There is a built in microSD card slot into the breakout, and we can use that to load bitmap images! You will need a microSD card formatted FAT16 or FAT32 (they almost always are by default).

It's really easy to draw bitmaps. We have a library for it, Adafruit_ImageReader, which can be installed through the Arduino Library Manager (Sketch→Include Library→Manage Libraries…). Enter “imageread” in the search field and the library is easy to spot:

Lets start by downloading this image of pretty flowers (pix by johngineer)

Copy purple.bmp into the base directory of a microSD card and insert it into the microSD socket in the breakout.

You'll need to connect up the SDCS pin to Digital 4 on your Arduino, and the MISO to MISO (or Digital #12 on an Uno) as well. In the below image, those are the extra purple & light blue wires

You may want to try the SD library examples before continuing, especially one that lists all the files on the SD card

Now upload the File→examples→Adafruit ImageReader Library→ShieldILI9341 example to your Arduino + breakout. You will see the flowers appear!

To make new bitmaps, make sure they are less than 240 by 320 pixels and save them in 24-bit BMP format! They must be in 24-bit format, even if they are not 24-bit color as that is the easiest format for the Arduino. You can rotate images using the setRotation() procedure

You can draw as many images as you want - dont forget the names must be less than 8 characters long. Just copy the BMP drawing routines below loop() and call

bmpDraw(bmpfilename, x, y);

For each bitmap. They can be smaller than 320x240 and placed in any location on the screen.

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

This page (Bitmaps) was last updated on Nov 21, 2020.