Raspberry Pi LED Blinking with Python Programming

Raspberry Pi is an ARM architecture processor based board designed for electronic engineers and hobbyists. The PI is one of most trusted project development platforms out there now. With higher processor speed and 1 GB RAM, the PI can be used for many high profile projects like Image processing and Internet of Things.

For doing any of high profile projects, one need to understand the basic functions of PI. That is why we are here, we will be teaching all the basic functionalities of Raspberry Pi in these tutorials. In each tutorial series we will discuss one of functions of PI. By the end of tutorial series you will be able to do high profile projects by yourself. Check these for Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi Configuration.

In this tutorial of PI series, we will understand the concept of writing and executing programs on PYTHON. We will start with Blink LED using Raspberry Pi. Blinky is done by connecting an LED to one of GPIO pins of PI and turning it ON and OFF.


We will discuss a bit about PI GPIO Pins before going any further,

Raspberry pi GPIO pins

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B GPIO Layout

As shown in above figure, there are 40output pins for the PI. But when you look at the second figure, you can see not all 40 pin out can be programmed to our use. These are only 26 GPIO pins which can be programmed. These pins go from GPIO2 to GPIO27.

These 26 GPIO pins can be programmed as per need. Some of these pins also perform some special functions, we will discuss about that later. With special GPIO put aside, we have 17 GPIO remaining (Light green Cirl).

Each of these 17 GPIO pins can deliver a maximum of 15mA current. And the sum of currents from all GPIO cannot exceed 50mA. So we can draw a maximum of 3mA in average from each of these GPIO pins. So one should not tamper with these things unless you know what you are doing.

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B GPIO Layout_2


Components Required:

Here we are using Raspberry Pi 2 Model B with Raspbian Jessie OS. All the basic Hardware and Software requirements are previously discussed, you can look it up in the Raspberry Pi Introduction, other than that we need:

  • Connecting pins
  • 220Ω or 1KΩresistor
  • LED
  • Bread Board


Circuit Explanation:

raspberry pi blinking led circuit diagram

As shown in the circuit diagram we are going to connect an LED between PIN40 (GPIO21) and PIN39 (GROUND).  As said earlier, we cannot draw more than 15mA from any one of these pins, so to limit the current we are connecting a 220Ω or 1KΩ resistor in series with the LED.


Working Explanation:

Since we have everything ready, turn ON your PI and go to the desktop.  

1. On the desktop, go the Start Menu and choose for the PYTHON 3, as shown in figure below.

raspberry pi writing python program


2. After that, PYHON will run and you will see a window as shown in below figure.


3. After that, click on New File in File Menu, You will see a new Window open,

raspberry pi writing python program_3


4. Save this file as blinky on the desktop,

raspberry pi save python program


5. After that write the program for blinky as given below and execute the program by clicking on “RUN” on ‘DEBUG’ option.

raspberry pi debug python program


If the program has no errors in it, you will see a “>>>”, which means the program is executed successfully. By this time you should see the LED blinking three times.  If there were any errors in the program, the execution tells to correct it. Once the error is corrected execute the program again.

We will see the PYTHON program Code for LED Blinking, in detail, below.


import RPi.GPIO as IO            # calling header file for GPIO’s of PI
import time                              # calling for time to provide delays in program

IO.setmode (IO.BOARD)       # programming the GPIO by BOARD pin numbers, GPIO21 is called as PIN40
IO.setup(40,IO.OUT)             # initialize digital pin40 as an output.
IO.output(40,1)                      # turn the LED on (making the voltage level HIGH)
time.sleep(1)                         # sleep for a second
IO.cleanup()                         # turn the LED off (making all the output pins LOW)
time.sleep(1)                        #sleep for a second    

#loop is executed second time        
IO.setmode (IO.BOARD)

#loop is executed third time
IO.setmode (IO.BOARD)


Comments (4)

  • will's picture

    is it me or those 17 light green gpio pins are acc yellow. someone pls confirm im not crazy

    Jun 20, 2017
  • Scott's picture

    Will, look at the next image (the vertical one). This shows the usable GPIO pins with a green circle around them.

    Jul 07, 2017
  • August's picture

    I am using a raspberry pi zero W, I hooked up the led with a series 470 ohm resistor
    connected to ground (pin#06) and GPIO21, type in the code per your instruction
    using python 3, ran the program, and the led flashed three times, it all worked perfectly.
    Thank you very much for your article, this is my first experience writing a program
    using a raspberry pi. How do you write a program using python, so the program
    will loop, for the led to flash continuously?

    Jul 22, 2017
  • deepika's picture

    Very Good tutorial. I was able to do LED blinking with your code and instruction. Keep going and Thanks.

    Sep 19, 2017

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