Nokia 5110 LCD initialization issue

I am trying to connect Nokia 5110 LCD to BeagleBone Black Rev-C over SPI protocol.

The connections are exactly as shown on the page 6 of: Nokia5110-BeagleBone Black Connections

I wrote a C equivalent of Arduino's code for Philips PCD8544 (Nokia 3310) driver. Where I export the required GPIO ports and send commands and data over SPI interface.

I successfully installed and ran Adafruit's python-library: Adafruit Nokia LCD

My problem is

I have a strange issue, when I run this python code first and then my C code, the code works perfect! But if I run my C code before the python code, I get no output. Logic says that the python code must be initializing something that I am missing in my code.

Here's how I initialize the LCD:

    fd_spi_dev = open(device, O_RDWR);
//set mode
mode = SPI_MODE_0;
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_WR_MODE, &mode);
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_RD_MODE, &mode);
//set max bitrate
speed = 4000000;
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_RD_MAX_SPEED_HZ, &speed);
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_WR_MAX_SPEED_HZ, &speed);
// set an msb first
lsbsetting = 0;
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_WR_LSB_FIRST, &lsbsetting);
// set bits per word
bits = 8;
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_WR_BITS_PER_WORD, &bits);
ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_RD_BITS_PER_WORD, &bits);

lcd_write_cmd(0x21);    // LCD extended commands
lcd_write_cmd(0xB8);    // set LCD Vop (contrast)
lcd_write_cmd(0x04);    // set temp coefficient
lcd_write_cmd(0x14);    // set biad mode 1:40
lcd_write_cmd(0x20);    // LCD basic commands
lcd_write_cmd(0x09);    // LCD all segments on
/* I am expecting to see all segments lit here */
lcd_write_cmd(0x0C);    // LCD normal video 

void lcd_write_cmd(uint8_t cmd) {
    uint8_t *tx = &cmd;
    uint8_t rx;
    uint32_t len = 1;

    struct spi_ioc_transfer tr = {
       .tx_buf = (uint32_t)tx,
       .rx_buf = (uint32_t)&rx,
       .len = len,
       .delay_usecs = delay,
       .speed_hz = speed,
       .bits_per_word = bits,
       .cs_change = 1,

   size = write(fd_dc_val, "0", 1);
   size = write(fd_cs_val, "0", 1);

   ioctl(fd_spi_dev, SPI_IOC_MESSAGE(1), &tr);

   write(fd_cs_val, "1", 1);

I am a novice in embedded programming. I would greatly appreciate any help. Thank you.


If you're not missing an initialization step (and I haven't checked you against the 5110 datasheet), it must either be something wrong with your ioctls or a timing issue.

You could try using a library that abstracts away the ioctl calls to rule that out (I'm partial to my own: ;).

If it still doesn't work with that then I'd say it's probably a timing issue - Python is a lot slower than C when it comes to file I/O, so it might not be giving the LCD driver enough time to update after some of the commands - check the datasheet to see if it needs you to give it some time after any of the commands.

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