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February 14, 2012 AT 4:17 pm

NEW PRODUCT – RGB LCD Shield Kit w/ 16×2 Character Display – Only 2 pins used! NEGATIVE DISPLAY

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NEW PRODUCT – RGB LCD Shield Kit w/ 16×2 Character Display – Only 2 pins used! NEGATIVE DISPLAY. This new Adafruit shield makes it easy to use a 16×2 Character LCD. We really like the RGB LCDs we stock in the shop both the RGB negative and RGB positive. Unfortunately, these LCDs do require quite a few digital pins, 6 to control the LCD and then another 3 to control the RGB backlight for a total of 9 pins. That’s half of the pins available on a classic Arduino!

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With this in mind, we wanted to make it easier for people to get these LCD into their projects so we devised a shield that lets you control a 16×2 Character LCD, up to 3 backlight pins AND 5 keypad pins using only the two I2C pins on the Arduino! The best part is you don’t really lose those two pins either, since you can stick i2c-based sensors, RTCs, etc and have them share the I2C bus. This is a super slick way to add a display without all the wiring hassle.

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This shield is perfect for when you want to build a stand-alone project with its own user interface. The 4 directional buttons plus select button allows basic control without having to attach a bulky computer.

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The shield is designed for ‘classic’ Arduinos such as the Uno, Duemilanove, Diecimilla, etc. It will also work perfectly with Arduino Mega R3’s. Earlier Mega’s have the I2C pins in a different location and will require you to solder two wires from the I2C pins on the shield and plug them into the different I2C locations at Digital 20 & 21.


This product comes as a kit!
Included is a high quality, USA-made PCB and all the components (buttons, header etc). This product comes with a 16×2 RGB negative. Assembly is easy, even if you’ve never soldered before and the kit can be completed in 30 minutes. Check the product tutorial page for assembly instructions before purchasing

Of course, we even wrote an easy-to-use Arduino library that you can easily add to your project. It acts just like the built in LiquidCrystal library, but automatically uses the shield pins. You can also easily query the 5 keypad buttons to get input through the library, so you get extra buttons without using any more pins.

At this time, the library and shield can control the RGB backlight of our character LCDs by turning each LED on or off. This means you can display the following colors: Red, Yellow, Green, Teal, Blue, Violet, White and all off. There is no support for PWM control of the backlight at this time, so if you need to have more granular control of the RGB backlight to display a larger range of colors, this shield can’t do that (the I2C expander does not have PWM output).

Product page with tutorials, documentation and assembly information

  • Dimensions: 2.1″ x 3.2″
  • Comes with a 16×2 RGB backlight LCD, negative display
  • Plug and play with any Arduino ‘classic’ – UNO, duemilanove, diecimilla, etc as well as Arduino Mega R3.
  • Uses only the I2C pins – Analog 4 & 5 on classic Arduinos, Digital 20 and 21 on Arduino Mega R3

In stock and shipping now.


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13 Comments

  1. Will you be offering this product without the LCD included? It is mentioned on the tutorial page that the LCD is optional with the kit. I’m sure many of your customers, like myself, have already purchased the RGB LCDs and would love to have the opportunity to upgrade to the shield.

  2. This ‘looks’ similar to the DFRobot LCDShield but that one requires a good deal of pins to use. This one needs only the two I2C pins. Nice touch making the LCD RGB. I just bought the i2c backpack but wished I had waited for this. Oh well.

  3. @ryan! we’ll likely have it as a kit without the LCD in a couple weeks.

  4. Will these work with the Arduino Ethernet boards or with the Ethernet Shield?

  5. Sold out already! Dang! Gotta be quick on the click with your new products!

  6. What’s the profile of the board like? Are the LCD and buttons at the same height for putting into an enclosure with cutouts?

  7. Am I blindly missing the design files, or are they just not public yet? I’m sure they’re pretty simple stuff, but I’d love to see a useful example circuit for the I2C expander chip. Thanks for all the great work!

  8. @astro – it should work great, but you may need an extra set of stacking header since the ethernet shield is so tall

  9. @matthew – the button are not at the same level

  10. @k – it looks great you should buy one! we picked the resistors for a good look 🙂

  11. harry! files are on our github
    https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-RGB-LCD-shield

  12. @adafruit Looks great, thanks!

    –Harry

  13. Also, github seems to be freaking out lately, trying to download a zipped copy of those files results in “Unexpected token ILLEGAL,” and trying to fork the repository is also failing, I’ve been on the “We’re forking a repository just for you. It should only take a few seconds” page for a few minutes, with no luck actually copying the files. I doubt it’s something on your end personally, just github having server errors, but I still figured you should be aware of it.

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