I'm trying to measure my Raspberry Pi's temperature using vcgencmd measure_temp but it only works whenever it feels like it:

pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp
vc_gencmd_send returned -1
vchi_msg_dequeue -> -1(22)

Any idea what might be going on? It just hangs there, I need to use Ctrl+C to get out of there.


2 Answers 2


This appears to do the trick:

pi@raspberrypi  $ cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp
  • 1
    I guess that's why hwmon isn't in the stock kernel. This one is from the ACPI interface, which is probably newer but seems a little strange since the pi doesn't have any power management features; presumably it's used because it standardizes /sys better. So I might have been hasty in calling it "daft" ;)
    – goldilocks
    Mar 12, 2014 at 16:34

Any idea what might be going on?

No, but the information is available from the kernel via /sys.

> cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

That's thousandths of a degree Celcius (i.e., 52.996 °C).

If your kernel has the hardware monitoring module available (try sudo modprobe -v hwmon; if it says insmod and a path, you do), and you want something more formal, install apt-get lm-sensors and try:

> sensors
Adapter: ISA adapter
temp1:        +53.0°C  (high = +85.0°C)

Unfortunately this only seems to work on the single core models.

  • Hmmm temp1_input does not exist. The "bcm2835_hwmon.0" folder has: modalias power/ subsystem/ uevent Mar 12, 2014 at 15:25
  • lm-sensors can't find any sensors by the way, and sensor-detect returns: "/sys/bus/pci/devices: No such file or directory at /usr/sbin/sensors-detect line 3003." Mar 12, 2014 at 15:36
  • 1
    Huh -- I use a custom kernel, which probably accounts for that. Raspbian should have a hwmon or bcm2835-hwmon module available, but looking through a copy of a recent image, I don't see it. The max temp is the "high =" number, btw (85.0°C), but the pi does not significantly change temperature even when maxed out (I just did this for 5 min, it got up to 57 °C); I think the only way to truly heat it up is to overclock it...
    – goldilocks
    Mar 12, 2014 at 15:51
  • Very interesting. I'll ask another question straight away. In any case, I think i've nailed it with: "cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp" Mar 12, 2014 at 16:05
  • 1
    That presumes the python vcgencmd lib isn't going to fall prey to the problem in the original question, whereas the kernel interface is distinct from that. Anyway, this one is a bit like that Paul Simon song about leaving your lover: echo "scale=1; $(cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp) / 1000" | bc -l (I'm a Canuck so Celsius is fine by me.)
    – goldilocks
    Jun 24, 2018 at 12:23

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