The CircuitPython digitalio module has many applications. The basic Blink program sets up the LED as a digital output. You can just as easily set up a digital input such as a button to control the LED. This example builds on the basic Blink example, but now includes setup for a button switch. Instead of using the time module to blink the LED, it uses the status of the button switch to control whether the LED is turned on or off.

LED and Button

  • Along the top edge, towards the right end of the board, is a red LED (highlighted in red in the image), labeled LED on the board.
  • Along the top edge, towards the left end of the board, is a user button switch (highlighted in green in the image), labeled SW on the board.

Controlling the LED with a Button

Save the following as code.py on your CIRCUITPY drive.

"""
CircuitPython Digital Input Example - Blinking an LED using a button switch.
"""
import board
import digitalio

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

button = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.SWITCH)
button.switch_to_input(pull=digitalio.Pull.UP)

while True:
    if not button.value:
        led.value = True
    else:
        led.value = False

Now, press the button. The LED lights up! Let go of the button and the LED turns off.

Note that the code is a little less "Pythonic" than it could be. It could also be written as led.value = not button.value. That way is more difficult to understand if you're new to programming, so the example is a bit longer than it needed to be to make it easier to read.

First you import two modules: board and digitalio. This makes these modules available for use in your code. Both are built-in to CircuitPython, so you don't need to download anything to get started.

Next, you set up the LED. To interact with hardware in CircuitPython, your code must let the board know where to look for the hardware and what to do with it. So, you create a digitalio.DigitalInOut() object, provide it the LED pin using the board module, and save it to the variable led. Then, you tell the pin to act as an OUTPUT.

You include setup for the button as well. It is similar to the LED setup, except the button is an INPUT, and requires a pull up.

Inside the loop, you check to see if the button is pressed, and if so, turn on the LED. Otherwise the LED is off.

That's all there is to controlling an LED with a button switch!

This guide was first published on Oct 12, 2021. It was last updated on 2021-10-18 13:27:30 -0400.

This page (Digital Input) was last updated on Nov 25, 2021.

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