It's easy to use the MAX31855 sensor with Python and CircuitPython, and the Adafruit CircuitPython MAX31855 module.  This module allows you to easily write Python code that reads the temperature from the thermocouple.

You can use this sensor with any CircuitPython microcontroller board or with a computer that has GPIO and Python thanks to Adafruit_Blinka, our CircuitPython-for-Python compatibility library.

CircuitPython Microcontroller Wiring

First wire up a MAX31855 to your board exactly as shown on the previous pages for Arduino.  Here's an example of wiring a Feather M0 to the sensor:

  • Board 3V to sensor Vdd
  • Board GND to sensor GND
  • Board SCK to sensor CLK
  • Board MISO to sensor DO
  • Board D5 to sensor CS (or any other free digital I/O pin)

Python Computer Wiring

Since there's dozens of Linux computers/boards you can use we will show wiring for Raspberry Pi. For other platforms, please visit the guide for CircuitPython on Linux to see whether your platform is supported

Here's the Raspberry Pi wired with SPI:

  • Pi 3.3V to sensor Vin
  • Pi GND to sensor GND
  • Pi SCLK to sensor CLK
  • Pi MISO to sensor DO
  • Pi GPIO 5 to sensor CS

CircuitPython Installation of MAX31855 Library

Next you'll need to install the Adafruit CircuitPython MAX31855 library on your CircuitPython board

First make sure you are running the latest version of Adafruit CircuitPython for your board.

Next you'll need to install the necessary libraries to use the hardware--carefully follow the steps to find and install these libraries from Adafruit's CircuitPython library bundle.  For example the Circuit Playground Express guide has a great page on how to install the library bundle for both express and non-express boards.

Remember for non-express boards like the Trinket M0, Gemma M0, and Feather/Metro M0 basic you'll need to manually install the necessary libraries from the bundle:

  • adafruit_max31855.mpy
  • adafruit_bus_device

Before continuing make sure your board's lib folder or root filesystem has the adafruit_max31855.mpy, and adafruit_bus_device files and folders copied over.

Next connect to the board's serial REPL so you are at the CircuitPython >>> prompt.

Python Installation of MAX31855 Library

You'll need to install the Adafruit_Blinka library that provides the CircuitPython support in Python. This may also require enabling I2C on your platform and verifying you are running Python 3. Since each platform is a little different, and Linux changes often, please visit the CircuitPython on Linux guide to get your computer ready!

Once that's done, from your command line run the following command:

  • sudo pip3 install adafruit-circuitpython-max31855

If your default Python is version 3 you may need to run 'pip' instead. Just make sure you aren't trying to use CircuitPython on Python 2.x, it isn't supported!

CircuitPython & Python Usage

To demonstrate the usage of the sensor we'll initialize it and read the temperature.  First initialize the SPI connection and library by running:

Download: file
import board
import busio
import digitalio
import adafruit_max31855
spi = busio.SPI(board.SCK, MOSI=board.MOSI, MISO=board.MISO)
cs = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D5)
max31855 = adafruit_max31855.MAX31855(spi, cs)

Now you can read the temperature property to retrieve the temperature from the sensor in degrees Celsius:

Download: file
print('Temperature: {} degrees C'.format(max31855.temperature))

That's all there is to reading temperature with the MAX31855 and CircuitPython code!

Full Example Code

import time
import board
import busio
import digitalio
import adafruit_max31855

spi = busio.SPI(board.SCK, MOSI=board.MOSI, MISO=board.MISO)
cs = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D5)

max31855 = adafruit_max31855.MAX31855(spi, cs)
while True:
    tempC = max31855.temperature
    tempF = tempC * 9 / 5 + 32
    print("Temperature: {} C {} F ".format(tempC, tempF))
    time.sleep(2.0)
This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 29, 2012.
This page (Python & CircuitPython) was last updated on Oct 28, 2020.