Arduino DIY Photo Frame

In this video we are going to learn how to use the SD card slot of the popular 1.8″ Color TFT display which uses the ST7735 driver. Then we will save some bitmap images in the SD card and we will display them on the display. In other words, we will build a simple Arduino DIY Photo Frame.

If you have watched some of my previous videos, you may have noticed that I use this 1.8” color TFT display a lot recently. The reason for that is that this display is very easy to use, it costs less than $5 and it offers color! At the back, the display has an SD card slot, so I thought that we have to learn how to use that as well. As it turned out, it is really easy to use the SD card slot of the display! That makes this display even better.

The project that we are going to build today is this. A simple photo frame which loads images from the SD card. I have placed some .bmp images in the SD card and the project loads them and displays them at the display in full color! As you can see the speed of the project is very high if we take in consideration that the brains of this project is the old and slow Arduino Nano. In my opinion, this is really impressive. But let’s now see how to build this project.

The parts needed in order to build the Arduino DIY Photo Frame are these:


Arduino Nano:

Color TFT:

Small Breadboard:

Jumper Wires:

Power Bank:

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The cost of the project is around $15 but I am sure you already have some of these parts available so you can build this project with even less money.

In order to use the SD card slot with Arduino we need to connect these 4 top pins of the display with Arduino. In have soldered some female header pins to them and we are ready to connect them. The SD card module uses the SPI protocol in order to communicate with Arduino. So we have to use the hardware SPI pin of the Arduino Nano. The SD_CS pin goes to Digital Pin 4. The SD_MOSI pin goes to Digital Pin 11, the SD_MISO goes to Digital Pin 12 and lastly the SD_SCK pin goes to digital pin 13. That’s it.

Now we are ready to connect the bottom pins of the display. In order to see how to connect the display check the detailed tutorial I have prepared on that a few months back. You can click on the card here in order to watch this video. Both the display and the SD card module are use the SPI pins so on some Arduino SPI pins we have connected two wires! OK, now we are ready to power up the project. As you can see, everything is working as expected and the images are displayed on the screen one after another.











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