Getting started with Lightpack & boblight (Raspberry Pi 2)

After setting up OpenELEC on the Raspberry Pi 2, the next step was to install and configure boblight to get my Lightpack unit working.

For those who are unaware, Lightpack is an aftermarket solution for dynamic TV/monitor backlighting, and was successfully funded via Kickstarter (I actually ordered my pack after the crowdfunding from Lightpack.tv). Boblight is “a collection of tools for driving lights connected to an external controller“. Boblight is the ‘go to’ controller for this kind of thing, due to there being a Kodi/XBMC plugin.

Installing the hardware

When you open the package, you’ll find one small square USB controller box, and lots of LED light strips. You’ll also have some small cable ties and other bits for tidily installing the cables. You need to stick the Lightpack Andromedalights to the back of your screen, but before doing this, you’ll need to pick the layout. Technically, you could do this however you want as long as you match the boblightd config accordingly, however, picking one of the Lightpack suggested layouts will give an even result. I went for ‘Andromeda’. To see the other Lightpack suggestions (Pegasus and Cassiopeia), see the image of their quickstart guide at the end of this post.

Installing the software

You’ll need to install two Kodi plugins: XBMC Boblight and boblightd. XBMC Boblight is the plugin that will allow you to change settings, and boblightd is the backend service which actually sends commands to the USB Lightpack device. These options can be found using THESE SCREENSHOTS

Boblight1 Boblight2 Boblight3 Boblight4 Boblight5 Boblight6 Boblight7

Once installed, you need to modify the boblightd config. SSH into the Raspberry Pi (the following instructions are assuming you’re using a Mac or Linux, but should work equally well using something like Putty for Windows). The default username is ‘root’, and password is ‘openelec’. Obviously, substitute the IP/hostname of your Pi.

ssh root@192.168.0.100

For recent installations, you’ll be using Kodi, but for anything older, substitute ‘kodi’ in the following commands for ‘xbmc’:

cd .kodi/userdata/addon_data/service.multimedia.boblightd

 

cp boblight.conf backup.boblight.conf

 

nano boblight.conf

The above ‘cp’ it to make a backup of the config file; always good practice. Nano will let us edit the config file. If, like me, you went for the Andromeda layout, the easiest way is to copy my config from below (alternatively, download):

SEE BOBLIGHT.CONF

[global]

 

[device] name LP1
channels 30
type lightpack
interval 20000

 

[color] name red
rgb FF0000

 

[color] name green
rgb 00FF00

 

[color] name blue
rgb 0000FF

 

[light] name Light1
color red LP1 28
color green LP1 29
color blue LP1 30
hscan 0 50
vscan 90 100

 

[light] name Light2
color red LP1 25
color green LP1 26
color blue LP1 27
hscan 0 10
vscan 50 90

 

[light] name Light3
color red LP1 22
color green LP1 23
color blue LP1 24
hscan 0 10
vscan 10 50

 

[light] name Light4
color red LP1 19
color green LP1 20
color blue LP1 21
hscan 0 25
vscan 0 10

 

[light] name Light5
color red LP1 16
color green LP1 17
color blue LP1 18
hscan 25 50
vscan 0 10

 

[light] name Light6
color red LP1 4
color green LP1 5
color blue LP1 6
hscan 50 75
vscan 0 10

 

[light] name Light7
color red LP1 1
color green LP1 2
color blue LP1 3
hscan 75 100
vscan 0 10

 

[light] name Light8
color red LP1 7
color green LP1 8
color blue LP1 9
hscan 90 100
vscan 10 50

 

[light] name Light9
color red LP1 10
color green LP1 11
color blue LP1 12
hscan 90 100
vscan 50 90

 

[light] name Light10
color red LP1 13
color green LP1 14
color blue LP1 15
hscan 50 100
vscan 90 100

Once you’ve pasted that in, hit CTRL + X to exit, hit Y, then enter to save (if using nano). Now reboot the Raspberry Pi. If you’re still SSHd in as ‘root’, just type ‘reboot’, otherwise, use the shutdown/reboot option through the Kodi GUI.

Once booted back up, you should see a notification saying that boblight has loaded, and your lights should transition through red, green and blue. Your setup should now work, but you can tweak the settings in the ‘XBMC Boblight’ plugin. Click here to see how to navigate to the installed plugins.

Boblight1 Boblight2 XBMCBoblight1 XBMCBoblight2 XBMCBoblight3

XBMCBoblight4

XBMCBoblight5

General: for a standard installation, you probably won’t need to change anything here.

XBMCBoblight6

Other: choose whether you want a static light on when there’s no other content playing, and the colour.

XBMCBoblight9

Preset: You can choose a different preset for Movie, TVShows, LiveTV, Musicvideo and Files. Choose from ‘Fast’, ‘Slow’, ‘Disabled’ and ‘Custom’. As the name suggests, ‘Fast’ responds quickly to what’s on screen but can be quite jumpy, where ‘Slow’ takes a little longer but gives a smoother effect.

This should get Lightpack up and running on Kodi/XBMC (the guide is aimed at Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 2, however, it should work on other Linux hardware, as well as Windows and OS X). If there’s anything I’ve missed, or if this was just really helpful, please leave a comment below.

(As promised, click here to see the Lightpack quick-install guide)

Lightpack Quick Start

By Matt

I'm a Broadcast engineer at Bloomberg TV London. I love technology; I'm constantly tinkering with one thing or another, so I'm trying to make notes here.

Comments (25)
  1. Odd 6th March 2015 at 11:37 am

    Hi.
    Ive tried to install this, but the binary addon “boblightd” doesnt show up in the addons list. Is there any other way to aquire it?

    • Matt 8th March 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Are you looking in ‘All Add-ons’ -> ‘Services’ ?

      When I go into ‘Settings’ -> ‘Add-ons’, sometimes it seems to have left me in ‘Enabled Add-ons’ -> ‘Services’ – I guess this is where I last left it? – but if I press back twice (or go to the top and select ‘..’), then go down to ‘Get Add-ons’ -> ‘All Add-ons’ -> ‘Services’, I see boblightd as the third item in the list.

      Are you using OpenELEC? If so, what version?

      • Odd 18th March 2015 at 4:39 pm

        Hi. Thanks for your reply.
        I tried to compile it manually from their site, and it seemed to function 🙂 Alot more work, but hey, at least it works :p
        I’ll check out your tip, to see if it shows up then aswell.

  2. Nathan 8th March 2015 at 5:35 am

    I’m using osmc, not OpenELEC, and it appears that osmc’s add-on repo doesn’t have boblightd. Can I trouble you for the boblightd binary? I’m not looking forward to trying to cross-compile it.

  3. patick 8th April 2015 at 8:18 am

    Hi Matt, very well written article.I am just about to purchase lightpack and raspberry pi, with the goal that I will send a hdmi signal from ps4 through a splitter port 1 to the tv, port 2 through to a EASYCAP USB 2.0 Audio Video Capture Adapter plug in to the Raspberry Pi, thought behind this is that the signal should then be the source for hyperion to display the colours. have you tried anything similar?

    • Matt 1st August 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Patrick, thanks for the feedback!

      I haven’t, no… did you get this working? It sounds like a great idea, so would love to emulate if you managed to get it sorted, although my initial feeling is that the latency would be quite high…

  4. hagay katz 19th April 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Hi,

    after the ssh and the reboot, I’m getting a massgae that he failed to connect to boblighthd…

    what do you suggest to do?

    hagay

  5. Maik 22nd April 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Hi!

    nice Tutorial. Any idea how to configure if you choose the Cassiopeia Patterns? This is my TV: http://imgur.com/bSg8BQU

    Any ideas?

    Best Maik

  6. Rhys 23rd May 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Does the lightpack does plug in via USB?

    • Matt 1st August 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Yes, USB to the host device, but also a separate power supply (all included).

      I have the power supply connected to a homeEasy plug, which is controlled by my home automation controller, so backlight goes off when I turn the lights off (as I leave the Raspberry Pi on all the time).

  7. Ray 30th May 2015 at 11:14 pm

    I just picked up 2 Lightpacks to install on my 65″ Samsung TV. I am running current version OpenELEC and Kodi. So will following this get it running? Or is there updated info?

  8. Ray 31st May 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I followed the guide and have it running. Right now I just hook up one of the Lightpacks so running 10 LEDS.

    I have a second coming today since 10 to small for TV. When running 2 Lightpacks and 20 LEDS do I need to change anything in the conf?

    • Matt 1st August 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Ray, sorry for the delayed reply.

      Did you manage to get this working? If so, I’d love to update this post with how you did it!

  9. Samuel M 29th June 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Thought it was worth mentioning that I had issues due to the config file not having line breaks after the section header (global, device, color and light) and the “name” property. It was causing the error “failed to connect to boblightd” shortly after booting into openelec. Adding line breaks fixed the problem.

  10. Piotr 2nd July 2015 at 2:30 pm

    hi!
    any hints for 2-device lightpack setup?
    I’m thinking about moving from windows-based kodi htpc to raspberry pi 2 [almost configured, wating in the drawer ;)] but AFAIK configuration of leds is a pain in the txt file 🙁 Lightpack’s Prismatik softare helps with GUI settings, but boblight unfortunately is not compatible with that. do you know the easiest way to set up the conf files?

    cheers!

    • Matt 1st August 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Piotr – did you go ahead with this, and did you manage to get it working?

      Unfortunately, I only have one set so can’t help, but would love to update the article if you managed it!

  11. Duncan Rae 11th July 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks so much. Got me going in minutes! It works very well. Any idea how to get the lights to work when playing music and running visualisations? That would be awesome. Video is working perfectly.

  12. Erwin 30th July 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Hi guys,

    I need your help. when I start boblightd it seems that the deamon doesn’t find the device… Has somebody the same problem or maybe an idea for the solution?
    That’s the output of the command:

    pi@raspbmc:~$ sudo boblightd
    SPI mapped from 0x0x20204000 to 0x0x1c08000

    Boblightd 2.0 (optimized version for raspberry) (c) 2013 Speedy1985 and Heven)
    (InitLog) start of log /root/.boblight/boblightd.log
    (PrintFlags) starting boblightd
    (CConfig::LoadConfigFromFile) opening /etc/boblight.conf
    (CConfig::CheckConfig) checking config lines
    (CConfig::CheckConfig) config lines valid
    (CConfig::BuildConfig) building config
    (CConfig::BuildConfig) built config successfully
    (main) starting devices
    (CClientsHandler::Process) opening listening TcpSocket on *:19333
    (CDevice::Process) LP1: starting
    (CDevice::Process) LP1: setting up
    (CDeviceLightpack::SetupDevice) ERROR: LP1: no Lightpack device with vid 03eb and pid 204f found
    (CDevice::Process) ERROR: LP1: setting up failed, retrying in 10 seconds
    (CClientsHandler::Process) 127.0.0.1:38283 connected
    (CClientsHandler::ParseMessage) 127.0.0.1:38283 said hello
    (CClientsHandler::ParseSet) 127.0.0.1:38283 priority set to 128
    (CClientsHandler::ParseSet) 127.0.0.1:38283 priority set to 255
    (CDevice::Process) LP1: setting up
    (CDeviceLightpack::SetupDevice) ERROR: LP1: no Lightpack device with vid 03eb and pid 204f found
    (CDevice::Process) ERROR: LP1: setting up failed, retrying in 10 seconds
    (CDevice::Process) LP1: setting up
    (CDeviceLightpack::SetupDevice) ERROR: LP1: no Lightpack device with vid 03eb and pid 204f found
    (CDevice::Process) ERROR: LP1: setting up failed, retrying in 10 seconds

    Any Idea? Thank you very much!

  13. Chris 15th October 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Matt,
    I’m not getting this to work sadly. I looked at Samuels comment and entered line breaks, but it still doesn’t work. Keep getting the message after reboot: Could not connect to boblight.conf.

    Is this correct how I interpreted the line breaks?

    [global]

    [device]
    name LP1
    channels 30
    type lightpack
    interval 20000

    [color]
    name red
    rgb FF0000

    [color]
    name green
    rgb 00FF00

    Etc..etc..etc

  14. corthell 23rd January 2016 at 12:30 am

    Is there a way to get this working on an android device such as the amazon fire tv 2nd. edition that has Kodi? Just the android version of Kodi

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