I have a gps tracking script using node-gpsd module. When the automobile pass over a checkpoint the script plays a sound like "you are in XXXXX stop" and then waits 30 second to start tracking for the automobile ubication. All this tracking system is running on a raspberry pi zero in a bus.

Here is my code:

var turf = require('turf');
var fs = require('fs');
var gpsd = require('node-gpsd');
var listener = new gpsd.Listener();
var exec = require('child_process').exec;
var sleep = require('sleep');

function estaDentro(long,lat,coords){
    var posicion = turf.point([long, lat]);
    var pol = turf.polygon([coords]);
    return turf.inside(posicion, pol);

function operacion(tpv) {
        var lat = tpv.lat;
        var lng = tpv.lon;
        var zonasJson = fs.readFileSync("audio/jsons/zonas.json");
        var zonas = JSON.parse(zonasJson);

        for (i=0; i<zonas.zonas.length; i++){
                var zona = i;
                var paradaJson = fs.readFileSync("audio/jsons/"+zona+"paradas.json");
                var parada = JSON.parse(paradaJson);
                for(x=0; x<parada.paradas.length; x++){
                        exec('mpg123 audio/arribando.mp3 audio/paradas/'+parada.paradas[x].nombre+'.mp3')
                        setTimeout(function(){ listener.watch(); }, 30000);

function correr() {
    listener.on('TPV', function (tpv) {

    listener.connect(function() {


I need to run this script at boot, but I cant, really, I tried in /etc/rc.local writing this on that file:

/usr/local/bin/node /home/pi/trak3.js &

Then I reboot and nothing happens, in the log it appears that the command its run but for some reason it closes.

Another approach was inserting in crontab like this

@reboot /usr/local/bin/node /home/pi/trak3.js &

This works, but the script runs with an error, it play the sound repeatedly 3 times in a row, but if I run the script myself writing in the command line it play the sound once.

I dont know why I cant run node via the /etc/rc.local and why that happen when it run via crontab. This is making me crazy haha.

Thank you

=============Update 05 November 2016 ==============

I got the conclusion that the problem is caused by the paths of the modules, because I made a test script without dependencies and it executed fine at boot, I can get the path from modules downloaded from npm, but I cant get the paths from the integrated modules.

    var turf = require('/home/pi/node_modules/turf');
    var fs = require('fs');
    var gpsd = require('/home/pi/node_modules/node-gpsd');
    var listener = new gpsd.Listener();
    var exec = require('child_process').exec;
    var sleep = require('/home/pi/node_modules/sleep');

As you can see I need the "fs" and "child_process" path modules, do anybody knows how to solve this problem? thank you.


3 Answers 3


Most of us write and test our code as user "pi". At startup the Pi is running as "root" with a completely different environment and directory. I found it helpful to use "sudo -u pi ..." in my startup scripts to switch to the pi user as needed. Here's an example: https://github.com/oyamist/oyapi/blob/master/scripts/oyapi

Note also the explicit cd into the desired directory. Yours will be different.


try using pm2. it's designed to run node.js scripts at boot, among other things. you can restart a script, you can look at its regular and error outputs in log files.

to start a node.js script at boot:

$ pm2 start app.js

for help:

$ pm2 -h

for a list of running processes:

pm2 list

to get details about one of the processes:

pm2 show

I had the same infuriating problem then I remembered I previously had to export NODE_PATH in my .bashrc file to start node. Your rc.local file should contain the path to your node_modules directory. Eg:

export NODE_PATH=/usr/local/lib/node_modules

/usr/local/bin/node /home/pi/trak3.js &

  • Hi, I tried your solution but nothing happened. After some analysis I got the conclusion that the problem is with the modules path, I can get the path from modules downloaded from npm because the files are saved in /home/pi/node_modules. But this only applys to the modules downloaded from NPM the fs and child process modules are causing the problem. Do you know where are located "fs" and "child_process" modules? Nov 5, 2016 at 8:07

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