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Project Notes

#361 TFT/Color128x128

Testing a 128x128 colour TFT LCD with a couple of different Arduino libraries.



I dug out a 1.44 inch Serial 128*128 SPI Color TFT LCD Module from my parts drawer as a possible display for a project I’m working on. First .. put it to the test.

It appears to be an ILI9163C type display, as covered in this excellent tutorial from Henry’s Bench. That’s done properly with 5v-3.3V level shifters but here I cheated to see if it would actually work without blowing up on 5V.

Although it does appear to work just fine on 5V, it is probaby not a good idea for long-term operation. Although I cannot find any specifications for the TFT screen I have, it is a good bet that it is specified for 3.3V.

Color128x128_screen_front Color128x128_screen_rear

Demo Programs

I’m testing a couple of libraries using a simple text display program that does three things:

  • sets the background color
  • writes some text at specific positions
  • updates a counter at a fixed position every 500ms

Here’s a quick demo of the two examples in action:



The standard Arduino TFT library compiles down to some fairly compact images, but it does require a bit of wrangling to output numbers.

Sketch uses 7936 bytes (24%) of program storage space. Maximum is 32256 bytes.
Global variables use 134 bytes (6%) of dynamic memory, leaving 1914 bytes for local variables. Maximum is 2048 bytes.


The TFT_ILI9163C library appears to have some nice features for this specific type of display, but it does generate a program image that is a little larger.

Sketch uses 8306 bytes (25%) of program storage space. Maximum is 32256 bytes.
Global variables use 163 bytes (7%) of dynamic memory, leaving 1885 bytes for local variables. Maximum is 2048 bytes.





Credits and References

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This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.