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Control an Elgato Avea bulb using python3

Project description

Control of an Elgato Avea bulb using Python

PyPI Language grade: Python Build Status

The Avea bulb from Elgato is a light bulb that connects to an iPhone or Android app via Bluetooth.

This project aim to control it using a Bluetooth 4.0 compatible device and some Python magic.

Tested on Raspberry Pi 3 and Zero W (with integrated bluetooth).


The lib requires bluepy, so we must install the following dependancy, wheter we use pip or install from source.


sudo apt install libglib2.0-dev

Then install from pip3

sudo apt install python3-pip
sudo pip3 install --upgrade avea

or if you prefer installing from source

git clone
cd avea
sudo python3 install

Library usage

You can check the example script, to try it directly onto your bulbs :

sudo python3

Below is a quick how-to of the various methods of the library.

Note : the discover_avea_bulbs() function needs root privileges, due to bluepy's scan(). From your user, you can use sudo -E.

import avea # Important !

# Get nearby bulbs in a list, then retrieve the name of all bulbs
# using this method requires root privileges (because of bluepy's scan() )
nearbyBulbs = avea.discover_avea_bulbs()
for bulb in nearbyBulbs:

# Or create a bulb if you know its address (after a scan for example)
myBulb = avea.Bulb("xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx")

# You can set the brightness, color and name
myBulb.set_brightness(2000)                 # ranges from 0 to 4095
myBulb.set_color(0,4095,0,0)                # in order : white, red, green, blue
myBulb.set_rgb(0,255,0)                     # RGB compliant function
myBulb.set_smooth_transition(255,255,0,4,30)   # change to rgb(255,255,0) in 4s with 30 iterations per second
myBulb.set_name("bedroom")                  # new name of the bulb

# And get the brightness, color and name
print(myBulb.get_name())                # Query the name of the bulb
theColor = myBulb.get_color()           # Query the current color
theRgbColor = myBulb.get_rgb()          # Query the bulb in a RGB format
theBrightness = myBulb.get_brightness() # query the current brightness
theAddr = myBulb.addr                   # query the bulb Bluetooth addr
theFwVersion = myBulb.get_fw_version()  # query the bulb firmware version

That's it. Pretty simple.

Check the explanations below for more informations, or check the sources !

Code documentation

Reverse engineering of the bulb

I've used the informations given by Marmelatze as well as some reverse engineering using a btsnoop_hci.log file from an Android device and Wireshark.

Below is a pretty thorough explanation of the BLE communication and the python implementation to communicate with the bulb.

As BLE communication is quite complicated, you might want to skip all of this if you just want to use the library. But it's quite interesting.

Communication protocol


To communicate the bulb uses Bluetooth 4.0 "BLE", which provide some interesting features for communications, to learn more about it go here.

To sum up, the bulb emits a set of services which have characteristics. We use the latter to communicate to the device.

The bulb uses the service f815e810456c6761746f4d756e696368 and the associated characteristic f815e811456c6761746f4d756e696368 to send and receive informations about its state (color, name and brightness). We'll transmit over this characteristic.

Commands and payload explanation

The first bytes of transmission is the command. A few commands are available :

Value Command
0x35 set / get bulb color
0x57 set / get bulb brightness
0x58 set / get bulb name

Color command

For the color command, the transmission payload is as follows :

Command Fading time Useless byte White value Red value Green value Blue value

Each value of the payload is a 4 hexadecimal value. (The actual values are integers between 0 and 4095)

For each color, a prefix in the hexadecimal value is needed :

Color prefix
White 0x8000
Red 0x3000
Green 0x2000
Blue 0X1000

The values are then formatted in big-endian format :

Int 4-bytes Hexadecimal Big-endian hex
4095 0x0fff 0xff0f

Brightness command

The brightness is also an Int value between 0 and 4095, sent as a big-endian 4-bytes hex value. The transmission looks like this :

Command Brightness value
0x57 0xff00

Walkthrough & Example

Let say we want the bulb to be pink at 75% brightness :


75% brightness is roughly 3072 (out of the maximum 4095):

Int 4-bytes Hexadecimal Big-endian hex
3072 0x0C00 0x000C

The brightness command will be 0x57000C


Pink is 100% red, 100% blue, no green. (We assume that the white value is also 0.) For each color, we convert the int value to hexadecimal, then we apply the prefix, then we convert to big-endian :

Variables Int Values Hexadecimal values Bitwise XOR Big-endian values
White 0 0x0000 0x8000 0x0080
Red 4095 0x0fff 0x3fff 0xff3f
Green 0 0x0000 0x2000 0x0020
Blue 4095 0x0fff 0x1fff 0xff1f

The final byte sequence for a pink bulb will be :

Command Fading time Useless byte White value Red value Green value Blue value
0x35 1101 0000 0080 ff3f 0020 ff1f

Python implementation

Below is some python3 code regarding various aspects that are quite interesting.

One-liner for color computation

To compute the correct values for each color, I created the following conversion (here showing for white) :

white = (int(<value>) | int(0x8000)).to_bytes(2, byteorder='little').hex()

Bluepy writeCharacteristic() overwrite

By default, the btle.Peripheral() object of bluepy only allows to send UTF-8 encoded strings, which are internally converted to hexadecimal. As we craft our own hexadecimal payload, we need to bypass this behavior. A child class of Peripheral() is created and overwrites the writeCharacteristic() method, as follows :

class AveaPeripheral(bluepy.btle.Peripheral):
    def writeCharacteristic(self, handle, val, withResponse=True):
        cmd = "wrr" if withResponse else "wr"
        self._writeCmd("%s %X %s\n" % (cmd, handle, val))
        return self._getResp('wr')

Working with notifications using Bluepy

To reply to our packets, the bulb is using BLE notifications, and some setup is required to be able to receive these notifications with bluepy.

To subscribe to the bulb's notifications, we must send a "0100" to the BLE handle which is just after the one used for communication. As we use handle 0x0028 (40 for bluepy) to communicate, we will send the notification payload to the handle 0x0029 (so 41 for bluepy)

self.bulb.writeCharacteristic(41, "0100")

After that, we will receive notifications from the bulb.


  • Reverse engineer the ambiances (which are mood-based scenes).

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