Python Usage

LCD displays can be driven with python using the various implementations in the luma.lcd.device package. There are several device classes available and usage is very simple if you have ever used Pillow or PIL.

To begin you must import the device class you will be using and the interface class that you will use to communicate with your device:

In this example, we are using an SPI interface with a pcd8544 display.

from luma.core.interface.serial import i2c, spi, parallel, pcf8574
from luma.core.render import canvas
from luma.lcd.device import pcd8544, st7735, st7789, st7567, uc1701x, ili9341, ili9486, hd44780

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

The display device should now be properly configured.

The pcd8544, st7735, st7789, st7567, uc1701x, ili9341, ili9486 and hd44780 classes all expose a display() method which takes an image with attributes consistent with the capabilities of the device.

For most cases when 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.


When a program ends, the display is automatically cleared. This means that a fast program that ends quickly may never display a visible image.


The use of the display method for the HD44780 is more limited than the other LCDs. The text property is the preferred interface for displaying characters. See HD44780 for more details.

Color Model

Any of the standard PIL.ImageColor color formats may be used if your device supports them. For monochrome LCDs, 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")

The ST7735, ST7789 and ILI9341 devices can display 262K colour RGB images. When supplying 24-bit RGB images, they are automatically downscaled to 18-bit RGB to fit these device’s 262K color-space.

Landscape / Portrait Orientation

By default the PCD8544, ST7735, ST7789, UC1701X and ILI9341 displays will all be oriented in landscape mode (84x48, 160x128, 128x64 and 320x240 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.

The HD44780 does not support display rotation.

The ILI9486 display defaults to a portrait orientation (320x480), and rotation is required to use the display in landscape mode.

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. If the display’s backlight is connected to one of the single-board computer’s gpio pins, you can activate the backlight by specifying gpio_LIGHT=n where n = the pin number when initializing the device (default GPIO 18 (PWM_CLK0)).

If the display uses an I2C backpack with a pin from the backpack connected to the display’s backlight pin, you can activate the backlight by specifying backpack_pin=n where n = the pin number on the backpack.

The backlight can be programmatically switched on and off by calling device.backlight(True) or device.backlight(False) respectively.


If you are using an I2C backpack based device, the backlight will not change until the next time you send a command or data to the device.


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