Hardware Design Guides

There is not one single way to build out your hardware solution for use with LightShow Pi. LightShow Pi handles all the software for synchronizing your lights to music using the GPIO (and expansion cards via SPI or I2C) of your Raspberry Pi, but it’s up to you to build out your hardware solution to take advantage of this software. That said, there are many resources available to guide you in your hardware build. Here are some to get you started:

Here is a link to the blog-post that I got started from before creating LightShow Pi. It is a great resource for getting your initial hardware setup as well: http://chivalrytimberz.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/pi-lights/

Here is a great walk-through for getting started on the hardware side written by Cory Dorning: LightshowPi Hardware Setup

Here are also some wiring diagrams for the Raspberry Pi to help get you started: Wiring Diagrams

You can also check out various hardware designs and share your own in our Reddit Community.

Feel free to comment below if you have links / ideas for other hardware designs!

20 Replies to “Hardware Design Guides”

  1. Hi, I’m trying to setup Lightshow with a PiGlow, but I’m a total noob to RPi & programming & really don’t know what I’m doing.
    I’m not looking to build anything fancy, just to have a device that syncs light to the playing music from the SD card.
    I’m using a Pi B2 board, the Piglow works & I have a sabrent USB soundcard.

    Any guidance you can offer would be deeply appreciated.
    Many thanks

  2. So, I’m trying to add a sound card to my RPi, and for the most part, in a sense it’s working. Well kind of I’ve plugged my phone into the input jack and the lights go off accordingly, yet the output plays no sound. So when I try to run a test to see if the out put is working by playing a sample mp3 file from the terminal it worked. So I’m not sure what to do, I do understand that splitting the audio is an option but I would like to not slow down the reaction/snyc time
    between music and lights. I would very much like to hear you opinion on the matter.

  3. Wondering if this can be done with a piface board? I know you would need 5v dc lights or put relays in between. Anyone attempted this with piface?

  4. Wondering if anyone knows/has tried to control a two wire alternating string off two channels (the string lights one half of leds in one polarity, the other half the other polarity). There is no trouble powering them but is there a way I can make sure only one of the two channels are high at a time to prevent a short.

  5. I love the project. I built it last year and just set it up for this year. Tonight was our first trial:


    My sainsmart relays get HOT! To the point that some fail until they cool down.

    While I am thinking of rebuilding the control box with better cooling, I wonder if it wouldn’t be more economical to get a bunch of the etekcity wireless outlets when they go on sale and modify the lightshowpi code to transmit wirelessly using this as a guide:


    Sometimes those outlets are on sale for $4 each. Those plugged into a power strip outside with the pi anywhere in the house transmitting wirelessly… might be a great hardware solution?

    1. Definitely worth trying out! My only concern would be dealing with any latency from the wireless transmission … if it is deterministic though then there shouldn’t be any issue accounting for it.

      You could modify the hardware controller software to send the rf signals instead of simple GPIO on / off and would be good to go!

      You wouldn’t be able to do PWM for fading but could get the on/off.

      If your relays are getting hot – you might want to double check how much current you are drawing from each channel and lower it if possible, or add cooling as you mention. I’ve never had issues with overheating.

      Glad you’re having fun with the project!

  6. Hi there,

    I love the package. Have made a small Lightshow for a friend. There is al lot to learn but the information you gave is well done. Only, i have the following isue.

    The project i am working on is a garden filled with lights, they are working great on the music with a 8 channel SSR board on the RPI. Next to it i made 2 xmastrees with WS21812 leds. They are following a script on a Arduino Mega. But I want them to listen to the music when its start and become a kind of analyzer connected to lightshowpi. Can u tell me how to fix this.

    Regards René

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