# Looking for a good cheap LCD character display

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#### Gandledorf

##### New Member
I'm designing a project the needs a decent read out, but for which I'd like to keep the cost down.

I've been out looking for some, and came across a few at futurlec.com:

https://futurlec.com/LCDDisp.shtml

The problem is, they don't have manufacturers part numbers, nor do they have data sheets. I e-mailed and asked for a data sheet, and the sheet they returned was, shall we say, less than lucid. I've attached it below as an image.

I'm tempted to buy one anyway, as it is just $7.90 Does anyone know of any other LCD's in the same range? I'm shooting for 16x2 as a minimum requirement. Thanks, Gandledorf **broken link removed** #### Nigel Goodwin ##### Super Moderator Most Helpful Member Gandledorf said: I'm designing a project the needs a decent read out, but for which I'd like to keep the cost down. I've been out looking for some, and came across a few at futurlec.com: http://futurlec.com/LCDDisp.shtml The problem is, they don't have manufacturers part numbers, nor do they have data sheets. I e-mailed and asked for a data sheet, and the sheet they returned was, shall we say, less than lucid. I've attached it below as an image. I'm tempted to buy one anyway, as it is just$7.90

It looks like a standard Hitachi based LCD module, sounds good to me!. There's loads of info on the web about them, if you want PIC code my tutorials at http://www.winpicprog.co.uk give 4 bit code and connection details.

#### Gandledorf

##### New Member
Nigel Goodwin said:
Gandledorf said:
I'm designing a project the needs a decent read out, but for which I'd like to keep the cost down.

I've been out looking for some, and came across a few at futurlec.com:

http://futurlec.com/LCDDisp.shtml

The problem is, they don't have manufacturers part numbers, nor do they have data sheets. I e-mailed and asked for a data sheet, and the sheet they returned was, shall we say, less than lucid. I've attached it below as an image.

I'm tempted to buy one anyway, as it is just $7.90 It looks like a standard Hitachi based LCD module, sounds good to me!. There's loads of info on the web about them, if you want PIC code my tutorials at http://www.winpicprog.co.uk give 4 bit code and connection details. Do you know where I can get a full operation guide? Hantronix supplies them for their units, and I know they can be picked up from Mouser for$11.30. It'd be nice to save a couple of bucks per unit through futurlec, but without a full note on how to drive the circuit, I am a little wary.

JOOC, does anyone out there know how hard it is to "front light" an LCD Module? If I buy one without a backlight, howsuccessful would I be in sticking an LED on the front to try and illuminate the surface?

#### Nigel Goodwin

Gandledorf said:
Do you know where I can get a full operation guide? Hantronix supplies them for their units, and I know they can be picked up from Mouser for $11.30. It'd be nice to save a couple of bucks per unit through futurlec, but without a full note on how to drive the circuit, I am a little wary. JOOC, does anyone out there know how hard it is to "front light" an LCD Module? If I buy one without a backlight, howsuccessful would I be in sticking an LED on the front to try and illuminate the surface? As I mentioned previously, it looks like a standard Hitachi based unit, so an operation guide for almost any one will do. The UK magazine EPE have a good two part article about using LCD modules, you can download them as PDF's at http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/resources.htm, it should give everything you want to know about using them. None-backlit LCD's rely on reflected light, all you need is some kind of light shining on them - the problems are more mechanical than anything else. Personally I've never used any kind of lighting on mine, as long as you're not in very dark conditions they are quite visible - particularly if you have the contrast set correctly. #### Gandledorf ##### New Member Nigel Goodwin said: Gandledorf said: Do you know where I can get a full operation guide? Hantronix supplies them for their units, and I know they can be picked up from Mouser for$11.30. It'd be nice to save a couple of bucks per unit through futurlec, but without a full note on how to drive the circuit, I am a little wary.

JOOC, does anyone out there know how hard it is to "front light" an LCD Module? If I buy one without a backlight, howsuccessful would I be in sticking an LED on the front to try and illuminate the surface?

As I mentioned previously, it looks like a standard Hitachi based unit, so an operation guide for almost any one will do. The UK magazine EPE have a good two part article about using LCD modules, you can download them as PDF's at http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/resources.htm, it should give everything you want to know about using them.

None-backlit LCD's rely on reflected light, all you need is some kind of light shining on them - the problems are more mechanical than anything else. Personally I've never used any kind of lighting on mine, as long as you're not in very dark conditions they are quite visible - particularly if you have the contrast set correctly.

I'm building a device that is likely to be used outdoors, in dark conditions, so a light seems like a big plus.

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
Gandledorf said:
I'm building a device that is likely to be used outdoors, in dark conditions, so a light seems like a big plus.

Oh yes! - I would go for one with a backlight, it will make your life much easier 8)

#### Gandledorf

##### New Member
Nigel Goodwin said:
Gandledorf said:
I'm building a device that is likely to be used outdoors, in dark conditions, so a light seems like a big plus.

Oh yes! - I would go for one with a backlight, it will make your life much easier 8)

But my question is this: Will front lighting work? Adding a backlight seems to drive up the cost of the LED by $4 -$7. While not a lot for one unit, this has a large effect on building several such units.

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
Gandledorf said:
But my question is this: Will front lighting work? Adding a backlight seems to drive up the cost of the LED by $4 -$7. While not a lot for one unit, this has a large effect on building several such units.

Yes, front lighting will work - you just need to sort out a mechanical solution for it - a miners helmet and lamp would probably be easiest :lol:

#### Gandledorf

##### New Member
Nigel Goodwin said:
Gandledorf said:
But my question is this: Will front lighting work? Adding a backlight seems to drive up the cost of the LED by $4 -$7. While not a lot for one unit, this has a large effect on building several such units.

Yes, front lighting will work - you just need to sort out a mechanical solution for it - a miners helmet and lamp would probably be easiest :lol:

I was thinking more on the line of a high output LED mounted nearby, but whatever works I suppose Thanks for the help!

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
Gandledorf said:
I was thinking more on the line of a high output LED mounted nearby, but whatever works I suppose Thanks for the help!

If you look at what's available for Gameboys (which don't have a backlight), they usually implement lighting with small bulbs suspended over the display - don't forget, the LCD works by reflecting light back, so it probably won't work too well just shining an LED across the surface.

I don't know if the cheap one you mentioned includes a backlight or not, but it did mention it on the pin connections - LCD's have a 14 pin connector, with an extra 2 added for a backlight - but even if it's got a 16 pin connector it doesn't guarantee it's actually fitted.

In either case the interface and programming is identical, for $8 or so I should get one and experiment. #### Gandledorf ##### New Member Nigel Goodwin said: I don't know if the cheap one you mentioned includes a backlight or not, but it did mention it on the pin connections - LCD's have a 14 pin connector, with an extra 2 added for a backlight - but even if it's got a 16 pin connector it doesn't guarantee it's actually fitted. In either case the interface and programming is identical, for$8 or so I should get one and experiment.

I also found some cheap Hantronix LCD's at mouser.com. $11.31 gets you a 16x2 with no backlight,$14.32 gets you a 16x2 with an LED back light. I'm tempted to get those instead, as I know the manufacturers part number, and can get detailed data sheets for them.

#### Eclipsed

##### New Member
Try www.crystalfontz.com .I buy all my LCDs from here, they have a large selection and decent prices.

#### Gandledorf

##### New Member
Eclipsed said:
Try www.crystalfontz.com .I buy all my LCDs from here, they have a large selection and decent prices.

Wow! Many thanks, they have quite a selection, and VERY good prices. I take it they are pretty reliable too?

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