Saturday, July 15, 2006
Parallel LCD Displays
In my previous post I mentioned about the Matrix Orbital Serial LCD display sold by Parallax. In actual fact, most LCD displays that you will encounter are actually parallel devices, not serials. The serial devices are those modified by manufacturers to make them easier to interface with PCs and microcontrollers. The advantage of parallel LCD displays is that they are cheap, with prices ranging from $14 onwards. In fact, I could find parallel LCD displays (without backlight) in my local (Singapore) hardware shop for as low as S$7 (~US$4.30). But the devil is in the details - parallel LCD are more difficult to wire and program. This is especially true in .NET, where there is still no managed classes to do parallel port programming. Nevertheless, if you are willing to pick up a soldering iron, you should be able to wire up a display to the parallel port. Programming it takes a bit of effort, provided you have the necessary APIs to write to parallel port. One good news, though, it that almost all of these displays uses the HD44780 chipset from Hitachi. Hence your application that talks to one LCD should likely work without problem with another LCD from another manufacturer.