In my book Programming the BASIC Atom Microcontroller and also in my book Getting Started with PIC's - Volume 2, I wrote about creating large characters on a 4x20 LCD. It was also printed in the 2007 September issue of Nuts & Volts Magazine for my column Getting Started with PICs that ran from 2006 thru 2009. I used the trick of creating custom characters on the first 8 locations of the Character RAM in the LCD HD44780 driver chip to build the large digits. The topic of creating custom characters came up recently on the Great Cow Basic forum so I thought I would repost the article here on my website under the download page.
It was written to run on the Basic Atom microcontroller but the concepts and description in the article explain how to create the effect, so it should be easy to adapt it to any microcontroller. I know I've done it with PICBASIC but I could not find any sample code in the ever expanding list of code samples on my computer.
Hopefully this repost of the article will be helpful to somebody out there in my audience. I may repost all the Getting Started with PIC's articles over time as a bonus to my readers. They are a bit dated, but not out of date. So they may be helpful. If you are interested in that, please comment below.
I recently updated the SimpleC library I created in my Beginner's Guide to Embedded C Programming - Vol 3 to include an LCD routine to drive the popular DFRobot LCD shield. It took a little bit of manipulation but I think it will become the new LCD drive routine for any future projects.
The LCD shield is CHIPINO, Arduino and chipKIT compatible but the CHIPINO pinout made the previous LCD routines impossible to use. They relied on the four data connections to the LCD to be in order (i.e. B0-B3 or B4-B7). The DFRobot shield connects to the Digital 4-7 pins on the Arduino which are PORTC pins C3-C0 on the CHIPINO. So they were in order but all data sent would be backward.
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Chuck has been programming with PIC Microcontrollers since there were only five devices. Now there are over 700 and growing. He also has a lot of fun 3D printing designs using his Davinci 3D printer and TinkerCad software. In this series of blog posts and occasional videos on his YouTube Channel he tries to help you get started with electronics and 3D printing.
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