I am writing a general-purpose stepper motor driver C shared library for the Raspberry Pi using PIGPIO (pigpiod C interface) for 4 to 7 motors using A4988 drivers. I designed an interface board (basically a GPIO breakout board for the driver chips and limit switches) but I have run out of 'normal' GPIO pins to control the ENA pin of one of the motors so I am trying to use GPIO 1 (the ID_SC pin) for this purpose (or GPIO 0). However, I cannot change its state with the gpio_write function or the pigs' command-line utility.

I am using Raspbian on an RPi v3b (not b+).

My research suggests there may be issues with RPi3 and I2C in this regard. So I set "Disable automatic loading of I2C kernel module" in raspi-config 'Interfaces' but that did not help.
In this post about the same/similar issue on the raspberry pi forum:

It was suggested that setting the pin "to normal" should fix the issue but I don't know what that means or how to set the pin to "normal".
With pigpiod running I type:

$ pigs mg 0 mg 1

and I get:


Then I type:

$ pigs w 1 1

and I get:

 ERROR: no permission to update GPIO

The same result occurs with sudo.

Running the pigpio test utility, gpiotest, I get:

Skipped non-user gpios: 0 1 28 29 30 31 
Tested user gpios: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 
Failed user gpios: None

Again, sudo makes no difference. By searching the net I found no method to change the 'non-user' gpios into user ones (obviously I am not interested in the power and ground pins - it's just 0 and 1 I'm after).

My driver board and interface code work fine as is but I must leave one motor permanently enabled - with some motors this causes significant heating. I would like to use GPIO 1 and GPIO 0 to write pins if possible. (Please note: I am aware that you can increase the number of GPIOs via I2C expansion boards using MCP23017 or similar. I don't want to do that for this project - and my understanding is that pigpio won't work with those anyway).

So my questions are: Is it possible to set the level of GPIO 1 on the RPi3 without additional hardware? If so, how can I achieve this?

Many thanks in advance.

  • Pins 27,28 are reserved for HATs and in later models are connected to a bus extender to control on-board chips. If you use these you may interfere with Pi operation. I have tried, and found they change unpredictably.
    – Milliways
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


The default settings of the pigpio daemon do not allow GPIO 0 or 1 to be written on the Pis with the 40-pin expansion header.

You need to override this setting when the pigpio daemon is started. The -x option is provided for this purpose.

sudo pigpiod -x 0xFFFFFFF


  • Thanks but ... this only allows me to set the values (from 0 to 1) - I can't go back down to 0. Here is the output of my efforts (and sudo makes no difference - sorry can't seem to get newlines in comments):$ sudo pigpiod -x 0xFFFFFFF $ pigs mg 0 mg 1 0 0 $ pigs w 1 1 $ pigs mg 0 mg 1 0 1 $ pigs w 0 1 $ pigs mg 0 mg 1 1 1 $ pigs w 1 0 $ pigs mg 0 mg 1 1 1 $ pigs w 0 0 $ pigs mg 0 mg 1 1 1
    – WildCat
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 0:25
  • Those commands show the correct and expected behaviour. You check the mode of 0/1 (mg) and they are both inputs (0). You write to GPIO 1 and it is correctly set to output mode (1).You write to GPIO 0 and it is correctly set to output mode (1). You then write to 1/0 again and they are still correctly in mode output. Are you confusing reading the voltage level at the GPIO with checking to see what mode it is in?
    – joan
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 9:18
  • Oops! Yes, of course you are correct. I am not very familiar with the pigs utility but when I tested this with my driver board and software everything works just fine - I can now command my motor ENA on/off at will. I see you are the pigpio author - Many thanks for your help and for this excellent GPIO library.
    – WildCat
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 11:15

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