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Enabling i2c on Raspberry Pi Ubuntu 18.04 Server

Ubuntu 12

In this article, we will guide you through the process of enabling the i2c interface on a Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 18.04 Server. This is a crucial step for those who wish to connect their Raspberry Pi to i2c devices, such as sensors, displays, or other microcontrollers.

Quick Answer

To enable i2c on a Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 18.04 Server, you can either use the raspi-config utility or the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository. Both methods will allow you to enable the i2c interface and communicate with i2c devices.

What is i2c?

i2c (Inter-Integrated Circuit) is a synchronous, multi-master, multi-slave, packet-switched, single-ended, serial communication bus invented by Philips Semiconductor (now NXP Semiconductors). It is widely used for attaching lower-speed peripheral ICs to processors and microcontrollers in short-distance, intra-board communication.

Enabling i2c on Raspberry Pi

There are two main methods to enable i2c on your Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 18.04 Server. The first one involves using the raspi-config utility, while the second one uses the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository.

Method 1: Using raspi-config

  1. Install raspi-config and dependencies Run the following commands in your terminal to download and install raspi-config and its dependencies:
    wget -4 https://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian/pool/main/r/raspi-config/raspi-config_20210604_all.deb -P /tmp
    apt-get install libnewt0.52 whiptail parted triggerhappy lua5.1 alsa-utils -y
    apt-get install -fy
    dpkg -i /tmp/raspi-config_20210604_all.deb
    These commands will download the raspi-config package and install it along with its dependencies. The -4 option in the wget command forces the use of IPv4. The -P /tmp option specifies the download location as the /tmp directory.
  2. Mount the boot partition Run the following command to mount the boot partition:
    sudo mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /boot
    This command mounts the first partition of the SD card (mmcblk0p1) to the /boot directory.
  3. Enable i2c Run sudo raspi-config and navigate to Interfacing Options -> I2C to enable the i2c interface.
  4. Verify i2c is enabled Run ls /dev/i2c* in your terminal. If i2c is enabled, it should respond with /dev/i2c-1.
  5. Detect i2c devices Run sudo i2cdetect -y 1 to detect any i2c devices connected to your Raspberry Pi. The -y option skips the user confirmation, and 1 is the i2c bus number.

Method 2: Using the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository

This method uses a repository specifically tailored for Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi.

  1. Add the repository Run the following command to add the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers/ppa
  2. Edit the repository file Open the repository file in a text editor with the following command:
    sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers-ubuntu-ppa-eoan.list
    Replace eoan with bionic in the file. Uncomment the line starting with deb-src if you want the source code repository.
  3. Update the package list Run sudo apt update to update the package list.
  4. Install raspi-config Run sudo apt install raspi-config to install the raspi-config utility.

Now you should be able to enable i2c using the raspi-config utility as described in Method 1.

Conclusion

Enabling i2c on your Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 18.04 Server can be achieved by following the steps described in this article. Whether you choose to use the raspi-config utility or the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository, the end result should be the same: a Raspberry Pi ready to communicate with i2c devices.

Can I enable i2c on a Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 18.04 Server?

Yes, you can enable i2c on a Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 18.04 Server by following the steps mentioned in this article.

What is the purpose of enabling i2c on a Raspberry Pi?

Enabling i2c allows you to connect your Raspberry Pi to i2c devices such as sensors, displays, or other microcontrollers for communication and data transfer.

What is the difference between Method 1 and Method 2 for enabling i2c?

Method 1 involves using the raspi-config utility, which is a more traditional method. Method 2 utilizes the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository, specifically tailored for Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi.

Do I need to install any dependencies when using Method 1?

Yes, you need to install the dependencies for raspi-config by running the specified commands in the article.

How can I verify if i2c is enabled on my Raspberry Pi?

You can run the command ls /dev/i2c* in the terminal. If i2c is enabled, it should respond with /dev/i2c-1.

How can I detect i2c devices connected to my Raspberry Pi?

You can use the command sudo i2cdetect -y 1 in the terminal to detect any i2c devices connected to your Raspberry Pi. The -y option skips the user confirmation, and 1 is the i2c bus number.

Can I use Method 2 without adding the `ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers` repository?

No, Method 2 requires adding the ubuntu-pi-flavour-makers repository to your system to access the raspi-config utility.

Is it necessary to mount the boot partition when using Method 1?

Yes, you need to mount the boot partition to access the necessary files for enabling i2c using raspi-config.

Is it possible to enable i2c on other operating systems for Raspberry Pi?

Yes, i2c can be enabled on other operating systems for Raspberry Pi as well, but the specific steps may vary depending on the OS.

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