I am using the DS3231 RTC connected to an Arduino UNO R3 for a project. I won’t go into detail, but I need to save power, therefore I am using the DS3231 Alarm Interrupt to wake the Arduino from sleep. The Alarm Interrupt works fine when the Arduino is sleeping and connected to the 5V and GND pins of the Arduino, however it turns out that the DS3231 won’t fire a square wave interrupt when on battery power. In order to turn it on, I need to set bit 7 of the Control Register (0Eh) to logic 1, and bit 6 to logic one. I can’t find any documentation on how to do this, except for a few forums talking about it. What is the specific code to do this, and where would I place the code?

DS3231 Data Sheet (Control Register on p.13)

#include <Wire.h>
#include <RTClibExtended.h>
#include <LowPower.h>

#define wakePin 2    //use interrupt 0 (pin 2) and run function wakeUp when pin 2 gets LOW
#define ledPin 13    //use arduino on-board led for indicating sleep or wakeup status

RTC_DS3231 RTC;      //we are using the DS3231 RTC

byte AlarmFlag = 0;
byte ledStatus = 1;


void wakeUp()        // here the interrupt is handled after wakeup


void setup() {
  //Set pin D2 as INPUT for accepting the interrupt signal from DS3231
  pinMode(wakePin, INPUT);

  //switch-on the on-board led for 1 second for indicating that the sketch is ok and running
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);

  //Initialize communication with the clock
  RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));   //set RTC date and time to COMPILE time

  //clear any pending alarms
  RTC.armAlarm(1, false);
  RTC.alarmInterrupt(1, false);
  RTC.armAlarm(2, false);
  RTC.alarmInterrupt(2, false);

  //Set SQW pin to OFF (in my case it was set by default to 1Hz)
  //The output of the DS3231 INT pin is connected to this pin
  //It must be connected to Arduino D2 pin for wake-up

  //Set alarm1 every day at 18:33
  RTC.setAlarm(ALM1_MATCH_HOURS, 16, 19, 0);   //set your wake-up time here
  RTC.alarmInterrupt(1, true);


void loop() {

  //On first loop we enter the sleep mode
  if (AlarmFlag == 0) {
    attachInterrupt(0, wakeUp, LOW);                       //use interrupt 0 (pin 2) and run function wakeUp when pin 2 gets LOW 
    digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);                             //switch-off the led for indicating that we enter the sleep mode
    ledStatus = 0;                                         //set the led status accordingly
    LowPower.powerDown(SLEEP_FOREVER, ADC_OFF, BOD_OFF);   //arduino enters sleep mode here
    detachInterrupt(0);                                    //execution resumes from here after wake-up

    //When exiting the sleep mode we clear the alarm
    RTC.armAlarm(1, false);
    RTC.alarmInterrupt(1, false);

  //cycles the led to indicate that we are no more in sleep mode
  if (ledStatus == 0) {
    ledStatus = 1;
    digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
  else {
    ledStatus = 0;
    digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);


Also, how would I set it to go to sleep after the alarm?


P.s sorry about that Thomas, I'm a bit new here.

  • 2
    What RTC library are you using? Do you know how to directly address an I2C device using the Wire library? Feb 12, 2020 at 16:36
  • You have a pullup resistor on the line also, yes?
    – CrossRoads
    Mar 16, 2020 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


I took a look at the FabioCuomo-DS3231 library, as I guess that is what you are using, and I saw nothing related to setting those two bits. However, you can take inspiration from the code in the library to implement the functionality yourself.

I would try this:

void enableAlarmInLowPower(void) {
    // Read the control register.
    Wire.requestFrom((uint8_t)DS3231_ADDRESS, (uint8_t)1);
    uint8_t value = Wire.read();

    // Update it.
    value |= bit(6) | bit(7);  // set bits 6 and 7

    // Write it back.

Warning: not tested.

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