Have you ever heard of TFT LCD screens?  They are great ways to display information from your Arduino, or display pictures.  The Arduino team just released an official TFT LCD screen with their new Robot at Maker Faire 2013.  It's very easy to get started with!!  This tutorial will show you how to get the LCD up and running, load information from the SD card, and make a few simple projects.

The TFT LCD screen is a great way to detach your computer, and have the Arduino relay information that you need to know onto the LCD.  A great part of the LCD is that it has a built in microSD card socket.  You can store images on the microSD card socket, and even some text!

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Step 1: Parts & Tools

To make the project, you will need the following:


Arduino UNO (Amazon, $22)
Arduino TFT LCD Screen (Arduino Store, ~$28)
ArduSensor Pot (Qtechknow, $8)
Half Sized Breadboard (Amazon, $5.50)
microSD Card 2GB (optional, Amazon, ~$6)
Jumper Wires


USB-B Cable
microSD Card Adapter & USB SD card reader
As usual , great job Qtechknow ! I always look forward to reading your posts . <br>Build_it_Bob
Thank you!!!
This is a great instructable! I can't wait to get a screen and get it set up!
<p> This looks like a fantastic tutorial, but could you please help: is there a cheaper alternative to the official arduino TFT screen but will still work with the tft library? Help and multiple suggestions are much appreciated!</p>
<p>Can I use pictures as a background and show infos (for example: accelerometer information) in the foreground?</p>
<p>What software do you use to create those schematics/diagrams? </p>
<p>Probably the program &quot;Fritzing&quot;.</p>
<p>can we use big display instead of TFT LCD display</p>
<p>Do you know if there's a way of using the old screen out of an iphone (3GS in my case) as a screen for the arduino? </p>
sir i have done as per your instruction ...but i am getting white screen without any info being displayed .. plz help me ...
<p>how to load image on the TFT without SDCard ?</p>
<p>Without a storage medium you would need to convert the image data into an array representing each pixel and make it part of your sketch. So you would be limited by the on-board memory of the Arduino.<br></p>
<p>how to to display image from my computer not from SD card ?</p>
Can this play video?
Not yet, but if you sequence images quickly, you can create a cool 'animation' effect!
<p>I am also trying to play a video using Arduino. If I use images after split from a video as a slideshow using higher speed. will Arduino able to process it ?</p>
<p>Thanks for the tutorial very well done :)</p>
<p>to hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to much monnie</p>
<p> I am an old duffer and constantly see references to ARDUINO. What the 'eck is it?</p>
<p><a href="http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+the+heck+is+arduino" rel="nofollow">http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+the+heck+is+arduino</a></p><p>You're welcome :)</p>
God i love lmgtfy.com
<p>Thanks for the tutorial!</p><p>I wonder if you happen to know if it is easy to have sensor input and image output. For example, a moisture sensor has a HIGH input, and the screen shows a bitmap image that is stored in the SD card. Thanks! </p>
Once again a brilliant project. Please check out my instructables too Qtechknow!
<p>can i use </p>2.8&quot; TFT Touch Shield for Arduino - 2.8<p>in the same project ? to display same things and same stuff?</p>
<p>Amazing! Thanks for sharing it! :-)</p>
sorry im relatively new to all this but would it be possible to display time on this tiny thing? like a bedside clock of some sort? thanks guys
<p>I'm sure in ten months you found this but arduino has a nice library for this.</p><p>Check out<br></p><p>http://playground.arduino.cc/Code/Time</p>
sure, but without an rtc chip it might vary a bit.
I want my image to rotate a certain number of degrees based on the signal input. How would I go about doing this? Thanks for the awesome instructable!
<p>You can replace the image every time the signal input changes - use the map() function to 'map' the number of degrees with the signal input, and just set the screen with a the same image, but rotated. Hope that helps!</p>
great tutorial...im trying to use this screen as a picture display,going through different picture every three to five seconds.but cant really figure out the code...can u tell me what to do
<p>I think that the easiest way of doing this would be to display a picture, erase it, and delay. I would make a cycle of pictures, and then display them one at a time and erase them one at a time.</p>
saw your article in popular science
It seems that the white board of the screen is not aligned with the screen, is this right?
Yes, I'm not sure why though.
Actual Arduino board = $22 <br>TFT screen = $28 :(
Not necesary, i use this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/130906317995?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&amp;_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649 <br>Is cheaper and functional. And i found information right here :http://blog.simtronyx.de/en/a-1-8-inch-tft-color-display-hy-1-8-spi-and-an-arduino/
OH MY GOD!!! I am about to turn 12 and i KNow what i want for Christmas. <br> <br>I am a 11 year old boy and I love enginnering and i just found out about ardino in the summer time! I saw you in popular science and I thought that was epic!!! I am going to begin using ardino . Keep up the epicnesss-Tesla
Thanks!!!! Hope you like your Arduino! Post what you make!
A Very good explanation. I do notice this ties up quite a few pins (thus reducing capability for other functions) I wonder if an i2C shift register could reduce the pin load...
Is there a way to switch between the displayed image files manually? I would love to be able to throw a rotary switch on there to switch the pics
I don't believe that you can hook up a potentiometer up to the TFT LCD directly, but you can attach it to the Arduino, and switch the pictures!
Can you use the LCD to show animated files like animated .GIFs, .AVI movies, ect.?
Probably, but I'm not sure. I think that you would have to split up all of the individual images on the .GIF, and then convert them to bitmaps to show them.
I guess you can do this with any lcd screen even with a nokia screen (lower resolution but very cheap)
I believe so, but you would have to make sure that the screen works with SPI (what the Arduino TFT library uses).

About This Instructable




Bio: White House Maker Faire // 15 years old // CEO of Qtechknow, maker and electronics enthusiast, I teach Arduino classes, and put making into schools!
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