Problem with LCD alphanumeric display screen 16x2

I just got an LCD screen as part of the arduino Ultimate uC Pack. I soldered in holders and wired according to these instructions (

However, when I plugged in the arduino and uploaded the hello world lcd display, nothing happened. The potentiometer didn't change the screen resolution (or do anything at all) and the backlight only seemed to have an effect when it was plugged in to the 5 v source.

I did some troubleshooting - with a voltmeter, the pins on the LED were showed appropriate voltages.

I'm looking for ideas on what could be wrong. Thanks for the help.

This is just a standard run-of-the-mill LCD so my generic procedure should work. Pull out all of the wires and follow this boilerplate approach.

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Here is my generic step by step approach that should work:

(1) If the module has a backlight then get it working properly. This involves only pins 15 and 16 on most LCD modules. Make sure to use a current limiting resistor if there is none on the LCD module.

(2) Get the power and contrast working properly. This involves only pins 1, 2, and 3 on most LCD modules. You should be able to just barely see blocks on one row of a two row display and on two rows of a four row display.

NOTE: The Arduino has not been used yet, except as a possible source for the power needed for the first two steps. Do not try to go any further until this is working. If you don’t see the blocks then no amount of program code will help.

(3) Connect the LCD R/W pin (pin 5) to GND.

(4) Connect the six control and data wires between your LCD module and your Arduino.

(5) Upload your sketch and it should work.


If you have a 16x1 display and there are blocks only on the left half of the row in step 2 then use

lcd.begin(8, 2);

in your sketch.

If you still don’t get a display then make sure that your wiring matches the numbers in the descriptor (or vice versa).

//LiquidCrystal lcd(RS, E, D4, D5, D6, D7);
LiquidCrystal lcd(7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12);      // put your pin numbers here

If you get a display but it is garbled or has some other problems then try again with a ‘static’ sketch, one that displays a simple message on the top row of the display and then stops. All of your code should be in setup() and loop() should be empty between the brackets.

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>

//LiquidCrystal lcd(RS, E, D4, D5, D6, D7);
LiquidCrystal lcd(7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12);      // put your pin numbers here

void setup()
  lcd.begin(16, 2);                          // put your LCD parameters here
  lcd.print("hello, world!");
  lcd.print("it works!");

void loop()

If you are still having problems then we need to see a photograph of your setup that clearly and unambiguously shows all of the connections between your Arduino and your LCD module. We also need a copy/paste version of the code that you are actually using, not a link to the code that you think you are using.