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Using the PCF8574 IO expander with the EV3

2014-09-26 11.25.32

Mindsensors sell a breadboard sensor making kit with a PCF8574 for the NXT. I bought one a long time ago, and I thought I would try it on the EV3, after seeing some interest in the chip on the leJOS forums.

I am using the sensor in read mode to read a set of buttons. You can also use it in write mode to switch up to 8 devices. For example, you could use it to drive a seven-segment LED, or to control motors.

I had to modify the ev3classes project to allow read only i2c transactions. All the other sensors we currently support use a register value that is written to the device. The PCF8754 just reads or writes a single byte of data. This means the code below will only work on the Git master version of leJOS or the 0.9.0 release when it comes out.

The code for my read mode sample provider is:

import lejos.hardware.port.Port;
import lejos.hardware.sensor.I2CSensor;
import lejos.hardware.sensor.SensorMode;
import lejos.robotics.SampleProvider;

public class PCF8574Sensor extends I2CSensor  {

	public PCF8574Sensor(Port port) {
		super(port, 0x40);
		setModes(new SensorMode[] { new ReadMode()});
	private class ReadMode implements SensorMode {
	    public int sampleSize() {
	    	return 1;
	    public void fetchSample(float[] sample, int offset) {
	    	byte[] buf = new byte[1];
	    	port.i2cTransaction(0x40, null, 0, 0, buf, 0, 1);
			sample[offset] = buf[0] & 0xFF;
	    public String getName() {
	    	return "Read";
	public SampleProvider getReadMode() {
		return getMode(0);

And my test program:

import lejos.hardware.Button;
import lejos.hardware.lcd.LCD;
import lejos.hardware.port.SensorPort;
import lejos.robotics.SampleProvider;
import lejos.utility.Delay;

public class PCF8574Test {
	public static void main(String[] args) {
		PCF8574Sensor sensor = new PCF8574Sensor(SensorPort.S1);
		SampleProvider sp = sensor.getReadMode();
		float[] sample = new float[sp.sampleSize()];
		LCD.drawString("Binary:", 0, 2);
		LCD.drawString("Decimal:", 0, 3);
		while(Button.ESCAPE.isUp()) {
			LCD.drawString(String.format("%8s", Integer.toBinaryString((int) sample[0] & 0xff)).replace(' ', '0'), 9, 2);
			LCD.drawInt((int) sample[0] & 0xff, 3, 9, 3);


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