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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, 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
Ash Hill

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.