Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

Make: Projects

RGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

Plug your LCD into an Arduino and experiment with it.

RGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

This is something that almost every maker that is interested in easy electronics should know how to do. It is great for decorating or just experimenting for starters.

I am doing this tutorial because I had bought an RGB display from the Maker Shed and it was hard to track down the instructions. First I will teach you how to connect it to the Arduino and then I will show you the code required.

This isn’t my very own tutorial; I am just making the information easily accessible for everyone.

Steps

Step #1:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

We will start off by gathering all of the parts together. Then open the package. Inside, you will find the display, contrast pot, and header pins. Solder the header pins on the same side that I did.

Step #2:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

Now we will prepare everything to start connecting to the Arduino. Insert the display into the breadboard with the pot next to it. Then connect 5V and GND to the breadboard rails as I have done. Good.

Step #3:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

Now we will hook up the contrast pot. Connect one side of the pot to GND and the other to 5V. Then hook the middle of the pot to pin 3 on the display.

Step #4:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

Connect pin 1 of the display to GND, pin 2 to 5V, and pin 5 to GND.

Step #5:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

Connect pin 15 to 5V and then connect either pin 16, 17, or 18 to GND depending on what color you want for your backlight. I picked pin 16 which will make it light up red.

Step #6:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

Now we will start connecting the Arduino to the display. Connect pin 4 of the display to pin 7 on the Arduino; pin 6 to pin 8; pin 11 to 9; 12 to 10; 13 to 11; and pin 14 on the display to pin 12 on the Arduino.

Step #7:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

The setup should look something like this.

Step #8:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial
  • Now you have connected the display to the Arduino. For the code, navigate in the Arduino environment to Examples→Liquid crystal→Hello world. Change the line of code that says: LiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2); to LiquidCrystal lcd(7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12);.
  • A wiring diagram is included here.

Step #9:

PrevNext
RGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display TutorialRGB Liquid Crystal Display Tutorial

If you got everything right, this is how it should look.

Conclusion

You have now just set up a liquid crystal display!

Comments

  1. Is there a way to enlarge the thumbnails? None of the images are “clickable” It doesn’t help if you reference an image & a reader can’t see the details.

    1. jaden says:

      no i dont think there is a way to enlarge them. i think its a problem with
      the new make: projects. you could enlarge them on the old one.

      1. Jan says:

        yes, you can enlarge the thumbnails. First click the “all” button to show all project steps.
        then click on the thumbnail and it will show enlarged. I’m on firefox 19

  2. Jeff says:

    Is soldering really required for this project

    1. jaden says:

      yes, soldering is required but it is very minimal. u only have to solder the
      header pins to the liquid crystal display.

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. I am new to Arduino, then I would try adding a temperature display on my project. just so happens that I have the parts :)

  4. Bob says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. I am new to Arduino and am finding reliable documentation very thin on the ground.