Raspberry Pi C driver and Python bindings for the sensor TSL2561.
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Raspberry Pi C driver and Python Bindings for the TSL2561 sensor.

This driver is basically a port of the Adafruit TSL2561 Light Sensor Driver.

Configure I2C

Install the following packages:

  • i2c-tools
  • libi2c-dev
  • python-dev
sudo apt-get install i2c-tools libi2c-dev python-dev

In a next step we configure i2c on the Raspberry Pi.

Add the following lines to /boot/config.txt:


Edit the file /etc/modules and add the following line:


Finally reboot:

sudo reboot

After the reboot you should be able to find the i2c device using the command below:

sudo i2cdetect -y 1

Building the driver

C language

Just run make.

Python language

Run sudo python setup.py build


C language

#include "tsl2561.h"
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
	int address = 0x39;
	char *i2c_device = "/dev/i2c-1";

	void *tsl = tsl2561_init(address, i2c_device);
	tsl2561_set_integration_time(tsl, TSL2561_INTEGRATION_TIME_13MS);
	if(tsl == NULL){ // check if error is present
	int c;
	long lux;
	for(c = 0; c < 5; c++){
		lux = tsl2561_lux(tsl);
		printf("lux %lu\n", lux);
		usleep(3 * 1000 * 1000);
	i2c_device = NULL;
	return 0;

Python language

from tentacle_pi.TSL2561 import TSL2561
import time

tsl = TSL2561(0x39,"/dev/i2c-1")

for x in range(0,5):
	print "lux %s" % tsl.lux()


Adafruit_TSL2561, a C++ library, is licensed under BSD as specified here; the derivative work tsl2561 is provided under the MIT licence.