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LCD242-BK Support & Frequently Asked Questions


[1] Do I need a cable to connect the LCD242-BK to other boards ?

[2] How can I use backlighting with MINI-MAX boards ?

[3] How do I program the LCD ?

[4] What is the difference between contrast and brightness ?

[5] What is the difference between LCD242 and LCD242-BK ?

[6] How can I connect LCD242-BK to my PC ?


[1] Do I need a cable to connect the LCD242-BK to other boards ?

LCD242-BK comes with a 14-wire colored ribbon cable with 14-pin connectors on each end. So you do NOT need to buy a separate cable to connect the LCD242-BK to MINI-MAX boards or other boards. One end of the cable has a keyed connector to ensure correct orientation when inserting the cable to the LCD connector on the MINI-MAX boards.

[2] How can I use backlighting with MINI-MAX boards ?

LCD242-BK has LED backlight that requires external 4.2 Volt source at 250mA. Most MINI-MAX boards do not have this extra power to supply the backlight. If you plan to use the backlight in your application, you can supply the 4.2 Volts externally. You can use either pins 15,16 of 14-pin LCD connector or terminals labeled "A" and "K" on the LCD to apply the backlight voltage. "A" stands for Anode ( positive side ) and "K" stands for Cathode ( negative side ).

Our MicroTRAK board has extra power and brightness adjustment feature to power the LED backlight so a separate backlight supply voltage is not needed when using LCD242-BK with MicroTRAK.

[3] How do I program the LCD ?

For 8051 Family of Microcontrollers: You can use LCD examples that come with our Micro C 8051 Development System ( C and Assembly Language ), SDCC Development System ( C Language ), BASCOM51 ( BASIC Language ).

For AVR Family of Microcontrollers: You can use LCD examples that come with our BASCOM-AVR ( BASIC Language ).

For ARM Family of Microcontrollers: You can use LCD examples that come with our ARM7 Development System ( C Language ).

For PIC® Family of Microcontrollers: You can use LCD examples that come with our MC Development System ( C Language ).

[4] What is the difference between contrast and brightness ?

Contrast defines the visibility level of the alphanumeric characters ( black ) on the LCD screen as compared against the screen itself ( green or yellow/green typically ). Contrast on the LCD242-BK can be changed under software control when connected to the MINI-MAX boards ( by having the on-board Pulse-Width Modulation mechanism vary the voltage on LCD242-BK's Vee pin ). Contrast can also be changed by using a small potentiometer and varying the voltage on Vee manually ( as on our MicroTRAK board, BSCB-1, BSCB-2 BASIC Stamp boards and other customer applications ).

Brightness, on the other hand, defines how much light the LCD242-BK emits to make its display visible at night or at low-light conditions. Brightness comes from the LED backlight that is built into the LCD242-BK.

Brightness and contrast are independent parameters. You can set the display to high contrast ( by having a low voltage on Vee pin ) and low brightness ( by decreasing the voltage to the backlight LED ). Alternatively, you can set the display to low contrast and high brightness, low contrast and low brightness, high contrast and high brightness, and so on.

[5] What is the difference between LCD242 and LCD242-BK ?

LCD242-BK has LED backlight and is a thicker display. LCD242 does not have backlight and is a thinner display. This is basically the only difference between the two displays. LCD242-BK is now offered at the same price as LCD242 and hence LCD242 has been obsoleted. If your application requires no backlight and very thin display and you are interested in LCD242, please contact us and we can send you a quote for price and availability for LCD242.

[6] How can I connect LCD242-BK to my PC ?

LCD242-BK has a parallel interface and is therefore meant to be connected to microcontroller boards and single board computers. You can connect LCD242-BK to your PC using your PC's parallel port but you would need a parallel port device driver under Windows XP and other high level operating systems. We offer a large variety of serial displays with RS232 and USB support; these displays are much easier to connect to a PC.