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How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield

by thoughtfix on Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:53 pm

This was not TOO difficult but a little annoying to work out initially. My first run made a total mess of the purple and blue wires because I mapped them out wrong on the graph I used to create this. My second time through worked flawlessly. Please forgive the scrolling of the image attachments. I guess that's bbcode for you.

Parts list:

Tools:
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solid core wire
  • solder
  • Patience

Optional: 8 pin header on which to plug the LCD. I used one.
lcd-shield1.jpg
LCD Shield front showing LCD and level shifting chip.
lcd-shield1.jpg (79.98 KiB) Viewed 4145 times

All I did was follow the instructions for the Nokia 5110 LCD EXACTLY how they were described at http://ladyada.net/products/nokia5110/ with two notable exceptions. First, I used +5V (shown in the pink wire in the drawing, white wire on the results) for the LED backlight. Second, I followed the pin traces around the proto shield used in the example and built that onto the underside of the Adafruit proto shield!

I had difficulty with the wire at such short runs. Specifically, I had insulation shrinking when I set the soldering iron hot enough to melt the solder to the wires. A more experienced person (or higher quality wire insulation) could avoid this. The LED uses one of the +5V rail connectors on the Proto Shield's PCB and the "open" rail gathers 3.3V to share with the LCD and the driver.
lcd-shield2.jpg
Back of the shield, showing my excellent (/sarcasm) soldering skill.
lcd-shield2.jpg (104.49 KiB) Viewed 4145 times

A few tips: Cut the wires longer than you need and use something to hold them down (not your fingers! You'll get burnt!) when you solder, then clip the extra bits off. Also push the wires through the board to connect to the IC as they will be easier to solder (and more stable) top-side. Finally, consider using an IC socket (I didn't) for mounting the chip in the middle. That makes it easier to replace if need be.

Happy hacking.
Attachments
lcdshield-drawing.jpg
Drawing of the wiring on the back of the proto shield.
lcdshield-drawing.jpg (288.68 KiB) Viewed 4145 times
---Daniel Gentleman
Open source projects: http://thoughtfix.com

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Re: How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield

by adafruit on Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:07 pm

wow this is great! we'll post this up on the blog!

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Re: How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield

by thoughtfix on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:15 am

Glad you like it. More HOWTO posts will follow, I promise.
Do you have any advice on how to prevent the wire insulation from melting back when soldering? I didn't have enough space (and hands) to use a heat sink.
---Daniel Gentleman
Open source projects: http://thoughtfix.com

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Re: How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield

by adafruit on Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:46 pm

we always just strip the wire a little short in expectation that it will melt

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Re: How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield

by mkbehbeh on Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:31 am

Use kynar wire. I tried to wire protoshield with 24 awg from cat I had laying around and it melted badly. Tried 30awg wire wrap with kynar insulation and it worked great!

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Re: How to build a $23 graphic LCD shield

by adafruit_support_mike on Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:11 am

Kynar melts too, but not as easily as PVC insulation.

My trick is to strip about 3/16" of insulation from the end of the wire while it's still on the reel and solder that into one hole. Taking melting and such into account, the insulation will usually pull back to leave about 1/8" of bare wire past the solder.

Then I go to the point where I want to cut the wire off, cut the insulation with a stripper, and push the insulation along the wire so it goes right up to the solder joint. That covers the bare wire near the first joint, and saves me the hassle of trying to strip a short chunk of wire at both ends.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.