PiicoDev Ambient Light Sensor VEML6030 - Raspberry Pi Guide

Updated 17 September 2021


This guide will help you read light intensity data from your PiicoDev® Ambient Light Sensor and a Raspberry Pi single-board computer

To follow along, it's best to have:

In the video we use a PiicoDev Platform to keep everything safe and secure.

For this tutorial, we'll assume you're familiar using a Raspberry Pi like a desktop computer - connected to a keyboard, mouse, monitor and with an internet connection. If you need help getting started, have a look at Chapter 1 of the Raspberry Pi Workshop for Beginners.

If you prefer not to use the Expansion Board for Raspberry Pi, there are other connection options in our PiicoDev Connection Guide.

Connect the PiicoDev sensor to your Pi

Mount the PiicoDev® Adapter on your Raspberry Pi and plug connect your Light Sensor to the Adapter via the PiicoDev cable.

The adapter connects to the 40-pin GPIO header on the Raspberry Pi -  ensure the header is mounted correctly, with the "Ethernet" label on the same side as the Pi's ethernet adapter.

If you're unfamiliar with connecting PiicoDev modules, read the PiicoDev Connection Guide before proceeding.


Pictured above: A Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with USB Power and HDMI (two white leads). The PiicoDev Adapter is placed on the 40-pin header, and connects to the light sensor with a PiicoDev Cable.

Enable I2C

Power on your Raspberry Pi. Open the Raspberry Pi Configuration Menu, select the Interfaces tab and ensure I2C is enabled.

You only need to do this step for your first PiicoDev project - from here on you probably won't have to repeat this step when using PiicoDev hardware.


Install PiicoDev

Open Thonny (Pi Start Menu > Programming > Thonny IDE) and open the Manage Packages menu (Tools > Manage Packages)


Search for 'piicodev' and install or upgrade if necessary.

search-for-piicodev-pypi     install-piicodev-package

Download the Example Script

Download this example script: main.py (right-click, "save link as")

Save this file wherever you like to keep your programming projects. For this tutorial I'll save mine in /home/pi/PiicoDev and change the name to light.py to give it some context.

Run the Example

Double click main.py to open in Thonny, then click the green "Run Current Script" button.


Pictured above: The light data streams up the Shell and graphs in the Plotter (View > Show Plotter). The measured light starts at about 200 lux (ambient, office) increases when I shine a light on it, and falls off to about zero when I cover the sensor with my hand.

All going well, light data will begin streaming up the Shell window.

If you receive an error, it may be because the sensor is not connected properly - reconnect the sensor and try again.

If you have any questions or uncertainty, start the discussion below. We're full-time makers and here to help!

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