Changing the baud rate of additional I2C busses

Changing the baud rate of additional I2C busses

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for some project I need 5 sensors. Their I2C address is fixed and can be changed to another fixed value by soldering. So without an I2C multiplexer (which I don’t have), I need at least 3 I2C busses.

Hence, I added two additional I2C busses to my Raspberry Pi 3B by adding the following lines to /boot/config.txt:

# open another i2c bus on GPIO 20 (SDA4) and GPIO 21 (SCL4)

# open another i2c bus on GPIO 20 (SDA3) and GPIO 21 (SCL3)

On the breadboard, this works just fine and I receive the data reliably (using an adapted version of these instructions). Now I want to distribute the sensors at quite some distance from the Raspberry Pi using some 50m of data cable. I know that I2C isn’t made for this and, in fact, it doesn’t work out of the box. Using the built-in I2C bus (bus 1), I immediately get an IOError if I try to read the sensor over the data cable. However, if I alter the baud rate from the standard 100 kHz to 10 kHz by adding


to /boot/config.txt, everything works fine.

My question is: How can I alter the baud rate of the additional I2C busses? Is this possible at all? I tried i2c_gpio_baudrate without success and couldn’t find any reference on how to do that.

Thank you very much!i2cshareedit  follow  closeflag asked 11 hours agoKilroy2122 bronze badges New contributor

  • 1have you tried adding i2c_arm_baudrate to the list of parameters when you setup the aditional buses. “dtoverlay=i2c-gpio,bus=4,i2c_gpio_delay_us=1,i2c_gpio_sda=20,i2c_gpio_scl=21,i2c_arm_baudrate=10000” – Chad G 6 hours ago
  • 1I tried that but it didn’t change anything. I solved the problem, however, see below. Nevertheless, thank you for your help! – Kilroy 5 hours ago 

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1 Answer


I think I can actually answer the question myself now.

You can change the baud rate of additional I2C busses on the GPIOs by changing the i2c_gpio_delay_us paramter, which defines some time constant in microseconds (check out /boot/overlays/README). The default seems to be 2, which supposedly corresponds to approx. 100 kHz. Changing that to 20 got me a working I2C bus over the 50m of data cable (at approx. 10 kHz I guess).

In short, the lines in /boot/config.txt now read

# open another i2c bus on GPIO 20 (SDA4) and GPIO 21 (SCL4)

# open another i2c bus on GPIO 20 (SDA3) and GPIO 21 (SCL3)

and everything works as expected.shareedit  follow  flag

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