An Arduino RSS Feed Display

Picture of An Arduino RSS Feed Display
This Arduino project will display RSS feed headlines on an LCD via an Arduino and a USB cable. It works quite well, and lets you keep up with the world news while you're sitting at your desk. Many of the values in the code can be changed, and the system can be adapted to display Twitter and other information as well. It uses Python to interface with the Arduino.

All of the code and instruction provided is done so with no guarantee of success. I've bugtested the code to the best of my ability, and it should work in most cases, but certain things can throw it off. Details of such are within.
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Step 1: Required Pieces/Parts for the Project

The project requires very few parts, generally things that most people with Arduinos will have lying around somewhere:

(1) Arduino Uno board
(1) Breadboard (I used a MakerShield prototyping shield instead, but a breadboard works just as well, albeit less compact)
(1) LED, your choice of color
(>12) Breadboard cables
(1) 16x2 Character LCD display, compatible with the LiquidCrystal library (works with larger LCD's with tweaking)
(1) Potentiometer, preferably 10K ohms.
(1) USB to USB-B cable (standard USB-to-Arduino cable)

Step 2: Wiring up the LCD and the LED

Picture of Wiring up the LCD and the LED
The LCD should be wired up as is shown in this picture (given it's a 16x2 LCD that uses the HD44780 driver). Potentiometer controls the contrast. It should also be noted that most LCD's use pins 15 and 16 on the LCD as the +5v and GND for the backlight.

Picture is from Make sure you test it using the "Hello World!" program described. The screen may need to have the contrast turned all the way up for it to display properly.

The LED just goes in digital pin 13 and the GND pin next to it. Make sure the polarity is correct (Longer leg should be the + leg, short legs goes to ground).
jkctech3 months ago
Is there way to use multiple lines? i use this feed: which is a feed of the 911 calls nearby my village. i tried changing the charcount, but im not very good with arduino. PLEASE HELP ME
tkadere5 months ago
I'm getting this error. What does this mean. Apologies I have never used python before.

line 39, in
File "C:\Python27\lib\site-packages\serial\", line 283, in write
data = to_bytes(data)
File "C:\Python27\lib\site-packages\serial\", line 76, in to_bytes
b.append(item) # this one handles int and str for our emulation and ints for Python 3.x
TypeError: an integer or string of size 1 is required

tkadere tkadere4 months ago
I found a solution. I put this line num=str(num) just before ser.write(num) so python recognises num as a string
misadeks11 months ago
Verry Cool. I thouth i can´t connect arduino to the internet without an Ethernet Shield! Tahnk you!
techno guy1 year ago
i also think that the settings for the ports have also been changed
techno guy1 year ago
i think you need to rewrite the python code because an update meshed urllib2 into urllib, i'm trying to debug it, but this is my first time seeing python, luckily programming is my thing
mshah91 year ago
great work!! But there is one problem I have came across after implementing this. What is news contents contains " 's " as part like in " that's " then this Python script is unable to parse it and send it to arduino via serial so any help on this ??
callemang1 year ago
Very cool. Thank you for posting. I have gotten it work but it doesn't use the second line of text, therefore words are not showing up. I think there is an error in the Arduino code because if I use Arduino's example serial display it works but it only prints one word then reprints the whole screen. Help? Please
fritterdonut (author)  callemang1 year ago
What size is your LCD display?
Could it be a problem with the LiquidCrystal Library? I don't exactly understand that part of it. Am I supposed to put the .h file in a certain place?
16x2. Hello World works with the second timer at the bottom.
zmashiah1 year ago
Very nice project.
I was wondering, if I do have the PC working on chewing up the web data, why do I need Arduino at all? I mean, I can have a much cheaper USB-to-Serial connecting the USB port of the PC to an LCD. As a matter of fact, CrystalFontz sell USB connected LCD screens, so the PC could simply manage the display too.
I did something like this awhile ago using a beta-bright moving message sign, PHP script, and a home made serial cable, works quite well, I use it right now to display weather information and forecasts, but it can be used to do just about anything else that you would like displayed. In fact it works so well that I got myself a 2nd larger sign for the living room (Wife doesn't really like that one thou LOL) - Thought you might be interested thou because it just uses the computer and the beta-bright display protocol.
Thanks kd8bxp (And I must admit is sounds like Radio Amateur code),
I did play with CrystalFontz a while back. Recently built few things where the micro-controller is basically standalone, connect to the Internet and display stuff on visual screen. See my Instructables. If the display is a small VGA one it has a higher wife-acceptance factor :-) The "old" 15" LCD display has now good use in the living room
fritterdonut (author)  zmashiah1 year ago
In this case the Arduino just manages the LCD and pieces together incoming words into proper, readable format. If you had a plain LCD with a USB connector and the proper software to interface with it via USB, then you could just use the screen.

I used the Arduino because I had it on hand and this was never meant to be a permanent build. I built it for fun, got it to work then took it apart and went onto the next Arduino project.
I know about fun, and totally agree with that.
brndnlstr1 year ago
I could be wrong, but charcount=charcount++; won't do anything.

If you want to increment, you only need this:


That will increment by one.
fritterdonut (author)  brndnlstr1 year ago
It will in fact add 1 to the total, but it is redundant.

the ++ modifier essentially acts as variable = variable + 1

So in this case it says variable = variable = variable + 1

It works, but should simply say charcount++ for the sake of simplicity and easier reading. Thanks for pointing it out.
Technically, the behavior is "undefined" which means it might do what you want, or it might not. The actual behavior is up to your C compiler, and *any* behavior is permitted, including not compiling the code, or producing code with wildly unexpected behavior.

In case you care: the reason it's undefined is that the C language spec says modifying the same variable multiple times within the same expression without an intervening "sequence point" is undefined. There are no sequence points in that expression, and charcount is being modified twice. This exact topic used to be a common question on the C programming groups on USENET. About once a week someone would ask why one compiler would behave differently than another when compiling "i = i++" (often the question was "which one is right?").

Here's a Stack Overflow question on this topic:
fritterdonut (author)  clgonsal1 year ago
Thanks for the definitive answer. So while I can confirm it would work properly for me, it might not work properly if you use a different compiler. Really is playing a game of chance with your code, I guess.
reliason1 year ago
If you get a could not open port error try finding the correct port this way:

In terminal type: python -m
Find the port matching the one in the Arduino settings and copy paste into your python script.
this is really simple
and impressive
but the python language , this is the first time i see somebody using it in arduino
really really goooood

big thank you bro
even your project is simple but a new stuff has been learned today
knownware1 year ago
This is very cool. I like this a lot.
This is Pretty cool, and from the looks of the code it might be just simple, yet interesting enough to get me into python
Nice article thanks.

1. question though in the beginning of the arduino code.
Is the below lines a typo? shouldn't it include something?
or is it usingLiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2); as the include I no you said we need to download a new library but i never seen an include with pin assistants included, maybe it does not matter I'm just curious.

#include // import the LiquidCrystal Library
LiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2);

fritterdonut (author)  hankenstien1 year ago
(removed by author or community request)
fritterdonut (author)  fritterdonut1 year ago
Fixed the code on the instructable. Thanks for pointing it out.
no problem I'm glad Icould help, its little things like that that are usually the reason why something doesn't work.
Or in my case, I for get the ; or even just one space in the wrong place.
but I've dealt with this thru .html .php .pl /.cgi now a little C with the arduino, and Ive been noticing python gaining some ground again lately, so Ive been thinking about dabbling in it. any way good day and keep them coming.

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