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Control your LEDs from Node.js

This module allows you to take control of your LEDs on whatever board you are running it, as long as the board has some LEDs that can be controlled (and the OS is aware of them).

I wanted to push my limits a little so even though it seems a trivial task to turn a light on/off, I implemented this thing with almost scientific precision - floating-point timing accuracy, race condition prevention, filesystem operations queueing, excellent error handling etc. but not at the cost of usability and simplicity. Simply put, I had a blast writing this and I hope you enjoy it, too! :)

Currently you can:

  • Discover available LEDs on your system
  • Turn on/off the LEDs
  • Change the LED's trigger settings
  • Blink the LEDs
  • Make your LEDs blink in morse code!
  • Monitor the progress of the blink events via event listeners (considering)
  • Control your LEDs from the terminal (planned)

Installation Instructions

Install the module via npm: npm install ledctl


Currently only Linux-based operating systems are known to be supported. PRs are always welcome if you discover more operating systems where LEDs are exposed via the filesystem (usually in /sys/class/leds but this can be overriden if the OS uses a different path).

I am aware of Raspberry-Pi, Banana-Pi and BeagleBone having user-controllable LEDs, but I am quite sure there's many more.


Here's a crash course. I suggest you read the API docs afterwards - it contains all the information you may need to work with this library.

A quick hint - all callbacks are optional. However, if there's a problem writing to the LED's sysfs filesystem the function will throw on you.

Great benefit of this library is that you can simply chain calls to the LED however you wish and all the blinks will be queued and processed in the order you wanted - there's no need to introduce a callback hell just to blink out SOS in morse code.

var LEDController = require('ledctl')
// Which LEDs can be controlled?
var led = new LEDController('green')
led.turnOn() // It should be on!
led.blink() // It should blink for 500ms by default
// Everything below is optional - these values represent defaults
// (except rate - rate defaults to 1)
  { for: 50 // percent of total blink time
    of: 1000 // milliseconds (total blink time)
    rate: 2 // Make it all twice as fast
// Holy grail
led.morse('sos') // Watch the awesomeness!

Chaining methods and blinks

Methods are chainable. Also, my primary goal was to make an asynchronous implementation of LED control but without the usual callback hell associated with such implementation. As such, all the callbacks are optional (but they will throw on you if there's a problem, so be careful - better use a domain in critical production systems... Wait, what? A LED-controlling library in a production-critical system?)

// Let's control the green led...
var led = new LEDController('green')
// Let's make it blink out SOS in morse code, then turn
// it off for 5 seconds and then set its trigger to mmc0
// (so it will blink on SD card activity)
  // Read: blink for zero percent of 5000 milliseconds
  .blink({ for: 0, of: 5000 })

Notice that the LED will process the events exactly in the order as you called the functions.

Emptying the blink queue

Sometimes it might be necessary to cancel any scheduled blink events and put the LED into an idle (off) state - to do that, simply call .reset():

led.morse('no one will see me :(').reset()

However, any callbacks associated with the cancelled blink events will be cancelled, too. Any blink events that you schedule afterwards will be processed as usual.

Extending the API

You may want to implement your own method that takes arbitrary input and generates (or not) photons via your LED! For example, you may want to take a Buffer and turn the LED on every time the bits change... Or take a string and blink when there's a vowel... Or whatever - you can do it all!

It's rather simple - first, you need to write your serialiser. A serialiser takes one argument - an input value (this is what should be converted to blink events - most likely some kind of string) and returns an array of Blink objects. A Blink object describes how long a LED should be on and how long it should be off during a single event.

I highly suggest that you take a look at how the morse code method is implemented in serialisers/morse.js.


Documentation is available here.

To generate documentation locally, run make docs from the repository's root.


This software is licensed under the BSD-3-Clause License. See the LICENSE file for more information.


npm i ledctl

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