(10, 1); // Set trigger high for 10 microseconds
}, 1000);

Determine the Width of a Pulse with Alerts

Alerts can be used to determine the time of a GPIO state change accurate to a few microseconds. Typically, alerts will be used for GPIO inputs but they can also be used for outputs. In this example, the trigger method is used to pulse the LED connected to GPIO17 on for 15 microseconds once per second. Alerts are used to measure the length of the pulse.

// Assumption: the LED is off when the program is started

const Gpio = require('pigpio').Gpio;

const led = new Gpio(17, {
  mode: Gpio.OUTPUT,
  alert: true
});

const watchLed = () => {
  let startTick;

  // Use alerts to determine how long the LED was turned on
  led.on('alert', (level, tick) => {
    if (level == 1) {
      startTick = tick;
    } else {
      const endTick = tick;
      const diff = (endTick >> 0) - (startTick >> 0); // Unsigned 32 bit arithmetic
      console.log(diff);
    }
  });
};

watchLed();

// Turn the LED on for 15 microseconds once per second
setInterval(() => {
  led.trigger(15, 1);
}, 1000);

Here's an example of the typical output to the console:

15
15
15
15
15
15
20
15
15
15
15

Debounce a Button

The GPIO glitch filter will prevent alert events from being emitted if the corresponding level change is not stable for at least a specified number of microseconds. This can be used to filter out unwanted noise from an input signal. In this example, a glitch filter is applied to filter out the contact bounce of a push button.

Button debounce circuit

const Gpio = require('pigpio').Gpio;

const button = new Gpio(23, {
  mode: Gpio.INPUT,
  pullUpDown: Gpio.PUD_UP,
  alert: true
});

let count = 0;

// Level must be stable for 10 ms before an alert event is emitted.
button.glitchFilter(10000);

button.on('alert', (level, tick) => {
  if (level === 0) {
    console.log(++count);
  }
});

API Documentation

Classes

  • Gpio - General Purpose Input Output
  • GpioBank - Banked General Purpose Input Output
  • Notifier - Notification Stream

Configuring pigpio

Performance

Three of the pigpio tests are used to monitor performance:

  • digital-read-performance.js - determine max. no. of digitalRead ops per second
  • digital-write-performance.js - determine max. no. of digitalWrite ops per second
  • isr-performance.js - determine max. no. of interrupts per second

The average of ten runs of these tests are shown in the table below.

Name Pi 2 Pi 3
Pi Model Raspberry Pi 2 Model B V1.1 Raspberry Pi 3 Model B V1.2
OS Raspbian Jessie 2016-02-09 Raspbian Jessie 2016-02-26
Kernel 4.1.17-v7+ 4.1.18-v7+
Node.js v5.6.0 armv7l v5.7.0 armv7l
pigpio v0.3.0 v0.3.2
pigpio C library V45 V47
Reads per second 1,232,588 2,129,221
Writes per second 1,323,039 2,336,157
Interrupts per second 8,881 20,533

Limitations

  • The pigpio Node.js package is a wrapper for the pigpio C library. A limitation of the pigpio C library is that it can only be used by a single running process.
  • The pigpio C library and therefore the pigpio Node.js package requires root/sudo privileges to access hardware peripherals.

Troubleshooting

If you have a problem with the library, before you remove it from your code and start trying something else, please check the troubleshooting page first. Some problems are solvable and documented.

Related Packages

Here are a few links to other hardware specific Node.js packages that may be of interest.

  • onoff - GPIO access and interrupt detection
  • i2c-bus - I2C serial bus access
  • spi-device - SPI serial bus access
  • mcp-spi-adc - Analog to digital conversion with the MCP3002/4/8, MCP3202/4/8 and MCP3304
  • pigpio-mock - A pigpio mock library for development on your local machine