Installing CircuitPython Libraries on Raspberry Pi

CircuitPython libraries and adafruit-blinka will work on any Raspberry Pi board except the compute module! That means the original 1, the Pi 2, Pi 3 or Pi Zero.

Prerequisite Pi Setup!

In this page we'll assume you've already gotten your Raspberry Pi up and running and can log into the command line

Here's the quick-start for people with some experience:

  1. Download the latest Raspbian or Raspbian Lite to your computer
  2. Burn the Raspbian image to your MicroSD card using your computer
  3. Re-plug the SD card into your computer (don't use your Pi yet!) and set up your wifi connection by editing supplicant.conf
  4. Activate SSH support
  5. Plug the SD card into the Pi
  6. If you have an HDMI monitor we recommend connecting it so you can see that the Pi is booting OK
  7. Plug in power to the Pi - you will see the green LED flicker a little. The Pi will reboot while it sets up so wait a good 10 minutes
  8. If you are running Windows on your computer, install Bonjour support so you can use .local names, you'll need to reboot Windows after installation
  9. You can then ssh into raspberrypi.local

The Pi Foundation has tons of guides as well

We really really recommend the lastest Raspbian only. If you have an older Raspbian install, run "sudo apt-get update" and "sudo apt-get upgrade" to get the latest OS!

Update Your Pi and Python

Run the standard updates:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

and

sudo pip3 install --upgrade setuptools

If above doesn't work try

sudo apt-get install python3-pip

Enable I2C and SPI

A vast number of our CircuitPython drivers use I2C and SPI for interfacing so you'll want to get those enabled.

You only have to do this once per Raspberry Pi but by default both interfaces are disabled!

Once you're done with both and have rebooted, verify you have the I2C and SPI devices with the command

ls /dev/i2c* /dev/spi*

You should see the response

/dev/i2c-1 /dev/spidev0.0 /dev/spidev0.1

Enabling Second SPI

If you are using the main SPI port for a display or something and need another hardware SPI port, you can enable it by adding the line

dtoverlay=spi1-3cs

to the bottom of /boot/config.txt and rebooting. You'll then see the addition of some /dev/spidev1.x devices:

Make sure you're using Python 3!

The default python on your computer may not be python 3. Python 2 is officially discontinued and all our libraries are Python 3 only.

We'll be using python3 and pip3 in our commands, use those versions of python and pip to make sure you're using 3 and not 2

Install Python libraries

Now you're ready to install all the python support

Run the following command to install the Raspberry PI GPIO library:

pip3 install RPI.GPIO

Run the following command to install adafruit_blinka

pip3 install adafruit-blinka

The computer will install a few different libraries such as adafruit-pureio (our ioctl-only i2c library), spidev (for SPI interfacing), Adafruit-GPIO (for detecting your board) and of course adafruit-blinka

That's pretty much it! You're now ready to test.

Blinka Test

Create a new file called blinkatest.py with nano or your favorite text editor and put the following in:

Download: file
import board
import digitalio
import busio

print("Hello blinka!")

# Try to great a Digital input
pin = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D4)
print("Digital IO ok!")

# Try to create an I2C device
i2c = busio.I2C(board.SCL, board.SDA)
print("I2C ok!")

# Try to create an SPI device
spi = busio.SPI(board.SCLK, board.MOSI, board.MISO)
print("SPI ok!")

print("done!")

Save it and run at the command line with

python3 blinkatest.py

You should see the following, indicating digital i/o, I2C and SPI all worked

This guide was first published on Jun 30, 2018. It was last updated on Jun 30, 2018. This page (Installing CircuitPython Libraries on Raspberry Pi) was last updated on Nov 21, 2019.