Python usage

Pixel Drivers

The PCD8544 is driven with python using the implementation in the luma.lcd.device.pcd8544 class. Likewise, to drive the ST7735 or UC1701X, use the luma.lcd.device.st7735 or luma.lcd.device.uc1701x class respectively. Usage is very simple if you have ever used Pillow or PIL.

First, import and initialise the device:

from luma.core.interface.serial import spi
from luma.core.render import canvas
from luma.lcd.device import pcd8544, st7735, uc1701x

serial = spi(port=0, device=0, gpio_DC=23, gpio_RST=24)
device = pcd8544(serial)

The display device should now be configured for use. Note, all the example code snippets in this section are interchangeable between PCD8544 and ST7735 devices.

The pcd8544, st7735 and uc1701x classes all expose a display() method which takes an image with attributes consistent with the capabilities of the device. However, for most cases, for drawing text and graphics primitives, the canvas class should be used as follows:

with canvas(device) as draw:
    draw.rectangle(device.bounding_box, outline="white", fill="black")
    draw.text((30, 40), "Hello World", fill="red")

The luma.core.render.canvas class automatically creates an PIL.ImageDraw object of the correct dimensions and bit depth suitable for the device, so you may then call the usual Pillow methods to draw onto the canvas.

As soon as the with scope is ended, the resultant image is automatically flushed to the device’s display memory and the PIL.ImageDraw object is garbage collected.

Color Model

Any of the standard PIL.ImageColor color formats may be used, but since the PCD8544 LCD is monochrome, only the HTML color names "black" and "white" values should really be used; in fact, by default, any value other than black is treated as white. The luma.core.render.canvas object does have a dither flag which if set to True, will convert color drawings to a dithered monochrome effect (see the example, below).

with canvas(device, dither=True) as draw:
    draw.rectangle((10, 10, 30, 30), outline="white", fill="red")

Note that there is no such limitation for the ST7735 device which supports 262K colour RGB images, whereby 24-bit RGB images are downscaled to 18-bit RGB.

Landscape / Portrait Orientation

By default the PCD8544, ST7735 and UC1701X displays will all be oriented in landscape mode (84x48, 160x128 and 128x64 pixels respectively). Should you have an application that requires the display to be mounted in a portrait aspect, then add a rotate=N parameter when creating the device:

from luma.core.interface.serial import spi
from luma.core.render import canvas
from luma.lcd.device import pcd8544

serial = spi(port=0, device=0, gpio_DC=23, gpio_RST=24)
device = pcd8544(serial, rotate=1)

# Box and text rendered in portrait mode
with canvas(device) as draw:
    draw.rectangle(device.bounding_box, outline="white", fill="black")
    draw.text((10, 40), "Hello World", fill="red")

N should be a value of 0, 1, 2 or 3 only, where 0 is no rotation, 1 is rotate 90° clockwise, 2 is 180° rotation and 3 represents 270° rotation.

The device.size, device.width and device.height properties reflect the rotated dimensions rather than the physical dimensions.

Seven-Segment Drivers

The HT1621 is driven with the luma.lcd.device.ht1621 class, but is not accessed directly: it should be wrapped with the luma.core.virtual.sevensegment wrapper, as follows:

from luma.core.virtual import sevensegment
from luma.lcd.device import ht1621

device = ht1621()
seg = sevensegment(device)

The seg instance now has a text property which may be assigned, and when it does will update all digits according to the limited alphabet the 7-segment displays support. For example, assuming there are 2 cascaded modules, we have 16 character available, and so can write:

seg.text = "HELLO"

Rather than updating the whole display buffer, it is possible to update ‘slices’, as per the below example:

seg.text[0:5] = "BYE"

This replaces HELLO in the previous example, replacing it with BYE. The usual python idioms for slicing (inserting / replacing / deleteing) can be used here, but note if inserted text exceeds the underlying buffer size, a ValueError is raised.

Floating point numbers (or text with ‘.’) are handled slightly differently - the decimal-place is fused in place on the character immediately preceding it. This means that it is technically possible to get more characters displayed than the buffer allows, but only because dots are folded into their host character.

Backlight Control

These displays typically require a backlight to illuminate the liquid crystal display: the luma.lcd.aux.backlight class allows a BCM pin to be specified to control the backlight through software.


After installing the library, head over to the luma.examples repository. Details of how to run the examples is shown in the example repo’s README.