Raspberry Pi to Arduino Shield Connection Bridge

Raspberry Pi to Arduino Shield Connection Bridge

Puente para utilizar shields de Arduino en Raspberry Pi

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The idea behind the Raspberry Pi to Arduino shields connection bridge is to allow to use any of the shields, boards and modules designed for Arduino in Raspberry Pi. It includes also the possibility of connecting digital and analog sensors, using the same pinout of Arduino but with the power and capabilities of Raspberry.

 The Raspberry Pi to Arduino Shields Connection Bridge is compatible with Raspberry Pi, Raspberry Pi (Model B+), and the newRaspberry Pi 2. Read more.

In order to make complete the compatibility we have created the arduPi library which allows to use Raspberry with the same code used in Arduino. To do so, we have implemented conversion functions so that you can control in the same way as in Arduino all the I/O interfaces:i2CSPIUARTanalogdigital, in Raspberry Pi.

Let's summarize what we can do using this shield along with the arduPi library:

1. The Shield

Version 2 of the shield:

  • This version includes a Digital Switch to enable/disable the socket for wireless modules using GPIO23 (Digital Pin 3).

Get the schematics here

Get the Raspberry Pi to Arduino shields connection bridge here.

Version 1 of the shield:

  • 8 Digital pins.
  • Socket for wireless modules.
  • RX/TX pins.
  • i2C pins (SDA, SCL).
  • SPI pins (SCK, MISO, MOSI, CS). Can be used also as GPIO.
  • 8 channel analog to digital converter.
  • Switch to enable external power supply.

Get the schematics here

3. The library: arduPi

arduPi is a C++ library that lets you write programs for Raspberry Pi as if you were writing an arduino program. All the functions in order to control Serial port communications, i2C, SPI and GPIO pins are available using the arduino syntax.

arduPi has been tested in a Raspbian distribution. In order to write a Raspbian image to the SD card you can download the NOOBS hereand follow this instructions.

Once installed Raspbian, download and install arduPi library in a new folder, for example: "home/pi/ardupi"

For Raspberry Pi:

wget && unzip && cd raspberrypi && chmod +x compile_rpi && ./compile_rpi && cd .. 

For Raspberry Pi 2:

wget && unzip && cd raspberrypi_2.0 && chmod +x compile_rpi2 && ./compile_rpi2 && cd ..

 Download arduPi library for Raspberry Pi

 Download arduPi library for Raspberry Pi 2

You can find a library changelog here.

General Arduino functions:

  • delay()
  • delayMicroseconds()
  • millis()
  • pinMode()
  • digitalWrite()
  • digitalRead()
  • analogRead() (On pins from A0 to A7. Example: analogRead(5) will read from A5)
  • shiftIn()
  • shiftOut()
  • attachInterrupt()*
  • detachInterrupt()

[*] We can detect RISING and FALLING interrupts. Any digital pin (from 2 to 13) can be used in attachInterrupt(). For example if we want to be aware of RISING events on pin 6 we can do attachInterrupt(6,function_to_call,RISING).

Serial Library:

  • available()
  • begin()
  • end()
  • flush()
  • peek()
  • print()
  • println()
  • read()
  • readBytes()
  • readBytesUntil()
  • find()
  • findUntil()
  • parseInt()
  • parseFloat()
  • setTimeout()
  • write()

Wire Library:

  • begin()
  • requestFrom()
  • beginTransmission()
  • endTransmission()
  • write()
  • read()

SPI Library:

  • begin()
  • end()
  • setBitOrder()
  • setClockDivider()
  • setDataMode()
  • transfer()

3.1 Using arduPi library:

In the library folder you will find 3 files: arduPi.cpp, arduPi.h and arduPi_template.cpp
The arduPi_template.cpp file is meant to be used as a starting point to create programs with the same behaviour as an arduino program.

Here you can see the template code:

//Include arduPi library
	#include "arduPi.h"

	 *  setup() AND loop() YOU MUST DECLARE THEM HERE        *
	 * *******************************************************/

	 * ************************/

	int main (){
		return (0);

As you can see in the main() function the setup() function is called once and then the loop() function is called continiously until the program is forced to finish.

Either if you are starting to write a new program, or if you have an arduino program written that uses the ported functions you can use the template (ardupi_template.cpp) and put your arduino code where it says: YOUR ARDUINO CODE HERE. Remember that the program you are writing is a C++ program so all the C++ libraries can be used.

Also remember, as you can read in the template that if your arduino code uses other functions apart from setup() and loop() you must declare them in the indicated area.

3.2 Enabling the UART port:

This steps are for new versions of Raspbian. We are going to turn off the UART as a serial console in order to let it available for us:

  1. Enter in Raspberry Pi configuration:
    sudo raspi-config

  2. Go to “Advanced Options”.

  3. Select "Serial".

  4. Select 'No' to disable shell and kernel messages via UART.

  5. You will see "Serial is now disabled"->Ok->Finish to reboot.

The following steps are based on Raspbian Debian Wheezy 2015-02-16.

    1. Open a terminal on the Raspberry Pi, or connect to Raspberry Pi through SSH.

    2. Make a backup of the /boot/cmdline.txt file.
      sudo cp /boot/cmdline.txt /boot/cmdline_backup.txt

    3. Open the file /boot/cmdline.txt: 
      sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

      This file contains something similar to this (the content may vary): 
      dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait

      Remove the parameters that reference the UART serial port (ttyAMA0): 
      dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait

Press CTRL+X to exit and save the file.

    1. Open the file /etc/inittab:
      sudo nano /etc/inittab

      Find this line (it should be at the end of the file): 
      T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyAMA0 115200 vt100

      Comment it with a “#” symbol in the beggining of the line:
      #T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyAMA0 115200 vt100

Press CTRL+X to exit and save the file.

  1. Reboot Raspberry Pi:
    sudo reboot

We also recommend to enable SPI and I2C following these steps:

  1. Enter in Raspberry Pi configuration:
    sudo raspi-config

  2. Open “8 Advanced Options”.

  3. Open “A6 SPI” and click “Yes” and “Ok” to all.

  4. Repeat step 2 and then open “A7 I2C” and click “Yes” and “Ok” to all.

3.3 Compile arduPi library:

As arduPi is a C++ library we will use g++ to compile it. You can compile and download the arduPi library to obtain an object file (.o) and use this file to link your program:

For Raspberry Pi:

wget && unzip && cd raspberrypi && chmod +x compile_rpi && ./compile_rpi && cd .. 

For Raspberry Pi 2:

wget && unzip && cd raspberrypi_2.0 && chmod +x compile_rpi2 && ./compile_rpi2 && cd ..

3.4 Compile a program that uses arduPi:

If you have already compiled the arduPi library (previous step) you can do:

g++ -lrt -lpthread MY_PROGRAM.cpp arduPi.o -o MY_PROGRAM

The -lrt flag is necesary because the library uses the function clock_gettime (time.h).

The -lpthread option is needed because attachInterrupt() and detachInterrupt() functions use threads.

3.5 Running your program

For running your program you must have the right permissions in order to use GPIO (/dev/mem needs to be accessed in the raspberry). You can run your program with sudo:


4. Basic circuits.

WARNING: GPIO voltage levels are 3.3 V and are not 5 V tolerant. There is no over-voltage protection on the board. Digital inputs use a 3V3 logic level and are not tolerant of 5V levels, such as you might find on a 5V powered Arduino.

Extreme caution when working with GPIO, you may damage your Raspberry Pi, your equipment and potentially yourself and others. Doing so is at your own risk!

More information:

5.1 GPIO Input

GPIO peripherals vary quite widely. In some cases, they are very simple, a group of pins that can be switched as a group to either input or output. The input and output voltages are typically, though not universally limited to the supply voltage of the device with the GPIOs on, and may be damaged by greater voltages.

Some GPIOs have 5 V tolerant inputs: even on low supply voltages, the device can accept 5V without damage.

For Raspberry Pi, we present an examples of how to adapt the voltage level of a 5V sensor measure to prevent possible damage.

Components for this examples and voltage adaptation circuit can be founded in the Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi.

When a GPIO pin is set as an input with a basic push button example, we can have these voltages incompatibility problems.

This circuit is wrong because when you press the button the GPIO input is connected to 5 volts, so our device may be damaged.

However, this can be avoided by simply using a resistor in the push-button cable. The value of the resistor is determined by the leakage current of the GPIO pin (the current used by the circuit to read the pin) and the amount of voltage drop it creates as a result. With the 5K resistor we obtain 3.3V in the GPIO input.

Vgpio = 5V·(10K/(10K+5K)) = 3.3V

5.2 GPIO Sensor measurement

We will have the same problem if we use a sensor operating at 5 volts.

Here is an example using a PIR sensor.

As shown in the image, we use the same resistive divider used to adapt voltage level.

5. ADC.

The shield includes an ADC of 12b of resolution which allows to connect any sensor to Raspberry with higher precision that Arduino does. The communication between Raspberry and the ADC of the shield is made via i2C.

The information of each channel can be obtained reading two bytes from i2C, but previously one byte (corresponding to the channel address) should be send through i2C depending of the channel we want to select. Here is a list with the channel addresses:

Channel Adress
0 0xDC
1 0x9C
2 0xCC
3 0x8C
4 0xAC
5 0xEC
6 0xBC
7 0xFC

Here is an example of a program that reads every channel continuously waiting 5 seconds between iterations.

With a wire connecting the 5V pin with some of the pins of the ADC a value near to 5.000000 should be read.

All the examples on this guide use the arduPi library.


Here is the output of this program connecting the 5V pin of Raspberry to the analog input 0:

6. UART.Go to index 

Accessing the UART with arduPi library is as simple as doing it with Arduino.

You need to include arduPi.h in your code and create an instance of SerialPi class naming it Serial.

Naming the instance as Serial allows you to use the arduino syntax. (All this is allready done if you use the provided template to create your programs).

The functions available are:

  • Serial.available()
  • Serial.begin()
  • Serial.end()
  • Serial.flush()
  • Serial.peek()
  • Serial.print()
  • Serial.println()
  • Serial.readBytes()
  • Serial.readBytesUntil()
  • Serial.find()
  • Serial.findUntil()
  • Serial.parseInt()
  • Serial.parseFloat()
  • Serial.setTimeout()
  • Serial.write()

All this functions have the same functionality as the arduino ones. You can find more information at:


An example of code that acess the UART can be found in the Raspberry Pi XBee tutorial

7. i2C.

An example of using i2C can be found on the ADC section.

Here we show another example using the BlinkM RGB i2C controlled led.

BlinkM uses a high quality, high power RGB LED and a small AVR microcontroller to allow a user to digitally control an RGB LED over a simple i2C interface.

In the example we will change the led color using fade transitions and also changing it directly. More information about the LED and the commands we can send to it can be found in the datasheet.

Connect the (-) pin of the led with the GND pin of the shield.

Connect the (+) pin of the led with the 5V pin of the shield.

Connect the d pin of the led with the SDA pin of the shield.

Connect the c pin of the led with the SCL pin of the shield.

Here is the code:


This code alternate from red to blue five times and then make some smooth transitions between purplish colors.

8. SPI.

It is possible to communicate with SPI devices using the functions provided by arduPi.

In this example we use the SPI functions for printing messages on the ST7920 LCD12864 (SPI LCD)

First of all, we need to put the switch of the LCD in SPI mode.

Now we proceed with the connection between the LCD and the Raspberry Pi to arduino shield :

VCC of the LCD to 5v of the shield

GND of the LCD to GND of the shield

SCK of the LCD to SCK of the shield

SID of the LCD to MOSI of the shield

CS of the LCD to 8 pin of the shield

As you can see we are using the pin number 8 of the Raspberry Pi shield as chip select. So when we need to select the LCD as the target device for the SPI communication we need to put the 8 pin to HIGH.

Here is the code:


This program will show the messages "Cooking Hacks" and "SPI LCD for Raspberry Pi" with a delay of 2 seconds in between.

9. Support.

Get help in the specific section created in our Forum.

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