Among the things I dislike most is connecting a bunch of individual jumper wires in my project prototypes. Parallel LCD character displays and ICs do require a lot of them. I often use the LCD character display as a debug console for my standalone Arduino/ATmega projects and hooking it up is my greatest pet peeve. So I wanted to build a decent breakout board for the display without involving a shift register. Here I briefly present my work.
Step 1: Things I have used
1. A small piece of vero board. I cut a 14-holes section from a 24 strip vero board, measuring 2.5"x1.5".
2. Small connecting wires taken from CAT5 network cable.
3. 10K potentiometer of a particular form factor, this type fits well in this project.
4. 1 x 16-pin female header (for LCD display pins)
5. 2 x 4-pin male headers (for connecting cables)
6. 1 x 3-pin male header (for jumper)
7. 1 jumper
8. 8 wire cable of my choice
Step 2: Design
I generally design my prototypes using Proteus, but this time I have used Illustrator to design the vero board. Illustrator lets me use colors for easy readability. Please see the first two illustrations. The design is pretty simple. I intended to use 4 data pins of the LCD (DB4 to DB7). RS and EN pins also need to be connected to MCU. Additionally LCD required 2 sets of VCC/GND, one for powering it up, the other for back-lighting. I have used a jumper on the back-light VCC line, so that I can turn backlighting ON and OFF. A sliding power switch would be more convenient (but I did not have one); a momentary switch (push button) can be used instead to momentarily lit it when you need so.
Step 3: Building it
There is not much of technicality involved here. I hope the attached photographs explain its make up and use.
Step 4: Note
This is my first step-by-Step post, suggestions are very welcome.