Every part You Have to Know About Raspberry Pi GPIO Pins

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The Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive and tiny laptop able to an enormous array of duties, together with retro gaming and being a home media center. The Pi additionally has a heavy concentrate on training, with each Scratch and Minecraft Pi edition geared in direction of serving to younger folks be taught to code, and the GPIO pins (Basic Goal Enter/Output) open up a complete world of DIY digital tinkering and invention.

What Are Raspberry Pi GPIO Pins?

raspberry pi gpio pins guide

On this article, we’ll inform you all the pieces it is advisable to know in regards to the Pi’s GPIO pins: what they’ll do, how one can use them, and errors to keep away from whereas utilizing them.

A be aware earlier than we start: Completely different revisions of the Pi can range with their pins! Earlier than attaching something to your board, be sure to are utilizing the proper ones. A fast option to verify is to kind pinout into your Raspberry Pi’s terminal, which can convey up a diagram of your present setup.

The GPIO pins are built-in into the circuit board of the pc. Their habits might be managed by the consumer to permit them to learn information from sensors, and management parts like LEDs, motors, and shows. Older fashions of the Pi had 26 GPIO pins, whereas the newer fashions all have 40. This chart reveals what every pin does:

Within the labelled diagram above, you possibly can see that there are several types of GPIO pins which serve totally different functions. You’ll find an interactive model of this chart at pinout.xyz It additionally outlines one of many first complicated issues you’ll have to deal with. Every pin has two numbers hooked up to it. Its BOARD quantity (the numbers within the circle) and its BCM (Broadcom SOC channel) quantity. You may select which conference to make use of if you write your Python code:

# 1 - GPIO/BCM Numbering

# 2 - Board Numbering

You may solely use one conference in every venture, so select one and stick with it. Neither conference is “proper”, so go together with whichever one makes most sense to you. It’s price noting nonetheless, that sure peripherals depend on GPIO/BCM numbering.

For this text, we’ll stick with BOARD numbering. So what do the pins truly do?

Energy Pins

Let’s begin with the facility pins. The Raspberry Pi can present each 5v (pins 2 and four) and three.3v (pins 1 and 17) energy. It additionally offers a floor (GND) for circuits on pins 6, 9, 14, 20, 25, 30, 34, and 39.

Sadly, there is no such thing as a single reply to how a lot present the 5v energy pins can draw as it’s reliant on what energy provide you’re utilizing, and what different parts you might have hooked up to your Pi. The Raspberry Pi three will solely draw 2.5A from its energy provide, and requires round 750mA for boot up and regular headless operation. Which means if you’re utilizing a 2.5A energy provide, the 5v pins can provide a complete present of round 1.7A most. Annoyingly, this varies between fashions of Pi nonetheless, as this desk reveals:

raspberry pi gpio pins guide
Picture Credit score: raspberrypi.org

For many customers simply beginning out with the Pi, this won’t be an issue, however it’s one thing to keep in mind as you spend extra time with the GPIO pins.

The three.3v pins are considerably less complicated, with current Raspberry Pi revisions (Mannequin B+ onwards) offering as much as 500mA complete, and older fashions offering simply 50mA. Word that this present is shared all through the entire different GPIO pins too!

So these pins can present energy to your parts, however that’s all they do. The true enjoyable stuff comes from the remainder of the pins.

Customary GPIO

On the chart above, ignoring the facility pins, you’ll see that some are marked in numerous colours. The inexperienced pins are customary GPIO pins, and these are what you’ll use for many newbie tasks. These pins are able to a three.3v output, additionally known as setting the pin HIGH in code. When an output pin is LOW because of this it’s merely offering 0v.

raspberry pi gpio pins guide

They’re additionally able to taking an enter of as much as three.3v, which the pin reads as HIGH.

Don’t present the pins with higher than three.3v: this can be a fast option to fry your Pi!

For an incredible information to getting began utilizing the GPIO pins in a easy venture, check out our Getting Started with Raspberry Pi GPIO project.

Whereas we’ll cowl among the pins with particular makes use of on this article, you need to use any pins besides the facility pins, and pins 27 and 28 as common GPIO pins.


PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) is used with parts comparable to motors, servos and LEDs by sending quick pulses to regulate how a lot energy they recieve. We used it with an Arduino in our Ultimate Guide to LED Strips tutorial.

PWM can be doable on the Pi. Pin 12 (GPIO 18) and pin 35 (GPIO 35) are PWM succesful, although the Pi can be capable of present software program PWM by way of libraries comparable to pigpio.

For an introduction to the code required for PWM, this straightforward LED brightness tutorial ought to assist get you going.


Pins eight and 10 (GPIO 14 and 15) are UART pins, designed for speaking with the Pi utilizing the serial port. There are particular conditions the place you could need to do that, however for many rookies connecting to your Pi headlessly via SSH or using a VNC will in all probability be simpler.

In case you are curious about an in depth view of how the serial pins work, this is a great primer.


SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface bus) is a technique of speaking with gadgets just like the RFID reader we utilized in our DIY Smart Lock with Arduino and RFID venture.

It permits gadgets to speak with the Raspberry Pi synchronously, that means way more information can go between the grasp and slave gadgets. When you have ever used a small touch screen to your Pi, that is how they communicated.

Picture Credit score: Gareth Halfacree/flickr.com

There are numerous gadgets and extension HATs for the Raspberry Pi which use SPI, and it could actually open up your tasks to way more than the common GPIO pins can maintain. It does nonetheless, require numerous wiring to get it working. There may be an in depth overview of SPI on the Raspberry Pi foundation website.

Pins 19, 21, 23, 24, 25 and 26 (GPIO 10, 9, 11, eight, GND, and GPIO 26) are used to hook up with an SPI machine, and they’re all required for easy operation. A great way to keep away from all of the spaghetti is to purchase a premade extension such because the Sense HAT, which inserts on high of your board and offers it with an LED matrix and a big selection on sensors. It’s been a favorite for a number of years now, and was even used on the International Space Station to do some experiments!

The SPI protocol isn’t enabled as customary on Raspbian, however it may be enabled within the raspi-config file, together with I2C.


I2C (Inter-Built-in Circuit) is much like SPI, however is mostly thought of to be simpler to arrange and to make use of. It communicates asynchronously, and is able to sustaining as many various gadgets as wanted supplied they every have distinctive tackle locations on the I2C bus. Resulting from this addressing system, the Pi solely wants two I2C pins—pin three (GPIO 2) and pin 5 (GPIO three), making it a lot less complicated to make use of than SPI.

The small footprint of I2C opens up an enormous vary of potentialities. With customary GPIO pins, organising an LCD display screen and a few buttons would take up nearly each pin, utilizing an I2C machine such because the Adafruit Negative LCD controller brings it down to simply two pins!

Sparkfun have a full rundown of SPI and I2C together with examples to get you began.

Pins 27 and 28 (marked ID_SD and ID_SC) are additionally I2C. There are utilized by the Pi for inside features, and in addition some HAT boards. As a normal rule, don’t mess with them except you actually know what you’re doing!

Raspberry Pi: A GPIO Pin for Every part!

The Raspberry Pi is the Swiss Military Knife of contemporary computing. Together with an enormous quantity of awesome day to day uses, it additionally opens anybody as much as the potential for making their very own cool creations.

Many Raspberry Pi beginner projects use the protocols mentioned on this article, and a arms on method is one of the simplest ways to be taught. Hold tinkering, and have enjoyable!


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