I have a raspberry pi connected to a Sainsmart 4-channel relay, where each relay is activated by a LOW signal.

When I set a GPIO pin to output, it defaults to LOW, which of course activates the relay for a split second before I can set it to HIGH. Is there any way to set the default output state before setting a pin to output mode?

Here is a very simplified version of my code:

import RPi.GPIO as GPIO


GPIO.setup(11, GPIO.OUT)

#pin is now outputting LOW by default

GPIO.output(11, GPIO.HIGH)

As you can see above, there is a split second between setting the pin to OUT and setting it to HIGH. During that time the pin is outputting LOW, which is the default state (If I try to set it HIGH before setting it to OUT, I get an error for trying to set the state of an input pin).

Having the pin output LOW even for a split second screws with what I'm trying to achieve. So basically all I want to do is have the pin default to HIGH when I set it to OUT.

  • 2
    Odd. I thought most libraries set the level before setting the mode. Please post your code.
    – joan
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 17:56
  • I posted some code. The library does set it before switching to output; it just sets it low and doesn't seem to give me any option otherwise. Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 22:30
  • 1
    If you read the RPi.GPIO documentation I think it tells you what to do.
    – joan
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 2:17
  • 2
    I think that GPIO.setup(11, GPIO.OUT, inital = GPIO.HIGH) is the best you're going to get.
    – anonymoose
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


As suggested by anonymoose's comment and RPi.GPIO's documentation RPi.GPIO module basics setting a pin to output allows to specify an initial value:

To set up a channel as an output:

GPIO.setup(channel, GPIO.OUT)

(where channel is the channel number based on the numbering system you have specified (BOARD or BCM)).

You can also specify an initial value for your output channel:

GPIO.setup(channel, GPIO.OUT, initial=GPIO.HIGH)

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