Use Passive Buzzer with Raspberry PI and Python

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Passive buzzer is a cheap and simple DC powered element able to generate a multi tone sound if triggered with low voltage current.

passive buzzer

Passive buzzer differs from active buzzer because active one has an internal oscillator able to generate sound when simply activated with a continuous trigger. Passive buzzer, instead, needs a square wave trigger (PWM).

Raspberry PI is able to generate PWM (pulse-width modulation) in two different ways:

  • Software PWM – available on all pins
  • Hardware PWM – available on GPIO12, GPIO13, GPIO18, GPIO19

We’ll use Software PWM with available from RPI.GPIO library.

In this guide I’ll show you how to use a passive buzzer with your Raspberry PI. I will use a Raspberry PI Zero W, but this guide will work also with newer Raspberry PI boards.

What We Need

As usual, I suggest adding from now to your favourite ecommerce shopping chart all needed hardware, so that at the end you will be able to evaluate overall costs and decide if continuing with the project or removing them from shopping chart. So, hardware will be only:

Raspberry PI Zero WH board

Check hardware prices with following links:

Amazon raspberry pi boards box
Amazon raspberry pi Zero W box
Amazon Raspberry PI Power Supply box
Amazon Micro SD box
Amazon Dupont Wiring box
Amazon passive buzzer

Wiring Diagram

Following picture shows wiring diagram adopted:

Raspberry PI passive buzzer wiring

Step-by-Step Procedure

An headless installation will be performed. However, also a Desktop installation works, using terminal.

Environment Preparation

This procedure starts from operating system setup installing Raspberry PI OS Lite.

Align your Raspberry PI to latest updates. From terminal:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Install RPI GPIO package to manage GPIOs pins from python:

sudo apt install rpi.gpio

Prepare Python Script

Python script becomes really simple with GPIO. You can download it in your Raspberry PI from terminal:

wget https://peppe8o.com/download/python/passive_buzzer.py

Below the script description.

Before all, needed libraries are imported:

import sys
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import time

Trigger PIN (pin where positive cable is connected) is defined in a variable for better management. Be aware to use GPIO BCM naming. In my cabling it is number 14. It is also set to be an output pin:

triggerPIN = 14
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)
GPIO.setup(triggerPIN,GPIO.OUT)

A new PWM instance is defined (and named buzzer, but you can use whatever name you prefer). Note that in instance definition also frequency is specified (1KHz).

Buzzer is then started with a dutycycle of 10 (value between 0 and 100):

buzzer = GPIO.PWM(triggerPIN, 1000) # Set frequency to 1 Khz
buzzer.start(10) # Set dutycycle to 10

At this point our buzzer is already singing. Our script will wait 1 second with the time.sleep directive. Then GPIO PINs are cleaned and script exits:

time.sleep(1)
GPIO.cleanup()
sys.exit()

In my script you can also find commented some useful commands to edit frequency or dutycycle and the stop command:

#buzzer.ChangeDutyCycle(10)
#buzzer.ChangeFrequency(1000)
#buzzer.stop()

You can try, for example, some musical notes being approssimatively:

NoteFrequency
A (DO)440
B (RE)494
C (MI)523
D (FA)587
E (SOL)659
F (LA)698
G (SI)784
Ref: https://www.deimos.ca/notefreqs/

Enjoy!