attachInterrupt(interrupt, function, mode)

Specifies a function to call when an external interrupt occurs. Replaces any previous function that was attached to the interrupt.



interrupt: the number of the interrupt (int)

function: the function to call when the interrupt occurs; this function must take no parameters and return nothing. This function is sometimes referred to as an interrupt service routine.

mode defines when the interrupt should be triggered. Four constants are predefined as valid values:

  • LOW to trigger the interrupt whenever the pin is low (not available on MSP430 and C2000),
  • CHANGE to trigger the interrupt whenever the pin changes value
  • RISING to trigger when the pin goes from low to high,
  • FALLING for when the pin goes from high to low.






Inside the attached function, delay() won’t work and the value returned by millis() will not increment. Serial data received while in the function may be lost. You should declare as volatile any variables that you modify within the attached function.


Using Interrupts

Interrupts are useful for making things happen automatically in microcontroller programs, and can help solve timing problems. A good task for using an interrupt might be reading a rotary encoder, monitoring user input.

If you wanted to insure that a program always caught the pulses from a rotary encoder, never missing a pulse, it would make it very tricky to write a program to do anything else, because the program would need to constantly poll the sensor lines for the encoder, in order to catch pulses when they occurred. Other sensors have a similar interface dynamic too, such as trying to read a sound sensor that is trying to catch a click, or an infrared slot sensor (photo-interrupter) trying to catch a coin drop. In all of these situations, using an interrupt can free the microcontroller to get some other work done while not missing the doorbell.



volatile int state = HIGH;
volatile int flag = HIGH;
int count = 0;

void setup()

  digitalWrite(GREEN_LED, state);

  /* Enable internal pullup. 
   * Without the pin will float and the example will not work */
  attachInterrupt(PUSH2, blink, FALLING); // Interrupt is fired whenever button is pressed

void loop()
  digitalWrite(GREEN_LED, state); //LED starts ON
  if(flag) {
    flag = LOW;

void blink()
  state = !state;
  flag = HIGH;


See also


Reference Home