Nokia 5110 LCD Display



This is a very cheap and easy to use outdoor visible LCD display with led backlight, sourced mainly from recycled Nokia 5110 dumb phones. Many units such as the one pictured above (Bangood) have some small scratches from their previous lives, but the under $2 price makes them very popular for hobbyists. Also available from

  • Price Under $2 each (Bangood, Ebay). More from Sparkfun, but perhaps their displays are not scratched ?
  • Operating voltage: 3 - 5v
  • Resolution: 48 rows and 84 columns
  • Operating Current without backlight: ≤200 µA
  • Blue backlight
  • Uses the Philips PCD8544 graphics controller chip.
  • 3v logic, Google if you want to use 5v logic from ancient Arduinos


In this page I describe how to get a Nokia 5110 lcd display up and running, at least to test stage using Mecrisp-Stellaris, with code and Logic Analyser pictures of the data and control signals. This is for completeness as it’s actually very easy to get it working once you know what needs to be done. The trick is acquiring accurate knowledge about this display.

Even if you don’t use Forth, this may assist you the first time you run one of these dispays up.


Whilst there are a great many YouTube articles regarding the 5110 lcd, the bulk are for Arduino in C, and short of many critical details, given the fondness of Arduino users for recycling libraries made by others. A special thank you to Julian Ilet for his excellent 5110 youtube videos:, without which I’d have taken considerably more time to get to this point.

Software Design

  • Create and send the correct 5110 initialization signals
  • Bit Bang serial commands to the display using a software SPI


The 5510 requires the ‘SPI’ protocol of DATA and CLOCK. DATA is clocked in on the RISING EDGE of the CLOCK signal, so if the DATA line is LOW on the RISING CLOCK edge, then a DATA LOW is clocked in. The Bit Banging is done in code, and is quote simple.

Hardware and Software Used

Pinouts and Signals

5110 Display pinouts and STM32F051 GPIO’s used

1 RST PB2 ORANGE Reset, active LOW. Internally this is the junction of a 10k pull up and a 104 cap to 0v.
2 CE PB3 YELLOW Chip Enable, active LOW
3 DC PB4 GREEN D=DATA, C=COMMAND Mode. Whe HIGH, you’re in DATA mode, LOW and you’re in COMMAND mode.
5 CLK PB6 PURPLE Active rising edge
6 VCC 3v GREY From the ‘3v’ pin on the STM32F0 Discovery Board
7 LIGHT PB7 WHITE Back Light, Active HIGH.
8 GND 0v BLACK  

The very First Test

Make sure the LED Backlights work. If you have a different type of 5110 lcd display, your BL (backlight) pin may need to be LOW to work, unlike mine which are HIGH.

5110 Essential Initialization


Without the following sequence, the 5110 display will never display anything.

LCD Init commands


Sequence order must be followed top to bottom.

Hex Name Description
n/a Rst Low going pulse of about 1.7 milli seconds
$21 Extended serial command: Lcd extended command mode
$B6 Contrast serial command: Lcd set contrast command
4 Coeficient serial command: Lcd set temperature coeficient command
$14 Bias serial command: Lcd set bias command
$20 Basic serial command: Lcd basic command mode

Logic Timing Diagram

These are what I really wanted when I started the project because a picture is worth a thousand words, expecially when signal timing is unclear.

  • Vcc is 3v and has been on a long time before any of the signals below are sent
  • All serial commands consist of data and a clock, and are sent Most Significant Bit (MSB) first
  • The Logic Analyser is triggered when CE ( Chip Enable, active LOW ) goes LOW and is signified by the dashed blue vertical line on each picture.

Lcd Reset

Could be shorter than 1.7 milli seconds I imagine, but realy short, i.e. with zero delay will not start the display.


Extended Command ($21)


Contrast Command ($B6)


Temperature Coefficient Command(4)


Bias Command ($14)


Basic Command ($20)



This concludes the basic Init process. After the next command is run, all of the Pixels should be on.

All Pixels On Command (9)


There are many kinds of Nokia 5110 Lcd displays on eBay, and some require different BIAS and COEFFICIENT values. If your display is still blank after running the commands above, I recommend you search online for settings knows to work with your display.


Photo of all pixels on

From the Julian Ilet video linked above.


Forth Code

  • Standalone, no other files needed. Just upload to a STM32F0 Discovery Board connected to a 5110 LCD.
  • Will turn on All Pixels

DOWNLOAD f052-nokia-5510-lcd.fs