LCD backpacks reduce the number of pins needed to connect to an LCD. LCDs are a fun and easy way to have your microcontroller project talk back to you. Character LCDs are common, and easy to get, available in tons of colors and sizes. Adafruit have written tutorials on using character LCDs with an Arduino (or similar microcontroller) but find that the number of pins necessary to control the LCD can be restrictive, especially with ambitious projects. Adafruit wanted to make a 'backpack' (add-on circuit) that would reduce the number of pins without a lot of expense.
By using simple i2c and SPI input/output expanders Adafruit have reduced the number of pins (only 2 pins are needed for i2c) while still making it easy to interface with the LCD. For Arduino users, Adafruit provide a easy-to-use library that is backwards compatible with projects using the '6 pin' wiring. The breakout comes with a 2-pin and 3-pin terminal block as shown (you can snap it together to make a 5-pin terminal and then solder it to the backpack for easy wiring)
This backpack will work with any 'standard' character LCD, from 8x1 to 20x4 sizes! As long as they have a 16-pin single-line connection header at the top. We carry a few LCDs that work great. We suggest using Adafruit's blue & white 20x4 or 16x2 LCDs. It does not work with the 16x2 OLED displays. You can try to connect Adafruit's RGB 16x2 or 20x4 LCDs up but this backpack will not control the RGB backlight so you'll have to use the backpack only for the 14 digital IO pins (pins #1-14) and connect the backlight pins (#15-#18) directly to your microcontroller with 4 extra wires for color/PWM control as if they were just an RGB LED.
For advanced users, this project can be used for general purpose I/O expansion, the MCP23008 has 8 i/o pins (7 are connected) with optional pull-ups, the SPI 74HC595 has 7 connected outputs.
For a detailed tutorial on usage, including an Arduino library, wiring diagrams, and files, please visit the product page
- This board/chip uses I2C 7-bit address between 0x20-0x27, selectable with jumpers
- Works with 16x2 and 20x4 Character LCDs
- It does not work with 16x2 OLED displays
This product is listed in:
Documentation and Resources:
- The Maker Revolution
The Maker Revolution celebrates the creation of new devices and the modification of existing ones - the transition from a consumer buying goods to eventually having a major part in their creation. The Maker Revolution places strong emphasis on free (...
- Character Displays with Particle
Crunching numbers is fine, but sometimes you really need to visualise what’s going on in the tiny brain of your Photon. There are numerous different ways to visualise data or text on a microcontroller from binary LEDs, to HDMI displays, however...
We deliver Australia-wide with these options:
- $3 for Small Items (4-6 days, not tracked, only available on selected small items)
- $6.95 for Standard Post (2-4 days, tracked)
- $8.32 for Express Post (1-2 days, tracked)
- Pickup - Free! Only available to customers who live in the Newcastle region
International Orders - the following rates are for New Zealand and will vary for other countries:
- $11.49 for Pack and Track (3+ days, tracked)
- $16.50 for Express International (2-5 days, tracked)
If you order lots of gear, the postage amount might increment based on the weight of your order.
Our physical address:
Unit 18, 132 Garden Grove Parade
Please checkout our customer service page if you have other frequently asked questions such as "do we do purchase orders" (yes!) or "are prices GST inclusive" (yes they are!). We're here to help - get in touch with us to talk shop.