The Sparkfun Serial LCD

November 24, 2011 | Arduino, electronics | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was driving around various Silicon Valley electronics and surplus stores (like HSC and Anchor Electronics) and decided to stop in at Microcenter. I remembered that they supposedly were beginning to stock items from Sparkfun and the Maker Shed. And, indeed they do! I found a Serial LCD module from Sparkfun that I thought might be fun to have, so I got one:

A couple of quick caveats though:

  • The module has absolutely no documentation in the box. A quick bit of searching revealed the datasheet for the device, and that was helpful (although not the clearest that I’ve seen). If you are familiar with HD44780 devices, you’ll have no problems.
  • The pigtail they ship with it connects to the JST connector, and uses stranded wire. Not the best thing to plug into breadboards and the like. I soldered some female headers onto the unpopulated connector, and that worked out better.
  • It doesn’t appear that you can load custom characters over the serial interface like you can with the traditional interface. Bummer.

Still, it was dead easy. If you want a simple module to do some simple display tasks with only three wires, it works just fine.


Comment from Dan
Time 11/24/2011 at 2:26 pm

Mark, speaking of serial displays, have you seen the color/graphic OLED serial display at sparkfun -> ? I was thinking this display with a Arduino board along with this mini SSTV camera -> would make a small portable SSTV transceiver module. I would also seem to be possible for the Arduino/OLED display to decode FELD HELL, etc too. This would be a cool project. It could be used on QRP gear, etc.

Comment from Mark VandeWettering
Time 11/25/2011 at 11:25 am

Very neat Dan, although the resolution (96×64) is pretty low. I have thought a few times of doing a small QRP dedicated Feld Hell rig: I think it would be cool, but my (limited) experience with Feld Hell suggests that it isn’t all that great at QRP (Slow Hell might be better). I hadn’t seen (or don’t remember seeing) the SSTVCAM before: it looks very slick, and the price isn’t even that outrageous. I like the fact that it speaks Robot36 as well as Martin and Scottie. All very cool.

Damn, you’ve given me another project to think about! 🙂

Comment from Dan
Time 11/25/2011 at 1:30 pm

Yep, I think Feld Hell is a mode that is under estimated. A fuzzy mode that requires the human in the loop. I believe it could work great with 5W CW transceivers. You may not have looked at any of the demos of this display, here is one -> I am glad I planted a seed. I wish I had more time myself.

-73 Dan