I'm building a little audio streamer box, using a Rpi4. This box has a few buttons, such as play/pause, next track, previous track, etc, as well as a power button that I want to use for turning it on (by shorting pins 5 and 6) and for sending a shutdown command.

I'm also using a small OLED display that is connected to the I2C bus (pins 3 and 5).

Is there a way to either move the I2C bus to other pins, so I can free up pin 5 for the power button, or can I somehow safely use pin 5 for both the I2C bus and the power button?

2 Answers 2


You cannot share pin 5, but the RPi 4B has several hardware-based i2c channels, and at least one software-based i2c (i2c-gpio), available for use. These GPIO channels are listed and defined in your local /boot/overlays/README file; there's also a copy of this README file on RPi's GitHub site. These additional channels are declared and configured in your /boot/config.txt file as overlays.

I was forced to relocate my RTC from i2c1 because I also needed to use GPIO3 for another purpose. I chose to move my RTC from i2c1 to i2c0, and it has worked fine for months now. I wrote up the procedure I followed on this GitHub page.

Note that not all of the RPi's alternative i2c channels have pullup resistors (i2c0 & i2c1 have on-board pullups), and they may need to be added if your OLED display does not have them.

  • I read this and your GitHub page and was intrigued. I haven't been able to use i2c0 for years. After reading the (rather confusing) /overlays/README I tried dtoverlay=i2c_vc=on on Bullseye and found /dev/i2c-2 showed something on address 50 but no i2c0. I note I have been successful in using uart2 on GPIO0,1
    – Milliways
    Jan 29, 2022 at 4:16
  • @Milliways: IIUC, you've tried using i2c0 on Buster also, but it wouldn't work?? I've reviewed some of this just now: The i2c0 configuration is still in use on my RPi4/Buster/Lite machine. I didn't try it on my RPi3B+/Buster/Lite. I've recently "upgraded" RPi3B+ to Bullseye. Would it "advance the cause" if I tried to use i2c0 on RPi3B+/Bullseye/Lite... would that tell us anything?
    – Seamus
    Jan 29, 2022 at 12:07
  • I just tried on Pi4 running Buster. This shows i2c-22 i2c-0 i2c-10 but nothing connected - on Bullseye (Pi3B+) shows i2c-2 with address 50. In both cases no I²C devices actually connect to GPIO 0,1
    – Milliways
    Jan 30, 2022 at 3:52
  • @Milliways: I never tried it with nothing connected to the bus - in my case the slave device was an RTC w/ pullups on SDA & SCL. How would it even work with nothing on the other end of the bus? I mean, there's got to be something connected to get a result from i2cdetect. Are you referring to the output from ls /dev/*i2c*? If so, I think that only means the kernel has provisioned a node in the device tree. Not sure we're on the same page???
    – Seamus
    Jan 30, 2022 at 13:58

The only pins usable for hardware I²C are 3,5.

You should be able to also use pin 5 to reboot (but AFAIK not shutdown).

See Will pulling pin 5 low will make the pi boot up again

You can use other pins to shutdown dtoverlay=gpio-shutdown.

Frankly there is little point. Reboot only works after a soft shutdown, which leaves most of the Pi running but still using significant power.

  • So when pin 5 is already being used for I2C, there's no way to short it to turn on the RPi?
    – starfly
    Jan 3, 2022 at 21:10
  • @starfly re read my answer which says no such thing.
    – Milliways
    Jan 3, 2022 at 21:13

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