Nokia Cell Phone Screen Finds Second Life as Raspberry Pi Shield

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Kristian, Krisseck)

Kristian from the YouTube channel Krisseck shared a really cool Raspberry Pi accessory this week, and it’s overflowing with nostalgia. After rummaging through some hardware, he came across a shield featuring an refurbished display panel from a Nokia cell phone.

Some of the best Raspberry Pi projects we’ve come across recycle old hardware, and PCD8544 shields are definitely in that ballpark. Kristian found a Raspberry Pi PCD8544 v2.0 Shield created by a now-defunct developer known as Arduino King. The shield plugs directly into the Pi’s GPIO and lets you control a black and white matrix measuring 48 x 48 pixels. 

There are other companies that produce Raspberry Pi modules with refurbished Nokia displays, including the Nokia 5110/3310 monochrome LCD from Adafruit. As of writing, Adafruit is out of stock, but the website offers a sign-up form for notification emails.

The biggest hurdle you’ll face when using one of these displays is choosing a library. In Kristian’s case, ArduinoKing.com is no longer around, and finding the right software to control the screen wasn’t easy. Kristian tried a couple of PCD8544 libraries, including one known as Luma and another from Adafruit, with little success. He eventually landed on a script offered by Haoyu, a third-party reseller of the Arduino King shield. The script enabled SPI emulation to get the display to function properly.

If you’re going to add a small LCD to your Raspberry Pi, you might as well do it in style, and this is a sure-fire way to add a retro flair to your project. Check out the full video at YouTube and be sure to follow Kristian for more cool projects.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.