Interfacing Arduino with SSD1306 OLED display

This topic shows how to interface Arduino UNO board with SSD1306 OLED display (128×64 pixel). The SSD1306 is a monochrome display which means it has only one color (white, blue, yellow …). Also we’ll show how to simulate the SSD1306 display using Proteus ISIS.

The SSD1306 display contains a driver chip with the same name (SSD1306), it can communicate with the master device (microcontroller, microprocessor …) over I2C protocol, SPI protocol or 8-bit parallel protocol. In this topic I’m going to show how to use I2C and SPI protocols with this display.
The I2C protocol needs only 2 lines: SDA (serial data) and SCK (serial clock), an additional line is required which is a reset line (RST). The SPI protocol is faster than the I2C protocol but it uses more pins: SCK, SDA, CS (chip select: active low), D/C (data/command) and a rest pin (RST).

The SSD1306 OLED which I used is shown below (back view), the default mode is SPI which can be changed to I2C by removing the resistors R3 and R4 and placing the resistors R1, R4 and R8 (as written on the board). Note that resistance of R1 = R2 = R8 = 0 ohm.

SSD1306 OLED 128x64

Hardware Required:

  • Arduino board
  • SSD1306 OLED display
  • Breadboard
  • Jumper wires

arduino ssd1306 oled 128x64 circuit

SSD1306 OLED driver for Arduino:
Adafruit Industries provides a very nice library for the SSD1306 OLED, it can be easily installed using Arduino library manager (Sketch —> Include Library —> Library Manager), or manually by downloading it from the link below and adding it to Arduino libraries folder (C:\Program Files\Arduino\libraries):
Adafruit SSD1306 OLED library

Note that the Adafruit SSD1306 OLED driver supports 3 types: 128×64, 128×32 and 96×16 pixel, we can select between them in the driver file Adafruit_SSD1306.h. Opening the file with a text editor such as the Arduino IDE gives (scroll down as shown):

Adafruit SSD1306 OLED driver modifiy

I commented the default display type #define SSD1306_128_32 and uncommented #define SSD1306_128_64 because I’m using 128×64 pixel display (0.96″).

We need an other library named Adafruit GFX (graphics library) which can be installed through Arduino library manager or manually by downloading it from the link below:
Adafruit GFX library

Using SSD1306 with SPI mode (4-wire SPI):
The SSD1306 library comes with 4 examples, one of them is using the SSD1306 OLED with SPI mode. We can open the example by going to Arduino IDE:
File —> Examples —> Adafruit SSD1306 —> ssd1306_128x64_spi
as shown in the image below:

adafruit SSD1306 SPI example

Example circuit connections are shown below where:
GND goes to GND (ground)
VDD to 5V
SDA (serial data) to digital pin 9
SCK (serial clock) to digital pin 10
DC (data/command) to digital pin 11
CS (chip select) to digital pin 12
RES (reset) to digital pin 13

Arduino SSD1306 OLED in SPI mode circuit

Proteus simulation:
This example works with Proteus simulation software since it (Proteus) contains the SSD1306 OLED library. The video below shows the simulation result:

Proteus simulation file download (for version 8.6 and higher):
Arduino + SSD1306 OLED SPI

Using SSD1306 OLED with I2C mode:
The second Adafruit example is SSD1306 OLED with I2C (IIC or: Inter-Integrated Circuit). We can open it by going to Arduino IDE:
File —> Examples —> Adafruit SSD1306 —> ssd1306_128x64_i2c
as shown in the image below:

adafruit SSD1306 I2C example

Example circuit connections are shown below where:
GND goes to GND (ground)
VDD to 5V
SDA (serial data) to pin A4 (Arduino UNO I2C SDA pin)
SCK (serial clock) to pin A5 (Arduino UNO I2C SCL pin)
RES (reset) to digital pin 4

Arduino SSD1306 OLED in I2C mode circuit

The following video shows the simulation of the example using Proteus ISIS:

and the second video shows a simple hardware circuit:

Proteus simulation file download (for version 8.6 and higher):
Arduino + SSD1306 OLED I2C

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