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.

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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!

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16 Discussions


2 months ago

Hi, thanks a lot for this great project. Everything is fine for me, and the returning values are also correct. I only have one question about the datasheet, all the datasheets I can find on the Internet only contain 2 or 3 pages, so could you please share with the datasheet you referred to? Thank you very much.

2 replies

Question 5 months ago

I'm setting this up for measuring temperatur/humidity in a greenhouse. However, the test application seems to output values even though no sensor is attached?

4 answers

Reply 5 months ago

Hm... check if any I2C device is present with i2cdetect.


Reply 5 months ago

No, as there is nothing connected, i2cdetect turns up zero devices. However, the line:
int fd = wiringPiI2CSetup(HTU21D_I2C_ADDR);
returns a file descriptor > 0. Not sure what it's supposed to do if there is no device connected at all...


Reply 5 months ago

Anyway, I've now connected the device and it is detected with i2cdetect and seems to work.


Reply 5 months ago

Alrite, it seems that the read(...) call does not return 3 when the device is disconnected, this can be used to detect connection.


9 months ago

I was getting weird (overly high) values, too, but it turned out to be a wiring mistake. I had mistakenly connected to the pi’s SCLK pin instead of the SCL pin. Once I fixed that, it worked like a charm. Thank you for posting this.


2 years ago

Thanks for the project. I have mine working but it is returning values of around 41 Deg C and RH of 78% these values are wildly wrong almost double anyone else see this?

3 replies

Reply 2 years ago

You are welcome. I am glad that the tutorial is useful. I am sorry that you have an issue with your sensor. Double check that you are using properly the examples for reading the data from the sensor. Also please consider checking with another sensor because something might be wrong with the hardware in your sensor.


Reply 1 year ago


Something is wrong, I have the same problem

first sensor read T 44,36 Hum. 84,20
another sensor T 44,06 Hum. 86,23

in the room is T 22 Hum. 64


1 year ago

Hello.I have one question.What does this line do?

unsigned int temp = (buf [0] << 8 | buf [1]) & 0xFFFC;

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Retrieves the temperatures according to the datasheet of the I2C sensor.