RGB LED Sample

View the code on Github

In this sample, we will connect a Tri-color LED to Raspberry Pi 2 or 3. The LED will blink changing colors from Red, Blue, and Green.

This is a headed sample, so please ensure that your device is in headed mode by running this command: setbootoption.exe headed (changing the headed/headless state will require a reboot).

Also, be aware that the GPIO APIs are only available on Windows IoT Core, so this sample cannot run on your desktop.


You will need the following components :

Connect to your Device

Let’s start by wiring up the components on the breadboard as shown in the diagram below.

Breadboard connections

Image made with Fritzing

Here is the schematic:

Circuit Schematic

Image made with Fritzing

The pinout of the Tri-color LED is shown below and can be found in the datasheet.

Tri-color LED Pinout

Connecting the Tri-color LED

  • Insert the Tri-color LED into the breadboard as shown in the breadboard diagram at the top of the page.

  • Connect one end of the 330 Ω resistor to the red lead of the Tri-color LED.

  • Connect the other end of the 330 Ω resistor to Pin 29 GPIO5 of the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3.

  • Connect one end of a 100 Ω resistor to the blue lead of the Tri-color LED.

  • Connect the other end of the 100 Ω resistor to Pin 31 GPIO6 of the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3.

  • Connect one end of a 100 Ω resistor to the green lead of the Tri-color LED.

  • Connect the other end of the 100 Ω resistor to Pin 33 GPIO13 of the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3.

  • Connect the cathode (the longest leg) of the Tri-color LED to Pin 6 GND.

Here is the pinout of the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3:

Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 pinout

Image made with Fritzing

Deploy your app

You can find the source code for this sample by downloading a zip of all of our samples here and navigating to the samples-develop\RGBLED. This sample is written in C#. Make a copy of the folder on your disk and open the project from Visual Studio.

Follow the instructions to setup remote debugging and deploy the app. The RGBLED app will deploy and start on the Windows IoT device, and you should see the LED blink in sync with the simulation on the screen.

Let’s look at the code

First, we get the default GPIO controller and check that it’s not null. GpioController.GetDefault() will return null on platforms that do not contain a GPIO controller.

        private void Page_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
            var gpio = GpioController.GetDefault();

            // Show an error if there is no GPIO controller
            if (gpio == null)
                GpioStatus.Text = "There is no GPIO controller on this device.";

Next, we open the pins we’ll be using later in the program. The RGB LED requires 3 gpio pins - one to drive each color channel of the LED. The code takes different behavior depending on which platform it’s running on. If we’re running on Raspberry Pi, we use pins 5, 6, and 13 because they’re located next to each other physically on the header. If we’re not running on Raspberry Pi, we take the first 3 available pins. There is also logic to skip pins connected to onboard functions on known hardware platforms.

            var deviceModel = GetDeviceModel();
            if (deviceModel == DeviceModel.RaspberryPi2)
                // Use pin numbers compatible with documentation
                const int RPI2_RED_LED_PIN = 5;
                const int RPI2_GREEN_LED_PIN = 13;
                const int RPI2_BLUE_LED_PIN = 6;

                redpin = gpio.OpenPin(RPI2_RED_LED_PIN);
                greenpin = gpio.OpenPin(RPI2_GREEN_LED_PIN);
                bluepin = gpio.OpenPin(RPI2_BLUE_LED_PIN);
                // take the first 3 available GPIO pins
                var pins = new List<GpioPin>(3);
                for (int pinNumber = 0; pinNumber < gpio.PinCount; pinNumber++)
                    // ignore pins used for onboard LEDs
                    switch (deviceModel)
                        case DeviceModel.DragonBoard410:
                            if (pinNumber == 21 || pinNumber == 120)

                    GpioPin pin;
                    GpioOpenStatus status;
                    if (gpio.TryOpenPin(pinNumber, GpioSharingMode.Exclusive, out pin, out status))
                        if (pins.Count == 3)

                if (pins.Count != 3)
                    GpioStatus.Text = "Could not find 3 available pins. This sample requires 3 GPIO pins.";

                redpin = pins[0];
                greenpin = pins[1];
                bluepin = pins[2];

Next, we initialize the pins as outputs driven HIGH, which causes the LED to be OFF. We also display which pin numbers are in use. If you’re not using Raspberry Pi, hook up the RGB LED to the pins shown on the display.


            GpioStatus.Text = string.Format(
                "Red Pin = {0}, Green Pin = {1}, Blue Pin = {2}",

Finally, we start a periodic timer which we will use to rotate through the colors of the LED. We use a DispatcherTimer because we’ll be updating the UI on the timer callback. If we did not need to update the UI, it would be better to use a System.Threading.Timer which runs on a separate thread. The less we can do on the UI thread, the more responsive the UI will be.

            timer = new DispatcherTimer();
            timer.Interval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(500);
            timer.Tick += Timer_Tick;

In the timer callback, we light up the currently active LED and update the UI.

        private void FlipLED()
            Debug.Assert(redpin != null && bluepin != null && greenpin != null);

            switch (ledStatus)
                case LedStatus.Red:
                    //turn on red

                    LED.Fill = redBrush;
                    ledStatus = LedStatus.Green;    // go to next state
                case LedStatus.Green:

                    //turn on green

                    LED.Fill = greenBrush;
                    ledStatus = LedStatus.Blue;     // go to next state
                case LedStatus.Blue:
                    //turn on blue

                    LED.Fill = blueBrush;
                    ledStatus = LedStatus.Red;      // go to next state

        private void Timer_Tick(object sender, object e)

Sample code

Language: C#

Tags: beginner, gpio, c#

Verified to work with:
Windows 10 IoT Core: Version 10.0.10586.0
Visual Studio 2015 update 2
Windows SDK: Version 10586
(Included with Visual Studio Update 2)

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