Can I make one of the LEDs on the Ethernet port do the same thing as the ACT led?

The case I've got my Pi in, does not allow me to see the ACT led so I do not know when its okay to cut the power after shutting down the Pi. I can't seem to find out anything about them.


1 Answer 1


Having done some research myself I can't seem to come across any resources that explain how the LEDS work. I suspect the LEDs are something that are hardwired into the Ethernet port and are not controlled through software. For example take a look at this schematic of a RJ-45 Ethernet connector:

enter image description here

You can clearly see the two LEDs labelled YELLOW and GREEN are hardwired to the connector pins.

A hardware hack that might work although if your not confident with electronics do not try this. Is to de-solder the ACT LED and run a wire from each pad on the PCB from where the LED is connected and the solder the LED across the end of the two wires. I dubious as to whether that would work because the wires might introduce too much resistance.

There is a way of connecting an LED to the GPIO and it giving the same functionality as the ACT LED, you might find this thread useful. I think going the GPIO route is probably your best solution. You can thread wires from the GPIO through the case to an LED.

  • My gpio is not accessible, I did a pigrrl 2 project, so the screen is taking up the gpio Jun 16, 2017 at 13:46
  • 2
    Do you think I could use some kind of fiber optic to extend it? Not sure how to connect it or what size would be good. I would only need a few inches Jun 16, 2017 at 21:18
  • Fiber optic is a very interesting idea, I'm not sure if the ACT LED would be bright enough though.
    – Darth Vader
    Jun 16, 2017 at 21:26
  • Not even if it's just a few inches? It will be in a pigrrl 2 case Jun 16, 2017 at 22:01
  • You could certainly give it a go, but at that point you might as well modify the case so you can see the ACT LED. I.e cut out the section of the case above the LED and fit a clear piece of acrylic in the gap. I can understand why you would want to be certain the Pi has properly shutdown before turning off the power. However, if you tell it to shutdown and leave it a couple of minutes you can be fairly certain its shutdown correctly. This is what I normally do and it hasn't caused me any problems.
    – Darth Vader
    Jun 17, 2017 at 9:16

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