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Expanding on this question. I am looking at a few different ways to hook up a HD44780 to the GPIO pins and the various tradeoffs.

Here's my "world clock" running off a RPi using I²C RPi running 3 HD44780 displays via I²C

So far I've just got one working using 6 GPIO pins similar to the tutorial at Adafruit and an I²C version using a MCP23017

Other ideas I would like to get working are:

The 6 GPIO pin version is simple, but uses 6 valuable GPIO pins
The CD4094 version is very cheap and only needs 2 GPIO pins
The I²C version is only slightly more expensive, but can run up to 6 displays with a single MCP23017 and share the I²C with other devices

Can anyone think of other options to try?

  • Have a look at this: schnatterente.net/technik/… It's a real cool RSS Reader for Raspberry Pi + HD44780 Display! :) – user1838 Oct 12 '12 at 16:30
5

6 GPIO pins

Here is the code I am currently using. So far just GPIO is working. Look at the test_gpio function to see/change which GPIO pins are connected to which pins on the LCD module.

import time
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

class LCD_GPIO(object):
    # Timing constants
    E_PULSE = 0.00005
    E_DELAY = 0.00005
    def __init__(self, RS, E, D4, D5, D6, D7):
        self.RS = RS
        self.E = E
        self.D4 = D4
        self.D5 = D5
        self.D6 = D6
        self.D7 = D7

        GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)        # Use BCM GPIO numbers
        GPIO.setup(self.E, GPIO.OUT)  # E
        GPIO.setup(self.RS, GPIO.OUT) # RS
        GPIO.setup(self.D4, GPIO.OUT) # DB4
        GPIO.setup(self.D5, GPIO.OUT) # DB5
        GPIO.setup(self.D6, GPIO.OUT) # DB6
        GPIO.setup(self.D7, GPIO.OUT) # DB7

    def lcd_byte(self, data, mode):
        GPIO.output(self.RS, mode)

        for bits in (data>>4, data):
            GPIO.output(self.D4, bits&0x01)
            GPIO.output(self.D5, bits&0x02)
            GPIO.output(self.D6, bits&0x04)
            GPIO.output(self.D7, bits&0x08)

            # Toggle E
            time.sleep(self.E_DELAY)
            GPIO.output(self.E, True)
            time.sleep(self.E_PULSE)
            GPIO.output(self.E, False)
            time.sleep(self.E_DELAY)


class LCD_23017(object):
    pass

class LCD_4094(object):
    pass    

class HD47780(object):
    LCD_CHR = True
    LCD_CMD = False
    # Base addresses for lines on a 20x4 display
    LCD_BASE = 0x80, 0xC0, 0x94, 0xD4

    def __init__(self, driver, rows=2, width=16):
        self.rows = rows
        self.width = width
        self.driver = driver
        self.lcd_init()

    def lcd_init(self):
        # Initialise display
        lcd_byte = self.driver.lcd_byte
        for i in 0x33, 0x32, 0x28, 0x0C, 0x06, 0x01:
            lcd_byte(i, self.LCD_CMD)


    def lcd_string(self, message):
        # Send string to display
        lcd_byte = self.driver.lcd_byte
        lcd_byte(self.LCD_BASE[0], self.LCD_CMD)
        for i in bytearray(message.ljust(self.width)):
            lcd_byte(i, self.LCD_CHR)

def test_gpio():
    driver = LCD_GPIO(RS=7, E=8, D4=25, D5=24, D6=23, D7=18)
    lcd = HD47780(driver=driver, rows=4, width=20)
    lcd.lcd_string("Welcome gnibbler")


def main():
    test_gpio()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()
5

I²C

Hooking it up is fairly straightforward. The contrast pin(VO) of the particular displays I am using needs to be connected to ground. Usually you would connect it to a potentiometer to set the voltage between VSS and VCC

My displays don't have a backlight, so I haven't connected those to reduce clutter on the schematic. If yours has a backlight you should of course connect it in the usual way

You can connect up to 3 displays in parallel to each port of the MCP23017. The only difference is the enable pin from each display needs to connect to a separate pin (GPB1-GPB3)

Raspberry Pi driving HD44780 via MCP23017

#!/usr/bin/env python
"""World Clock Demo
   It should be fairly obvious how to change this code to work for other timezones"""
import time

class LCD_23017(object):
    # Timing constants
    E_PULSE = 0.00005
    E_DELAY = 0.00005
    def __init__(self, bus, addr, port, rs, en):
        self.bus = bus
        self.addr = addr
        self.rs = rs
        self.en = en

        self.DIRECTION = 0x00 if port == 'A' else 0x01
        self.DATA = 0x12 if port == 'A' else 0x13

        self.bus.write_byte_data(addr, self.DIRECTION, 0x00)

    def lcd_byte(self, data, rs):
        rs <<= self.rs
        en = 1 << self.en
        for nybble in (data&0xf0, data<<4):
            self.bus.write_byte_data(self.addr, self.DATA, nybble | rs)
            time.sleep(self.E_DELAY)
            self.bus.write_byte_data(self.addr, self.DATA, nybble | rs | en)
            time.sleep(self.E_PULSE)
            self.bus.write_byte_data(self.addr, self.DATA, nybble | rs)


class HD47780(object):
    LCD_CHR = True
    LCD_CMD = False
    # Base addresses for lines on a 20x4 display
    LCD_BASE = 0x80, 0xC0, 0x94, 0xD4

    def __init__(self, driver, rows=2, width=16):
        self.rows = rows
        self.width = width
        self.driver = driver
        self.lcd_init()

    def lcd_init(self):
        # Initialise display
        lcd_byte = self.driver.lcd_byte
        for i in 0x33, 0x32, 0x28, 0x0C, 0x06, 0x01:
            lcd_byte(i, self.LCD_CMD)

    def lcd_string(self, message, line=0):
        # Send string to display
        lcd_byte = self.driver.lcd_byte
        lcd_byte(self.LCD_BASE[line], self.LCD_CMD)
        for i in bytearray(message.ljust(self.width)):
            lcd_byte(i, self.LCD_CHR)


def test_i2c():
    from datetime import datetime
    import pytz
    import smbus

    ## For Rev1.0 Raspberry Pi
    driver1 = LCD_23017(bus=smbus.SMBus(0), addr=0x27, port='B', rs=0, en=1)
    driver2 = LCD_23017(bus=smbus.SMBus(0), addr=0x27, port='B', rs=0, en=2)
    driver3 = LCD_23017(bus=smbus.SMBus(0), addr=0x27, port='B', rs=0, en=3)

    ## For Rev2.0 Raspberry Pi
    #driver1 = LCD_23017(bus=smbus.SMBus(1), addr=0x27, port='B', rs=0, en=1)
    #driver2 = LCD_23017(bus=smbus.SMBus(1), addr=0x27, port='B', rs=0, en=2)
    #driver3 = LCD_23017(bus=smbus.SMBus(1), addr=0x27, port='B', rs=0, en=3)


    lcd1 = HD47780(driver=driver1, rows=2, width=16)
    lcd2 = HD47780(driver=driver2, rows=2, width=16)
    lcd3 = HD47780(driver=driver3, rows=2, width=16)
    lcd1.lcd_string("    New York")
    lcd2.lcd_string("     London")
    lcd3.lcd_string("    Melbourne")
    new_york_tz = pytz.timezone("America/New_York")
    london_tz = pytz.timezone("Europe/London")
    melbourne_tz = pytz.timezone("Australia/Melbourne")
    while True:
        time.sleep(1-time.time()%1)  # Wait until the next second
        lcd1.lcd_string(datetime.now(new_york_tz).ctime()[3:], line=1)
        lcd2.lcd_string(datetime.now(london_tz).ctime()[3:], line=1)
        lcd3.lcd_string(datetime.now(melbourne_tz).ctime()[3:], line=1)

def main():
    test_i2c()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()
  • Thanks. It works!. This great post helps me a lot. Only a comment for newbies (like me). If you use a Raspberry Rev.2, use bus=smbus.SMBus(1) instead of bus=smbus.SMBus(0) in the code. The adress can be determined by running this command: "sudo i2cdetect -y 1" (use 0 instead 1 for Raspberry Rev.1). In my case was 0x20 instead of 0x27. Thanks a lot. – user9457 Sep 10 '13 at 18:19

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