Character LCD screen add-on for Android devices

Here’s an Android accessory project that adds a secondary LCD display. It utilizes the Android Open Accessory Development Kit standard to connect the 16×2 character LCD as a USB device. It pairs an app on the phone which runs transparently with firmware for the ATmega2560-based Arduino compatible board you see to the left. The app launches as soon as the auxiliary hardware is connected and is responsible for determining which lines of text are pushed out to the LCD. The example code displays the current time on the top line, and scrolls incoming text messages as they are received.

This is a good way to get your feet wet with the ADK hardware. We’ve already seen it used for larger displays like this LED marquee, but this smaller test project doesn’t require much hardware setup. Chances are you either already have an Arduino and character LCD on hand, or can easily borrow which makes this an easy weekend project.

One note on that Arduino compatible board; it’s called a Freakduino ADK but we couldn’t figure out if it’s a Freak Labs product or not. If you have some insight about that, please leave a comment.


  1. Hackerspacer says:

    I love (?) it how the breadboard, Arduino board and LCD is about 1.5x the size of the entire phone!

  2. Fritoeata says:

    Behold! insight! ;) “features: arduino mega 2560 compatibility”

    “freaduino adk $79US msrp”

  3. Hackerspacer says:

    How is the freaduino better than the normal 2560? It mentions a few small things but it is almost $80 vs about $50 for the 2560?

  4. MRE says:

    Def NOT a freaklabs product. Akiba doesnt do blue, doesnt do overpriced, and is way busy making geiger counters at the momen.

  5. Sqelch says:

    just wondering if these are the same type of thing or this a different idea

  6. leo says:

    Hi guys !
    freaduino ADK is based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs.In fact, ADK integrated USB HOST SHIELD and MEGA2560 function. As production costs will be MEGA2560 plus USB HOST shield. Compared to the price of MEGA 2560 is $50 and USB HOST shield is $40. We think the price $80 for Freaduino ADK is reasonable.

  7. follower says:
  8. follower says:


    It’s the exact same code–the original wording wasn’t clear but they’ve documented in some more detail how they got the code to run on a Nexus S rather than Nexus One.

  9. ann says:


    Arduino and Android ADK compatible board
    Teemino – Android ADK Compatible, Arduino Compatible boardTeemino is an Android ADK compatible board based on Arduino Mega/2560 with USB host. (Based on Google’s reference design of Android USB accessory.)

    In Stock. Ships immediately.

  10. Michael says:

    Perhaps I’m missing something. This could have been done using the same set up plus a bluetooth attachment for the arduino without needing the ADK.

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