ESP8266 and TFT_eSPI library to drive SPI displays

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I don’t know what forum etiquette says about quoting personal messages but it’s non-sensitive and I figured this thread could be of community interest so here goes.

Thanks for the tip! I’m trying it now but I’m not having any luck.
I’m using an ST7789 240x240 TFT display, exactly like this one: image

I went through user_setup.h and made sure to set it up according to the typical setup.
SCK (SCL actually) is D5
SDI (SDA actually) is D7
DC is D3
Reset is D4

And that’s it. Testing it with the Arduino_ST7789 library, it works fine! But, I get no output whatsoever with TFT_eSPI.
I even tried changing the SPI_FREQUENCY setting in user_setup.h to the slowest… it didn’t help either.

Any idea what I could be missing? @Sascha_? Anyone else?

Edit: here’s my user_setup.h

//                            USER DEFINED SETTINGS
//   Set driver type, fonts to be loaded, pins used and SPI control method etc
//
//   See the User_Setup_Select.h file if you wish to be able to define multiple
//   setups and then easily select which setup file is used by the compiler.
//
//   If this file is edited correctly then all the library example sketches should
//   run without the need to make any more changes for a particular hardware setup!
//   Note that some sketches are designed for a particular TFT pixel width/height


// ##################################################################################
//
// Section 1. Call up the right driver file and any options for it
//
// ##################################################################################

// Only define one driver, the other ones must be commented out
//#define ILI9341_DRIVER
//#define ST7735_DRIVER      // Define additional parameters below for this display
//#define ILI9163_DRIVER     // Define additional parameters below for this display
//#define S6D02A1_DRIVER
//#define RPI_ILI9486_DRIVER // 20MHz maximum SPI
//#define HX8357D_DRIVER
//#define ILI9481_DRIVER
//#define ILI9486_DRIVER
//#define ILI9488_DRIVER     // WARNING: Do not connect ILI9488 display SDO to MISO if other devices share the SPI bus (TFT SDO does NOT tristate when CS is high)
//#define ST7789_DRIVER      // Full configuration option, define additional parameters below for this display
#define ST7789_2_DRIVER    // Minimal configuration option, define additional parameters below for this display
//#define R61581_DRIVER

// Some displays support SPI reads via the MISO pin, other displays have a single
// bi-directional SDA pin and the library will try to read this via the MOSI line.
// To use the SDA line for reading data from the TFT uncomment the following line:

// #define TFT_SDA_READ      // This option is for ESP32 ONLY, tested with ST7789 display only

// For ST7789 ONLY, define the colour order IF the blue and red are swapped on your display
// Try ONE option at a time to find the correct colour order for your display

//  #define TFT_RGB_ORDER TFT_RGB  // Colour order Red-Green-Blue
//  #define TFT_RGB_ORDER TFT_BGR  // Colour order Blue-Green-Red

// For M5Stack ESP32 module with integrated ILI9341 display ONLY, remove // in line below

// #define M5STACK

// For ST7789, ST7735 and ILI9163 ONLY, define the pixel width and height in portrait orientation
// #define TFT_WIDTH  80
// #define TFT_WIDTH  128
#define TFT_WIDTH  240 // ST7789 240 x 240 and 240 x 320
// #define TFT_HEIGHT 160
// #define TFT_HEIGHT 128
#define TFT_HEIGHT 240 // ST7789 240 x 240
// #define TFT_HEIGHT 320 // ST7789 240 x 320

// For ST7735 ONLY, define the type of display, originally this was based on the
// colour of the tab on the screen protector film but this is not always true, so try
// out the different options below if the screen does not display graphics correctly,
// e.g. colours wrong, mirror images, or tray pixels at the edges.
// Comment out ALL BUT ONE of these options for a ST7735 display driver, save this
// this User_Setup file, then rebuild and upload the sketch to the board again:

// #define ST7735_INITB
// #define ST7735_GREENTAB
// #define ST7735_GREENTAB2
// #define ST7735_GREENTAB3
// #define ST7735_GREENTAB128    // For 128 x 128 display
// #define ST7735_GREENTAB160x80 // For 160 x 80 display (BGR, inverted, 26 offset)
// #define ST7735_REDTAB
// #define ST7735_BLACKTAB
// #define ST7735_REDTAB160x80   // For 160 x 80 display with 24 pixel offset

// If colours are inverted (white shows as black) then uncomment one of the next
// 2 lines try both options, one of the options should correct the inversion.

// #define TFT_INVERSION_ON
// #define TFT_INVERSION_OFF

// If a backlight control signal is available then define the TFT_BL pin in Section 2
// below. The backlight will be turned ON when tft.begin() is called, but the library
// needs to know if the LEDs are ON with the pin HIGH or LOW. If the LEDs are to be
// driven with a PWM signal or turned OFF/ON then this must be handled by the user
// sketch. e.g. with digitalWrite(TFT_BL, LOW);

// #define TFT_BACKLIGHT_ON HIGH  // HIGH or LOW are options

// ##################################################################################
//
// Section 2. Define the pins that are used to interface with the display here
//
// ##################################################################################

// We must use hardware SPI, a minimum of 3 GPIO pins is needed.
// Typical setup for ESP8266 NodeMCU ESP-12 is :
//
// Display SDO/MISO  to NodeMCU pin D6 (or leave disconnected if not reading TFT)
// Display LED       to NodeMCU pin VIN (or 5V, see below)
// Display SCK       to NodeMCU pin D5
// Display SDI/MOSI  to NodeMCU pin D7
// Display DC (RS/AO)to NodeMCU pin D3
// Display RESET     to NodeMCU pin D4 (or RST, see below)
// Display CS        to NodeMCU pin D8 (or GND, see below)
// Display GND       to NodeMCU pin GND (0V)
// Display VCC       to NodeMCU 5V or 3.3V
//
// The TFT RESET pin can be connected to the NodeMCU RST pin or 3.3V to free up a control pin
//
// The DC (Data Command) pin may be labeled AO or RS (Register Select)
//
// With some displays such as the ILI9341 the TFT CS pin can be connected to GND if no more
// SPI devices (e.g. an SD Card) are connected, in this case comment out the #define TFT_CS
// line below so it is NOT defined. Other displays such at the ST7735 require the TFT CS pin
// to be toggled during setup, so in these cases the TFT_CS line must be defined and connected.
//
// The NodeMCU D0 pin can be used for RST
//
//
// Note: only some versions of the NodeMCU provide the USB 5V on the VIN pin
// If 5V is not available at a pin you can use 3.3V but backlight brightness
// will be lower.


// ###### EDIT THE PIN NUMBERS IN THE LINES FOLLOWING TO SUIT YOUR ESP8266 SETUP ######

// For NodeMCU - use pin numbers in the form PIN_Dx where Dx is the NodeMCU pin designation
// #define TFT_CS   PIN_D8  // Chip select control pin D8
#define TFT_DC   PIN_D3  // Data Command control pin
#define TFT_RST  PIN_D4  // Reset pin (could connect to NodeMCU RST, see next line)
//#define TFT_RST  -1    // Set TFT_RST to -1 if the display RESET is connected to NodeMCU RST or 3.3V

#define TFT_BL PIN_D2  // LED back-light (only for ST7789 with backlight control pin)

//#define TOUCH_CS PIN_D2     // Chip select pin (T_CS) of touch screen

//#define TFT_WR PIN_D2       // Write strobe for modified Raspberry Pi TFT only


// ######  FOR ESP8266 OVERLAP MODE EDIT THE PIN NUMBERS IN THE FOLLOWING LINES  ######

// Overlap mode shares the ESP8266 FLASH SPI bus with the TFT so has a performance impact
// but saves pins for other functions.
// Use NodeMCU SD0=MISO, SD1=MOSI, CLK=SCLK to connect to TFT in overlap mode

// In ESP8266 overlap mode the following must be defined
//#define TFT_SPI_OVERLAP

// In ESP8266 overlap mode the TFT chip select MUST connect to pin D3
//#define TFT_CS   PIN_D3
//#define TFT_DC   PIN_D5  // Data Command control pin
//#define TFT_RST  PIN_D4  // Reset pin (could connect to NodeMCU RST, see next line)
//#define TFT_RST  -1  // Set TFT_RST to -1 if the display RESET is connected to NodeMCU RST or 3.3V


// ###### EDIT THE PIN NUMBERS IN THE LINES FOLLOWING TO SUIT YOUR ESP32 SETUP   ######

// For ESP32 Dev board (only tested with ILI9341 display)
// The hardware SPI can be mapped to any pins

//#define TFT_MISO 19
//#define TFT_MOSI 23
//#define TFT_SCLK 18
//#define TFT_CS   15  // Chip select control pin
//#define TFT_DC    2  // Data Command control pin
//#define TFT_RST   4  // Reset pin (could connect to RST pin)
//#define TFT_RST  -1  // Set TFT_RST to -1 if display RESET is connected to ESP32 board RST

//#define TFT_BL   32  // LED back-light (only for ST7789 with backlight control pin)

//#define TOUCH_CS 21     // Chip select pin (T_CS) of touch screen

//#define TFT_WR 22    // Write strobe for modified Raspberry Pi TFT only

// For the M5Stack module use these #define lines
//#define TFT_MISO 19
//#define TFT_MOSI 23
//#define TFT_SCLK 18
//#define TFT_CS   14  // Chip select control pin
//#define TFT_DC   27  // Data Command control pin
//#define TFT_RST  33  // Reset pin (could connect to Arduino RESET pin)
//#define TFT_BL   32  // LED back-light (required for M5Stack)

// ######       EDIT THE PINs BELOW TO SUIT YOUR ESP32 PARALLEL TFT SETUP        ######

// The library supports 8 bit parallel TFTs with the ESP32, the pin
// selection below is compatible with ESP32 boards in UNO format.
// Wemos D32 boards need to be modified, see diagram in Tools folder.
// Only ILI9481 and ILI9341 based displays have been tested!

// Parallel bus is only supported on ESP32
// Uncomment line below to use ESP32 Parallel interface instead of SPI

//#define ESP32_PARALLEL

// The ESP32 and TFT the pins used for testing are:
//#define TFT_CS   33  // Chip select control pin (library pulls permanently low
//#define TFT_DC   15  // Data Command control pin - must use a pin in the range 0-31
//#define TFT_RST  32  // Reset pin, toggles on startup

//#define TFT_WR    4  // Write strobe control pin - must use a pin in the range 0-31
//#define TFT_RD    2  // Read strobe control pin

//#define TFT_D0   12  // Must use pins in the range 0-31 for the data bus
//#define TFT_D1   13  // so a single register write sets/clears all bits.
//#define TFT_D2   26  // Pins can be randomly assigned, this does not affect
//#define TFT_D3   25  // TFT screen update performance.
//#define TFT_D4   17
//#define TFT_D5   16
//#define TFT_D6   27
//#define TFT_D7   14


// ##################################################################################
//
// Section 3. Define the fonts that are to be used here
//
// ##################################################################################

// Comment out the #defines below with // to stop that font being loaded
// The ESP8366 and ESP32 have plenty of memory so commenting out fonts is not
// normally necessary. If all fonts are loaded the extra FLASH space required is
// about 17Kbytes. To save FLASH space only enable the fonts you need!

#define LOAD_GLCD   // Font 1. Original Adafruit 8 pixel font needs ~1820 bytes in FLASH
#define LOAD_FONT2  // Font 2. Small 16 pixel high font, needs ~3534 bytes in FLASH, 96 characters
#define LOAD_FONT4  // Font 4. Medium 26 pixel high font, needs ~5848 bytes in FLASH, 96 characters
#define LOAD_FONT6  // Font 6. Large 48 pixel font, needs ~2666 bytes in FLASH, only characters 1234567890:-.apm
#define LOAD_FONT7  // Font 7. 7 segment 48 pixel font, needs ~2438 bytes in FLASH, only characters 1234567890:-.
#define LOAD_FONT8  // Font 8. Large 75 pixel font needs ~3256 bytes in FLASH, only characters 1234567890:-.
//#define LOAD_FONT8N // Font 8. Alternative to Font 8 above, slightly narrower, so 3 digits fit a 160 pixel TFT
#define LOAD_GFXFF  // FreeFonts. Include access to the 48 Adafruit_GFX free fonts FF1 to FF48 and custom fonts

// Comment out the #define below to stop the SPIFFS filing system and smooth font code being loaded
// this will save ~20kbytes of FLASH
#define SMOOTH_FONT

// ##################################################################################
//
// Section 4. Other options
//
// ##################################################################################

// Define the SPI clock frequency, this affects the graphics rendering speed. Too
// fast and the TFT driver will not keep up and display corruption appears.
// With an ILI9341 display 40MHz works OK, 80MHz sometimes fails
// With a ST7735 display more than 27MHz may not work (spurious pixels and lines)
// With an ILI9163 display 27 MHz works OK.
// The RPi typically only works at 20MHz maximum.

 #define SPI_FREQUENCY   1000000
// #define SPI_FREQUENCY   5000000
// #define SPI_FREQUENCY  10000000
// #define SPI_FREQUENCY  20000000
//#define SPI_FREQUENCY  27000000 // Actually sets it to 26.67MHz = 80/3
// #define SPI_FREQUENCY  40000000 // Maximum to use SPIFFS
// #define SPI_FREQUENCY  80000000

// Optional reduced SPI frequency for reading TFT
#define SPI_READ_FREQUENCY  20000000

// The XPT2046 requires a lower SPI clock rate of 2.5MHz so we define that here:
#define SPI_TOUCH_FREQUENCY  2500000

// The ESP32 has 2 free SPI ports i.e. VSPI and HSPI, the VSPI is the default.
// If the VSPI port is in use and pins are not accessible (e.g. TTGO T-Beam)
// then uncomment the following line:
//#define USE_HSPI_PORT

// Comment out the following #define if "SPI Transactions" do not need to be
// supported. When commented out the code size will be smaller and sketches will
// run slightly faster, so leave it commented out unless you need it!

// Transaction support is needed to work with SD library but not needed with TFT_SdFat
// Transaction support is required if other SPI devices are connected.

// Transactions are automatically enabled by the library for an ESP32 (to use HAL mutex)
// so changing it here has no effect

// #define SUPPORT_TRANSACTIONS

//Added by Sloeber 
#pragma once

Edit: I just discovered user_setup_select.h and Setup24_ST7789.h… still absolutely no output.

1 Like

Over in DIY digital doorbell / peephole camera, I’m currently working on a peephole camera based on a ESP32 and a ST7789 240x240.

Drawing a picture from the camera full-screen needs approx. 90ms. Drawing a 240x160px picture needs approx. 60ms. I’ve noticed extreme speed up with this library especially when drawing lines & pixels and clearing the screen to a specific color.

My setup is like this:

// Config for TFT_eSPI (User_Setup.h)
#define ST7789_DRIVER // Full configuration option, define additional parameters below for this display
#define TFT_CS 12 // Chip select control pin D8
#define TFT_DC 15 // Data Command control pin
#define TFT_RST -1 // Reset pin (could connect to NodeMCU RST, see next line)
#define TFT_BL 2 // LED back-light (only for ST7789 with backlight control pin)
#define TFT_MISO 22
#define TFT_MOSI 19
#define TFT_SCLK 21
#define LOAD_GLCD // Font 1. Original Adafruit 8 pixel font needs ~1820 bytes in FLASH
#define LOAD_FONT2 // Font 2. Small 16 pixel high font, needs ~3534 bytes in FLASH, 96 characters
#define LOAD_FONT4 // Font 4. Medium 26 pixel high font, needs ~5848 bytes in FLASH, 96 characters
#define LOAD_FONT6 // Font 6. Large 48 pixel font, needs ~2666 bytes in FLASH, only characters 1234567890:-.apm
#define LOAD_FONT7 // Font 7. 7 segment 48 pixel font, needs ~2438 bytes in FLASH, only characters 1234567890:-.
#define LOAD_FONT8 // Font 8. Large 75 pixel font needs ~3256 bytes in FLASH, only characters 1234567890:-.
#define LOAD_GFXFF // FreeFonts. Include access to the 48 Adafruit_GFX free fonts FF1 to FF48 and custom fonts
#define SMOOTH_FONT
#define SPI_FREQUENCY 80000000
#define SPI_READ_FREQUENCY 20000000
#define SPI_TOUCH_FREQUENCY 2500000
#define USE_HSPI_PORT

The library has a big drawback: Setup is done in the library folder/user_setup.h - not in the sketch. You only need to update this file.
Please take a look at the Demo video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9_9u8o3ZCU) to get a glimpse of the speed.

EDIT: I’m just reading SDA/SCL on the picture in your post. Be sure to address the LCD by SPI. Did you also try with higher processor clock?

2 Likes

Whoa! That video is in a different league to what I’m getting with the Arduino_ST7789 library! Wow.

Address the LCD by SPI? I thought that’s what I was doing? What did I miss? Note that my hardware is on the same pins as the default in Setup24_ST7789.h, and that a sketch based on Arduino_ST7789 works with no hardware modifications (but slowly).

I didn’t try with a higher CPU clock, I figure if it doesn’t work at all (black screen, backlight on only) at 80 MHz, I doubt it would work at 160.

I will try with an ESP32 tomorrow, though, and wire it up exactly like in your configuration.

…wow! Color me impressed. With TFT_eSPI on an ESP32, the example sketches appear to be updating the screen fast enough for full motion video (minus some tearing). Holy crap, I had no idea this was possible. This is the SAME display that takes a whole second to fill the screen from an ESP8266 with the Arduino_ST7789 library! Damn. Thanks, @Sascha_!

@JGKK - dude, you’ve gotta see this. Check out Sascha’s video above.

1 Like

I GOT IT TO WORK ON THE ESP8266!
Holy crap that library is fast! It’s literally 20-30 times faster than Arduino_ST7789. It’s insane.
The problem turned out to be the freaking PIN ASSIGNMENTS in the TFT_eSPI header files.

I detailed it all on the github issues page of the project.

1 Like

Glad you got it working.
Thank you for the good explanation inside the issue :+1:

1 Like