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Gamepad To Run Commands on Pi

I want to build a kiosk style system on a Raspberry Pi where you can press a button a command gets executed like omxplayer to play a video, qiv to display an image, or even display a web page.

I could tie in to the GPIO ports but I was thinking a faster way may be to use a gamepad and its buttons.

I looked around and most of my web search efforts pointed to gaming on the Raspberry Pi, which makes sense, but that is not what I wanted. But I did come accross an older than a decade daemon called joyd

In this doc I will go through installing it and configuring it on a Raspberry Pi.

The build I did was on a stock raspberrian image (2013-02-09-wheezy-raspbian.img) with nothing else added, not even patched.

I did this mostly using the pi account where the only time I had to sudo was for the make install command.

First download the files


Then untar the joyd file
tar xvf joyd-0.2.2.tar.gz
Change into the joyd directory
cd joyd-0.2.2/
And patch it so it will compile with newer gcc compilers
patch -p1 < ../joyd-fix-build.patch
The the following is the standrad configure, make, make install, a lot of programs use to install software
sudo make install
At this point your are actually done with the install.
Plug in your gamepad, you may need a powered USB hib for your gamepad.
To confirm it is installed you can 
  1. look in /dev/input for a js0 device
  2. Run dmesg after plugging it in to see if your gamepad is recognized
  3. or run lsusb to see if it is detected


Now to test out joyd, copy a sample joydrc config file over to your home directory 

cp /usr/local/doc/joyd/joydrc .
(note the period at the end)

Modify the file, 


# sample configuration file for joyd
# This helps you to find out the numbers of your buttons and axes.
# Use ctrl-c to quit joyd.
# Some general settings
device  /dev/input/js0
daemon  0
debug   2
stdout  1
syslog  0
calmin  -16384
calmax  16383
# These are the buttons that can be pressed
0       1       /bin/echo Button 1
0       2       /bin/echo Button 2
0       4       /bin/echo Button 3
0       8       /bin/echo Button 4
0       16      /bin/echo Button 5
0       32      /bin/echo Button 6
0       64      /bin/echo Button 7
0       128     /bin/echo Button 8
0       256     /bin/echo Button 9
0       512     /bin/echo Button 10
# These are the axes
1       0       /bin/echo Axis 1 low value
2       0       /bin/echo Axis 1 high value
4       0       /bin/echo Axis 2 low value
8       0       /bin/echo Axis 2 high value
16      0       /bin/echo Axis 3 low value
32      0       /bin/echo Axis 3 high value
64      0       /bin/echo Axis 4 low value
128     0       /bin/echo Axis 4 high value
The only change I really had to make was the device, I had to make it /dev/input/js0
Note the echo commands, simply replace the echo commands with the command you want like omxplayer, qiv, or midori.
Now run joyd with the configuration file after it
joyd joydrc
Yay... or joy!!!
Final Notes:
  • I tried several gamepad devices, most worked, I had one not work, a Saitek but I think it was broken.
  • You will get better results with a powered USB hub
  • The normal pi user should be part of the input group which has permissions to the /dev/inputjs0 device.
Major Kudos author Christian Garbs, after being written more than a decade ago, this little piece of code still works.

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