I've just started a simple project using raspberrypi and a capacitive touch sensors breakout board. I had a few problems using I2C, but after some time of research I managed to get stuck on one only... On one of the forums I found an answer that solved the same issue for another user, so I'd like to try it out:

Turns out I forgot to short the ADD to GND to set address 0x5a.

The thing is, I don't really know what that means... Am I just supposed to solder ADD to GND? There's GND already on this board (apart form ADD). Do I just connect them both to GND? What does shorting to ground actually mean?

Thanks a lot for your help and sorry for the trouble :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Disregarding all the rest, yes. Short to ground does mean connect to ground. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sergio
    Oct 16, 2014 at 10:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ It would help if you'd include a link to the particular board you have. That line you quote refers to the fact that I2C chips often have 1, 2 or 3 input pints that determine their I2C address. They must be set to a known level, because you must know how to address the chip. Whether 'tie them all to ground' its the correct option depends on the software involved. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2014 at 10:38

3 Answers 3


Short to ground, just means to have a direct connection to Ground. A "short" is any direct connection between two nodes. In any circuit, technically, you have shorts everywhere, but the term "short to.." is generally used for ground or some power node.

So you have a direct connection between ADD and GND would be a short.


Short is an English word and is used almost in a slang/jargon type of way in Electrical Engineering. Short in English means that the length or distance of something is close by, or it is over a relatively small distance.

The use of the word "short" in "short to ground" is actually short (lol!) for the full term "short circuit". To create a short circuit in Electronics, you basically remove everything in the way between one node and another, and directly connect them. Can be done numerous ways, but the simplest is of course a [short!] wire or PCB trace.

The use of language in Electrical Engineering must make it very hard for non-english speakers to understand the strange things we say, and it can be quite a problem with international design/product collaboration. Even a problem for simple tutorials or online 'instructables'[not a real word by the way!] and causes grief all the time i'm sure of it!


As an addition to the other answers, and on the use of English more than anything, "short" usually implies a "short circuit" which usaully means an unintentional (faulty) condition or temporary setup (as in "use a shorting link" (jumper or wire) for example), as in the connection is shorter than it should be, something is being bypassed or over-ridden by the short.

If the state is intended & by design then it's usually "connected to ground", "wired to ground", etc. rather than "shorted".


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