Sunday, 29 June 2014

Raspberry Pi - ADXL345 Accelerometer & Python

A little while ago I got my hands on a Adafuit ADXL345 (a triple axis accelerometer) from pimoroni, you can also get them from Amazon (US, UK) if that's easier, and I finally got around to setting it up.

Pimoroni also provide a really useful python module to interacting with the ADXL345 which you can get from github -

Connecting it up
Wiring up the accelerometer is pretty easy, there are only 4 connections:

Raspberry Pi -> ADXL345:
  • GND - GND 
  • 3V - 3V3
  • SDA - SDA
  • SCL - SCL

Configure your Pi
The ADXL345 supports both I2C and SPI connections, I used I2C, which requires some configuration on the Pi:

Add the I2C modules to the Pi's configuration:
sudo nano /etc/modules
add the following lines:
Remove I2C from the blacklist:
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/raspi-blacklist.conf
comment out:
blacklist i2c-bcm2708
so its:
#blacklist i2c-bcm2708
Reboot to make the changes:
sudo shutdown -r now
Install Software
You will need to install some software:
sudo apt-get install python-smbus i2c-tools git-core
Test ADXL345
You can check that your ADXL345 is found on the I2C bus, by running:
sudo i2cdetect -y 1
You should see a device at address 53

Download the ADXL345 pimoroni python library from github:
git clone
Run the example code and test it is working:
cd adxl345-python
sudo python
You should see the G readings from the ADXL345.

If you get 0.000G for all axis then something probably isn't set-up correctly.

Writing your own python program
The adxl345-python project from pimoroni contains a python module for reading data from the ADXL345 perhaps not unsurprisingly called "", inside there is a class called "ADXL345" which is how you to interact with the accelerometer

The program below imports the module, instantiates an ADXL345 object and reads values from the accelerometer as g-forces.
#import the adxl345 module
import adxl345

#create ADXL345 object
accel = adxl345.ADXL345()

#get axes as g
axes = accel.getAxes(True)
# to get axes as ms^2 use
#axes = accel.getAxes(False)

#put the axes into variables
x = axes['x']
y = axes['y']
z = axes['z']

#print axes
print x
print y
print z
Change sensitivity
You can change the sensitivity of the ADXL345 by using the .setRange() method of the class.

The default range is 2g which means that the maximum G the ADXL345 can measure is 2.048, but at a high degree of sensitivity, you can change it so the maximum is 2g, 4g, 8g or 16g but with a lower level of sensitivity using:
Its a great accelerometer and really easy to use in your python projects.


  1. Hi,

    It doesn't work with my RPi Model B Rev 2. I tried all that you said in your post. I don't know why I can't read any address. I connected all wires in the correct gpio pin, so I don't understand (I have two Rpi, same model...same results)

    Can you help me?

    1. Hi,

      Does the module show up when you run sudo i2cdetect -y 1 ? Or are any errors shown?

      If there are no errors and it doesn't show up I suspect its either not wired up properly or doesn't work.


      p.s. I wrote this setup based on a model b rev 2.

  2. Hi,

    there is any error when I run sudo i2cdetect -y 1 .. I'll try with other sensor.


  3. When you say "SDL", I assume you mean "SCL"?

    1. I do indeed, a slip of the keyboard. Post updated!

  4. Could i connect multiple Accelerometers?

    1. yes sure its how you connect SD0 you can change the i2c bus adress
      with a other adress you can read a other device


      Selectable ADXL34X I2C Device Address:
      SDO I2C Address
      0 0x53
      1 0x1D