Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2011 in LCD, Status update by Ian

We’re trying a new Monday post with status updates on new projects currently in production. This will cover project development, and gritty details like last minutes changes and production problems.

This is a USB and serial backpack for simple HD44780 character LCD screens. It has a few nice features that set it apart from the serial-only LCD backpacks at SparkFun and Adafruit:

  • USB and serial control of characters LCDs
  • Supported in common software (LCD Smartie) as ‘matrix orbital’ display
  • Adjust contrast and backlight from software
  • Couple extra pins for buttons
  • 500mA fuse
  • USB upgradable

The master prototype has been shipped to Seeed, but we probably won’t produce it because HD44780 LCDs aren’t very popular anymore. If you’d like a PCB (and plan to build it) please let us know in the comments.

Slightly more on the wiki. Firmware and hardware are in SVN.

PS: Bus Blaster v2 is complete, tested, and listed in the Seeed store now. We’re hoping for stock tomorrow.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 11th, 2011 at 2:16 pm and is filed under LCD, Status update. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

22 Responses to “STATUS UPDATE: PIC LCD backpack”

  1. i want 1 or 2 PCB….how i proceed for that

  2. Josh Davis says:

    I’d love to give it try!

  3. schazamp says:

    I was actually in the middle of rolling my own serial-only backpack (based on the Adafruit one). I’d love a PCB if you end up with any extras, apart from the fuse and SMD crystal, I have everything I need to put it together.

    Just curious, what makes you say HD44780 displays aren’t very popular anymore? What do you think is growing to replace them?


    • Ian says:

      It seems like everyone is using various exotic color LCDs, OLED LCDs, etc, that work at 3.3volts with modern uCs.

    • Ian says:

      …adding the 5volt thing also makes this an expensive project. The 18F2550 is about $2 more than the 3.3volt version (18F25J50).

  4. GWDeveloper says:

    I’d like to test one out too. There are 3 of these LCDs on my desk.

  5. James Hudson says:

    I would take a PCB also. We still use character LCD’s in many projects and have plenty sitting around.

  6. ricros says:

    I’d like one, if possible…

  7. JP says:

    I would love one to try!

  8. Rohit says:

    I’d love to have one, please.

  9. Anthony says:

    I certainly want one of those! I’ve got tons of HD44780 displays, having (several) serialized ones working over USB would rock.

  10. cuagn says:

    YAB… Yet Another Bootloader.

    Strange (and difficult) to understand why there is now (even after the svn reorganisation) a multiple set of copies of the modified Diolan bootloader.

    Any reason ?


    • Ian says:

      Yup, every device has a different indicator LED location, some devices have other special pins that need to be held a certain way for safe operation (CPLD/FPGA reset, etc).

      • cuagn says:


        Sure, there are some reasons like these one.
        However, for a same processor (let say a 2550 for examle) all the differences may be located in

        As far as I’ve understood there is no need to duplicate (multiplicate) the same common sources.



  11. Rusty says:

    Like Anthony, I’ve got tons of 44780 displays and having one that connects with USB would get great! Sure, I’d like to try one out.

  12. Bill says:

    I would like one if there are any left.
    Have a few 1×16 character HD44780 based LCD.


  13. haley says:

    i would like 1 or 2 if possible. i still have my 80 characters LCD salvaged from an industrial UPS and a smaller 16 characters.

    i usually use them for debugging on microcontroller projects and this LCD backpack would ease my work on interfacing.

  14. Drone says:

    HD44780 displays aren’t very popular anymore? They are ubiquitous, cost $5-$7 USD each (2×16). Not building out this project is a bad idea IMO. A real disservice to the Community.

    • JTR says:

      I wouldn’t say it is a “disservice.” Rather it just is not a service at all.

      Otherwise I agree. DP aught to produce a small pilot run. Today embedded hosts are becoming more popular and something like this could be a simple and cheap debug tool. It would also be great as a general purpose 18FxxJ development board.

  15. Klaus lehnert says:

    I’m keen on building one. Have many HDs to test for recycling purposes. Any chance to get a PCB please??

  16. Javier says:

    I will build one if there’s a pcb still available.

  17. I doubt there’s still pcb available, but I would be interested.

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