Turns out that it’s possible to use cheaply available (~2€ each) 7-pin SPI OLED displays with the magpie modular 8hp microbraids PCBs. A hardware and software modification are required, although as the ATMega is using software SPI it may be possible to work around the hardware modification with further software modifications.

Please note that I would not recommend building the magpie modular micro braids module! Instead, try one of the newer adaptions (e.g. the one from Antumbra) which uses normal LED displays and have prettier panels. This guide is intended as reference for people who still have one of the old boards lying around and want to get it working without shelling out 20€ or more for a tiny OLED module.

The seven pin SPI header on the cheap OLEDs I bought maps to the eight pin header of the original Adafruit OLED (and therefore the microbraids PCB) like this:

CS DC RS MOSI CLK Vin GND
|    X      X      |        \
CS RS DC CLK MOSI Vin 3.3v GND

I cut the relevant traces on the OLED board, scratched away some solder mask and used enamel-insulated wire to connect the traces to their new pins. Then, I installed a 7 pin female header on the braids PCB, and bridged the 3.3v and GND pins, which sounds like a terrible idea, but the board doesn’t make any use of the 3.3v pin, I’m just using it as a convenient way of connecting the OLED GND pin to the braids GND pin.

If your OLED module has the same layout as mine, it should end up looking something like this:

The display ends up being in a slightly different place to the original, but five minutes of filing the aluminium panel fixed that. It ended up looking a little bit messy, but the panel (from pusherman, not a magpie modular original) is extremely ugly anyway so it didn’t make much difference. I quickly cut out and filed a 3mm acrylic screen, wedged it in place and secured it with some high-viscoscity superglue.

After reflowing and flashing both the ATMega and STM, everything was working perfectly, except the display was upside-down. Looking through the Adafruit graphics library led to a simple solution: adding the following line to the init function on line 39 of mbraidsv3.ino:

display.setRotation(2); // Invert display for use with cheap Aliexpress 7-pin OLED

After re-flashing the ATMega, everything worked perfectly.

It was only after I made the hardware modification that I noticed the ATMega is using a software SPI library, with the pin definitions on lines 9-13 of mbraidsv3.ino. It should therefore be possible to achieve exactly the same result by leaving the OLED module unmodified, bridging the 3.3V and GND pins on the 8 pin OLED header on the PCB, and swapping the pin definitions around so they look like this:

#define OLED_MOSI   10
#define OLED_CLK   9
#define OLED_DC    13
#define OLED_CS    12
#define OLED_RESET 11

The display rotation mod will still be necessary, unless your display module is oriented differently. If anyone attempts the software modification please let me know, I’d be curious to know if it works!