If you are into electronics and love building projects, you must be familiar with Display Modules. We use displays for multiple reasons: for debugging, for GUI or just displaying messages. In this article, we will see the most common types of displays used by makers community. So without wasting further time, let’s get started…

Types Of Displays:

There are mainly two types of displays you can use, namely LCD and OLED. Both displays vary in working, output and operating voltage but does the same job of displaying image/text. There is one more category of displays called TFT LCD displays. These displays usually come with touch panels and are used for GUI related applications. So let’s see these displays in more detail:

LCD Display Modules for Your Electronics Project:

LCD Display Module
16*2 LCD

This is one of the most common type of Display used in projects. It comes in variety of dimensions. One in above image is a 16*2 LCD panel. These type of displays have 16 pins, below I have given more details about the pinout of this module.

16*2 LCD display module for DIY projects
PinOuts
 Pin No Function Name
1Ground (0V) Ground
2Supply voltage; 5V (4.7V – 5.3V) Vcc
3Contrast adjustment; through a variable resistor VEE
4Selects command register when low; and data register when high Register Select
5Low to write to the register; High to read from the registerRead/write
6Sends data to data pins when a high to low pulse is givenEnable
7
DB0
8DB1
9DB2
10DB3
11DB4
12DB5
13DB6
14DB7
15Backlight VCC (5V) Led+
16Backlight Ground (0V) Led-

These modules are cheap and easily available, this makes them a popular choice for projects.

TFT LCD:

Thin Film Transistor LCD is a form of LCD display used in applications where interactive user interface is required. These modules have a better colour reproduction and a touchscreen. You will usually find TFT modules in the form of arduino shields or RPi hats.

TFT display for electronics projects

These colorful touch screens are very useful if you project needs input from user. TFT screens are also good for displaying animations and printing graphical messages.

You don’t really need to know the pin outs, just plug the shield in arduino and use proper library.

OLED Display Module:

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays are a bit more expensive than the two mentioned above. But great for projects where power consumption is an issue.

OLED display for arduino and electronics projects
OLED Display

OLED displays are very easy to use as they use I2C protocol. Usually these modules work at 3.3v – 6v which make them very power efficient. Similar to LCD displays, you can make cool animations on this panels.

e-Ink Display:

If power consumption is your biggest concern, e-ink displays are for you.

e-ink display for your electronics projects
e_Ink Display

These displays are usually monochrome but you can find color displays too. e-ink displays work on very low power and save a lot of energy. The special thing about these displays is it can keep the text/information even after powering it off. This saves energy. The only con about e-ink displays is that it is very expensive, even the smaller ones can cost more than 14$ USD!

Final Note:

This article was just an overview of the types of displays that can be used for any project. In future posts, we will see some of these modules, how to use them with Arduino. We will also make some projects using it.

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