OLED I2c Display With Arduino




Introduction: OLED I2c Display With Arduino

About: Computer geek who stumbled upon arduino and electronics in general a while ago.

In this instructable I will show you how to connect and test a 0.96" i2c OLED display module to an arduino.


  • Breadboard and hookup wires
  • Arduino (using a nano v3 5v 16mhz clone in this case)
  • External power supply (regulated 5v)
  • The OLED i2c display

I bought my display around 6 months ago, and I can’t seem to find the exact display on ebay now, but searching for “0.96 ssd1306 i2c OLED” shows a whole lot of similar displays. Other sites, like adafruit, got the same displays if you prefer to shop there.

Step 1: Connecting Your Display

The display is connected by utilizing the i2c pins on your arduino.

Which pins to use for this differs on some arduino models, but on the UNO and NANO you use pin A4 (SDA) and A5 (SCL). If you’re using another arduino, google the pinout and look for SDA and SCL pins. (For example, google “arduino mega pinout”, and check the images).

I first attempted to power my display from my arduinos 5v. This worked, but only halfway – the display fired up, and started cycling the demos in the sketch we will see later on, and then froze after a few seconds.

I then powered my display from my external 5v supply (with common ground to the arduino), which did the trick – the display is now working properly.

The connections from the display:

  • VCC to external 5v
  • GND to external GND
  • SCL to arduino pin A5 (or the SCL pin for your arduino)
  • SDA to arduino pin A4 (or the SDA pin for your arduino)
  • arduino GND pin to external psu GND

Arduino is connected to the computer via an USB cable. The USB powers the arduino.

Step 2: I2c Scanner

To start out, we need to find out the i2c address of the display. To
accomplish this, I use a quick i2c scanner uploaded to the arduino. The scanner code can be found on http://playground.arduino.cc/Main/I2cScanner.
Copy and paste the code into your arduino IDE, build and upload, and fire up your serial monitor. If your display are connected, powered and working, you will get an address back from the scanner (in serial monitor). My display shows up at address 0x3C.

Step 3: Libraries

In this instructable I am using the arduino IDE (http://arduino.cc) and libraries from adafruit downloaded via github.
Link to the libraries:

I will assume you know how to download and install libraries in your arduino IDE. If not, there are tons of nice tutorials/instructions out there on how to get started with the arduino IDE and libraries.

Both libraries below needs to be installed before you are able to continue with this instructable.

https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_SSD1306 (SSD1306 library)

https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-GFX-Library (GFX library)

Step 4: Test Sketch

Now that we know our displays i2c address, we can open the example sketch in our adafruit ssd1306 library.
In your arduino IDE, check your examples menu and locate the 128×64 i2c sketch found under Adafruit SSD1306 (as shown in the picture).
Change the address of the display to whatever the scanner told you, in my case 3x0C.

Compile and upload to your arduino, give it a second, and the display should fire up and show some different display modes.

The demo sketch ends with stars that continues to fall forever. You can copy-paste from the demo sketch to use the display modes that fits your needs.

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Add a 1k pullup resistor on SDA and SCL and you won't need the external power supply. The built-in pullup resistors on the Atmega chip are too weak to work reliably.