Which LCD display should I buy?

So, there seem to be hundreds, if not thousands, of LCD's available. I've narrowed it down to about 30 so far and I need help picking the right one for projects to come. Any one of these:


should work just fine (I only need character display), but I'd like to know if any of you have had problems with them, or can recommend a better one. I'm buying a bunch of 74HC595 shift registers as well, so arduino pin count shouldn't be an issue (only have 5 pins left!).
The display must, therefore be parallel. 16x2 minimum.
Currently I'm thinking of getting this one:

as it's the cheapest one, although poorly documented.
All suggestions welcome as I can only pretend to know what I'm talking about when it comes to LCD's

By the time you get all of the extra components and go through the much heavier coding effort, why not look at getting the same display in a serial format.

It will cost you more money but save you immenesly on time. For me I think my time is worth more.

Well it seems that you're the opposite of me :smiley: Being only 14 and pressed on money, I'd much rather get the cheaper parallel display and add a shift register, although I had considered doing serial originally. Plus it will be a learning experience, as I've never used a parallel device. Luckily time isn't an issue either for this project.

Currently I'm thinking of getting this one:


I would stay away from that one. It has a non-standard pin out and will not be compatible with any of the common tutorials, shields, or daughter boards.

From what I can tell New Haven seems to have a lot of interesting products and some of them have some really neat features such as RGB backlights. Unfortunately they are just a little bit different from the standard LCDs and are therefore more suitable for those with experience using LCD modules. I wouldn't hesitate to use one myself but I wouldn't recommend them for beginners who are likely to be using tutorials etc. based on more traditional devices.


You might look at www.sparkfun.com or www.adafruit.com or www.freetronics.com. Since they sell a lot of Arduinos and/or Arduino-compatible hardware, they all probably have the displays you're looking for. (I know for a fact that SparkFun does.)

Or ebay has many, many 2-line LCD displays, many with 5 pushbuttons included on the board. I've bought a couple of those but haven't tried them out yet.

Good luck!

It sounds like you can wait a bit if it saves money.
Given that. I'd order a hd44780 display or two off ebay.
They are much cheaper than from Mouser.
Mouser also charges quite a bit for shipping.
You can get lcds off ebay for $3-$4 USD shipped.

For low cost components, I really like these guys:
You can get 74HC595s for $0.20 USD. Less than half of Mouser.
Great prices on things like resonators, crystals, caps, leds, diodes,
1307 timer chips, ds18b20 temp sensors, transistors like 2n7000, 2n3904, 2n3906, strip boards, IC sockets, etc....
For even as low as $10 you can load up on all kinds of really nice goodies.
Their shipping is really low too, especially for small quantity low $ orders.

Using a shift register on the hd44780 type display is really easy.
(I think using 74LS164s are slightly easier but they are not always as easy to find and sometimes cost more)
I recommend using this library if you are going to wire up the shift register yourself.
Here is some additional background:

An example of how to use a 74ls164 on a strip board:

Not that you can use 74HC595s instead of the 164 but obviously the strip board
wiring will be different.
But I wanted you to see how you can use strip board for stuff like this.
I'd change it a bit to allow the strip board to be plugged directly into the lcd
by using 16 rows on the left side of the components.

With the exception of a 16 pin female header, you can get
all the other other the other parts you need to make a 2 wire lcd backpack
for about $1 if you get all the parts from Tayda.
(You could solder the lcd directly to the backpack or just use wires)

Which brings the total cost of a 2 wire LCD including the LCD
to about $5 if you get the LCD off ebay.

$0.70 strip board (can make more than one backpack)
$0.20 74HC595
$0.15 40 pin header (can make more than one backpack)
$0.01 1/4 watt resistor (for shift register AND gate)
$0.01 diode (for shift register AND gate)
$0.01 1/4 watt resistor for backlight
$0.06 10k trim pot

Have fun!

--- bill

If you want the absolutely lowest cost for the best functions, you should look here at my serial LCD backpack kit for $12 (without display) and get a $4 display on ebay:



The total is around $20 including shipping.

If you spent too many pins on buttons, this LCD backpack can connect to a $2.25 keypad (4*4 buttons) to free up more pins.

Hope it helps.

Wow, thanks for the info Bill, I could only find the HD44780 for $20 with another $20 shipping to Canada before this! Tayda Electronics also seems like a great place, with only $2 shipping. I guess this is the way to go.

... shipping to Canada ...

Did you ever wonder why your profile has an entry for 'location' and how it might help you get more relevant responses and suggestions?


Have you considered oled displays? This one is 128x64 graphic which is 16x8 text, tiny, very readable, 2 wire I2C interface: SeeedStudio Oled display. Maybe a bit pricey at $20, but you can do a lot with a 16x8 display that doesn't need a backlight.

I have purchased several 1602 modules (backlit 16x2) from China via eBay at very affordable prices. They work great - see my post about libraries (http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,90526.0.html). You can see what is available on eBay at 1602 LCD module for sale | eBay