Using I2C bus from user space

I2C is a bus invented by Philips to allow simple, robust and cost effective communication between integrated circuits. TWI and SMBus are the Atmel and Intel versions of these bus.
This article is explains how to use it in user space mode

Using i2c-tools

The faster way to do the first experiments with this board is by installing and using the i2c-tools.

i2c-tools is a package contains a heterogeneous set of I2C tools for Linux such as:

  • a bus probing tool
  • a chip dumper
  • a register-level access helpers
  • an EEPROM decoding scripts
  • ...and more

To install i2c-tools on the FOX Board just type:

~# apt-get update
~# apt-get install i2c-tools

Using i2cdetect

i2cdetect is an userspace program to scan an I2C bus for devices. It outputs a table with the list of detected devices on the specified bus.

Example of use:

~# i2cdetect -y 0
     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f                             
00:          -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
10: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
20: 20 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
30: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
40: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
50: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
60: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                             
70: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --                                                     

In this case a device has been detected on address 20 hex.

Using i2cset and i2cset

i2cset is a small helper program to set registers visible through the I2C bus.

The follow simple command writes the byte value 255 to the I2C device at address 20 hex on the i2c bus 0 (/dev/i2c-0).

~# i2cset -y 0 0x20 255

If for example you are using a DAISY-22 module with a PCF8574 I2C I/O expander this command will set all the GPIO lines to 1.

i2cget i2cget is a small helper program to read registers visible through the I2C bus.

The follow simple command read a byte from an I2C device at address 20 hex on the i2c bus 0 (/dev/i2c-0).

~# i2cget -y 0 0x20
0x01
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Python code example

python-smbus is a Python module allows SMBus access through the I2C /dev interface on Linux hosts. The host kernel must have I2C support, I2C device interface support, and a bus adapter driver.

Write a register

The following example sends a sequence of values from 0 to 255 to the PCF8574 I2C I/O expander at address 0x20.

Run it by typing:

~# python write.py

Read a register

The following read the GPIO status of a PCF8574 I2C I/O expander at address 0x20. Note that we have to write 1 on the input line we want to read.

Run it by typing:

~# python read.py
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C code example

Write a register

The following example sends a sequence of values from 0 to 255 to the PCF8574 I2C I/O expander at address 0x20 in C language.

Compile it by typing:

~# gcc write.c -o write

Then launch it:

~# ./write

Read a register

The following example get the state of the GPIO line from a PCF8574 I2C I/O expander at address 0x20.

Compile it by typing:

~# gcc read.c -o read

Then launch it:

~# ./read

Author:
Sergio Tanzilli - tanzilli@acmesystems.it
http://www.tanzilli.com - https://github.com/tanzilli