1. Arduino Nano

  2. XBee Pro S1 (802.15.4) Modules

  3. Adafruit BNO055 Absolute Orientation Sensor


I want to send the Euler angles and Linear Acceleration angles to the a central XBee Coordinator (can be connected to a Computer or a Single Board Computer) every 100 ms

Since the BNO055 has SDA and SCL pins for I2C how will the performance of the Nano matter when sensor data is acquired from the BNO sensor and send to XBee module which will be connected to the Hardware Serial UART Port?

An interesting observation was that if one:

Shorts the PS1 pin to 3.3V for the BNO055, the SDA and SCL will function as RX and TX pins for UART. source

In terms of interfacing, I can think of the Xbee now connected to the Hardware Serial Port and perhaps the BNO sensor will can be connected to the Nano via SoftwareSerial port. But will that serve any better purpose in terms of performance and data acquisition i.e. using two Asynchronous Serial Ports compared to one?

1 Answer 1


All software serial solutions are much less efficient than HardwareSerial (i.e., Serial). SoftwareSerial is particularly bad, because it disables interrupts for long periods of time. 95% of the MCU time can be spent twiddling its thumbs, waiting for each bit to come in.

Using the I2C interface for the BNO055 means that the Arduino hardware will independently and concurrently handle each byte of data from the BNO055 and from Serial (i.e., the XBee). Your sketch can continue to do other things while each byte arrives. This is most efficient.

Software serial port libraries handle each bit of data, sometimes to the exclusion of all other activity.

  • So even though I2C being a synchronous serial protocol and UART being asynchronous; results might tend to be good in status quo than 2 asynch. modes on the Arduino.
    – Shan-Desai
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:59
  • 1
    @Shan-Desai, the processor load is much less with I2C+UART. Sync/asynch does not matter, because the peripherals (I2C controller and USART) operate independently from the CPU. It's like hardware-accelerated graphics vs. software rendering.
    – slash-dev
    Aug 10, 2017 at 2:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.