Here’s How To Sniff Out An LCD Protocol, But How Do You Look Up The Controller?

Nothing feels better than getting a salvaged component to do your bidding. But in the land of electronic displays, the process can quickly become a quagmire. For more complex displays, the secret incantation necessary just to get the things to turn on can be a non-starter. Today’s exercise targets a much simpler character display and has the added benefit of being able to sniff the data from a functioning radio unit.

When [Amen] upgraded his DAB radio he eyed the 16×2 character display for salvage. With three traces between the display and the controller it didn’t take long to trace out the two data lines using an oscilloscope. Turing on the scope’s decoding function verified his hunch that it was using I2C, and gave him plenty of data to work from. This included a device address, initialization string, and that each character was drawn on screen using two bytes on the data bus.

He says that some searching turned up the most likely hardware: a Winstar WO1602I-TFH- AT derived from an ST7032 controller. What we’re wondering is if there is a good resource for searching this kind of info? Our go-to is the LCD display and controller reference we covered here back in March. It’s a great resource, but turns up bupkis on this particular display. Are we relegated to using DuckDuckGo for initialization strings and hoping someone’s published a driver or a logic dump of these parts in the past, or is there a better way to go about this? Let us know in the comments!