I designed this shield for anybody who wants to work with a classic Character LCD with parallel interface. You can fit a variety of sizes of LCDs on the shield, just in case the one that comes with is not good enough for you. To make this process even easier I designed the PCB with the demonstration code for "Hello World" silk screened on the back of it. Flip the PCB over type the code into your Arduino compiler and you should be up and running as soon as the firmware is loaded into the chip.
However typically once you get your LCD up and running shortly after you get it to say "Hello World". you will probably want to to do something slightly more challenge like create a user interface with some menus.
I personally really like Rotary encoders. I could not resist adding a Rotary encoder to the shield. As you can see a picture I have some very classic clunky retro knobs available to properly pimp out this masterpiece. Once you put your hands on this knob and feel the ku-chunk ku-chunk of the spring detents in this Rotary encoder you will then realize how essential it is to have a large clunky retro knob to properly reminisce of yesteryear when electronics were a little more repairable and a little less disposable.
For the younger gamer generation I put a footprint for a joystick navigation button. These buttons have five directions, up, down, right, left, and a standard pushbutton all built in. These joystick buttons are a little pricey, so for those on a budget I also included footprints in the printed circuit board for standard inexpensive pushbuttons in a navigation configuration.
To round out this user interface experience I also included a beeper. this way you have most of the senses covered, LCD gives you sites, the tactile buttons or not give you touch, the the beeper gives you sound, and whenever there is soldering involved sooner or later there are some smells.
I confess there is not quite enough IO pins on the Arduino to run the Rotary encoder and all the push buttons, so you may need to decide which interface you want to use. I added many solder tabs to make reconfiguring this board as easy as possible.
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