Learn Working with Photoresistors (LDRs) on the Raspberry Pi with RNBO

Getting Started

Welcome to RNBO


RNBO Basics

Key Differences

Why We Made RNBO

Coding Resources


Audio IO

Messages to rnbo~

Using Parameters


Messages and Ports

Polyphony and Voice Control

Audio Files in RNBO

Using Buffers

Using the FFT

Export Targets

Export Targets Overview

Max External Target
Raspberry Pi Target
The Web Export Target
The C++ Source Code Target

Code Export

Working with JavaScript
Working with C++

Special Topics

Sample Accurate Patching
Scala and Custom Tuning

RNBO and Max for Live

RNBO Raspberry Pi OSCQuery Runner


Export Description

Raspberry Pi GPIO

Working with Photoresistors (LDRs) on the Raspberry Pi with RNBO

Adding Potentiometers to your Raspberry Pi with RNBO

Light up some LEDs with RNBO on the Raspberry Pi

Using a Gyroscope/Accelerometer module over i2C with RNBO on the RPi

Updating the RNBO Package

Working with Photoresistors (LDRs) on the Raspberry Pi with RNBO

In this article we'll cover how to use Photoresistors with RNBO on the Raspberry Pi target. Before attempting these, make sure you're familiar with the basics of exporting your RNBO patchers to the RPi and that your audio interface is working correctly with it.

NOTE: This article is intended as a guide to help you extend the use of the RPi. Though the information here is accurate and correct, when working with electronics there is always the risk of damaging your device or components. While the voltage in the RPi is low enough not to pose any threat to your physical safety, the device itself could be damaged. Cycling 74 cannot be held responsible for any damages resulting from attempts to complete the following project. We also cannot provide technical support for RPi beyond basic setup of the image and loading RNBO patchers. Please proceed with caution and at your own risk.
Before attempting this tutorial, make sure you’re already familiar with the basics of exporting your RNBO patchers to the RPi and that your audio interface is working correctly with it.

Things you'll need

  • 1 x 1uf capacitor
  • 1 x Light Dependent Resistor (aka Photoresistor)
  • Breadboard
  • Hook up wires

We'll start by exporting the following patcher to the Raspberry Pi target:​

To control the cutoff parameter of this patcher with an LDR, we'll write a quick python script on the Raspberry Pi to use alongside the rnbo runner - ssh in, or connect up a keyboard. We'll use a library that should already be on your RPi image called gpiozero and another for communicating with the runner via OSC. You can use any OSC library you like, this example will use pyliblo3.

To install pyliblo3 your RPi will need to be internet connected and you will need access the terminal on your RPi. The simplest way to to do this is to ssh in from your primary computer's terminal, but you can also hook up a mouse, keyboard and monitor to your RPi and do it natively. Once you are in the RPi terminal, run the following two commands. In each case you will need to confirm the command and wait for the download process to complete.

$ sudo apt install liblo-dev
$ pip install pyliblo3

Now create a file called RNBOPi_LDR.py by using nano or any other text editor you prefer

$ nano RNBOPi_LDR.py

Paste in the following script, then save the file.                            

from gpiozero import LightSensor
import liblo as OSC
import sys

# send all messages to port 1234 on the local machine
    target = OSC.Address(1234)
except OSC.AddressError as err:

# start the transport via OSC
OSC.send(target, "/rnbo/jack/transport/rolling", 1)

# read the sensor from GPIO
sensor = LightSensor(4)

while True:
    light_level = sensor.value
    OSC.send(target, "/rnbo/inst/0/params/cutoff/normalized", light_level)

Now sudo poweroff the RPi, and disconnect the power. Let's create our circuit:

  1. 3.3v (red) from the RPi connects to one side of the LDR
  2. GND (black)  from the RPi connects to the ground bus rail
  3. The 1uf capacitor connects the shorter leg to the ground bus rail, the longer leg connects to the terminal strip inline with the LDR
  4. RPi GPIO 4 (blue) connects in between the LDR and the capacitor

The sensor.value from the LDR is already normalized - so we can use this directly to control the cutoff parameter via the normalized osc address. If you take a look in the patcher, you will see there is some logarithmic scaling of this via @fromnormalized which makes it feel more natural.

Switch the Pi back on and at the terminal run the script:

$ python RNBOPi_LDR.py

Now grab a flashlight and voila! You should be opening up and closing the filter with your light source.

Materials in this article