Using libgpiod

libgpiod is a C library and tools for interacting with the linux GPIO character device. Since linux 4.8 the GPIO sysfs interface is deprecated. User space should use the character device instead. libgpiod encapsulates the ioctl calls and data structures behind a straightforward API.

This article has been tested with the Linux Kernel 4.14.x LTS and Debian Stretch

Save this script to install and compile libgpiod:


sudo apt-get install -y libtool pkg-config autoconf-archive python3-dev
sudo apt-get install -y build-essential
tar xvf libgpiod-1.1.1.tar.gz
cd libgpiod-1.1.1

./ \
   --enable-tools=yes       \
   --enable-bindings-python \

sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

How to use it

There are currently six command-line tools available:

* gpiodetect - list all gpiochips present on the system, their names, labels
               and number of GPIO lines

* gpioinfo   - list all lines of specified gpiochips, their names, consumers,
               direction, active state and additional flags

* gpioget    - read values of specified GPIO lines

* gpioset    - set values of specified GPIO lines, potentially keep the lines
               exported and wait until timeout, user input or signal

* gpiofind   - find the gpiochip name and line offset given the line name

* gpiomon    - wait for events on GPIO lines, specify which events to watch,
               how many events to process before exiting or if the events
               should be reported to the console


    # Read the value of a single GPIO line.
    $ gpioget gpiochip1 23

    # Read two values at the same time. Set the active state of the lines
    # to low.
    $ gpioget --active-low gpiochip1 23 24
    1 1

    # Set values of two lines, then daemonize and wait for a signal (SIGINT or
    # SIGTERM) before releasing them.
    $ gpioset --mode=signal --background gpiochip1 23=1 24=0

    # Set the value of a single line, then exit immediately. This is useful
    # for floating pins.
    $ gpioset gpiochip1 23=1

    # Find a GPIO line by name.
    $ gpiofind "USR-LED-2"
    gpiochip1 23

    # Toggle a GPIO by name, then wait for the user to press ENTER.
    $ gpioset --mode=wait `gpiofind "USR-LED-2"`=1

    # Wait for three rising edge events on a single GPIO line, then exit.
    $ gpiomon --num-events=3 --rising-edge gpiochip2 3
    event:  RISING EDGE offset: 3 timestamp: [    1151.814356387]
    event:  RISING EDGE offset: 3 timestamp: [    1151.815449803]
    event:  RISING EDGE offset: 3 timestamp: [    1152.091556803]

    # Wait for a single falling edge event. Specify a custom output format.
    $ gpiomon --format="%e %o %s %n" --falling-edge gpiochip1 4
    0 4 1156 615459801

    # Pause execution until a single event of any type occurs. Don't print
    # anything. Find the line by name.
    $ gpiomon --num-events=1 --silent `gpiofind "USR-IN"`

    # Monitor multiple lines, exit after the first event.
    $ gpiomon --silent --num-events=1 gpiochip0 2 3 5


Sergio Tanzilli
System designer, software developer and company co-founder
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