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Pi Dawn

Use a Raspberry Pi connected to WS2801-based RGB LED strip to wake you up in the morning.





These instructions install Pi Dawn for the default Raspbian user pi. Run all command as this user.

  1. Download Raspbian, flash it to a SD card and configure the system to your liking (network configuration, SSH access, locale etc.)

  2. Setup Raspbian for Pi Dawn


    sudo raspi-config

    Then select Localisation OptionsChange Timezone. Pick the timezone you are living in from the list.

    Then select Interfacing OptionsP4 SPI. Answer Yes to enable the SPI interface.

  3. Allow the user pi to access the SPI interface:

    sudo gpasswd -a pi spi

    In order to become effective, you have to log in again.

  4. Install required Raspbian packages:

    sudo apt -y install python3 python3-venv redis-server nginx

    This installs Python 3 with the venv module, Redis and Nginx.

  5. Create an virtual Python environment for Pi Dawn:

    cd ~
    python3 -m venv pi-dawn
  6. Install Pi Dawn:

    ./pi-dawn/bin/pip install pi_dawn
  7. Create the database:

    mkdir pi-dawn/var
    FLASK_APP=pi_dawn ./pi-dawn/bin/flask initdb
  8. Setup services:

    sudo -s
    FLASK_APP=pi_dawn ./pi-dawn/bin/flask setup-nginx
    FLASK_APP=pi_dawn ./pi-dawn/bin/flask install-services

    The first command will add a new site to act as a proxy for the Flask web application, disable the conflicting default site, validate the NGINX configuration for good measure and reload NGINX to make the changes effective.

    This second command will install Systemd service units for the web frontend and the alarm daemon. After this, it starts the services and configures them for automatic launch at boot.

That's it. You can access the web interface on port 80 of your Raspberry Pi. Use it to configure alarms or as a light switch.



Make sure you have the following software packages available on your system:

  • Python (≥ 3.5)
  • Node.js (≥ 10.x)
  • Redis

Get the source code

Clone this repository:

git clone


Execute the following commands inside your working copy of the repository:

  1. Setup a new Python virtual environment:

    python3 -m venv venv
  2. Activate the environment:

    source venv/bin/activate
  3. Install the package with its dependencies:

    pip install -e .[dev]
  4. Create the database:

    FLASK_APP=pi_dawn flask initdb
  5. Install the dependencies for the frontend:

    cd pi_dawn/frontend
    npm install


The application consists of three distinct components which all have to be running at the same time in order to function properly. Also, you need to start a Redis server.

  1. Redis:


    This command can be executed from any working directory.

  2. Backend Flask application:

    FLASK_APP=pi_dawn FLASK_DEBUG=1 flask run

    While developing the Flask application only serves the backend API.

  3. Frontend Vue.js application:

    cd pi_dawn/frontend
    npm run serve

    You can access the web frontend at:

  4. Execute the daemon:

    DEBUG=1 pi-dawn-daemon

    The daemon controls the LED stripe and makes sure it lights up at the programmed alarms.

    In debug mode, the daemon won't actually try to program a LED stripe. Instead, it will use Pygame to display the intended result in a window.