How to Use an LCD With Arduino

Written by darby stevenson
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How to Use an LCD With Arduino
Breadboards, like the one needed to use an LCD with an Arduino, are evolved from the actual cutting boards that early electronics pioneers used for their projects. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Arduino is an open-source hardware and software system intended to enable artists, designers and others to create interactive objects and spaces. You can use the Arduino microcontroller as a standalone, or you can combine it with computer software for more advanced applications. An Arduino is able to receive information from sensors and send information to other devices such as motors or lights. An LCD screen can be easily connected to an Arduino and manipulated to display preprogrammed or status messages. The easiest way to use an LCD with an Arduino is to purchase a kit with all the necessary connectors, hardware and software.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Arduino
  • Computer
  • LCD HackPack

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  1. 1

    Download the "Arduino LCD Software Example" files from the link in Resources.

  2. 2

    Place the Arduino and solderless breadboard from the LCD HackPack on the workspace. The Arduino does not have to be connected to a computer yet. With the wire jumpers provided, connect LCD pin 1 to the Arduino GND pin. Connect LCD pin 2 to the +5v Arduino pin. LCD pin 3 connects to both the resistor and Arduino ground pin. Connect LCD pins 4, 5, and 6 to Arduino pins 12, 11 and 10, respectively. LCD pins 7, 8, 9 and 10 do not need to be connected to anything. LCD pins 11, 12, 13 and 14 need to be connected to Arduino pins 5, 4, 3 and 2, respectively. LCD pin 15 should connect to Arduino pin 13. LCD pin 16 connects back to the Arduino GND pin.

  3. 3

    Unzip the "LCD Software Example" files by opening them through WinZip or similar unzipping software.

  4. 4

    Open the Arduino software. Select from the File menu, the topic "Sketchbook" and select "Open." Use the viewer to locate the "LCD_example" folder. Inside the folder, select "LCD_example.pde."

  5. 5

    Click on the "Upload to I/O Board" button on the Arduino software main screen.

  6. 6

    The LCD should now display a preprogrammed message, verifying that you are successfully using an LCD display with the Arduino.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to the schematics included with the solderless breadboard and Arduino to find the exact location of the pins. Refer to the breadboard instructions if you are unfamiliar with solderless wire jumpers.
  • All of these electronics are delicate; work in a clean space.

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