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IO Zero 32 Tutorial 2 - Push the Button

Reading a button input using a Raspberry Pi and IO Zero 32
Created: 12/06/2022 | Last Updated: 12/06/2022

In this tutorial we will add a button and an LED to the IO Zero 32 and detect when the button has been pressed.  For this you will need your Raspberry Pi, an IO Zero 32, one red LED, one 500R resistor, one 100K resistor and a push button.

If you have already completed tutorial 1 then you can jump straight to stage 1, otherwise you will need to complete the steps below.

We will use the AB Electronics UK python library to talk to the IO Zero 32, to download the library visit our Python Library and Demos knowledge base article.

You will need to enable i2c on your Raspberry Pi, see our other tutorial I2C Part 2 - Enabling I²C on the Raspberry Pi

The AB Electronics python library uses another library called python3-smbus, you can install it using apt-get with the following commands.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3-smbus

With the libraries installed and the Raspberry Pi is configured to use i2c we can begin building our project.

Stage 1 – Connecting the button and the LED

Tutorial 2 Push the buttonIf you haven’t done so install your IO Zero 32 onto the Raspberry Pi by connecting it onto the GPIO header.  Make sure your Raspberry Pi is turned off when you do this to minimise the risk of damaging the Raspberry Pi or the IO Zero 32.

Next connect the LED and resistor in series between Bus 1 – Pin 8 of the IO Zero 32 and the ground pin as shown on the picture.  Connect your push button between Bus 1 – Pin 1 and the ground pin.  Connect a 10K resistor between  Bus 1 – Pin 1 and the V+ pin.

The IO Zero 32 contains two PCA9535 I/O controller chips from NXP.  The PCA9535 is an i2c based controller containing 16 I/O pins which can be configured individually as inputs or outputs.  The two PCA9535 controllers are configured on different I2C addresses so you can control them independently from each other, for more information on setting the I2C addresses see the IO Zero 32 data-sheet.

The maximum current you can draw from any of the pins on the PCA9535 is 50mA so by using the 500R resistor in series with the LED we limit the current to a safe level of 10mA at 5V.

For this tutorial we will start by creating a new python program file called  You can use your favourite text editor for writing the program.  You can find a complete example of in the ABElectronics_Python_Libraries/IOZero32/ folder.

At the top of your program you will need to import the IOZero32 library and time library.

#!/usr/bin/env python
from IOZero32 import IOZero32
import time

The IOZero32 library is used for all communication with your IO Zero 32, it gives you control over almost everything that can be done with the PCA9535 controller.

As we are only going to be using one of the PCA9535 controllers we will create an instance of the IOZero32 class and call it bus.  If you want to use both controller chips you will need to create two separate instances of the IOZero32 class with the I2C addresses for each chip.

bus = IOZero32(0x20)

0x20 is the I2C address for the controller chip on bus 1, if you have changed the address selection jumpers on your IO Zero 32 then you will need to change this number to match the new address.

With our new instance of the IOZero32 class we will be able to access all of the available methods for controlling the IO Zero 32.  Let’s begin by setting pin 1 as an input and pin 8 as an output.

bus.set_pin_direction(1, 1)
bus.set_pin_direction(8, 0)

The set_pin-direction method allows us to individually set the direction of each of the 16 pins on the bus.

set_pin-direction takes two variables, the first is the pin you want to control, pins 1 to 16.  The second variable is the command byte for setting the pin direction.  Setting a pin to 0 makes it an output while setting it to 1 makes it an input, just remember 0 = out, 1 = in. 

Next we will turn off pin 8 with the write_pin method.


As with setPinDirection, write_pin takes two variables, the first is the pin to write to and the second is the value to send to the port.  Sending a 0 turns a pin off while sending a 1 turns the pin on.

The IO Zero 32 is now set up for turning our led on and off, now we need to set up the button.

We will connect button between the input on pin 1 and 5V on the V+ pin.  When the button is pressed the input will rise to 5V.  We will also need a 100K pull-down resistor connected between the input pin and ground.

The inputs on the IO Zero 32 contain a very small amount of capacitance and when you release the button even though the 5V is no longer connected there will be a small charge remaining on the pin which is enough for the IO Zero 32 to get confused and not know if it should read the pin as on or off.  A pull-down resistor takes away the remaining charge by allowing it to flow to ground.

Now we have an LED output and a button for an input we can add a while loop where the button checking code will sit.

while True:

We need to check with an IF statement to see if the button is currently pressed, this can be done with the read_pin method.

  if bus.read_pin(1) == 1:

read_pin takes one variable, the number of the pin to read.  It returns a 1 or 0 showing the current state of the pin.

If the button is pressed we want to show it in some way so let’s print a message to the screen and light the LED for 2 seconds.

    print("button pressed") # print a message to the screen
    bus.write_pin(8, 1)

If you run the program now you will see that the LED lights when you press the button but it will stay on after the button is released and not go out even after the program has ended.  What we need is to add an ELSE statement onto the end of the IF statement so it turns the LED off after 2 seconds if the button is no longer pressed.

     bus.write_pin(8, 0)

This is all the code we need to make the program work, it should now look like this.

from IOZero32 import IOZero32
import time

bus = IOZero32(0x20)
bus.set_pin_direction(1, 1) # set pin 1 as an input
bus.set_pin_direction(8, 0) # set pin 8 as an output
bus.write_pin(8, 0) # turn off pin 8

while True:
  if bus.read_pin(1) == 1: # check to see if the button is pressed
    print("button pressed") # print a message to the screen
    bus.write_pin(8, 1) # turn on the led on pin 8
    time.sleep(2) # wait 2 seconds
    bus.write_pin(8, 0) # turn off the led on pin 8

Save your program and run it in a command terminal using


If everything goes as planned your LED should now turn on for 2 seconds every time you press the button.


(images created with Fritzing)

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