Raspberry Pi Pico Project

Interfacing SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico


Interfacing SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico- If you’re looking to add a sleek and vibrant display to your Raspberry Pi Pico projects, the SSD1306 OLED display is an excellent choice. In this article, we’ll explore how to interface the SSD1306 OLED display with Raspberry Pi Pico, and program it to display the message “Programming Digest.”

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SSD1306 Oled Display Module


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What is the SSD1306 OLED Display?

The SSD1306 OLED Display is a compact and versatile screen module commonly used in the world of electronics for its clear, high-contrast visual output. This monochrome display is made up of organic light-emitting diodes, each acting as an individual pixel that can be turned on or off to produce images or text. Unlike traditional LCD screens, OLEDs emit light directly, which means they do not require a backlight, contributing to deeper blacks and a higher contrast ratio.

Sporting a resolution of 128 by 64 pixels, the SSD1306 offers ample space to display elements ranging from simple sensor readings to intricate graphics. This resolution strikes a balance between detail and power efficiency, making it a popular choice for portable electronics where battery life is a key consideration.

One of the standout features of the SSD1306 is its support for 16 levels of grayscale. While it is a monochrome display, these grayscale levels enable it to show variations in intensity. This capability enhances the visual richness of the content, allowing for nuanced images and text that stand out with clarity and depth.

Display Size and Dimensions

The SSD1306 OLED display module measures approximately 27mm x 27mm, making it compact and suitable for projects with limited space. Its small form factor allows for easy integration into various electronic devices, such as wearable gadgets, IoT devices, and small handheld instruments.

Interface and Communication

The interface and communication aspect of the SSD1306 OLED display with the Raspberry Pi Pico are noteworthy for their simplicity and versatility. Utilizing the I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) protocol, a standard in microcontroller communication, the SSD1306 establishes a connection using just two wires: SDA (Serial Data) and SCL (Serial Clock). This efficient two-wire protocol significantly simplifies the wiring process, making it less cumbersome and more straightforward to integrate the display into various projects.

The SDA line is responsible for transmitting the data signals, while the SCL line provides the clock signal that synchronizes data transfer between the SSD1306 display and the Raspberry Pi Pico. This setup allows for effective communication while minimizing the number of required connections, an essential factor in maintaining a clean and manageable project layout.

Moreover, the SSD1306 OLED display module is designed with flexibility in mind, supporting both 3.3V and 5V power supplies. This dual voltage compatibility is particularly beneficial as it broadens the range of microcontrollers with which the display can be used. Whether you’re working with the Raspberry Pi Pico, which operates at 3.3V, or other microcontrollers that might require a 5V supply, the SSD1306 can adapt seamlessly. This feature ensures that the display can be easily integrated into a wide array of electronic projects, from simple hobbyist creations to more complex industrial applications.

Display Features

The SSD1306 OLED display offers several features that enhance its usability and versatility:

High Contrast: The OLED technology used in the display provides excellent contrast, resulting in sharp and vibrant images.

Wide Viewing Angle: The display can be viewed from different angles without any loss in image quality, making it suitable for applications where multiple users may be viewing the display simultaneously.

Fast Refresh Rate: The SSD1306 OLED display has a fast refresh rate, ensuring smooth animations and eliminating any flickering issues.

Low Power Consumption: OLED displays consume significantly less power compared to traditional LCD displays, making them ideal for battery-powered projects.

Interfacing SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

The GND pin of the SSD1306 Oled display module is connected with Raspberry Pi Pico GND pin.

The 3.3V pin of the Raspberry Pi Pico is connected to the 3.3V pin of the SSD1306 OLED display. It’s important to ensure that the voltage levels are compatible; the Raspberry Pi Pico operates at 3.3V, which is suitable for powering the SSD1306.

The SCL (Serial Clock Line) is part of the I2C protocol used for communication between the Pico and the OLED display. Connecting the SCL pin of the SSD1305 to GPIO 17 (GP17) on the Pico sets up the clock line for I2C communication. The SCL line is used by the Pico to synchronize data transfer to and from the display.

The SDA (Serial Data Line) is the other line used in I2C communication. This connection carries the actual data being transferred. Connecting the SDA pin of the SSD1305 to GPIO 16 (GP16) on the Pico allows for two-way data communication between the devices.

SSD1306 Oled Library installation:

The installation of the SSD1306 OLED Display module library can be accomplished through two methods. The first method involves using the ‘Manage Packages’ feature, which is a straightforward approach allowing you to search for and install the library directly within your development environment. The second method entails using the SSD1306 OLED display module Driver code directly. This approach involves manually downloading the library code and integrating it into your project

First Method:

 Open the Thonny IDE and ensure it is set to Raspberry Pi Pico mode.

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

If Thonny is not already in Raspberry Pi Pico mode, go to the “Tools” menu and select “Options.”

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

In the “Options” window, click on the “Interpreter” tab. From the interpreter list, choose “MicroPython (Raspberry Pi Pico)” and click “OK.”

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

After confirming, you will see that the Thonny IDE has switched to Raspberry Pi Pico mode, as indicated in the IDE.

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

With the IDE in the correct mode, go back to the “Tools” menu and select “Manage Packages.”

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

In the manage packages windows write ssd1306 in the text box and click on the search button.

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

Wait for the search result it depends on the internet speed, once the search is completed click on the ssd1306

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

Then click on the install button, and wait for the installation process

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

As you can see our ssd1306 oled library is installed successfully

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

Second Method using SSD1306 Driver Code:

In the first method, we learned to install the SSD1306 OLED module using Manage Packages. However, in this method, we will install the SSD1306 OLED display module using driver code. To do this, open a new file in the Thonny IDE, copy the driver code, and then paste it into this new file. Save the file with the name ‘ssd1306.py’.

Driver code:

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

Test Program:

then, create a new file and paste the test program into it. Save this file with any name you choose; for instance, I have saved it as ‘test.py’.

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

Then, click on the ‘Run’ button to execute the program and observe its output.

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico

After executing the code you will see the following output:

SSD1306 OLED Display with Raspberry Pi Pico


In conclusion, this article has provided a comprehensive guide on how to interface the SSD1306 OLED display with the Raspberry Pi Pico. We explored two different methods for installing the necessary library for the SSD1306 OLED display module, catering to various user preferences and technical backgrounds. Following these methods, we successfully demonstrated how to display “Programming Digest” on the SSD1306 OLED module. This project not only enhances your understanding of interfacing hardware with the Raspberry Pi Pico but also opens the door to numerous possibilities for future projects and applications. Whether you’re a hobbyist, student, or professional, the skills acquired through this tutorial are invaluable and pave the way for more advanced and creative endeavors in the world of electronics and programming.

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