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Version: 12.x.x

Installing SerialPort

Installation Instructions

For most javascript enviornments you can run;

$ npm install serialport

And it will work from there.

Compilation On Unsupported Systems

The @serialport/bindings-cpp package uses prebuildify-cross to build binaries for a number of platforms and C libraries. We ship these builds with the package and the appropriate one will be used. (See Supported Environments for more information.) If you need a binary for a different platform it will be compiled during the npm install via node-gyp v7 which requires Python 2.x, so please ensure you have it installed and in your path for your operating system.

This assumes you have everything on your system necessary to compile ANY native module for Node.js. If you don't, then please ensure the following are true for your system before filing a "Does not install" issue.

Installation Special Cases

Alpine Linux

Historically Alpine linux had issues installing because it uses the musl standard library instead of glibc. We now build binaries for musl so you shouldn't have issues.


Historically Electron which comes with its own version of the Node.js runtime. It was a huge headache and required a deep understanding of your build system. Since v10 we leverage N-API and the provided binaries for your platform should work without issue.

For an example Electron project, check out electron-serialport.


NW.js is an app runtime based on Chromium and node.js.

Like Electron, NW.js also requires compilation against its own specific headers.

To instruct prebuild to build against the correct headers, place a file named .prebuildrc on your package root with the following content:


Where <target_version> is the NW.js version you are building against (for example, 0.26.6).

Raspberry Pi Linux

Follow the instructions for setting up a Raspberry pi for use with Johnny-Five and Raspi IO. These projects use Node Serialport under the hood.

RevisionCPUArm Version
A, A+, B, B+32-bit ARM1176JZF-SARMv6
Compute Module32-bit ARM1176JZF-SARMv6
Zero32-bit ARM1176JZF-SARMv6
B232-bit ARM Cortex-A7ARMv7
B332-bit ARM Cortex-A53ARMv8

To enable the serial port on Raspbian, you launch raspi-config, then select Interfacing Options, then Serial. You will then be asked two questions:

  1. Would you like a login shell to be accessible over serial?
  2. Would you like the serial port hardware to be enabled?

You must answer No to question 1 and Yes to question 2. If the login shell is left active, you will experience hangs and or disconnects.

DietPi also has the ability to enable the serial port in dietpi-config; however, it doens't have a way to disable the login shell that we know of.

sudo / root

If you're going to use sudo or root to install Node-Serialport, npm will require you to use the unsafe parameters flag.

sudo npm install serialport --unsafe-perm

Failure to use the flag results in an error like this:

root@rpi3:~# npm install -g serialport
/usr/bin/serialport-list -> /usr/lib/node_modules/serialport/bin/serialport-list.js
/usr/bin/serialport-term -> /usr/lib/node_modules/serialport/bin/serialport-terminal.js

> serialport@6.0.0-beta1 install /Users/wizard/src/node-serialport
> prebuild-install || node-gyp rebuild

prebuild-install info begin Prebuild-install version 2.2.1
prebuild-install info install installing standalone, skipping download.

gyp WARN EACCES user "root" does not have permission to access the dev dir "/root/.node-gyp/6.9.1"
gyp WARN EACCES attempting to reinstall using temporary dev dir "/usr/lib/node_modules/serialport/.node-gyp"
make: Entering directory '/usr/lib/node_modules/serialport/build'
make: *** No rule to make target '../.node-gyp/6.9.1/include/node/common.gypi', needed by 'Makefile'. Stop.
make: Leaving directory '/usr/lib/node_modules/serialport/build'
gyp ERR! build error
gyp ERR! stack Error: `make` failed with exit code: 2

Ubuntu/Debian Linux

You'll need the package build-essential to compile serialport if the provided binaries don't work for your system.


Node-Serialport supports Windows 10+. Precompiled binaries are available, but if you want to build it from source you'll need to follow the node-gyp installation instructions. Once you've got things working, you can install Node-Serialport from source with:

npm install serialport

Node-gyp's documentation doesn't mention it, but it sometimes helps to create a C++ project in Visual Studio so that it will install any necessary components not already installed during the past two hours of setup. This will solve some instances of Failed to locate: "CL.exe".