I wrote a script to display data on a led matrix, controlled by a few GPIO for line selection and SPI to feed data for this line. This was working perfectly 2 days ago, I let the script display random data for a few hours then stopped the rpi via ssh.

Today it is not working anymore and I'm surprised by the ouput of gpioinfo:

gpiochip0 - 54 lines:

    line   7:   "SPI_CE1_N"         output active-low consumer="spi0 CS1"
    line   8:   "SPI_CE0_N"         output active-low consumer="spi0 CS0"
    line   9:   "SPI_MISO"          input
    line  10:   "SPI_MOSI"          input
    line  11:   "SPI_SCLK"          input

Shouldn't MOSI and SCLK be output, consumed by the same than CE1/CE0 ports ?

SPI modules are loaded (with spidev Used by column switching to 2 when I start my script)

# lsmod | grep spi
spidev                 20480  0
spi_bcm2835            20480  0

The SPI devices are present and udev correctly set up the groups

# ls -l /dev/spidev0.*
crw-rw---- 1 root spi 153, 0 Apr 17 08:43 /dev/spidev0.0
crw-rw---- 1 root spi 153, 1 Apr 17 08:43 /dev/spidev0.1

# cat /etc/udev/rules.d/localr.rules 
SUBSYSTEM=="gpio", KERNEL=="gpiochip*", GROUP="gpio", MODE="0660"
KERNEL=="spidev*", GROUP="spi", MODE="0660"

# grep spi /boot/config.txt 

Display part of my code, where img is a basic 16x16 bit array. GPIO code is for line selection and is working well


spi = spidev.SpiDev()
spi.open(spi_bus, spi_device)


    with libgpiod.Chip(gpio_chip_path) as chip:
        lines_settings = {line: libgpiod.LineSettings(direction=Direction.OUTPUT, output_value=Value(0))
                          for line in gpio_lines}
        linebulk = chip.request_lines(lines_settings, consumer="ledmatrix")
        while True:
            for c in range(0, 16):
                values = {
                        21: Value(((c<<0)&0b1000) != 0),
                        20: Value(((c<<1)&0b1000) != 0),
                        16: Value(((c<<2)&0b1000) != 0),
                        12: Value(((c<<3)&0b1000) != 0),
                        5: Value(1)
                #img[c][randint(0, 15)] = randint(0, 1)
                values = { 5: Value(0) }

How could I debug this?

  • What does gpioinfo report after boot (before you run your script).
    – joan
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 9:54
  • Same thing. I tried to unplug all (pins, usb …), same result …
    – low
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


This may be a change to the way the driver works.

The chip select GPIO are driven active low by default. The other SPI GPIO are left as inputs.

During a SPI transaction MOSI and SCLK are driven as outputs.

I checked by looking at the line levels when writing something to /dev/spidev0.0.

echo abcdefghijklmnopqrstuv >/dev/spidev0.0

During the transaction CE0 was driven low and MOSI and SCLK were seen to toggle.

  • thank for testing it ! Did gpioinfo reported something ? i don't have test hardware except a basic multimeter, but gpioinfo doesnt give me result neither with echo, neither with my code running
    – low
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 14:45
  • You won't see it on gpioinfo unless you are very lucky. I used piscope. abyz.me.uk/rpi/pigpio/piscope.html You can run it in a window as the same time as your script. If you want to see individual bits change the SPI speed to 50k bits per second or so.
    – joan
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 14:59
  • I still did had time to test with piscope but I will. Thank for the hint !
    – low
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 7:27

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