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Control Arduino from Raspberry Pi with pyFirmata

  1. Raspberry Pi with Raspbian OS installed in it
  2. Arduino Uno or any other Arduino board
  3. Arduino USB cable
  4. LED


Installing PyFirmata in Arduino using Raspberry Pi

To upload PyFirmata firmware in Arduino, we have to install Arduino IDE in Raspberry Pi. Follow these steps to install:

Step 1:- Connect the Raspberry Pi to the internet. Open command terminal and type the following command and hit enter

sudo apt-get -y install arduino python-serial mercurial

Wait for few minutes, it will take time. This command will install the Arduino IDE in your Raspberry Pi.

Step 2:- Now, we will install pyFirmata files using the given github:

git clone

Then run the following command:

cd pyFirmata
sudo python install

Step 3:- We have installed all the required files and setups.

Now, connect your Arduino board with Raspberry Pi using USB cable and launch Arduino IDE by typing arduino in terminal window.

Step 4:- Then type lsusb command to check whether Arduino is connected with your raspberry pi.

In Arduino IDE, Go to tools and choose your board and Serial Port.

Step 5:- Upload the PyFirmata firmware on the Arduino by clicking File -> Examples ->  Firmata -> Standard Firmata and then click upload button . As shown below.

We have successfully installed the pyFirmata firmware in the Arduino board. Now, we can control our Arduino using Raspberry Pi.

For demonstration we will blink and fade an LED on the Arduino by writing python codes in Raspberry Pi.



Code Explanation

For coding part, you should read documentation of pyFirmata for better understanding. We will use pyFirmata functions to write our code. You can find pyFirmata documentation by following the link.

So let’s start writing the code

Open your favorite text editor on the Raspberry Pi and import pyFirmata library.

import pyfirmata

Define pin on the Arduino to connect the LED

led_pin = 9

Now, we have to write serial port name on which Arduino board is connected using pyfirmata.Arduino() function and then make an instance by assigning port in board variable.

board = pyfirmata.Arduino("/dev/ttyACM0")
print "Code is running”

In while loop, make led pin HIGH and low using[].write() function and give delay using board.pass_time() function.

while True:[led_pin].write(0)
    board.pass_time(1)   [led_pin].write(1)

Our code is ready, save this code by putting .py extension to the file name.

Open command terminal and type python to run the code on the Arduino board. Make sure your Arduino board is connected with your Raspberry Pi board using USB cable.

Now, you can see Blinking LED on the Arduino board.

Complete code for blinking LED using pyFirmata is given at the end.

Fading LED on Arduino using pyFirmata

Now, we will write code for fading the LED to make you more familiar with the pyFirmata functions. This code is easy as previous one. You have to use two for loops, one for increase brightness and other for decrease brightness.

In this code, we have defined the pins in different way like led = board.get_pin(‘d:9:p’) where d means digital pin. This is function of pyFirmata library. Read the documentation for more details.

Complete code for Fading LED using pyFirmata is given at the end.

Now, you can add more sensors to your system and make it more cool, check our other Arduino projects and try building them using Raspberry pi and python script.


Python code for LED blink:

import pyfirmata

led_pin = 9

board = pyfirmata.Arduino("/dev/ttyACM0")

while True:[led_pin].write(0)

Python code for Fading LED:

import time
import pyfirmata

delay = 0.3
brightness = 0

board = pyfirmata.Arduino("/dev/ttyACM0")

led = board.get_pin('d:9:p')
while True:
# increase
for i in range(0, 10):
brightness = brightness + 0.1
print "Setting brightness to %s" % brightness

# decrease
for i in range(0, 10):
print "Setting brightness to %s" % brightness
brightness = brightness - 0.1

Arduino and cpp files

You can create an Arduino project in which you have a main .ino file with setup() and loop(), but all the stuff in .h and .cpp files.

Raspberry: upload Arduino sketch from CLI

install these packages

sudo apt-get install arduino-core arduino-mk

Then add yourself to the dialout group to allow you to upload code to the Arduino board

sudo usermod -a -G dialout pi (Change pi to be your username if different)

Create Makefile

ARDUINO_DIR = /usr/share/arduino
include /usr/share/arduino/

to build


to upload

make upload

ESP8266 WiFi module

Link for add board manager

Erase the esp erase_flash

Code to flash AT firmware to ESP8266 (ESP8266_AT_Bin_V1.5.1) --baud 115200 --port /dev/tty.wchusbserial1420 write_flash -fm dio -ff 40m -fs detect 0x00000 boot_v1.7.bin 0x01000 0xfc000 esp_init_data_default.bin 0x7e000 blank.bin 0xfe000 blank.bin