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Note: You can now request a (small) welding service for this article :-).
This product contains a negative display, this means that the letters are displayed in color/bright on a black/dark background.
This Adafruit shield allows you to easily display two lines of 16 characters on an LCD screen. We really appreciate this RGB (Red Green Blue) type LCD allowing the backlight of the display to change color. Unfortunately, standard LCD displays require the use of multiple digital pins. A common RGB display requires the use of 6 digital pins to control the LCD display and 3 others to control the RGB color of the backlight ... i.e. 9 pins in all, in other words, all the pins available on a classic Arduino!
It's with this in mind, and wanting to simplify the realization of projects, that AdaFruit decided to develop this shield. The shield described here allows you to control an LCD display with 2 lines of 16 characters, up to 3 backlight pins and a 5 BUTTON KEYBOARD with only the 2 pins of the Arduino I2C bus!
The best thing is that the two pins of the I2C bus are not lost because they can be shared with other I2C peripherals like I2C sensors or a real time clock (RTC), etc. It is a clever way to add an LCD display without having all the associated wiring problems while preserving your Arduino Inputs/Outputs for other uses.
This shield is perfect if you want to carry out an autonomous project with its own user interface. The 4 directional buttons and the selection button allow you to set up a basic control element without using a computer.
This shield is designed for a 'classic' Arduino such as the Uno, Duemilanove, Diecimilla, etc. It also works perfectly with an Arduino Mega R3. Earlier versions of the Mega have their I2C pins in a different position and therefore require to weld two wires from the shield's I2C pins to digital pins 20 and 21.
This product is a kit to assemble! Including an excellent quality PCB and all components (buttons, header, etc.). The product is delivered with a negative 16x2 RGB display. Assembly is easy, even if you've never welded before. The kit should be assembled in 30 minutes. If you have any doubts, you can check the assembly notes from our supplier before your purchase (in English while awaiting translation).
AdaFruit has of course written an "easy to use" library for this product. It's easy to add it to your project and is as easy to use as the LiquidCrystal library (supplied with the Arduino IDE). The AdaFruit library is already configured to use the correct Arduino pins to control the shield. You can also request the status of the 5 buttons of the shield keypad via the library, so you have 5 additional buttons without using a single additional pin on your Arduino.
For the moment, the library can control the color of the backlight of the RGB display by activating/deactivating the corresponding color LED (without PWM control). This means that you can display the following colors: Red, Yellow, Green, Teal, Blue, Violet, White and all off.
The colors available already offer many possibilities, both aesthetic and practical. It is thus possible to use the color of the backlight to display a status (ex: Green = On, Yellow = Attention, Blue = Waiting for startup, Red = problem, etc.)
At present, there is no PWM support to control the color of the backlight, if you want to finely control the color of the backlight, this will not be possible with this shield (the I2C extension used in this shield has no PWM support).
Demonstration of AdaFruit's RGB LCD shield on video on youtube