The Raspbian distribution includes support for the DS18B20 1-wire temperature sensor. These sensors come in a small three pin package like a transistor and are accurate digital devices.

In this lesson, you will learn how to use a DS18B20 with the Raspberry Pi to take temperature readings.

Since the Raspberry Pi has no ADC (Analog to Digital Converter), it cannot directly use an analog temperature sensor like the TMP36, making the DS18B20 a good choice for temperature sensing.

The breadboard layout for the DS18B20 transistor form factor (TO-92) part and waterproof corded model is shown below. We provide example for the older 20-pin and modern 40-pin Raspberry Pi connectors. This setup will work on all models of Raspberry Pi which have been released except for the Pi compute modules which do not have breakout headers. 

The DS18B20 "1-wire" sensors can be connected in parallel - unlike nearly any other sensor sold! All sensors should share the same pins, but you only need one 4.7K resistor for all of them

The resistor is used as a 'pullup' for the data-line, and is required to keep the data transfer stable and happy

Be careful to get the DS18B20 the right way around. The curved edge should be to the left as shown in the figure below. If you put it the wrong way around, it will get hot and then break.

Despite both being temperature sensors, the DS18B20+ is totally different than the TMP36. You cannot use a TMP36 for this tutorial!

40-Pin (A, B, B+ and Zero) Cobbler Plus Schematic

20-Pin (Raspberry Pi Rev 1 and Rev 2) Cobbler Schematic

Waterproof 40-Pin [black]

If you are using the waterproof version of the DS18B20 then the device has three leads, red, black and yellow. The bare copper screening lead that does not need to be connected.

Waterproof 20-Pin [black]

Hightemp Waterproof [white]

If you are using the "high temperature" version of the DS18B20 we sell, connect Orange Stripe to 3.3V, White connects to ground and Blue Stripe is data, pin #4.

You still need a ~4.7K-10K resistor from data to 3.3V

Although the DS18B20 just looks like a regular transistor, there is actually quite a lot going on inside.

The chip includes the special 1-wire serial interface as well as control logic and the temperature sensor itself.

Its output pin sends digital messages and Raspbian includes an interface to read those messages. Once we enable 1-Wire using the 'raspi-config' tool on your Raspberry Pi the correct kernel modules will be loaded on subsequent reboots.

Enable 1-Wire

Download: file
sudo raspi-config

Select Interfacing Options

Select 1-Wire

Select Yes

Exit out of raspi-config and reboot your Pi so the 1-wire kernel modules load up.

Download: file
sudo reboot

Verify that the 1-Wire kernel modules have loaded on the next boot. You should see something like the below output when running the lsmod command.

Download: file
lsmod | grep -i w1_

The Python program deals with any failed messages and reports the temperature in degrees C and F every second.

import glob
import time

base_dir = '/sys/bus/w1/devices/'
device_folder = glob.glob(base_dir + '28*')[0]
device_file = device_folder + '/w1_slave'

def read_temp_raw():
    f = open(device_file, 'r')
    lines = f.readlines()
    return lines

def read_temp():
    lines = read_temp_raw()
    while lines[0].strip()[-3:] != 'YES':
        lines = read_temp_raw()
    equals_pos = lines[1].find('t=')
    if equals_pos != -1:
        temp_string = lines[1][equals_pos+2:]
        temp_c = float(temp_string) / 1000.0
        temp_f = temp_c * 9.0 / 5.0 + 32.0
        return temp_c, temp_f

while True:

The next three lines, find the file from which the messages can be read.

Download: file
def read_temp_raw():
	catdata = subprocess.Popen(['cat',device_file], stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.PIPE)
	out,err = catdata.communicate()
	out_decode = out.decode('utf-8')
	lines = out_decode.split('\n')
	return lines

Reading the temperature takes place in two functions, read_temp_raw just fetches the two lines of the message from the interface. The read_temp function wraps this up checking for bad messages and retrying until it gets a message with 'YES' on end of the first line. The function returns two values, the first being the temperature in degrees C and the second in degree F.

You could if you wished separate these two as shown in the example below:

Download: file
deg_c, deg_f = read_temp()

The main loop of the program simply loops, reading the temperature and printing it, before sleeping for a second.

To upload the program onto your Raspberry Pi, you can use SSH to connect to the Pi, start an editor window using the line:

Download: file

and then paste the code above, before saving the file with CTRL-x and Y.

The program must be run as super user, so type the following command into the terminal to start it:

Download: file
sudo python

If all is well, you will see a series of readings like this:

Try putting your finger over the sensor to warm it up.

Adding more sensors

You can add additional DS18B20 sensors in parallel - connect all the sensors' VCC, data and ground pins together. Use a single 4.7K resistor. You will see multiple /sys/bus/w1/devices/28-nnnnn directories, each one having the unique serial number as the directory name. The python example code only works for one sensor right now so you will have to adapt it if you want it to read from different sensors at once

This guide was first published on Jan 28, 2013. It was last updated on Jan 28, 2013.