Arduino LCD Serial Tutorial

Written by steve aycock
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Arduino LCD Serial Tutorial
Serial LCD modules can display text and graphics from an Arduino system. (Liquid crystal display module image by Roman Ivaschenko from

Serial liquid crystal display (LCD) modules have simple electrical and programming interfaces and make ideal displays for Arduino projects. To work with a serial LCD module, you'll need to understand the electrical interface between the LCD module and your Arduino project board and the programming interface between your Arduino software and the LCD module's built-in controller. Once you have a grasp of the electrical and programming interfaces, you'll be able to use serial LCD modules to display graphics or data.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Arduino project board
  • Arduino programming environment
  • Serial LCD module
  • Connection wire

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  1. 1

    Choose a serial LCD module for your project. LCD modules come in a variety of sizes and offer various features. To choose a module for your project, consider your size requirements (both physical and amount of data), the type of data you want to display (text, graphics or both), whether you need a backlight and any power limitations of your system. With these parameters in mind, you can choose an LCD module that most closely fits with your project design.

  2. 2

    Connect the LCD module electrically to your Arduino project board. Most serial LCD modules have power and ground connections as well as one or more data lines. The power and ground connections supply electrical power to the LCD module and the data lines carry command and data signals to the built-in controller of the LCD module. If your LCD module has a backlight, there may be separate connections for powering and controlling the backlight.

  3. 3

    Write a test program to display data on the LCD module. When programming your Arduino to display data, follow the LCD module manufacturer's instructions. Start with something simple, such as displaying a single test word of text. Depending on your LCD module, your Arduino program may need to send a control code or command to the serial LCD module to indicate that data will be coming, then send the data to display (for example, the characters in your test word) and finally add a terminating command or control code.

  4. 4

    Load the LCD test program into your Arduino. Follow the instructions for your Arduino project board and development environment.

  5. 5

    Test the LCD display module. With the module connected to your Arduino project board and the test software program loaded, power on your system and verify that your test word shows on the LCD display. If the display isn't correct, check your electrical connections, paying careful attention to the data lines between the LCD module and the Arduino. Also, check your software to be certain that you are sending the correct sequence of commands and data. Make any necessary changes.

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