Make Your Own Nokia 5110 Raspberry Pi Add-on Board

Who remembers the Nokia 5110? If you're too young to have had one, it was a great phone – a bit of a game changer some might say. The battery lasted a decade, it was tough as nails and one of the first mobiles to include swappable faceplates and the infamous ‘Snake' game.

1998 was a long time ago now, so even the most vintage retro sorts aren't rocking a 5110 anymore. It's well and truly a redundant device.
So – what to do with all those knackered old phones?
Well, some clever sort decided that recycling the screens for electronics projects would be a good idea. And it was! You can now get these PCB mounted 5110 LCDs for very little online and are really easy to code.
My only issue was that they're mostly designed to be used on a breadboard. That works fine but I prefer something quick and tidy that I can grab when I want to play with coding – so I've used one of my ProtoPal prototyping boards to make a home-made 5110 add-on board for my Raspberry Pi.
Make Your Own Nokia 5110 Raspberry Pi Add-on Board
This was a cheap and easy little project, including just a few readily available parts:
 – Nokia 5110 Module
– ProtoPal Prototyping Board
– Insulated Wire
– Solder
– Soldering IronMethodOne of the reasons I'm using my ProtoPal board is because it has a breadboard style layout. What this means is that (like a breadboard) the prototyping pads are laid out in connected lanes – which makes adding components very easy:
I'll simply be soldering the Nokia 5110 module to a set of 8 lanes, and then connecting those lanes the the relevant GPIO pins. Easy!Now there are lots of these modules around and some may have slightly different pin layouts. Here a shot from my Makers Notebook of the diagram I made myself to show which GPIO pin goes where, but check yours just in case it's different!
Building The BoardFirst, I will be working out where to add the screen and identifying where I need to be soldering the GPIO connecting wires. You may have expected me to fit the screen first then build on that, but in order to keep things tidy, I'm soldering the connections underneath the screen itself.I used my new Makers Notebook to make a record of the pin mapping from my earlier breadboard prototype:
I decided to fit the screen in the middle of the ProtoPal board, which gives me the flexibility to add buttons or LEDs later on.
Make Your Own Nokia 5110 Raspberry Pi Add-on BoardNext I stripped some wire ready for soldering to the board. This will connect the pins on the screen module to the GPIO breakout section on the Prototyping board:
I used my teeth – I'd suggest getting the proper tools!

These wires need a new home. The next step was to make a note of where the screen pins would enter the board, and attach a wire to the same lane for each pin. 8 pins – 8 wires:

Those wires will be useless unless they connect the screen to the GPIO, so the next step is to do just that.With a note of the GPIO pin for each wire, I connected them one by one to the GPIO breakout section on the board:
Before I went ahead and soldered the Nokia screen permanently, I wanted to check everything fitted well.
Pushing the screen pins into place highlighted that the screen module would sit at an odd angle due to the lack of supports. Not a problem – we can fix this by simply glueing the plastic part of a header to the rear of the screen:

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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