File Formats

BlinkenLights Movie - .blm

This format was used by the original BlinkenLights installation. It's text based and supports movies with black-white pictures.

blm format

BlinkenMini Movie - .bmm

This format was created based on the BlinkenLights format. It's also text based but supports 256 grayscales within the movies' pictures.

bmm format

BlinkenMini Binary Movie - .bmbm

This was not intended to be a real file format but rather the protocol used when talking to bmdrv using normal write operations. However it can also be used to save movies in a binary format. Then it's possible to copy theese movies to bmdrv to watch them.

bmbm Format

Graphics Interchange Format - .gif

This format is a standarized graphics format and is not explained here.

Blinkenlights Markup Language - .bml

This format was invented by the BlinkenLights crew for their new project Arcade. It supports RGB-colors and is based on XML.

Network Protocols

New Descriptions

More detailed and newer descriptions can be found at .

blinkenlights-protocol - blp

This protocol was used by the original BlinkenLights installation. It supports transmitting black-white movies.

blp protocol

extended-blinkenlights-protocol - eblp

This protocol is a further development of the blinkenlights-protocol, but it supports transmitting greyscale movies.

eblp protocol

MCU-frame-protocol - mcuf

This protocol is somehow based on the (extended-)blinkenlights-protocol. It supports transmitting greyscale and colored movies.

mcuf protocol


Driver for Unified Software Framework

The newer driver lldrv for use the with new unified software model (BlinkenSend, BlinkenOutput - parts of BlinkenLib) also supports BLINKENmini and BlinkenLeds(Pro).
This driver, developed originally for LittleLights, works much better on Linux 2.6 (keyword "PnP") and is able to process the data of BlinkenLights streams directly, making it possible to replace the converter programs even with "netcat -l -u -p 2323 >/dev/lldrv".


A small kernel module that can access the BLINKENmini hardware over the parallel port. It provides support for showing pictures and reading the input devices, both using ioctls or normal read and write operations. Its IO and IRQ settings are configurable.
You can copy blinkenlights binary movies to this charcater device.

The driver uses an external IRQ-source to achieve a constant time signal. Using this signal it regulates the brightness levels of the LEDs. They are switched on and off very fast with a contant frequency, but the on-time during one period is changed. This causes the LEDs to appear in different brightness levels.
The new version 1.1 supports also old SNES pads that output the data very slow.
The versions from 1.1.90 have got support for Linux 2.6.

bmdrv 1.0 (bzip2)
bmdrv 1.1 (bzip2)
bmdrv 1.1.90 (bzip2)
bmdrv 1.1.91 (bzip2)
bmdrv 1.1.92_2006-01-08 (bzip2)


The kernel module adapted for BlinkenLeds.
It supports only the output of monochrome pictures.

bmdrv_leds 0.1 (bzip2)
bmdrv_leds 0.2 (bzip2)
bmdrv_leds 0.2.2 (bzip2)
bmdrv_leds 1.1.92_2006-01-08 (bzip2)



A little simulator for bmdrv. It simulates input and output on a console using two fifos to provide a bmdrv-like interface to applications (no bmdrv ioclts of course).

bmsim 1.0 (bzip2)

File Format Converter


A little tool to convert movies between the different formats.
Formats currently supported: .blm .bmm .bmbm .gif .bml

bmconv 1.0 (bzip2)

The new version also supports sending the movies across a network with following protocols: blinkenlights-protocol, extended-blinkenlights-protocol, MCU-frame-protocol

bmconv 1.1 (bzip2)
bmconv 1.2 (bzip2)

This version is now able to simulate the afterglow.
bmconv 1.3 (bzip2)

Other Converters


Receives the UDP packets sent by blccc and outputs them to bmdrv. So with this tool, it's possible to use blccc with BLINKENmini.

blccc2bmdrv 1.0 (bzip2)


Simulates the ISDN-interface of blccc using the controllers attached to BLINKENmini and sends the udp packets.

bmdrv2blccc 1.0 (bzip2)


Receives movies (with these protocols: blinkenlights-protocol, extended-blinkenlights-protocol, MCU-frame-protocol) from multiple sources. The user can interactively select a source to display using bmdrv.

net2bmdrv 1.0 (bzip2)



A collection of well known games (Life, Pong, Snake, Tetris, Tron) for BLINKENmini.

bmgames 1.0 (bzip2)
bmgames 1.1 (bzip2)
bmgames 1.2 (bzip2)



A very limited paint program for BLINKENmini. You can move a cursor and change the brightness of the pixels. This program was written for the people who want to see how the communication with bmdrv works.

bmexample 1.0 (bzip2)



Manuel <> wrote this Windows-Software to control BlinkenLeds. His software has many features including blinkenlights protocol support and various BlinkenLeds hardware types, version 1.31 also introduces BLINKENmini support.

BlinkenTool in the BlinkenArea Wiki

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