Shell - API Bindings

The Shell bindings allow you to control Bricks and Bricklets from your shell scripts. The ZIP file for the bindings contains:

  • tinkerforge, a Python script that acts as a shell command
  •, a Bash completion script
  • in examples/ the examples for every Brick and Bricklet

The Shell bindings are based on the Python bindings.


  • Python 2.5 or newer with argparse module, Python 3 is also supported


The Shell bindings can be installed, but can also be used without installation.

To install the bindings copy the tinkerforge file to a folder that is in the PATH. For example, this folder on Linux and Mac OS X:


On Windows the Scripts/ folder of the Python installation is a good choice:


To be able to call the bindings directly on Windows you have to create a tinkerforge.bat file in the Scripts/ folder with the following content:

@"C:\Python27\python.exe" "C:\Python27\Scripts\tinkerforge"

If your Python is not installed in C:\Python27\ then you have to adapt the content of the tinkerforge.bat file accordingly.

Bash Completion

IF you're using Bash as your shell then you can use the Bash completion script To install it copy the file to the /etc/bash_completion.d/ an reload the Bash completions with the following command:

. /etc/bash_completion

The Bash completion for tinkerforge can complete options, UIDs, Brick and Bricklet names as well as function and callback names.

Testing an Example

To test a Shell example Brick Daemon and Brick Viewer have to be installed first. Brick Daemon acts as a proxy between the USB interface of the Bricks and the API bindings. Brick Viewer connects to Brick Daemon and helps to figure out basic information about the connected Bricks and Bricklets.

All examples are meant for typical Unix shells such as Bash. They will work on Linux and Mac OS X as they are. There are Bash ports for Windows that allow to run the examples unmodified, too.

As an example let's test the configuration example for the Stepper Brick. For this copy the file from the examples/brick/stepper/ folder into a new folder:


If you did not install the bindings then you have to copy the tinkerforge file to the example_project/ folder too:

 -> tinkerforge

To make the example find the non-installed tinkerforge file all occurrences of the tinkerforge command in the file have to be replaced by ./tinkerforge.

The example starts with a comment about changing the network address using the --host and --port option if it differs from localhost:4223. If the Stepper Brick is connected locally to USB then localhost and 4223 is correct.

# connects to localhost:4223 by default, use --host and --port to change it

To control a Stepper Brick that can be found at host foobar and port 5678 the examples has to be changed as follows: each occurrence of the tinkerforge command has to be replaced by this:

tinkerforge --host foobar --port 5678

The UID value has to be changed to the UID of the connected Stepper Brick, which you can figure out using Brick Viewer:

# change to your UID

Now you're ready to test this example:


API Reference and Examples

Links to the API reference for the IP Connection, Bricks and Bricklets as well as the examples from the ZIP file of the bindings are listed in the following table. Further project descriptions can be found in the Starter Kits section.

  API Examples
IP Connection API Examples
DC API Examples
IMU API Examples
IMU 2.0 API Examples
Master API Examples
RED API Examples
Servo API Examples
Silent Stepper API Examples
Stepper API Examples
Accelerometer API Examples
Ambient Light API Examples
Ambient Light 2.0 API Examples
Analog In API Examples
Analog In 2.0 API Examples
Analog Out API Examples
Analog Out 2.0 API Examples
Barometer API Examples
CAN API Examples
CO2 API Examples
Color API Examples
Current12 API Examples
Current25 API Examples
Distance IR API Examples
Distance US API Examples
Dual Button API Examples
Dual Relay API Examples
Dust Detector API Examples
GPS API Examples
GPS 2.0 API Examples
Hall Effect API Examples
Humidity API Examples
Industrial Analog Out API Examples
Industrial Digital In 4 API Examples
Industrial Digital Out 4 API Examples
Industrial Dual 0-20mA API Examples
Industrial Dual Analog In API Examples
Industrial Quad Relay API Examples
IO-16 API Examples
IO-4 API Examples
Joystick API Examples
Laser Range Finder API Examples
LCD 16x2 API Examples
LCD 20x4 API Examples
LED Strip API Examples
Line API Examples
Linear Poti API Examples
Load Cell API Examples
Moisture API Examples
Motion Detector API Examples
Multi Touch API Examples
OLED 128x64 API Examples
OLED 64x48 API Examples
Piezo Buzzer API Examples
Piezo Speaker API Examples
PTC API Examples
Real-Time Clock API Examples
Remote Switch API Examples
RGB LED API Examples
Rotary Encoder API Examples
Rotary Poti API Examples
RS232 API Examples
Segment Display 4x7 API Examples
Solid State Relay API Examples
Sound Intensity API Examples
Temperature API Examples
Temperature IR API Examples
Thermocouple API Examples
Tilt API Examples
UV Light API Examples
Voltage API Examples
Voltage/Current API Examples