PIC-Based Serial Enabled Character LCD Hookup Guide

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Contributors: bboyho, MikeGrusin
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Introduction

The PIC-based serial enabled character LCD (a.k.a. SerLCD) backpack is a simple and cost effective solution for interfacing to character Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) based on the HD44780 controller. The backpack simplifies the number of wires needed and allows your project to display all kinds of text and numbers.

SparkFun Serial Enabled LCD Backpack

LCD-00258
4 Retired

The SerLCD backpack can also be found on a variety of serial enabled character LCDs with different color schemes, sizes, and input voltages. In this tutorial, we will connect to a serial enabled LCD and send ASCII characters to the display using an Arduino microcontroller.

Required Materials

To follow along with this tutorial, you will need the following materials at a minimum. Depending on what you have, you may not need everything on this list. Add it to your cart, read through the guide, and adjust the cart as necessary.

Tools

You may need a soldering iron, solder, and general soldering accessories, and screw driver depending on your setup.

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

TOL-09325
$8.95
7
Pocket Screwdriver Set

Pocket Screwdriver Set

TOL-12891
$3.95
5
Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

TOL-14228
$44.95
2

Suggested Reading

If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend checking out these tutorials before continuing.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Serial Communication

Asynchronous serial communication concepts: packets, signal levels, baud rates, UARTs and more!

What is an Arduino?

What is this 'Arduino' thing anyway? This tutorials dives into what an Arduino is and along with Arduino projects and widgets.

Installing Arduino IDE

A step-by-step guide to installing and testing the Arduino software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.

ASCII

A brief history of how ASCII came to be, how it's useful to computers, and some helpful tables to convert numbers to characters.

Basic Character LCD Hookup Guide

Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are a great way to output a string of words or sensor data to a display for visual feedback. In this tutorial, we'll learn about LCDs, how to print a string of words to a 16x2 basic character LCD and create custom characters.