Print out a platform-specific board serial number
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.



This program looks up a device-specific serial number and prints it. The original use was to provide some non-changing and unique material for dynamically creating device names on a local LAN.

Supported boards:

  • Raspberry Pi (all varieties)
  • Beaglebone Black
  • Lego EV3
  • LinkIt Smart 7688
  • Next Thing Co - C.H.I.P.

If your board isn't listed above, it may be supported via one of the generic mechanisms:

  • Reading a serial number from /proc/cpuinfo
  • Reading the MAC address of eth0
  • Reading bytes from a file
  • Reading a key from the U-Boot environment
  • Reading an ATECC508A's serial number via an I2C bus
  • Reading the serial number stored in a NervesKey's OTP memory

If your board isn't supported, please consider sending a pull request.


Run make. To run the unit tests, run make check.


Usage: boardid [OPTION]...

  -b <board/method> Use the specified board or detection method for
                    reading the ID.
  -f <path>         The file to read for the 'binfile'/'uenv' methods
  -k <offset>       The offset in bytes for the 'binfile'/`uenv' methods
  -l <count>        The number of bytes to read for the 'binfile'/'uenv' methods
  -u <varname>      U-boot environment variable name for the 'uenv' method
  -n <count>        Print out count characters (least significant ones)
  -r <prefix>       Root directory prefix (used for unit tests)
  -v                Print out the program version

'-b' can be specified multiple times to try more than one method.

Supported boards/methods:
  rpi        Raspberry Pi (all models)
  ev3        Lego EV3
  chip       Next Thing Co - C.H.I.P.
  cpuinfo    Read /proc/cpuinfo
  bbb        Beaglebone Black
  macaddr    Read eth0's MAC address
  linkit     LinkIt Smart (WLAN MAC address)
  binfile    Read '-l' bytes from the file '-f' at offset '-k'
  uboot_env  Read a U-Boot environment (use `/etc/fw_env.config` or specify
             file '-f', offset '-k', length '-l') and use the variable '-u'
  atecc508a  Read an ATECC508A (I2C device '-f')
  nerves_key Read a NervesKey serial number (I2C device '-f')
  force      Force an ID (specify the ID with '-f')

Without the -b option, boardid will try a few methods of determining an ID.


Here's an example run on a Lego Mindstorms EV3 brick running ev3dev:

robot@ev3dev:~$ boardid


This utility doesn't provide any assurance of the uniqueness of returned IDs. It is not unheard of for board manufacturers to accidentally reuse IDs or forget to program them entirely. Additionally, these IDs may even be guessable so using them in a cryptographic sense is not advised without an understanding for how they're assigned.