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Devicetree access from C/C++

This guide describes Zephyr’s <devicetree.h> API for reading the devicetree from C source files. It assumes you’re familiar with the concepts in Introduction to devicetree and Devicetree bindings. See Devicetree for reference material.

A note for Linux developers

Linux developers familiar with devicetree should be warned that the API described here differs significantly from how devicetree is used on Linux.

Instead of generating a C header with all the devicetree data which is then abstracted behind a macro API, the Linux kernel would instead read the devicetree data structure in its binary form. The binary representation is parsed at runtime, for example to load and initialize device drivers.

Zephyr does not work this way because the size of the devicetree binary and associated handling code would be too large to fit comfortably on the relatively constrained devices Zephyr supports.

Node identifiers

To get information about a particular devicetree node, you need a node identifier for it. This is a just a C macro that refers to the node.

These are the main ways to get a node identifier:

By path

Use DT_PATH() along with the node’s full path in the devicetree, starting from the root node. This is mostly useful if you happen to know the exact node you’re looking for.

By node label

Use DT_NODELABEL() to get a node identifier from a node label. Node labels are often provided by SoC .dtsi to give nodes names that match the SoC datasheet, like i2c1, spi2, etc.

By alias

Use DT_ALIAS() to get a node identifier for a property of the special /aliases node. This is sometmes done by applications (like blinky, which uses the led0 alias) that need to refer to some device of a particular type (“the board’s user LED”) but don’t care which one is used.

By instance number

This is done primarily by device drivers, as instance numbers are a way to refer to individual nodes based on a matching compatible. Get these with DT_INST(), but be careful doing so. See below.

By chosen node

Use DT_CHOSEN() to get a node identifier for /chosen node properties.

By parent/child

Use DT_PARENT() and DT_CHILD() to get a node identifier for a parent or child node, starting from a node identifier you already have.

Two node identifiers which refer to the same node are identical and can be used interchangeably.

Here’s a DTS fragment for some imaginary hardware we’ll return to throughout this file for examples:


/ {

	aliases {
		sensor-controller = &i2c1;

	soc {
		i2c1: i2c@40002000 {
			compatible = "vnd,soc-i2c";
			label = "I2C_1";
			reg = <0x40002000 0x1000>;
			status = "okay";
			clock-frequency = < 100000 >;

Here are a few ways to get node identifiers for the i2c@40002000 node:

  • DT_PATH(soc, i2c_40002000)

  • DT_NODELABEL(i2c1)

  • DT_ALIAS(sensor_controller)

  • DT_INST(x, vnd_soc_i2c) for some unknown number x. See the DT_INST() documentation for details.


Non-alphanumeric characters like dash (-) and the at sign (@) in devicetree names are converted to underscores (_). The names in a DTS are also converted to lowercase.

Node identifiers are not values

There is no way to store one in a variable. You cannot write:

/* These will give you compiler errors: */

void *i2c_0 = DT_INST(0, vnd_soc_i2c);
unsigned int i2c_1 = DT_INST(1, vnd_soc_i2c);
long my_i2c = DT_NODELABEL(i2c1);

If you want something short to save typing, use C macros:

/* Use something like this instead: */

#define MY_I2C DT_NODELABEL(i2c1)

#define INST(i) DT_INST(i, vnd_soc_i2c)
#define I2C_0 INST(0)
#define I2C_1 INST(1)

Property access

The right API to use to read property values depends on the node and property.

Checking properties and values

You can use DT_NODE_HAS_PROP() to check if a node has a property. For the example devicetree above:

DT_NODE_HAS_PROP(DT_NODELABEL(i2c1), clock_frequency)  /* expands to 1 */
DT_NODE_HAS_PROP(DT_NODELABEL(i2c1), not_a_property)   /* expands to 0 */

Simple properties

Use DT_PROP(node_id, property) to read basic integer, boolean, string, numeric array, and string array properties.

For example, to read the clock-frequency property’s value in the above example:

DT_PROP(DT_PATH(soc, i2c_40002000), clock_frequency)  /* This is 100000, */
DT_PROP(DT_NODELABEL(i2c1), clock_frequency)          /* and so is this, */
DT_PROP(DT_ALIAS(sensor_controller), clock_frequency) /* and this. */


The DTS property clock-frequency is spelled clock_frequency in C. That is, properties also need special characters converted to underscores. Their names are also forced to lowercase.

Properties with string and boolean types work the exact same way. The DT_PROP() macro expands to a string literal in the case of strings, and the number 0 or 1 in the case of booleans. For example:

#define I2C1 DT_NODELABEL(i2c1)

DT_PROP(I2C1, status)  /* expands to the string literal "okay" */


Don’t use DT_NODE_HAS_PROP() for boolean properties. Use DT_PROP() instead as shown above. It will expand to either 0 or 1 depending on if the property is present or absent.

Properties with type array, uint8-array, and string-array work similarly, except DT_PROP() expands to an array initializer in these cases. Here is an example devicetree fragment:

foo: foo@1234 {
        a = <1000 2000 3000>; /* array */
        b = [aa bb cc dd];    /* uint8-array */
        c = "bar", "baz";     /* string-array */

Its properties can be accessed like this:

#define FOO DT_NODELABEL(foo)

int a[] = DT_PROP(FOO, a);           /* {1000, 2000, 3000} */
unsigned char b[] = DT_PROP(FOO, b); /* {0xaa, 0xbb, 0xcc, 0xdd} */
char* c[] = DT_PROP(FOO, c);         /* {"foo", "bar"} */

You can use DT_PROP_LEN() to get logical array lengths in number of elements.

size_t a_len = DT_PROP_LEN(FOO, a); /* 3 */
size_t b_len = DT_PROP_LEN(FOO, b); /* 4 */
size_t c_len = DT_PROP_LEN(FOO, c); /* 2 */

DT_PROP_LEN() cannot be used with the special reg or interrupts properties. These have alternative macros which are described next.

reg properties

See Important properties for an introduction to reg.

Given a node identifier node_id, DT_NUM_REGS(node_id) is the total number of register blocks in the node’s reg property.

You cannot read register block addresses and lengths with DT_PROP(node, reg). Instead, if a node only has one register block, use DT_REG_ADDR() or DT_REG_SIZE():

  • DT_REG_ADDR(node_id): the given node’s register block address

  • DT_REG_SIZE(node_id): its size

Use DT_REG_ADDR_BY_IDX() or DT_REG_SIZE_BY_IDX() instead if the node has multiple register blocks:

  • DT_REG_ADDR_BY_IDX(node_id, idx): address of register block at index idx

  • DT_REG_SIZE_BY_IDX(node_id, idx): size of block at index idx

The idx argument to these must be an integer literal or a macro that expands to one without requiring any arithmetic. In particular, idx cannot be a variable. This won’t work:

/* This will cause a compiler error. */

for (size_t i = 0; i < DT_NUM_REGS(node_id); i++) {
        size_t addr = DT_REG_ADDR_BY_IDX(node_id, i);

interrupts properties

See Important properties for a brief introduction to interrupts.

Given a node identifier node_id, DT_NUM_IRQS(node_id) is the total number of interrupt specifiers in the node’s interrupts property.

The most general purpose API macro for accessing these is DT_IRQ_BY_IDX():

DT_IRQ_BY_IDX(node_id, idx, val)

Here, idx is the logical index into the interrupts array, i.e. it is the index of an individual interrupt specifier in the property. The val argument is the name of a cell within the interrupt specifier. To use this macro, check the bindings file for the node you are interested in to find the val names.

Most Zephyr devicetree bindings have a cell named irq, which is the interrupt number. You can use DT_IRQN() as a convenient way to get a processed view of this value.


Here, “processed” reflects Zephyr’s devicetree Scripts and tools, which change the irq number in zephyr.dts to handle hardware constraints on some SoCs and in accordance with Zephyr’s multilevel interrupt numbering.

This is currently not very well documented, and you’ll need to read the scripts’ source code and existing drivers for more details if you are writing a device driver.

phandle properties

Property values can refer to other nodes using the &another-node phandle syntax introduced in Writing property values. Properties which contain phandles have type phandle, phandles, or phandle-array in their bindings. We’ll call these “phandle properties” for short.

You can convert a phandle to a node identifier using DT_PHANDLE(), DT_PHANDLE_BY_IDX(), or DT_PHANDLE_BY_NAME(), depending on the type of property you are working with.

One common use case for phandle properties is referring to other hardware in the tree. In this case, you usually want to convert the devicetree-level phandle to a Zephyr driver-level struct device. See Get a struct device from a devicetree node for ways to do that.

Another common use case is accessing specifier values in a phandle array. The general purpose APIs for this are DT_PHA_BY_IDX() and DT_PHA(). There are also hardware-specific shorthands like DT_GPIO_CTLR_BY_IDX(), DT_GPIO_CTLR(), DT_GPIO_LABEL_BY_IDX(), DT_GPIO_LABEL(), DT_GPIO_PIN_BY_IDX(), DT_GPIO_PIN(), DT_GPIO_FLAGS_BY_IDX(), and DT_GPIO_FLAGS().

See DT_PHA_HAS_CELL_AT_IDX() and DT_PROP_HAS_IDX() for ways to check if a specifier value is present in a phandle property.

Other APIs

Here are pointers to some other available APIs.

Device driver conveniences

Special purpose macros are available for writing device drivers, which usually rely on instance identifiers.

To use these, you must define DT_DRV_COMPAT to the compat value your driver implements support for. This compat value is what you would pass to DT_INST().

If you do that, you can access the properties of individual instances of your compatible with less typing, like this:

#include <devicetree.h>

#define DT_DRV_COMPAT my_driver_compat

/* This is same thing as DT_INST(0, my_driver_compat): */

 * This is the same thing as
 * DT_PROP(DT_INST(0, my_driver_compat), clock_frequency)
DT_INST_PROP(0, clock_frequency)

See Instance-based APIs for a generic API reference.

Hardware specific APIs

Convenience macros built on top of the above APIs are also defined to help readability for hardware specific code. See Hardware specific APIs for details.

Generated macros

While the devicetree.h API is not generated, it does rely on a generated C header which is put into every application build directory: devicetree_unfixed.h. This file contains macros with devicetree data.

These macros have tricky naming conventions which the Devicetree API API abstracts away. They should be considered an implementation detail, but it’s useful to understand them since they will frequently be seen in compiler error messages.

This section contains an Augmented Backus-Naur Form grammar for these generated macros, with examples and more details in comments. See RFC 7405 (which extends RFC 5234) for a syntax specification.

; An RFC 7405 ABNF grammar for devicetree macros.
; This does *not* cover macros pulled out of DT via Kconfig,
; like CONFIG_SRAM_BASE_ADDRESS, etc. It only describes the
; ones that start with DT_ and are directly generated, not
; defined in a dts_fixup.h file.

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; dt-macro: the top level nonterminal for a devicetree macro
; A dt-macro starts with uppercase "DT_", and is one of:
; - a <node-macro>, generated for a particular node
; - some <other-macro>, a catch-all for other types of macros
dt-macro = node-macro / other-macro

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; node-macro: a macro related to a node

; A macro about a property value
node-macro =  property-macro
; EXISTS macro: node exists in the devicetree
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_EXISTS"
; Bus macros: the plain BUS is a way to access a node's bus controller.
; The additional dt-name suffix is added to match that node's bus type;
; the dt-name in this case is something like "spi" or "i2c".
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_BUS" ["_" dt-name]
; The reg property is special and has its own macros.
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_REG_NUM"
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_REG_IDX_" DIGIT "_EXISTS"
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_REG_IDX_" DIGIT
              %s"_VAL_" ( %s"ADDRESS" / %s"SIZE")
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_REG_NAME_" dt-name
              %s"_VAL_" ( %s"ADDRESS" / %s"SIZE")
; The interrupts property is also special.
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_IRQ_NUM"
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_IRQ_IDX_" DIGIT "_EXISTS"
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_IRQ_IDX_" DIGIT
              %s"_VAL_" dt-name [ %s"_EXISTS" ]
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_IRQ_NAME_" dt-name
              %s"_VAL_" dt-name [ %s"_EXISTS" ]
; Subnodes of the fixed-partitions compatible get macros which contain
; a unique ordinal value for each partition
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_PARTITION_ID" DIGIT
; Macros are generated for each of a node's compatibles;
; dt-name in this case is something like "vnd_device".
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_COMPAT_MATCHES_" dt-name
; Every non-root node gets one of these macros, which expands to the node
; identifier for that node's parent in the devicetree.
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_PARENT"
; These are used internally by DT_FOREACH_CHILD, which iterates over
; each child node.
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_FOREACH_CHILD"
; These are used internally by DT_FOREACH_CHILD_STATUS_OKAY, which iterates
; over each child node with status "okay".
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_FOREACH_CHILD_STATUS_OKAY"
; The node's status macro; dt-name in this case is something like "okay"
; or "disabled".
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_STATUS_" dt-name
; The node's dependency ordinal. This is a non-negative integer
; value that is used to represent dependency information.
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_ORD"
; The node's path, as a string literal
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_PATH"
; The node's name@unit-addr, as a string literal
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_FULL_NAME"
; The dependency ordinals of a node's requirements (direct dependencies).
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_REQUIRES_ORDS"
; The dependency ordinals of a node supports (reverse direct dependencies).
node-macro =/ %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_SUPPORTS_ORDS"

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; property-macro: a macro related to a node property
; These combine a node identifier with a "lowercase-and-underscores form"
; property name. The value expands to something related to the property's
; value.
; The optional prop-suf suffix is when there's some specialized
; subvalue that deserves its own macro, like the macros for an array
; property's individual elements
; The "plain vanilla" macro for a property's value, with no prop-suf,
; looks like this:
;   DT_N_<node path>_P_<property name>
; Components:
; - path-id: node's devicetree path converted to a C token
; - prop-id: node's property name converted to a C token
; - prop-suf: an optional property-specific suffix
property-macro =  %s"DT_N" path-id %s"_P_" prop-id [prop-suf]

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; path-id: a node's path-based macro identifier
; This in "lowercase-and-underscores" form. I.e. it is
; the node's devicetree path converted to a C token by changing:
; - each slash (/) to _S_
; - all letters to lowercase
; - non-alphanumerics characters to underscores
; For example, the leaf node "bar-BAZ" in this devicetree:
;   / {
;           foo@123 {
;                   bar-BAZ {};
;           };
;   };
; has path-id "_S_foo_123_S_bar_baz".
path-id = 1*( %s"_S_" dt-name )

; ----------------------------------------------------------------------
; prop-id: a property identifier
; A property name converted to a C token by changing:
; - all letters to lowercase
; - non-alphanumeric characters to underscores
; Example node:
;   chosen {
;       zephyr,console = &uart1;
;       WHY,AM_I_SHOUTING = "unclear";
;   };
; The 'zephyr,console' property has prop-id 'zephyr_console'.
; 'WHY,AM_I_SHOUTING' has prop-id 'why_am_i_shouting'.
prop-id = dt-name

; ----------------------------------------------------------------------
; prop-suf: a property-specific macro suffix
; Extra macros are generated for properties:
; - that are special to the specification ("reg", "interrupts", etc.)
; - with array types (uint8-array, phandle-array, etc.)
; - with "enum:" in their bindings
; - that have zephyr device API specific macros for phandle-arrays
; - related to phandle specifier names ("foo-names")
; Here are some examples:
; - _EXISTS: property, index or name existence flag
; - _SIZE: logical property length
; - _IDX_<i>: values of individual array elements
; - _IDX_<DIGIT>_VAL_<dt-name>: values of individual specifier
;   cells within a phandle array
; - _ADDR_<i>: for reg properties, the i-th register block address
; - _LEN_<i>: for reg properties, the i-th register block length
; The different cases are not exhaustively documented here to avoid
; this file going stale. Please see devicetree.h if you need to know
; the details.
prop-suf = 1*( "_" gen-name ["_" dt-name] )

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; other-macro: grab bag for everything that isn't a node-macro.

; See examples below.
other-macro =  %s"DT_N_" alternate-id
; Total count of enabled instances of a compatible.
other-macro =/ %s"DT_N_INST_" dt-name %s"_NUM_OKAY"
; These are used internally by DT_INST_FOREACH, which iterates over
; each enabled instance of a compatible.
other-macro =/ %s"DT_FOREACH_OKAY_INST_" dt-name
; E.g.: #define DT_CHOSEN_zephyr_flash
other-macro =/ %s"DT_CHOSEN_" dt-name
; Declares that a compatible has at least one node on a bus.
; Example:
;   #define DT_COMPAT_vnd_dev_BUS_spi 1
other-macro =/ %s"DT_COMPAT_" dt-name %s"_BUS_" dt-name
; Declares that a compatible has at least one status "okay" node.
; Example:
;   #define DT_COMPAT_HAS_OKAY_vnd_dev 1
other-macro =/ %s"DT_COMPAT_HAS_OKAY_" dt-name
; Currently used to allow mapping a lowercase-and-underscores "label"
; property to a fixed-partitions node. See the flash map API docs
; for an example.
other-macro =/ %s"DT_COMPAT_" dt-name %s"_LABEL_" dt-name

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; alternate-id: another way to specify a node besides a path-id
; Example devicetree:
;   / {
;           aliases {
;                   dev = &dev_1;
;           };
;           soc {
;               dev_1: device@123 {
;                   compatible = "vnd,device";
;               };
;           };
;   };
; Node device@123 has these alternate-id values:
; - ALIAS_dev
; - NODELABEL_dev_1
; - INST_0_vnd_device
; The full alternate-id macros are:
;   #define DT_N_INST_0_vnd_device     DT_N_S_soc_S_device_123
;   #define DT_N_ALIAS_dev             DT_N_S_soc_S_device_123
;   #define DT_N_NODELABEL_dev_1       DT_N_S_soc_S_device_123
; These mainly exist to allow pasting an alternate-id macro onto a
; "_P_<prop-id>" to access node properties given a node's alias, etc.
; Notice that "inst"-type IDs have a leading instance identifier,
; which is generated by the devicetree scripts. The other types of
; alternate-id begin immediately with names taken from the devicetree.
alternate-id =  ( %s"ALIAS" / %s"NODELABEL" ) dt-name
alternate-id =/ %s"INST_" 1*DIGIT "_" dt-name

; --------------------------------------------------------------------
; miscellaneous helper definitions

; A dt-name is one or more:
; - lowercase ASCII letters (a-z)
; - numbers (0-9)
; - underscores ("_")
; They are the result of converting names or combinations of names
; from devicetree to a valid component of a C identifier by
; lowercasing letters (in practice, this is a no-op) and converting
; non-alphanumeric characters to underscores.
; You'll see these referred to as "lowercase-and-underscores" forms of
; various devicetree identifiers throughout the documentation.
dt-name = 1*( lower / DIGIT / "_" )

; gen-name is used as a stand-in for a component of a generated macro
; name which does not come from devicetree (dt-name covers that case).
; - uppercase ASCII letters (a-z)
; - numbers (0-9)
; - underscores ("_")
gen-name = upper 1*( upper / DIGIT / "_" )

; "lowercase ASCII letter" turns out to be pretty annoying to specify
; in RFC-7405 syntax.
; This is just ASCII letters a (0x61) through z (0x7a).
lower = %x61-7A

; "uppercase ASCII letter" in RFC-7405 syntax
upper = %x41-5A