cargo install embedded-error


A universal set of specific error kinds for use in embedded systems

by Daniel Egger

0.6.0 (see all)License:MIT OR Apache-2.0
cargo install embedded-error


A universal set of specific error kinds for use in embedded systems

What is embedded-error?

embedded-error has grown out of the desire to have universal but specific "error" kinds for use in applications running on embedded systems.

Unlike regular applications running on a server or desktop, an embedded system doesn't typically have a user or supervisor process monitoring it's output; most systems do not even have a display which could be used to display an error. Instead the application must be able to identify any signalled error in order to handle them appropriately.

It is also important to note, that many of error kinds are not fatal but a way to communicate between a peripheral or a device connected to the peripheral with the application. Thus it is often not useful to treat the Err case of a Result as a wholesale fatal incident and halt or reboot the application which would be the case if there was no way to discriminate between error kinds, e.g. because the error kinds are implementation specific and not portable across different hardware.

embedded-error sets out to collect all possible error kinds grouped by peripheral and provide them as non-exhaustive enumerations, very much like std::io::ErrorKind does.

This allows drivers to use well-defined error types and applications as well as universal drivers to generically handle typical "errors".

How-to use embedded-error

Usage is straight forward:

  1. Declare the use of embedded-error in your Cargo.toml:

    embedded-error = "*"

  1. If you're a implementor of [embedded-hal] traits, define the appropriate error as the associated Error type in your implementation, e.g.:

    impl WriteRead for I2c { type Error = embedded_error::I2cError; ...

  1. In case you're implementing a standalone driver or function, simply use it in the Result, e.g.:

    pub fn new(spi: &mut SPI) -> Result<Self, embedded_error::SpiError>

and return or forward the appropriate error (via the ? operator). 4. As an (embedded) application writer, to handle an error you simply match it. Please note that since errors are declared non_exhaustive you will always need to match with a wildcard for unhandled or error cases to be added in the future. The Rust compiler will tell you if you're doing it wrong. Here's what this could look like:

use embedded_error::I2cError;

match i2c.write(addr, &[]) {
        Err(I2cError::NACK) => { writeln!(out, "No device on address {}", addr).ok(); },
        Ok(_) => { writeln!(out, "Found device on address {}", addr).ok(); },
        _ => { writeln!(out, "Ohoh, the device is on fire, let's reboot".ok(); reboot(); },

Plese check the embedded-error documentation for details.

Currently supported error kinds

At the moment we have support for the following peripherals:

  • GPIO
  • I2C
  • MCI (MultiMedia Card Interface)
  • SPI
  • Serial
  • USB
  • Generic implementation errors

How to contribute?

Thanks for your interest in contributing to this effort! Contributing is as easy as creating a pull request (PR) against the embedded-error repository. All additions are required to contain proper doc strings; due to that it is typically not required to explain the motiviation for a PR. If we have concerns or questions we will contact you, otherwise your PR is going to be approved.

The aim is to have frequent releases which are going to be forwards compatible so only the patch number will change and everyone can profit immediately. If we forget to make a release and you would like to have one, please contact us or open an issue.


Licensed under either of

at your option.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.

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