Hacking An LCD


The HD4478 is an extremely common LCD controller. The folks at Sorgonet got this particular display out of an old credit card reader. It’s easy to talk to these controllers using just a parallel port cable. With the lcdmod project you can send text strings directly to the display from the command line. Sorgonet has a lot of related LCD links if you are interested in putting a display on your next project.

[thanks h-tech]

28 thoughts on “Hacking An LCD

  1. These displays are really not that expensive, I paid EUR 20,- (appr. $25) for a blue one with backlight, 20×4 characters… (and 4 rows is so much better than 2). I modded it in my media center (which is the only windows-machine I have btw) and there’s lots and lots of software out there to display just about anything on that display… I’m sure it’s possible to get a HAD-rss-feed on there? anyone? :-)

    my display:

    and some examples of what it can display:

  2. They destroyed a credit card reader to get a 12 buck LCD?!

    Oy Vey.

    I would have traded them one of my *serial* matrix orbitals (HD4478 + piggy back board that does the serial communication conversion) for the reader.

  3. This is not “hacking an LCD”. This is taking an LCD, and using it for it’s intended purpose, which is displaying data. “hacking an LCD” would be taking the LCD itself apart and making it do something it wasn’t originally intended to do. I wish people would learn what the heck “hacking” means.

    And #6: Calculators and VCRs generalyl don’t have LCDs. They have VFDs (Vacuum Flourecent Displays). They’re a pain to drive without using an driver chip built for them. But it can be done.

  4. You can also drive a HD44780 with the GPIO pins on a Soekris box – used this for a final year project. Needs a pot to control the contrast, and thats about it. Googling for HD44780 Soekris will give you the necessary circuit diagram / device driver code.

  5. I think the term “hack” in this case is used to connote a haphazardly executed modification (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) If you check out the “robot arm” page, you’ll see a certain stylistic similarity. I’m glad that none of these guys have been electrocuted yet.

  6. Wow this is jsut such old news I can’t believe it made it up here at all :P Its a mod project certainly not a hack. And I dunno how old that article was, but I think they should google for some wiring diagrams before spending so much time trying to “figure out” how to wire it up. Ah well, I have one of these it is a fun mod :)

  7. Totally agree with #9, #13 and #17. This really isn’t a ‘hack’, more an elementary failure to use google before taking your first faltering steps into playing with trivial hardware.

    Poor show. If there’s no content for the day’s hack, just say so…

  8. I’m going to be a total jerk here.

    This is simply using an LCD, not hacking it.

    These projects have been around for ~years~.

    The only hacking I see here is the hacking that was done on that poor innocent 5-1/4 inch drive bay cover that the LCD was mounted in.
    Next time use some tools instead of hiring mice to gnaw a hole in the plastic.

    This stuff should be in a ‘best of’ post or something.

  9. hack or not, i enjoyed this one… not for the article written in poor english, but because it got me to look up other resources. I’ve got an old nokia 3590 lying around, and i’ve wanted to do something with it. And to #18, I’d still rather something than nothing, even if i’m not interested in it.

  10. You freaking useless nerd saying “that’s not a hack, that’s not a hack, thats a ______”
    Seriously go suck a lemon.

  11. cheer up! say, anyone out there lookikng for alternative heating sources this winter? I’d really like to see some home heating hacks. right now i’m planing to build a system that would have a wood buring device loacated outside and will circulate heated water into the house. Anyone done this type of thing?

  12. If you have an old palm lying around, you can use palmorb. I found it a few months ago. You can have the palm act as a display. It allows you to interface with any LCD software that supports the Matrix Orbital LK204-25 LCD. It is no longer maintained, so if someone wants to sake over, they can. The link is: http://palmorb.sourceforge.net/

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