slapyak: tinkering and fidgeting
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you meet the nicest people on a honda OR: how the arduino steals your sleep

still being new to arduino and physical computing in general… what was supposed to be the simple task (is anything ever…) of getting the 1×16 lcd up and running in 4bit mode was anything but. i learned a few little nuggets that may be helpful to others in the future. this is for the arduino LCD4Bit library ( and a datavision 16110v1rb-h 1×16 from electronics goldmine.

  1. starting programming at 11:00 “just while the news is on” will end up in a 2:30am crash
  2. not all lcds with 16 pin outout are created the same, or operate in the same way. I was getting this wierd problem that i cannot find any other documentation of someone else having and solving.
  3. Only the first 8 characters would show up (and at full contrast). if i pulled data pin 5 from the lcd and plugged it in while the code was still running, i’d get gibberish, but across all 16 pins and dim. so i knew it was part of the programming. it took some fiddling with the LCD4Bit::init () function to get it to go. it turns out i had to turn on the second line as well as configure some options. trial and error showed these options to be different for both lcd models i have here.
    essential in solving that one –> and lcd command library (
  4. it turns out half of my issue is that the board is expecting 5v logic level for all the data and -8v from vcc-vss for the display contrast. i’ll get that squared away tonight.
  5. when you edit a ______.cpp or _____.h file for arduino, you need to delete the matching _____.o file in order for those changes to be incorporated.

so, where i’m at now – t
he lcd works, but is dim.
the second half starts a position 40, or line 2, pos 0. further changes to LCD4Bit.cpp will be necessary.
some wires need to come off the breadboard before i get confused…

heres the LCD all wired up with a ribbon cable, hot glue added after the picture to secure the cable.Back of 1x16 datavision LCD

and the breadboard with the boarduino and lcd playing nicely.lcd / arduino / breadboard


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