Real-time Clock (RTC) module on a Raspberry Pi

Chip Cuccio, <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
updated to version 1.1, Apr 19 2017, by kd5dkq, R. Mark Boddy


I started with w0chp's, Chip Cuccio, great instructions here: and made a couple of changes so they'd work in April 2017. Thanks Chip for the great start!

There is no hardware-based real-time clock in raspberry pis. For sensitive data (such as DB’s and WX data), an RTC in kind of important. This also mitigates time-keeping issues when there’s a loss of power, network connectivity, etc. Here’s the the steps I took in order to get my RTC module working…


This quick and dirty guide assumes:

  • You have an understanding of UN*IX like OS’s
  • Your Raspberry Pi is a version 2
  • You have a DS3231-based RTC module already :-)
  • Your RPi2 is running Raspbian


  1. Plug the RTC module into the GPIO (see
  2. The i2c adapter is NOT loaded by default in the 2015-02-02 Rasbian distribution, unlike in earlier versions. To enable it, type: sudo raspi-config then select option 5 (Interface Options), then select P5 I2C, then select Yes to enable
  3. run: echo ds1307 0x68 | sudo tee /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-1/new_device
  4. Add these 2 lines to /etc/rc.local (before the exit 0 statement):
         echo ds1307 0x68 | sudo tee /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-1/new_device
         hwclock -s
    NOTE: I also added hwclock -s to the ntp init script in the start() switch.
  5. Consider removing the raspian fake clock:
         sudo update-rc.d -f fake-hwclock remove
  6. Sync system time with RTC module (hwclock)
    sudo hwclock --systohc --localtime
  7. reboot
  8. See if sysclock and hwclock are sync’d
    sudo hwclock --show

As time goes on these instructions too will fail...please send updates and changes to kd5dkq at arrl dot net.
73 de kd5dkq