The first step with any new hardware is the 'hello world' of electronics - blinking an LED. This is very easy with CircuitPython and Orange Pi. We'll extend the example to also show how to wire up a button/switch.

Orange Pi (Allwinner) boards don't have any way to set the pullup/pulldown resistors, so you'll need to use external resistors instead of built-in pullups, whenever it makes sense!

Parts Used

Any old LED will work just fine as long as its not an IR LED (you can't see those) and a 470 to 2.2K resistor

Single large LED lit up blue
Need some big indicators? We are big fans of these huge diffused blue LEDs. They are really bright so they can be seen in daytime, and from any angle. They go easily into a breadboard...
In Stock
Angled shot of 25 Through-Hole Resistors - 470 ohm 5% 1/4W.
ΩMG! You're not going to be able to resist these handy resistor packs! Well, axially, they do all of the resisting for you!This is a 25 Pack of...
In Stock

Some tactile buttons or switches

Angled shot of 10 12mm square tactile switch buttons.
Medium-sized clicky momentary switches are standard input "buttons" on electronic projects. These work best in a PCB but
In Stock

We recommend using a breadboard and some female-male wires.

Angled shot of Premium Female/Male 'Extension' Jumper Wires - 40 x 6 (150mm)
Handy for making wire harnesses or jumpering between headers on PCB's. These premium jumper wires are 6" (150mm) long and come in a 'strip' of 40 (4 pieces of each of...
In Stock

You can use a Cobbler to make this a little easier, the pins will be labeled according to Raspberry Pi names so just check the Orange Pi name!

Angled shot of Assembled Pi T-Cobbler Plus next to GPIO ribbon cable
This is the assembled version of the Pi T-Cobbler Plus.  It only works with the Raspberry Pi Model Zero, A+, B+, Pi 2, Pi 3 & Pi 4! (Any Pi with 2x20...
Out of Stock


Connect the Orange Pi Ground pin to the blue ground rail on the breadboard.

  • Connect one side of the tactile switch to Orange Pi GPIO PA6
  • Connect a ~10K pull up resistor from PA6 to 3.3V
  • Connect the other side of the tactile switch to the ground rail
  • Connect the longer/positive pin of the LED to Orange Pi GPIO PD14
  • Connect the shorter/negative pin of the LED to a 470ohm  to 2.2K resistor, the other side of the resistor goes to ground rail

There's no Orange Pi PC Fritzing object, so we sub'd a Raspberry Pi in

Double-check you have the right wires connected to the right location, it can be tough to keep track of Pi pins as there are forty of them!

No additional libraries are needed so we can go straight on to the example code

However, we recommend running a pip3 update!

pip3 install --upgrade adafruit_blinka

Blinky Time!

The finish line is right up ahead, lets start with an example that blinks the LED on and off once a second (half a second on, half a second off):

import time
import board
import digitalio

print("hello blinky!")

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.PD14)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

while True:
    led.value = True
    led.value = False

Verify the LED is blinking. If not, check that it's wired to GPIO PD14, the resistor is installed correctly, and you have a Ground wire to the Orange Pi.

Type Control-C to quit

Button It Up

Now that you have the LED working, lets add code so the LED turns on whenever the button is pressed

import time
import board
import digitalio

print("press the button!")

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.PD14)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

button = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.PA6)
button.direction = digitalio.Direction.INPUT
# use an external pullup since we don't have internal PU's
#button.pull = digitalio.Pull.UP

while True:
    led.value = not button.value # light when button is pressed!

Press the button - see that the LED lights up!

Type Control-C to quit

This guide was first published on Dec 02, 2018. It was last updated on Jul 24, 2024.

This page (Digital I/O) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

Text editor powered by tinymce.