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Interface Nokia 5110 LCD and Raspberry Pi – Python

Interface Nokia 5110 LCD and Raspberry Pi – Python

Today we are going to see how to interface Nokia 5110 LCD and Raspberry Pi using Python. It is controlled using SPI protocol and the display uses PCD8544 as its controller.

Nobody can forget the most sturdiest robust and reliable phone of the 90s, Yes I am talking about Nokia Phones :). Somehow it has got its place in the history and heart of people. I too have one as a vintage collection. I recently got an idea which I wanted to make and for that I wanted an LCD display. After searching around I got a LCD display what was used in Nokia phones. LCD is called Liquid crystal display and the difference between LCD and OLED has been explained a bit in my previous article.

Nokia LCD Display:

The display is not actually from Nokia and it uses internally PCF8544 controller which uses SPI interface for operating it.

Pin Connections
1. RST ——— reset.
2. CE ———— chip selection.
3. DC ———– data/commands choice.
4. DIN ———– serial data line.
5. CLK ———— serial Clock Speed.
6. VCC ———- Power, 3.3V (Positive).
7. BL ——— backlight control terminal.
8. GND ———– power negatively.

Hardware required:

Raspberry Pi

Amazon US:
Amazon Germany :

Nokia LCD

Banggood: Nokia LCD
Amazon US:
Amazon Germany:

Female to Female Jumper Cable Wires 20cm

Amazon US:
Amazon Germany:

Nokia 5110 LCD and Raspberry Pi:


The LCD should be connected as shown the in the below picture.

The display is connected to the SPI pins of the Raspberry Pi . If you want to know more about the Raspberry Pi pinout refer to . The pin placement order is shown the same way the board is placed in the below picture. The VCC is connected to 3.3V supply since the LCD and driver require a 3.3V power supply and 3.3V logic levels for communication.

Pin Mapping

1. RST——— reset.
2. CE————chip selection.
3. DC———–data/commands choice.
4. DIN———–serial data line.
5. CLK————serial Clock Speed.
6. VCC———-Power, 3.3V (Positive).
7. LIGHT——— backlight control terminal.
8. GND———–power negatively.

Hardware connection:

After setting up the connection the circuit looks like shown below.

SPI Driver:

Before you start with the programming part, you need to enable the spi driver in your raspbian distribution. It can be done using raspi-config. You can do it as follows.

sudo raspi-config

Ensure that you see the SPI device nodes as shown below.

 $ ls -l /dev/spi* crw-rw---- 1 root spi 153, 0 Nov 25 08:32 /dev/spidev0.0 crw-rw---- 1 root spi 153, 1 Nov 25 08:32 /dev/spidev0.1

Nokia LCD python Library

With the emergence of Pi board and the Linux distros along with it there are always more than one library available for each interface. Likewise for LCD display there are many libraries and many variants of libraries . For the LCD with PCD8544 I choose this library .

This is library is already available as part of python repository or as they called cheese cake factory ;). Type the below command to install all the required dependencies for using the LCD display.


 $sudo apt-get install python-dev python-pip libfreetype6-dev libjpeg-dev build-essential $sudo -H pip install --upgrade luma.lcd

Now during the installation if you get any error like shown below

NameError: name 'platform_system' is not defined

Then type the below command and then try again to install the above packages.

sudo pip install -U pip

For the latest information about the installation always refer to

Example Code

Turning backlight on



from luma.core.interface.serial import spi

Since the hardware uses spi I am importing the spi handler related module from luma.core.interface.serial

from luma.core.render import canvas

Assume the canvas like a buffer which will be used to transfer the content to display controller.

from luma.lcd.device import pcd8544, st7735, uc1701x

Here I import the display hardware related module which can speak with pcd8544 controller.

from luma.lcd.aux import backlight

Importing backlight functionality from LCD auxilary library.

serial = spi(port=0, device=0, gpio_DC=23, gpio_RST=24)

We specifiy which SPI bus and the Device number to the display controller object and get a device handler as return. port represents the /dev/spidev0.0, in case if the device is /dev/spidev2.0 then port will be 2. device represents which device for example spidev0.0 0 is the device number and spidev0.1 has 1 as device number. Additionally the Data command pin and reset pins needs to be configured seperately using the variables gpio_DC and gpio_RST.

light = backlight(gpio_LIGHT=channel, active_low=False)

Here the GPIO pin that is connected to the back light is defined and it is passed to the backlight auxilary function along with the logic level of the pin as active high.



device = pcd8544(serial,rotate=2)

This creates the device object of pcd8544 controller, the option rotate is to turn the orientation and it has 4 numbers 0,1,2 and 3.
with canvas(device) as draw:

Open a canvas for this device with the name draw.
draw.rectangle(device.bounding_box, outline=”white”, fill=”black”)

Draw a rectangle with device.bounding_box which outlines the border.
draw.text((10, 10), “Hello World”, fill=”red”)

Print the text Hello World and the fill has no meaning here except in generate it can be either 0 or 255.



If you want to plot a pixel then use the point method with X and Y co ordinate to plot.



draw.line((0,0 , 20 , 20 ), fill=“white“)

Here I use the method line with start co ordinates (X1,Y1) and end co ordinates (X2, Y2)

Font example:



font = ImageFont.truetype(‘./ssd1306/fonts/Volter__28Goldfish_29.ttf‘,20)

Here I loading the font to the variable font using the ImageFont.truetype method. Here I am using the font Volter__28Goldfish_29.ttf but you can use any ttf font with the complete path. The number 20 is the font size you can play around reducing and increasing to see its effect on the screen,

draw.text((0, 0), “Hello World“, font=font, fill=255)

The font object is used as the font to display the text “Hello World”.

Install example codes:

 $git clone $cd luma.examples/examples

You can run most of the example using the following option.

 python examples/ -f conf/pcd8544.conf python examples// -f conf/pcd8544.conf python examples/ -f conf/pcd8544.conf

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