Category: Update

GPIO Port for Raspberry Pi

18 July, 2019 | By Nenad Rakocevic
#Raspberry Pi #GPIO #port #board #hardware #hack

As part of the R&D work on port! datatype in port-type branch, we have implemented a GPIO driver for Raspberry Pi boards, as a gpio:// scheme (no third-party library needed). This work helped define the low-level API for ports written in purely Red/System or a mix of Red and Red/System.

The Raspberry Pi is a very popular board with millions of units sold, so this is a market where Red could be potentially helpful to developers. We could run Red on such boards for years but did not have proper GPIO support, so this is now fixed!

The current features supported by the GPIO port are:

  • auto-detecting the Raspberry Pi board type
  • uses /dev/mem or/dev/gpiomem for direct and fast access.
  • reading a GPIO pin state.
  • writing to a GPIO pin state.
  • hardware PWM output support (on capable pins).
  • a simple DSL for sending commands.

Planned (but not scheduled) future features include:
  • generating events when a pin state changes.
  • software PWM on all GPIO pins.
  • a higher-level reactive object layer for a API-less interface.
  • various drivers for common peripherals.

The source code for the gpio:// scheme can be found there.

In the short video below, you can find a little pet project meant for testing some of the features. It implements a simple joypad with 4 directions support, a red LED indicating when the pad is active and a green one for notifying when a level is completed. The game is the Red port contributed by Huang Yongzhao of Rebox!, my old clone of BoxWorld written in Rebol. In the video below, it is running on a Raspberry Pi 3 using our work-in-progress red/GTK backend for Red (contributed by Rcqls), locally merged with the red/port-type development branch (EDIT: that branch has been merged into master now).




You can find the breadboard layout below made using Fritzing. Sorry for the messy wiring, it is my first try with such kind of tool. If you have the skills to improve it, here is the sketch file. The buttons rely on the internal pull-down resistors. Note that in the video, the board is reversed.



The source code of Redbox has been modified to add GPIO support, you can find the modified code here. The GPIO-related code is enclosed in a context:

    joypad: context [
        mapping: [
            16 down  20 up
            17 left  21 right
        ]

    row: [(id) state: #[false] direction: (direction)]
    table: collect [
        foreach [id direction] mapping [keep compose row]
    ]

    pins: extract table length? row
    port: none

    acquire: has [pin][
        port: open gpio://
        foreach pin pins [
            insert port [
                set-mode  pin in
                pull-down pin
            ]
        ]

        insert port [
            set-mode 18 out
            set-mode  4 out
            set 4 on
        ]
    ]

    pressed?: function [][
        foreach pin pins [
            entry: find table pin
            old: entry/state

            insert port [get pin]
            entry/state: make logic! port/data

            ;-- detect 0-to-1 transitions only, to avoid auto-firing
            if all [not old entry/state][return entry/direction]
        ]
        none
    ]

    show-win: does [insert port [set 18 on]]

    release: does [
        insert port [
            set  4 off
            set 18 off
        ]
        close port
    ]
]


The GPIO port has a simple API:

  • opening: port: open gpio://
  • sending commands: insert port […commands…]
  • closing: close port

The sent commands form a small DSL:
Set the working mode for a given pin:

set-mode <pin> <mode>

<pin> : pin number (integer!)
<mode>: in, out, pwm

Write a value on a pin:

set <pin> <value>

<pin>  : pin number (integer!)
<value>: true, false, on, off, yes, no, 0, 1

Read a value from a pin (the returned value is in port/data):

get <pin>

<pin>: pin number (integer!)    

Manage pull-up/down resistors:

pull-off <pin> ;– disable any pull previously set pull-down <pin> ;– activate pull-down on the given pin pull-up <pin> ;– activate pull-up on the given pin

Write a PWM value on a pin:

set-pwm <pin> <value>

<pin> : pin number (integer!) <value>: an integer between 0 and 1024, or a percentage for duty cycle.

Fade in/out values on a PWM pin:

fade <pin> from <start> to <end> <delay>

<pin> : pin number (integer!) <start>: starting value (0-1024) <end> : ending value (0-1024) <delay>: duration of the whole fading (time!)

Wait for a given duration:

pause <delay>

<delay>: integer => pause in miliseconds, float => pause in seconds.


Important notes
  • Only BCM numbering for GPIO pins is supported.
  • A word, or path or paren expression containing regular Red code can be used in place of any numeric value.
  • A single command block can contain an arbitrary number of commands.
  • The get command can be used multiple times, a block of corresponding results will then be returned in port/data.
  • Use sudo when running your GPIO code if it involves PWM!
  • An example of using fade and other commands is available here.
  • The PWM range is currently preset to 1024, though, the DSL can be trivially extended to allow a user-provided range value.

Happy hardware hacking! ;-)

[i18n] cta_heading

[i18n] cta_desc
Contact Us
Download the Latest Stable Version of Red [i18n] cta_narrow_text →