Picture of Connecting an LCD to the Arduino
In this instructable we’ll be looking at how to connect a parallel LCD to an Arduino. The LCD that I am using uses the common HD44780 interface.  Many LCDs have this, you can usually tell by the 16-pin interface. You only need to solder 10 of the 16 wires to use the LCD, but this will only enable you to use the 4-bit interface.
Arduino (with USB cable)
HD44780-compatible LCD screen
10 Jumper wires

1 10k Potentiometer
Soldering Iron
Helping Hands (optional)
Let’s get started!

Step 1: Connecting the Jumper Wires

Picture of Connecting the Jumper Wires

     The first step we need to do is connect the pins to the LCD.  For those interested, you can find the datasheet here.
     I got my LCD from sparkfun, and you can buy one here.
As I mentioned before, you only need to connect 10 pins.  Solder jumpers to these wires:

Pin 1 - Ground
Pin 2 - +5V
Pin 3 - Contrast Adjustment
Pin 4 - H/L Register Select
Pin 5 - H/L Read/Write
Pin 6 - H/L Enable
Pin 11 - DB4
Pin 12 - DB5
Pin 13 - DB6
Pin 14 - DB7

As shown in the picture below:

Pin 1 to GND
Pin 2 to 5V
Pin 3 to wiper
Pin 4 to Arduino pin 12
Pin 5 to GND
Pin 6 to Arduino pin 11
Pin 11 to Arduino pin 5 
Pin 12 to pin 4
Pin 13 to pin 3
Pin 14 to pin 2

Because we will only be writing, pin 5 will be dropped to ground to show that there will be no reading.  For those who wish to use the backlight, connect LCD pin 16 to GND and LCD pin 15 to +4.2V. 

Connect one side of the pot to GND, the opposite to +5v, and the center to LCD pin 3.  Now you're in business.


1-40 of 41Next »
ShauryaS32 months ago

how to change pins as pro mini has only 10 digital pins?
please reply soon project deadline tommorow

SelvaK33 months ago
I like your project and I will give 5 star
azhween5 months ago

i need a program for interfacing lcd wit arduino atmega 328 with y=mx+c logic . please help me out

Sir I want to know if you can change the pin initialization of the LCD and what other pins can i used to initialize it ( I'm using pin 2 as an interrupt thats why I need to reinitialize it to other pins)

rohanjoseph6 months ago

hello...i did what was instructed on my 16*2 LCD but after running the code all it shows is black boxes...plz help!!

Are you using the 10k Potentiometer? That is what you need to adjust the contrast so you will be able to see the text. Check connections if you are using it.

pallaviv6 months ago

ii this is pallavi valunj i want to write code to display the robot moving left and right on display pl help me in this

ibenkos10 months ago
Check my instructables out to uppgrade your work on a shield

please send me ...this total copy to my mail:borigamtejaswini79@gmail.com

I just finished soldering a 16 pin header on my new LCD screen and did a quick search for an Instructable I could use to test my work and your project came up. I grabbed my Arduino, jumpers, and a 10k pot and whipped it up. Thanks!

drebollo1 year ago

Check mine about 3.2" 320x240 TFT LCD screen ;) http://www.instructables.com/id/LCDBPV2-32-TFT-Touch-Arduino-UNO-FAST/#step0

can i get a code for displaying 12 images in a LCD TFT touchscreen ??????

jdoeson2 years ago
Awesome instructable!

I was able to get everything running smoothly on my ATmega328 (Arduino Uno) and a TM204A-1 LCD screen I got from Amazon. I thought I would be spending days learning how to figure this out, but after soldering the DIP pins on the LCD I was able to get this up in 30 minutes!

I made a slight adjustment by connecting pins 15 and 16 as "The nerdling" mentioned, in order to get the backlight working. I connected pin 15 of the LCD to pin 13 on my Arduino, and made sure to open the pin (13) via IDE programming. Naturally, pin 16 went to the same ground as the rest.

I also used a mini breadboard for the LCD (the red one) to make things easier.

See the attached photo for my setup.
monsur jdoeson1 year ago

Hi, I have followed the following configuration and can see my message on the screen, vaguley (http://www.hacktronics.com/Tutorials/arduino-character-lcd-tutorial.html)

You have mentioned opening pin 13 on the IDE, how is this done?

monsur1 year ago

I am using an arduino pro mini and have followed the following link to get the message to display on my 16*2 LCD. (http://www.hacktronics.com/Tutorials/arduino-character-lcd-tutorial.html)

I have managed to upload it with no problem but cannot seem to clearly see the writing that is visible, it is very dim and cannot understand why. The issue may be related to my 10k potentiometer as it does not adjust when I turn it.

From the uploaded pic you can just make out ' Hello World' on the top and 'Hackatronics.com' on the bottom.

Any suggestions?

hackatronics lcd.jpg
dalbyman1 year ago

Thankyou for posting this informative instructible.

Had everything working within 30 mins - Brilliant.

FYI - I found that connecting pin 15 on the LCD to the 3.3v pin on the Arduino powered the back-light fine.

micaiah121 year ago
Help all I am getting is white boxes on my 20x4 white on blue LCD.

I set it up exactly like the picture and instructions. I even added
pin 15 = Digital Pin 13
pin 16 = GND
to light up the backlight.
Why won't it work?

discopig2 years ago
This workedgreat for me, thanks.
us2410982 years ago
Hi crocboy!!! I connected my lcd same way as in your instructables and it works.
now i am facing a problem i am newbie to arduino and want to use lcd as output ( actually i want to print different numbers when different tactical switches are pressed ) please help me.
crocboy (author)  us2410982 years ago
You'll have to do that all in your code. Read in from the digital inputs on the Arduino and set the text in your display to reflect the state of the switches.
axpence2 years ago
note: when the user put %v, he means +5V
crocboy (author)  axpence2 years ago
Thanks for catching that, I'll change it
irtiq73 years ago
Hi there,

I tried everything but I am still getting those black boxes when I set my potentiometer high.
Just replace that pot with a simple wire to ground. Works for me!
(P.S. The boxes are GOOD, its supposed to happen)
coder5123 years ago
What do you mean by the wiper part , i didn't get that !!
Pin 3 to wiper ?????
the middle pin of your potentometer

Connect either end to +5v and ground, and wiper will be the middle pin
Jeff_3 years ago
followed the guide and i only get some weird signs on it but no hello world
crocboy (author)  Jeff_3 years ago
recheck your pin connections, that's usually the main cause of this issue.
prateekk4 years ago
hi ! can u plz tell me the link to the software with the help of which i can boot a programe/code into my arduino...??
like i hav avr for atmel micro controllers.
plz help!!
crocboy (author)  prateekk4 years ago
To upload code to the Arduino, use the Arduino IDE: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
andy707074 years ago
Thanks, great instructable, I just got my arduino today and this was my first project!
ardino's are awesome your rate of fun projects will go up by the hundreds
anselmi4 years ago
i wired mine just like this and the lcd wont light up or show any thing
if any one could help me i would really appreciate it
have you connected the enable pin to 5v or gnd or pin 5?
everyone pin 15 and 16 are the backlight pins.
i connected them into 5v with a 140Ω resistor
if your wondering how i got the ohm sighn i used character map in windows
heleniovix4 years ago
i will try in proto-board.
Robot Lover4 years ago
I set it up right but all i get are boxes. What should i do?
crocboy (author)  Robot Lover4 years ago
For the people getting black boxes, you may want to try adjusting the contrast potentiometer.
Derin5 years ago
Help! I did all you said but I only get black boxes on the LCD. What should I do?
frollard5 years ago
May I recommend hooking the backlight led to a pwm pin via a resistor, or with a protection resistor via a transistor (if the backlight pulls too much current for the atmega pin to handle).  Variable brightness ftw!

Good writeup!
1-40 of 41Next »