BlinkStick ambilight with Kodi/XBMC and Boblight on Linux OS

This guide describes how to set up BlinkStick ambilight with Kodi/XBMC on Linux OS. You will need some time :clock8: and your favourite beverage :coffee: so make sure you have both before you begin. :smiley:


This guide has been tested with Kodi 14.2-BETA1 on Kodibuntu, but should work with any version of Kodi/XBMC. To get started, you will need:

Before you begin

It’s a bit more convenient to log into Lubuntu provided with Kodibuntu to access the the web browser and command line terminal. To do this, log out of Kodi

And click on the Exit menu item.

This will take you to login screen where you can choose Lubuntu desktop to log in to. Enter your username and password to continue.

Now you can use the main menu to access:

  • Browser via Internet :arrow_right: Chromium Web Browser
  • Terminal via System Tools :arrow_right: XTerm
  • Kodi via Sound & Video :arrow_right: Kodi Media Center

Start XTerm terminal for your next steps.

Build binary files

Prepare the build environment and install build tools.

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential autoconf libtool libusb-1.0-0-dev portaudio19-dev git 

Clone the repository to get the latest source code for boblight patched to support BlinkStick devices.

git clone

Change directory to the cloned source code folder.

cd boblight

Run the following commands to set up build variables and build boblightd together with required libraries for Kodi/XBMC.

./configure --without-x11 --prefix=/usr
sudo make install

After this step you should have boblightd installed under /usr/bin/boblightd

Configure your system

The configuration file for BlinkStick Pro is already added to the repository. Run this command to copy it to /etc

sudo cp ./conf/blinkstick.conf /etc/boblight.conf

More details about configuration file format is described in the Boblight wiki, but at this point you shouldn’t worry about it.

The standard Linux OS distribution allows only root users to access certain USB devices BlinkStick including. In order to avoid permission problems when you run boblightd, please run the following command to add udev rule which allows any user to have access to any BlinkStick device connected to the OS:

echo "SUBSYSTEM==\"usb\", ATTR{idVendor}==\"20a0\", ATTR{idProduct}==\"41e5\", MODE:=\"0666\"" | sudo tee /etc/udev/rules.d/85-blinkstick.rules

Automatically start boblightd when OS starts

The following section describes how to make sure that boblightd is automatically started with OS. First, you have to add boblightd user. This is the user name to which the process will be assigned to when service starts. The user created will not have shell access and user directory in /home as it’s not necessary.

sudo useradd -r -s /bin/false boblightd

Create init.d configuration file for boblight by opening nano editor.

sudo nano /etc/init.d/boblight 

Paste the following content:


# Provides:          boblightd
# Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 1 6
# Short-Description: boblightd daemon
# Description:       Boblight daemon

DESC="boblight daemon"

[ -x "$DAEMON" ] || exit 0

. /lib/lsb/init-functions

case "$1" in
    # master switch
      log_daemon_msg "Starting $DESC" "$NAME"
      /sbin/start-stop-daemon --start --exec $DAEMON --background --make-pidfile --pidfile $PIDFILE --chuid $USER
      log_end_msg $?
 # master switch
      log_daemon_msg "Stopping $DESC" "$NAME"
      /sbin/start-stop-daemon --stop --pidfile $PIDFILE --chuid $USER
      /bin/rm -f $PIDFILE
      log_end_msg $?
    $0 stop && $0 start
 status_of_proc -p $PIDFILE $DAEMON $NAME && exit 0 || exit $?
    echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/$NAME {start|stop|restart|status}" >&2
    exit 1

exit 0

Press Ctrl+O to write file, then press Enter to accept the file name and finally press Ctrl+X to exit Nano editor.

Change it to executable mode:

sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/boblight

Add it to autostart:

sudo update-rc.d boblight defaults

Now you can start, stop and restart boblight by issuing the following commands:

sudo service boblight start
sudo service boblight stop
sudo service boblight restart

Test the service start/stop. Here is how it should look like:

Leave the service running before you go to the next stage with

sudo service boblight start

Now your OS has boblightd installed as a service and running on your machine. This service listens for commands to set LED color. Time to configure Kodi to use this service and light up BlinkStick!

Configure Kodi

In this section you will learn how to set up Kodi with Boblight plugin.

You should still be in Lubuntu desktop. Go ahead and start Kodi via main menu Sound & Video :arrow_right: Kodi Media Center.

Go to System :arrow_right: Add-ons :arrow_right: Get Add-ons :arrow_right: Kodi Add-on repository :arrow_right: Services :arrow_right: XBMC Boblight

Press Enter to open up Add-on information screen and click on Install button:

That’s it! Kodi should now send color of the screen to Boblight service. If you want to change the parameters you click on the same XBMC Boblight again and click on Configure:

Try and play a video with Kodi to see the ambilight effect on BlinkStick.

Final setup

You should still be in Lubuntu desktop with Kodi running. At this stage you can make sure that Kodi always starts when you reboot your media center. In order to do that, exit Kodi as described in Before you begin section. Then log out Lubuntu desktop environment with main menu Logout. You will be brought back to login screen. This time select Kodi as your desktop environment and log back in with your username and password.

When Kodi starts, BlinkStick will fade to red-green-blue indicating that everything is set up and running with Boblight service. One final step is to reboot the computer by exiting Kodi and using menu item Reboot. When PC reboots, you should see the startup LED sequence on BlinkStick red-green-blue.

If you encounter any issues with this guide, please reply to this topic and I will be happy to help!

1 Like

Perfect tutorial for a noob on linux like me. Thanks Arvydas :smiley:

All is ok with your tutorial, I just have on issue. The color are inverted, fotr example when the max percent screen color is yellow the blinkstick shows a blue color. I think the blinkstick configuration color need to be in reverse mode. How can I do that ?
If my explanation is not clear let me know :smile:

I know what you mean. You will need to change the configuration file. Right after this line 13 in /etc/boblight.conf add the following text:

inverse          on

You can edit the file with:

sudo nano /etc/boblight.conf

Keyboard combination to write and exit is Ctrl+O, Enter, Ctrl+X

Restart service with:

sudo service boblight restart

Hope this helps!

I have found by myself comparing my blinkstick.conf on my windows HTPC with the blinkstick.conf on Kodibuntu. Thanks for your reply :smiley:

Perfect tutorial. But I have one problem.

When I autostart boblight the lights greet me (boot sequence) and I can connect (with boblight remote and kodi). But when I watch a movie the lights wont turn on. The log however doesnt write anything…

If I restart boblight with the “sudo service boblight restart” I do get:
[ ok ] Stopping boblight daemon: boblightd.
[ ok ] Starting boblight daemon: boblightd.
But still the same problem.

When I kill the service and start boblight with:
“sudo killall boblightd --> boblightd -f”
it works as should be and I got pretty ambilight lights. But I would like to not have to restart like this every time after boot.

Do you have an idea what might be the problem?

@jwadeswart do you have boblightd user on your system as described in the tutorial?

I just want to report back that this is a perfect tutorial :smiley:
It works on my Raspberry Pi 2 with debian wheezy and KODI

And now I’m off for some serious movie watching :wink:

Thanks a lot