This tutorial is for the original 2.8" TFT breakout, we have an updated tutorial now at for the most recent version of this product, but are keeping this tutorial for historical reference
There are three basic 'components' to the LCD.

The backlight is the first. It is made of 4 white LEDs in parallel with a transistor to control them. The LEDs can draw as much as 80mA all together, but you can PWM the backlight to dim it - the transistor makes it easy to connect any kind of microcontroller output. You can also connect the backlight pin directly to a 3 or 5V pin to turn it on all the way.

We'll begin by assuming you'll be using the 1x20 connector and an Arduino. Wiring may be different for your microcontroller.

Start by connecting the first pin Ground of the LCD to ground and the second pin 3-5V to 5V (you can use 3-5V, this pin will power the TFT and backlight so be sure it can supply 100mA). Then skip 5 pins and connect pin #8 Backlite to 5V.
Power up your set, and you'll see the 4 white LED backlight. If this isn't working, something is amiss with your power supply. Go back and fix the wiring!

This guide was first published on Dec 17, 2012. It was last updated on Dec 17, 2012.

This page (Backlight Wiring) was last updated on Apr 17, 2021.

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