Now that we have the module wired up and verified that you can see the module with i2cdetect, we can set up the module.

Don't forget to set up I2C in the previous step!

Raspberry Pi OS's with systemd

This should be the case for any current release. For much older releases without systemd, skip to the next section.

Thanks to kd8twg for the hints!

You can add support for the RTC by adding a device tree overlay. Run

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

to edit the pi configuration and add whichever matches your RTC chip:






to the end of the file

Save it and run sudo reboot to start again. Log in and run sudo i2cdetect -y 1 to see the UU show up where 0x68 should be

Disable the "fake hwclock" which interferes with the 'real' hwclock

sudo apt-get -y remove fake-hwclock
sudo update-rc.d -f fake-hwclock remove
sudo systemctl disable fake-hwclock

Now with the fake-hw clock off, you can start the original 'hardware clock' script.

Run sudo nano /lib/udev/hwclock-set and comment out these three lines:

#if [ -e /run/systemd/system ] ; then
# exit 0

Also comment out the two lines

/sbin/hwclock --rtc=$dev --systz --badyear


/sbin/hwclock --rtc=$dev --systz

Sync time from Pi to RTC

When you first plug in the RTC module, it's going to have the wrong time because it has to be set once. You can always read the time directly from the RTC with sudo hwclock -r

(ignore use of deprecated -D parameter in the screenshot)

You can see, the date at first is invalid! You can set the correct time easily. First run date to verify the time is correct. Plug in Ethernet or WiFi to let the Pi sync the right time from the Internet. Once that's done, run sudo hwclock -w to write the time, and another sudo hwclock -r to read the time

Once the time is set, make sure the coin cell battery is inserted so that the time is saved. You only have to set the time once

That's it! Next time you boot the time will automatically be synced from the RTC module

To only ready time from the RTC and not the internet, you can disable the timesync service with:

sudo systemctl disable systemd-timesyncd.service
hwclock: ioctl(RTC_RD_TIME) to /dev/rtc0 to read the time failed: Invalid argument

If you are getting an error message like this when trying to read/write to the RTC, make sure you have a good coin cell battery installed.

Raspbian Wheezy or other pre-systemd Linux

First, load up the RTC module by running

sudo modprobe i2c-bcm2708
sudo modprobe i2c-dev
sudo modprobe rtc-ds1307

Then, as root (type in sudo bash) run

echo ds1307 0x68 > /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-1/new_device

If you happen to have an old Rev 1 Pi, type in

echo ds1307 0x68 > /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-0/new_device

You can then type in exit to drop out of the root shell.

Then check the time with sudo hwclock -r which will read the time from the DS1307 module. If this is the first time the module has been used, it will report back Jan 1 2000, and you'll need to set the time

First you'll need to get the right time set on the Pi, the easiest way is to connect it up to Ethernet or Wifi - it will automatically set the time from the network. Once the time is correct (check with the date command), run sudo hwclock -w to write the system time to the RTC

You can then verify it with sudo hwclock -r

Next, you'll want to add the RTC kernel module to the /etc/modules list, so its loaded when the machine boots. Run sudo nano /etc/modules and add rtc-ds1307 at the end of the file (the image below says rtc-1307 but its a typo)

Older pre-Jessie raspbian is a little different. First up, you'll want to create the DS1307 device creation at boot, edit /etc/rc.local by running

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

and add:

echo ds1307 0x68 > /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-0/new_device (for v1 raspberry pi)
echo ds1307 0x68 > /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-1/new_device (for v2 raspberry pi)
sudo hwclock -s (both versions)

before exit 0 (we forgot the hwclock -s part in the screenshot below)

That's it! Next time you boot the time will automatically be synced from the RTC module

This guide was first published on Aug 31, 2012. It was last updated on Apr 03, 2024.

This page (Set RTC Time) was last updated on Apr 03, 2024.

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