Let's take a tour of the 1.8" TFT Shield

TFT Display

In the center is the 1.8" TFT display. This display is full color (16-bit RGB), 128x160 pixels, and has a backlight. The display receives data over SPI plus two pins:

  • SCK - SPI Clock
  • MOSI - SPI Data
  • Digital 10 - Chip Select
  • Digital 8 - Data/Command Select

The TFT reset is connected to the seesaw chip. The backlight is also PWM controlled by the seesaw chip. The 4 SPI+control pins, however, must be controlled directly by the Arduino

Buttons & Joystick

In addition of the display, you also get a bunch of user-interface buttons.

In the top left is the Reset button, this will reset the shield and Arduino when pressed. It is connected directly to the Reset pins

There are three buttons labeled A B C below the TFT, these are connected to the seesaw chip. You can read the values over I2C

To the right of the TFT is a 5-way joystick. It can be pushed up/down/left/right and select (in). It is connected to the seesaw chip, you can read the joystick over I2C

SD Card

The micro SD card slot can be used to read/write data from any micro SD card using the Arduino libraries. The SD card is connected to the SPI pins as well as Digital #4 for Chip Select

The SD card is not required for use, but it's handy for storing images

seesaw I2C Expander

Instead of taking up a bunch of GPIO pins to read the buttons and joystick, as well as controlling the TFT backlight, we use an I2C expander chip called the seesaw. It is connected to the SDA/SCL pins and can read/write pins with our library. This saves a ton of pins and then you can always use the I2C pins for other sensors, as long as the address doesnt conflict


Don't forget! Since the seesaw chip is used for the TFT backlight and reset, you need to activate it even if you are not reading the buttons or joystick.

This guide was first published on Aug 29, 2012. It was last updated on May 28, 2024.

This page (1.8" TFT Shield V2) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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