How to use OLED display with Banana Pi

Posted on July 25, 2016 in Embedded Systems • 3 min read

Today we're going to connect an OLED display on Banana Pi/Banana Pro throught I²C. These displays are very small, but very readable due to the high contrast.

OLED Display

In this example I will use a 128x64 OLED display based on SSD1306 controller. You can find models that use I²C or SPI as communication interface. SPI is generally faster than I2C but uses more pins.

Connecting the module

The table bellow shows how to connect a display that uses I²C interface.

OLED Pin BananaPi/Pro Pin
VCC 1 (3V3)
SCL (or CLK) 5 (SCL)
SDA (or Data) 3 (SDA)
RST 24 (GPIO8)


If you're using your display for the first time, you will need to install some dependencies. If you're using ArchLinux you can run the following commands:

sudo pacman -Syu
sudo pacman-db-upgrade
sudo trust extract-compat
sudo pacman -S python python-pip base-devel i2c-tools python-imaging lm_sensors libjpeg-turbo freetype2

If you're on Debian-based distros you can run:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential python-dev python-pip python-imaging python-smbus libfreetype6-dev

After this you can install Python PIL or Pillow. PIL is the Python Imaging Library. Pillow is a Fork of PIL and it's the better choice because it works with Python 3+.

sudo pip install Pillow

First, clone the version of RPi.GPIO from LeMaker into your home folder. If you have a Banana Pi you need to clone bananapi branch:

git clone -b bananapi && cd RPi.GPIO_BP

If you have a Banana Pro you need to clone bananapro branch:

git clone -b bananapro && cd RPi.GPIO_BP

Then run sudo python install to install this library.

After, clone from Adafruit the library to use GPIO into your home folder:

git clone && cd Adafruit_Python_GPIO

Before install, we need to hack the code to get it working on BananaPi. Open Adafruit_GPIO/ with your text editor, find get_platform_gpio function and change the code to:

def get_platform_gpio(**keywords):
    import RPi.GPIO
    return RPiGPIOAdapter(RPi.GPIO, **keywords)

Then run sudo python install to install this library.

Finally, clone the Adafruit library into your home folder to use SSD1306-based OLED displays:

git clone && cd Adafruit_Python_SSD1306 

Run sudo python install to install this library.

Code example

Copy the code below to your home folder (or elsewhere) give a name to you file like and run sudo python to see the result.

import Adafruit_SSD1306

from PIL import Image
from PIL import ImageFont
from PIL import ImageDraw

RST = 24

# 128x64 display with hardware I2C:
disp = Adafruit_SSD1306.SSD1306_128_64(rst=RST, i2c_bus=2)

# initialize library.

width = disp.width
height = disp.height

# clear display.

# create image buffer.
# use mode '1' for 1-bit color.
image ='1', (width, height))

# load default font.
font = ImageFont.load_default()

draw = ImageDraw.Draw(image)

# draw text line.
draw.text((4, 0), '', font=font, fill=255)
# draw line separator.
draw.line((0, 15, 128, 15), fill=255)
# draw another text line.
draw.text((4, 20), 'OLED Display example', font=font, fill=255)

# draw the image buffer.

This code will write some text and draw a line to the display as shown bellow.

Banana Pi OLED Display

You can find more examples inside Adafruit_Python_SSD1306 library. But you may need to change the display initialization to match your device. A good example is how to draw an image on OLED displays.

Adafruit OLED Cat


SSD1306 OLED Displays with Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black