The most popular electronic sensors use I2C to communicate. This is a 'shared bus' 2 wire protocol, you can have multiple sensors connected to the two SDA and SCL pins as long as they have unique addresses (check this guide for a list of many popular devices and their addresses)

Lets show how to wire up a popular BME280. This sensor provides temperature, barometric pressure and humidity data over I2C

We're going to do this in a lot more depth than our guide pages for each sensor, but the overall technique is basically identical for any and all I2C sensors.

Honestly, the hardest part of using I2C devices is figuring out the I2C address and which pin is SDA and which pin is SCL!

Parts Used

Adafruit BME280 I2C or SPI Temperature Humidity Pressure Sensor
Bosch has stepped up their game with their new BME280 sensor, an environmental sensor with temperature, barometric pressure and humidity! This sensor is great for all sorts...
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We recommend using a breadboard and some female-male wires.

Angled shot of Premium Female/Male 'Extension' Jumper Wires - 40 x 6 (150mm)
Handy for making wire harnesses or jumpering between headers on PCB's. These premium jumper wires are 6" (150mm) long and come in a 'strip' of 40 (4 pieces of each of...
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You can use a Cobbler to make this a little easier, the pins are then labeled!

Angled shot of Assembled Pi T-Cobbler Plus next to GPIO ribbon cable
This is the assembled version of the Pi T-Cobbler Plus.  It only works with the Raspberry Pi Model Zero, A+, B+, Pi 2, Pi 3 & Pi 4! (Any Pi with 2x20...
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  • Connect the Coral 3.3V power pin to Vin
  • Connect the Coral GND pin to GND
  • Connect the Pi SDA pin to the BME280 SDI
  • Connect the Pi SCL pin to to the BME280 SCK
There's no Coral Fritzing object so we're showing Raspberry Pi which has the same pinout

Double-check you have the right wires connected to the right location, it can be tough to keep track of Pi pins as there are forty of them!

After wiring, we recommend running I2C detection with sudo i2cdetect -y 1 to verify that you see the device, in this case its address 77

Install the CircuitPython BME280 Library

OK onto the good stuff, you can now install the Adafruit BME280 CircuitPython library.

As of this writing, not all libraries are up on PyPI so you may want to search before trying to install. Look for circuitpython and then the driver you want.

Once you know the name, install it with

pip3 install adafruit-circuitpython-bme280

You'll notice we also installed a dependancy called adafruit-circuitpython-busdevice. This is a great thing about pip, if you have other required libraries they'll get installed too!

We also recommend an adafruit-blinka update in case we've fixed bugs:

pip3 install --upgrade adafruit_blinka

Run that code!

The finish line is right up ahead. You can now run one of the (many in some cases) example scripts we've written for you.

Check out the examples for your library by visiting the repository for the library and looking in the example folder. In this case, it would be

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2021 ladyada for Adafruit Industries
# SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT

import time
import board
from adafruit_bme280 import basic as adafruit_bme280

# Create sensor object, using the board's default I2C bus.
i2c = board.I2C()  # uses board.SCL and board.SDA
# i2c = board.STEMMA_I2C()  # For using the built-in STEMMA QT connector on a microcontroller
bme280 = adafruit_bme280.Adafruit_BME280_I2C(i2c)

# OR create sensor object, using the board's default SPI bus.
# spi = board.SPI()
# bme_cs = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D10)
# bme280 = adafruit_bme280.Adafruit_BME280_SPI(spi, bme_cs)

# change this to match the location's pressure (hPa) at sea level
bme280.sea_level_pressure = 1013.25

while True:
    print("\nTemperature: %0.1f C" % bme280.temperature)
    print("Humidity: %0.1f %%" % bme280.relative_humidity)
    print("Pressure: %0.1f hPa" % bme280.pressure)
    print("Altitude = %0.2f meters" % bme280.altitude)

Save this code to your Pi by copying and pasting it into a text file, downloading it directly from the Pi, etc.

Then in your command line run


The code will loop with the sensor data until you quit with a Control-C

That's it! Now if you want to read the documentation on the library, what each function does in depth, visit our readthedocs documentation at

This guide was first published on May 12, 2019. It was last updated on May 26, 2024.

This page (I2C Sensors & Devices) was last updated on May 25, 2024.

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