DS1990A 64-bit Serial Number iButton

iButtons DS1990A is an amazing compact device introduced exclusively by Maxim integrated. It has a factory-lasered 64-bit identification number imprinted for unique traceability. This engraved unique number is un-alterable. On top of that, this coin-sized device is a rugged device that can resist harsh environments. The component is a coin-shaped enclosure with an integrated 1-wire communication circuit. The signal transmission takes place through the 1-wire wireless communication protocol that has a data line and a ground line. These iButtons are portable, durable, and ultimate data carriers. They find applications in automatic authentication, temperature logging, etc.

DS19990A iButton

This tutorial will guide through address type iButton, interfacing, and applications.

DS1990A Introduction

The iButton is stainless steel can that has a silicon chipset enclosed in it. The upper side of the can is responsible for signal transmission and the lower side serves to connect it to the ground using the 1-wire protocol. It is necessary to isolate both connections and it is done through an eyelet in the can.


DS1990A integrated circuit is protected in a reliable enclosure so finds its application in many hard-wear projects. Each iButton is unique due to an unvaried factory-calibrated 64-bit log identification number for error-free selection especially when different devices are working simultaneously on a single bus.

There are different types of iButtons that are classified due to their functionality but this tutorial is discussing Address only iButton.

  • Memory
  • Address only 
  • Real Time clock 
  • Secure 
  • Data Loggers

The address only iButton is read-only which means that we can only receive the identifier but can not write or alter anything. In 5ms the ID number can be read by touching the reader of the device.

DS9490R/DS9490BAdapter to connect iButton through a USB port
DS9101Clip to hold iButton
DS9092Probe for microcontroller/circuit connection

DS1990A Pinout

The pinout of this unique DS1990A iButton is as shown:

DS19990A iButton pinout diagram

 Pin Configuration

The pin configuration in tabular are detailed as below:

Pin NameFunction
1-wire SignalSerial Input/Output pin – Data transmits and receive through this pin
GNDReference potential  pin that is ground

DS1990A  Features and Specifications

  • Operating Voltage: 2.8 Volts – 6 Volts
  • Maximum Input LOW Voltage: 0.3 Volts
  • Minimum Input HIGH Voltage: 2.2 Volts
  • Input/Output Sink Current: 20 mA
  • Typical Input Load Current: 0.25 uA
  • Minimum Recovery Time: 1 us
  • Maximum Data Read Time: 15 us
  • Operating Temperature: -40°C – 85°C
  • Data rate of the serial communication is 16.3 kbps.
  • The data can only be accessed if it is fastened to the device.
  • For uniqueness and proper traceability of a particular peripheral, it is embedded with a 64-bit authentication number.
  • It supports a multi-drop bus for connectivity of various 1-wire devices.
  • It has two variants i.e. F3 and F5 are RoHS compliant packages.
  • It comes with adhesive backing or a flange to affix it to objects.

DS1990A Block Diagram

The block diagram to show the internal circuitry of the DS1990A iButton for the clarity of its working is provided below:

DS19990A iButton block diagram

It consists of read-only memory, functional control, and a parasitic power circuitry i.e parasitic capacitor and a rectifier.

DS19990A iButton internal

iButton Interfacing Circuits

In this section, we will discuss how to use iButton with computer or microcontroller to read 64-bit identification number.

Interfacing with Computer

DS1990A does not provide a 64-bit unique identifier. We need a proper probe or connector to interface it with a microcontroller or computer. It needs proper hardware and software to connect it to the computer system. The manufacturers’ Maxim has launched its own adapter and drivers to perform read and write data functions. The DS1990A iButton is attached to the host PC through a DS9490R USB to the 1-wire adapter. Maxim has now introduced an upgraded version of this connector that has space to insert and hold the iButton. To easily read this iButton, the computer system should have drivers and OneWireViewersoftware and Java JRE installed in it. This software is compatible with almost all Windows operating systems.

Interfacing with Microcontroller Through DS9092L

The following diagram shows that how to connect iButton with any microcontroller such as Arduino Uno, Pic microcontroller, Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone through the DS9092L connector.

DS19990A iButton interfacing with microcontroller

These ibuttons are used in a variety of small projects. We need a DS9092L probe to interface this ultra-small device to the microcontroller unit. The ground of the probe is connected to the ground pin of MCU and the Signal pin to the GPIO pin of the microcontroller. As it is an address-only device, the states of GPIO pins determine the request for reading the data via a 1-wire interface. It requires less power so it is suitable with 3.3 to 5 volts operating controller units. Make sure to use a 1k pull-up resistor for a 1-wire data line to avoid floating states.

Alternate Options

  • DS1972
  • DS1982
  • DS1920
  • DS1991


  •  Serial Data Communication
  • Data acquisition
  • Security purposes
  • Access Control

2D Diagram

2D Diagram

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