Software-based serial port module for Raspberry Pi.
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adrianomarto Merge pull request #5 from sfera-labs/master
Improving the reception reliability by performing the RX GPIO level polling at the centre of each bit.
Latest commit 5fd78fa Oct 2, 2018


Software-based serial port module for Raspberry Pi.

This module creates a software-based serial port using a configurable pair of GPIO pins. The serial port will appear as /dev/ttySOFT0.


  • Works exactly as a hardware-based serial port.
  • Works with any application, e.g. cat, echo, minicom.
  • Configurable baud rate.
  • TX buffer of 256 bytes.
  • RX buffer managed by the kernel.


Fetch the source:

git clone

Install the package raspberrypi-kernel-headers:

sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-kernel-headers

Run make and make install, as usual.

cd soft_uart
sudo make install

I haven't tried cross-compiling this module, but it should work as well.


Module parameters:

  • gpio_tx: int [default = 17]
  • gpio_rx: int [default = 27]

Loading the module with default parameters:

sudo insmod soft_uart.ko

Loading module with custom parameters:

sudo insmod soft_uart.ko gpio_tx=10 gpio_rx=11


The device will appear as /dev/ttySOFT0. Use it as any usual TTY device.

You must be included in the group dialout. You can verify in what groups you are included by typing groups. To add an user to the group dialout, type:

sudo usermod -aG dialout <username>

Usage examples:

minicom -b 4800 -D /dev/ttySOFT0
cat /dev/ttySOFT0
echo "hello" > /dev/ttySOFT0

Baud rate

When choosing the baud rate, take into account that:

  • The Raspberry Pi is not very fast.
  • You will probably not be running a real-time operating system.
  • There will be other processes competing for CPU time.

As a result, you can expect communication errors when using fast baud rates. So I would not try to go any faster than 4800 bps.