Serial LCD keypad panels and backpack Update with backpack options!!!

I just added a backpack version to my family of phi-panel user interfaces

Backpack with option to purchase 162 or 204 display:

Backpack with face plate 16*2 display and keypad:

Compact panel with 16X2 display:

Full panel with 20X4 display:

The above panel only requires 2 arduino pins to run NewSoftSerial to connect. You will have full control of the LCD with serial.print, sense the keypad with, and other hardware including the following software and hardware functions:

Both panels and the backpack are available on
16X2 version
20X4 version
Backpack version

A video demonstrating all features of the panel on the compact 16x2 panel

This is the on board menu for parameter adjustment: baud rate, startup beep, back light, and key repeat speed.

This is the compact size panel quick look around:


*ATMEGA328 microcontroller manages all hardware
*TTL-Serial (0-5V) interface, compatible with all Arduino variants and most other microcontrollers
*Serial addressable option to run up to 254 displays on one serial port
*16X2 or 20X4 character display
Keypad has 0-9, four directional keys, enter, and escape, for backpack, connect to a 44 matrix keypad
*Multi-tapping on keypad
*4 LEDs (only on panel)
*Buzzer for simple buzz or any tone (connect to a buzzer on backpack)
*Software adjustable LCD back light intensity
*Reset key behind the panel so you can decide whether the user can reset the panel (panel only)
*Firmware can be upgraded for more functions

Software (display):

*Wraps messages automatically at the end of a line.
*Automatic scrolls lines up with new messages.
*Supports control characters: newline (‘\n’), return (‘\r’), backspace (‘\b’), tab (‘\t’).
*Supports most ANSI escape sequences: cursor position, blinking/underline cursor.
*Supports local echo of key presses for regular inputs or no local echo of key presses to conceal inputs for password fields.
*Supports LCD back light brightness control 0-255.

Software (keypad):

*Relays key presses via serial port such as ’0? to ’9? on the number pad and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on the arrow pad and enter and escape.
*Getting user input with multi-tap (like on cell phone number pad) for alphanumerical and symbol inputs
*Getting numbers and passwords is as easy as 1-2-3 with few lines of code.

Software (interactive features):

*Supports phi_prompt user interface library such as long text areas, interactive lists or menus, YES/NO or OK dialogs and various number and text inputs.
*Supports on-the-fly baud rate change.
*Planned upgrade will support “store and recall” functions to store messages, menus and lists on-board the panel so they can be recalled by their indices (like display menu#1 instead of sending of the entire menu) to free your Arduino FLASH by up to 256KB (requires serial adapter, special software and external EEPROM).

Software (peripheral):

*Can control 4 LEDs for status indication
*Can output any tone on the buzzer

The panel has integrated functions to render interactive menus and long messages to display menus and long information texts besides all the screen manipulation functions I can think off, all accessible via serial.print commands. A menu can be made simply like the following:

Serial.println(“Menu:”); // Display ” Menu” on line 1
Serial.println(“1.Display GPS info”); // Display option 1 on line 2
Serial.println(“2.Record GPS info”); // Display option 2 on line 3

while(1) {

if (Serial.available()) { // Make sure there is a key press
char; // Read key press from phi-panel
if (response==’1?) display_GPS(); // Display GPS info on LCD
if (response==’2?) record_GPS(); // Record GPS info on SD card or EEPROM
break; // Breaks out of the while (1) loop.

A video of multi-tap on the full-size panel:

I will shoot some videos on how to use the panel later.

This is the blog page for this project:

hi John.

Wow, you new stuff looks great! You have taken your ideas a long way and developed some excellent products.

Wish I was as productive!

We should talk...

Regards, Terry King
...On the Mediterranean in Italy

Thanks Terry! This is the closest thing I could do to give arduino a screen and keyboard. There must be lots of others that want some simple printf or scanf stuff like they could use in C. But arduino has no default input or output device. The serial monitor is kind of an output but there is no cursor control or even backspace. This panel also has built-in functions to make menus and display long messages etc. As I revise my user interface library, I may add more to the panel firmware (22.5K already). So PM me if you are interested in this :slight_smile:

These panels are on sale right now at

I just added a backpack version to my family of phi-panel user interfaces

Backpack with option to purchase 162 or 204 display:

Both panels and the backpack are available on
16X2 version
20X4 version
Backpack version

Face plates are out!

You can download the face plate file for free on the phi-panel google code page: