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Raspberry PI (pigpio)

Related Config File Sections:

The rpi platform can be used to control inputs (switches), outputs (coils), I2C and servos on the RPi remotely (or locally) using pigpio.

Video about the Raspberry PI and MPF:


You need to install the apigpio extension via pip to use it:

pip3 install apigpio_mpf

The pigpiod service needs to be running (in this example on localhost port 8888, which is the default setting). To install it and enable is (on debian based systems):

apt install pigpiod
systemctl enable pigpiod.service
systemctl start pigpiod.service

The enable step gets the service running at startup, thus it is optional.

Using pigpio via network

If you want to use your RPi over ethernet you have to edit /lib/systemd/system/pigpiod.service and change ExecStart=/usr/bin/pigpiod -l to ExecStart=/usr/bin/pigpiod. This is not needed if you run MPF on the RPi itself. Make sure your Raspberry PI is not accessible from the internet and the network is segmented properly.


This is an example config:

  platform: rpi
  ip: localhost
  port: 8888
    number: 8
    number: 7
    number: 2
    default_pulse_ms: 1000
    number: 26

Configure the ip of your RaspberryPi in the raspberry_pi section. You may use localhost if you are running MPF on the RPi. Any pin on the RPi can be used as either input or output. Additionally, you may use servos on any pin.

Available GPIOs

You check GPIO locations on your RPi at Please note that you have to use the Broadcom GPIO numbers instead of the pin numbers. Those slightly differ between different RPi models. If you get permission errors in your MPF log this is usually because you used a GPIO number which does not exist on your hardware.

Is this a real pinball controller?

No. The RPi is not a pinball controller for various reasons:

  • Drivers are missing to drive coils
  • Inputs are unprotected and any error current will fry the CPU
  • Hardware rules are not supported by the pigpio daemon
  • A watchdog is missing

This platform is meant as a cheap interface for peripherals such as DMDs, segment displays lights, servos, steppers and more. You can also use it for inputs to some extend.

Can this be turned into a pinball controller?

Sure it can. We just did not do that here. Have a look at Arduino Pinball Controller which is kind of that already.

If you want to do it with pigpio you would have to do the following (and probably more):

  • Build a PCB with FETs to drive outputs. Add proper protection.
  • Protect your inputs against high and negative voltages.
  • Implement hardware rules in pigpio (might be possible with callbacks)
  • Run a realtime linux for proper timing of your rules
  • Add a some watchdog (either in Linux or in hardware)

What if it did not work?

Have a look at our hardware troubleshooting guide.

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