I am trying to run an Express API server with sudo permissions and have it automatically start on boot.

The API needs access to bcm2835 library, and I get the following when trying to run node server.js

bcm2835_init: Unable to open /dev/mem: Permission denied /home/pi/Documents/node_modules/rpio/lib/rpio.js:104
return bindfunc(optarg);

Error: Could not initialize bcm2835 library
at bindcall (/home/pi/...) etc.

However it boots up fine running sudo node server.js.

I have created a service file at /etc/systemd/system as follows:

Description=Node API

ExecStart=/usr/bin/node /home/pi/Documents/server.js



I found some guidance here and here, but they seem slightly off, since a sub-command needs sudo/root privileges.

When running service controller start from the command line it prompts for a username and password.

How can I run this service with proper permissions so it boots up with the Pi?

  • Your script is the issue! – George Udosen Nov 1 '18 at 17:40
  • I see... How do I give the proper permissions to the script? – Matthew Nov 1 '18 at 18:39
  • No, the "asking for password" is the issue and I assume controller is your script! – George Udosen Nov 1 '18 at 19:26
  • server.js is my script that calls /home/pi/Documents/node_modules/rpio/lib/rpio.js – Matthew Nov 1 '18 at 19:48
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "no"... – Matthew Nov 1 '18 at 19:49

you need to allow the following commands in the sudoers file:

systemctl start <your-systemd-service>

systemctl stop <your-systemd-service>

systemctl restart <your-systemd-service>

systemctl enable <your-systemd-service>

dont use the service command.

Remember to replace the service name with your systemd service. For example if your service file is with name:


then it should be:

systemctl start controller.service

systemctl stop controller.service

systemctl restart controller.service

systemctl enable controller.service

also , you will need to do:

systemctl daemon-reload

after you place you service file in systemd

Adding commonads in sudoers:


example command:

<your-user> ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/systemctl start controller.service
  • Where is the sudoers file? – Matthew Nov 1 '18 at 20:03
  • just type visudo as root , it will open the config file and u need to allow your user thoese commands – Ijaz Ahmad Khan Nov 1 '18 at 20:04
  • remember to replace the service name with the name of your systemd service – Ijaz Ahmad Khan Nov 1 '18 at 20:05
  • I get an error after I save the file, >>> /etc/sudoers: syntax error near line 15 and so on for each line I try to add. – Matthew Nov 1 '18 at 20:10
  • How do I edit as root when I'm logged in as another user? – Matthew Nov 1 '18 at 20:10

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