Introduction: Detect Temperature and Humidity With Raspberry Pi and HTU21 / SHT21

About: Software engineer and open source enthusiast

Wondering what's the weather? Let's check it out with your Raspberry Pi! This tutorial provides step by step instructions how to detect temperature and humidity with the dirt cheap I2C sensor HTU21D and open source code on your Raspberry Pi.

If the embedded video does not appear on your mobile device, here is an alternative link. If you like this tutorial, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, give a star to the project in GitHub and have a look at my Instructables and videos.

Step 1: Getting Ready

For this tutorial you need the following hardware components:

  • Raspberry Pi (any model or version)
  • HTU21 module
  • Breadboard
  • Male to female jumper wires (x4)
  • microSD card with Raspian GNU/Linux distribution
  • Power supply

HTU21 (or SHT21) modules are popular for hobby electronics. In general they are available for less than 5 USD per unit.

I have a couple modules here. They have different colors but the sensor is actually absolutely the same on both modules. Beware that the other physical difference is the position of the lines for data and clock. I am going to use the blue HTU21D module for the rest of the tutorial.

Step 2: Wiring

The wiring is simple and takes less than a minute. As shown in the video, using male to female jumper wires connect VIN, GND, SCL and SDA from HTU21D to pins 1, 9, 5, 3 of Raspberry Pi.

Step 3: Installing Software

Boot your Raspberry Pi with Raspbian GNU/Linux distribution, open a terminal or login via SSH. Execute the following commands to download and install the required packages:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git build-essential i2c-tools

Step 4: Enabling I2C

  1. Type the following command in a terminal:
    ​sudo raspi-config
  2. Select Advanced Options > I2C
  3. Follow the on screen instructions and reboot Raspberry Pi to compete this step.

Step 5: Reading Temperature and Humidity

I have published free and open source example for reading temperature and humidity on Raspberry Pi using HTU21D. They are available in GitHub. Perform the following steps to use it:

  • Get the source code from GitHub
    git clone
  • Build the example:
    cd rpi-examples
    cd HTU21D/c
  • Run the application:
    sudo ./HTU21D_test
  • The temperature and the humidity will be printed on the screen
  • Enjoy!