Wiring and programming the Electric Imp with an LCD display

Picture of Wiring and programming the Electric Imp with an LCD display
Attach an LCD to an Electric Imp                                                                     

Whats an Electric Imp?

It's a Wifi connected processor in a super small package. Check the website for more information - Electric Imp

I purchased the Sparkfun Serial Enabled 16x2 LCD - Black on Green 3.3V to go with the setup.

Here are the hardware and software notes on making it all work.

Parts list:

The Breakout board shown here is dubbed an "April".

Note: This Instructable assumes some basic knowledge of working with an Electric Imp. I have included links to some good resources if you are brand new to the Imp world, but the focus is on getting the LCD working, not teaching the Electric Imp from scratch.
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Step 1: Powering and Commissioning your Imp

Picture of Powering and Commissioning your Imp
To get your imp ready for an LCD screen, it needs power and a process called "Commissioning" that allows it to connect to a local Wifi connection. 

I chose to power this example via USB which requires the addition of a header and jumper on the April development board. Insert the Imp into the carrier and plug in the USB - he Imp should start flashing a variety of colors when the power is applied.

Follow the steps outlined on the Electric Imp website for Commissioning an imp

Once commissioned, you should get  familiar with creating nodes for your Imp and perhaps get "Hello, World!" or some other sample code working before continuing. Some basic knowledge of creating and loading a node is required.
pabell11 months ago

ive purchased this version of the sparkfun LCD from Microcenter. Sparkfun informed me that was similar etc. I found that this is actually a 5v Version. When I Hook it up to the imp per your instructions, but using a dedicated power supply I get the sparkfun splash screen, but nothing else. I am wondering if the programming for my model would be different than what you have provided, if so what would i need to tweak in order to make it work

coolioxl pabell11 months ago

try using pin5 and change the code to uart57

pabell coolioxl11 months ago

Coolioxi took your suggestion but no change.

how fast is the imp?
Kev_MacD (author)  amandaghassaei2 years ago
It connects to the Wifi very quickly when configured and powered up. I believe it has an 802.11b/g/n WiFi transceiver, so that part should be good. I haven't run any speed tests on the processor itself, which is a Cortex-M3. I seems to rock along, but I haven't had to deal with lots of data.

I will publish an Instructable on the device I am building too, so watch for that, however I don't plan to move large amounts of data in this project either.
pabell Kev_MacD12 months ago
can I hook the lcd to another pin for RX? ill be using pin 1 for something else.

amandaghassaei this is for Arduino, I am using the electric imp, it's my limited understanding that the 2 aren't the same. Rather than posting a link could you provide some context for why and how softwareserial will work on electric imp.

oh sorry, I saw that comment out of context. Yes they are different.

If I just copy-paste the full code you write, the only thing I'm getting are two vertical lines in each character...

Do you have an idea of what might be wrong?

Thank you
Kev_MacD (author)  joaoaccarvalho1 year ago
Sounds like the Imp hasn't connected properly to your WiFi.