Download and Install

These instructions assume you already have a working Raspberry Pi (RPi) installed with a recent version of raspbian with network connectivity (e.g. via a wifi adapter), and that you are somewhat familiar with the linux terminal on your RPi.

Step 0 – Update Raspian

Before you get started update and upgrade raspian to the latest:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Step 1 – Download LightShow Pi

Download the latest version of LightShow Pi using one of the following two methods from a terminal window on your RPi:

Download Method 1 – git (preferred)

This is the preferred method of downloading the LightShow Pi software as it will enable you to easily update the software to future releases.

# Install git (if you don't already have it)
sudo apt-get install git-core

# Clone the repository to /home/pi/lightshowpi
cd ~
git clone

# Grab the stable branch
cd lightshowpi
git fetch && git checkout stable

Download Method 2 – zip file

If you are unable to use git for whatever reason, you can also download the stable branch of the software as a zip file.

cd ~

This will create a directory with a name similar to togiles-lightshowpi-e577fcd4d6af in your home directory with all of the files needed for installing and using LightShow Pi. Rename this directory to lightshowpi:

mv togiles-lightshowpi-e577fcd4d6af lightshowpi

Note: You’ll need to replace e577fcd4d6af in the above command with the name of the directory that unzipping created – it will most likely be different!

Step 2 – Install LightShow Pi

Run the install script to retrieve the various dependencies lightshowPi uses, replace the directory /home/pi/lightshowpi with the directory you downloaded the repository to in step 1 above:

cd /home/pi/lightshowpi
sudo ./

The install process can take awhile (go get a snack, watch some netflix, play a game, then come back) as it installs all the necessary software packages needed to run Lightshow Pi. You should reboot your Raspberry Pi after the install completes:

sudo reboot

If you run into any issues, feel free to ask others for help in our Reddit Community

Next Steps

Now that you have the software installed, you can move on to testing your hardware configuration.

68 Replies to “Download and Install”

  1. I tried to install light show pi 2 times and both times it said “import error no module named setup tools
    Huston we have a problem
    Wiringpi2 failed with exit code 0”
    If I could get some help I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. I tried to install light show pi 2 times and both times it said:
    “Command “python egg_info” failed with error code 1 in /tmp/pip-build-khaxmv/Beautifulsoup ”
    Houston we have a problem…..
    Installing Beautifulsoup failed with exit code 0
    If I could get some help I would appreciate it.

    1. Beautifulsoup is a python library used by the sms portion of lightshowpi … it changed recently breaking our install script. The install script has been updated to fix this now, please download the latest and try again!

  3. I’m wondering if I did something wrong. I did the git method of installation, and it set my SYCHRONIZED_LIGHTS_HOME to /home/pi/lightshowpi/togiles-lightshowpi-e577fcd4d6af and added a similar path to the PATH variable by way of a /etc/profile.d/ script. Was this expected? Did I do something wrong during the installation?

    1. Just now seeing your comment here … assuming you’ve installed the code at that directory, then it worked as expected. Are you able to run the lightshow software?

  4. So when trying to install this, I get:

    -2015-11-13 14:27:48- (try:20)
    Connecting to (||:80… connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… Read error (Connection reset by peer) in headers.
    Giving up.

    Going to the URL directly gives a blank page. Did this just happen recently? Any way around this, or does anyone have this file? Can’t find it on the Internet via Google search…

  5. Hi,
    Jus tried installing today and it seems the aren’t available from

    Could you check out? I’ll try again later to see if it’s been fixed.


  6. Tried installing lightpi today and i am receiving the error “Error: command ‘arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc’ failed with exit status 1
    houston we have a problem
    Installing wiringpi2 failed with exit code 0


    1. I’ve not seen this error, you might try posting on the G+ community as there are many more people there who can help!

  7. I’m getting an error running $ sudo ./ on wheezy.

    File “/usr/local/lib/pythong2.7/dist-packages/setuptools-19.2-py2.7.egg/pkg_resources/”, line 568, in load_entry_point return get_distribution(dist).load_entry_point(group, name)
    File “/usr/local/lib/pythong2.7/dist-packages/setuptools-19.2-py2.7.egg/pkg_resources/”, line 2719, in load_entry_point
    raise ImportError(“Entry point %r not found” % ((group, name), ))
    ImportError: Entry point (‘console_scripts’, ‘easy_install’) not found
    Houston we have a problem…..
    Installing simplejson failed with exit code 0

    Any idea on how to fix this?

      1. I’m sorry, I’m a bit late, but I’m getting the same error and I’d like to know exactly how you fixed it.

  8. Hi, I’m trying to install and so far I think I have got to the point:

    # Grab the stable branch
    cd lightshowpi
    git fetch && git checkout stable

    but I am getting the error message:
    fatal: Not a git repository (or any of its parent directories): .git
    Have I done something wrong?! I have tried to run the and I can’t run it from file manager or within the terminal – getting the error:
    sudo: ./ command not found
    Probably me being a daft noobie but any guidance appreciated!

    1. That error message indicates you are attempting to run the git fetch command from a some directory other than the one created when the repository was originally cloned.

      Did you get any error messages when running:

      git clone


      1. I didn’t spot any…. The lightshowpi dir is there with all the bits in it.

        Delete the whole directory and start again?!

          1. total 12
            drwxr-xr-x 3 pi pi 4096 Feb 3 22:34

            drwxr-xr-x 21 pi pi 4096 Feb 4 10:11

            drwxr-xr-x 11 pi pi 4096 Feb 3 22:35 lightshowpi

          2. hrm, from that location you’ll want to enter into the lightshowpi directory:

            cd lightshowpi

            Then when you do an ls -al you should see a listing of files installed for lightshowpi, including a file

          3. Hi Giles,
            There is indeed a file called but it wont let me run it from file manager and I had the original error when trying to access it via terminal…

            Thanks for your guidance!


        1. Hi Todd (Sorry, I called you Giles earlier!!)

          So, I have looked at file manager again and it appears there is a second DIR called lightshowpi. So in effect I had to go one level deeper:

          cd /home/pi/lightshowpi/lightshowpi

          When I then entered:

          sudo ./

          I got an error saying:
          Detected unknown distribution. Please verify that ‘Debian’ is supported and update this script
          Followed by another error:
          To add support for ‘debian’ create a script with that name in install-scripts

          So I am going to try and find that one now!

          Progress…. Slow but progress 🙂

          1. OK! More progress! Ran update on my Pi image etc.
            Reran from the terminal and it ran through most of the install.
            Dropped a http request but reran and went through until it hit the
            It won’t install it and consequently won’t run a track – error on trying to run a track:
            no module names rpi_audio_levels
            Tried to rerun but it is not sorting it, it has en error compiling the Cython file – which as a newbie means nothing to me!
            Any thoughts?

  9. Hey I was wanting to code this myself. Maybe do a much simpler version. I have done some looking for a guide and couldn’t find any. Does anyone know of a guide that could have me code my own lightshow/music to LED visualizer. Thank you!

  10. Todd,

    When I try to run the install, it says:

    NOTE: Installing ffmpeg…
    E: Package ‘ffmpeg’ has no installation candidate
    NOTE: Installation failed, trying libav-tools…
    E: Failed to fetch Size mismatch

    E: Failed to fetch Size mismatch

    E: Failed to fetch Size mismatch

    E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with –fix-missing?
    ERROR: A problem occurred while installing ffmpeg.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance!

    Drew Proctor

  11. I’m keep getting an error when I do I fresh install. Here is what I’m getting at the beginning of the install

    lightshowpi [Fri 11 Nov 16:31:12 MST 2016] Configuring installation for detected distro=’raspbian’
    NOTE: Installing ffmpeg…
    E: Package ‘ffmpeg’ has no installation candidate
    NOTE: Installation failed, trying libav-tools…
    The mail frontend needs a installed ‘sendmail’, using pager
    Selecting previously unselected package libavdevice55:armhf.

    1. It is ok to ignore that error – ffmpeg is part of the libav-tools package in jessie – did the rest of the install succeed?

  12. i cant to install lightshowpi , have poblem install ffmpeg , (‘installations failed, try libav-tools’)
    what i try:
    1.apt-get update
    2.apt-get update
    3. etc

  13. Hi Todd,

    When running it seems to hang when it gets to installing rpi-audio-levels. Namely

    Any ideas?

    1. Hrm – just tried a fresh install myself and rpi-audio-levels does seem a bit flaky. I had to try 3 times to finally get it to work. Note – no need to do a complete re-install, but just issue this command:

      pip install git+

  14. Hi
    When I run “hardware_controller flash”, I keep getting a message which says “Need to setup “SYCHRONIZED_LIGHTS_HOME” environmental variable”. How do I do this or what am I doing wrong?

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  16. greetings. Im experiencing many issues about the instalation. First of all it couldn’t find package WiringPi even after updating and upgrading. I managed to install wiringpi manualy and edited the install script to skip downloading this package. Then I had the same issue as Aaron and Matt. I got stuck at installing rpi-audio-levels. Then I realised I use the old raspbian and upgraded to jessie. The I decided to do a complete reinstall of Lightshowpi and deleted the original folder and started all over again. Package wiringPi still causes error so I bypassed it succefully the same way as I said. But rpi-audio-levels now shows the error, that it can’t find even a single header in opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_fft starting with bcm_host.h. What I did then was to copy every single needed header from include folder to hello_fft and the rpi-audio-levels compiled succesfully but using doesn’t work saying bcm_host_get_peripheral_size is undefined. I’m getting desperate about how complicated this is… How do I fix that please?

  17. When using the script in ubuntu – I had to run it with the command
    sudo -H ./ in order to make pip happy.
    Also – since ubuntu didnt have it’s own script, I had to change line 63 to
    and copy the rasbian script to a new file called
    in the install-scripts directory. After doing all that, and updating pip installer, it worked just fine on my Pi3 running ubuntuMATE

    Your mileage may vary, I know next to nothing about programming python, I just manage to hit the right finishing nail with the right sledgehammer every so often.

  18. I have a problem during the script.
    It is using always the pip3 in the pipinstall.
    I changed each pip command to pip2

    # Some symlinks that will make life a little easier
    # Note that this may (intentionally) clobber Python 3 symlinks in newer OS’s
    ln -fs `which python2.7` /usr/bin/python
    ln -fs `which pip2` /usr/bin/pip

    the script is using /usr/local/bin/pip and not the symlink in /usr/bin/

  19. When I ran the, it went fine until it hit libjpeg-dev. It said :
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
    Encountered a fatal error: Installation of package ‘libjpeg-dev’ failed

  20. This is what happens when I try to install please help !!

    pi@raspberrypi:~/lightshowpi $ sudo ./
    lightshowpi [Fri 12 Jan 00:31:18 UTC 2018] Configuring installation for detected distro=’raspbian’
    NOTE: Installing ffmpeg…
    E: Unmet dependencies. Try ‘apt –fix-broken install’ with no packages (or specify a solution).
    NOTE: Installation failed, trying libav-tools…
    E: Unmet dependencies. Try ‘apt –fix-broken install’ with no packages (or specify a solution).
    ERROR: A problem occurred while installing ffmpeg.
    pi@raspberrypi:~/lightshowpi $

  21. I am just starting this project. And I have been able to get 8 channels blinking on one of my relays. I want to get the next 8 up and running but i am not sure what file or where to look to ensure that 16 pins are identified and what pins to use/label. Can you point me to the directory/filename please. My plan is to power each relay separately with 5 volts and just give the relay the commands. Thanks in advance

  22. I tried yo install lightshowpi but I got this message “…fatal error: installation of python package ‘pillow’ failed”. any help?

  23. The install failed because it won’t install swig2.0, how can “sudo apt-get install swig2.0” said I don’t need it, so it won’t be installed. How can I set lightshow pi up if it won’t finish installing?

  24. So, G+ community is down, and install script fails with:

    lightshowpi [Fri 10 Apr 18:34:44 BST 2020] Installing swig2.0…
    E: Package ‘swig2.0’ has no installation candidate
    Encountered a fatal error: Installation of package ‘swig2.0’ failed

    I installed swig 3.0, but can’t get past this. Not sure what step in install script fails.

  25. Swig2.0 Error Fix Here!

    Modify the “raspbian” file inside the install-scripts folder. Change the SYSTEM_DEPS list, by the end, from swig2.0 to swig3.0

  26. When I type sudo ./

    I get this:
    lightshowpi [Mon 16 Jan 10:35:28 PST 2023] Detected unknown distribution. Please verify that ‘debian’ is supported and update this script.
    lightshowpi [Mon 16 Jan 10:35:29 PST 2023] To add support for ‘debian’ create a script with that name in install-scripts

    Can someone please help me?

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