Putting together the backpack onto an LCD is a quick process, and should take only a few minutes with a soldering iron.
Verify you have everything in the bag, there should be an assembled and tested PCB, a 2-pin and 3-pin 3.5mm terminal block. The backpack does not come with header or an LCD.
The terminal blocks
allow you to easily attach and remove the LCD from your wiring, which we think is awfully handy. If you dont want the terminal blocks (they stick out a bit) you can always skip this step.
The terminal blocks come in 2 and 3-pin pieces . Slide them together.
Place the blocks over the corner area of the backpack so that the holes stick out (unless for some reason you want them to face the other way)
Solder them into place
Next we will attach the backpack to the LCD. First we must put header onto the LCD, if you bought the LCD from us, it will come with a stick of header. Otherwise, pick up some standard 0.1" male header
These photos shows a 10K potentiometer, you can ignore it
If the header is too long, just cut/snap it short so that it is 16 pins
Next you'll need to solder the header to the LCD.You must do this, it is not OK to just try to 'press fit' the LCD!
The easiest way we know of doing this is sticking the header into a breadboard and then sitting the LCD on top while soldering. this keeps it steady.
Now we will attach the backpack. We will show how to do this in a permanent fashion. If you think you would like to remove and replace the LCD at some time, you can use a piece of 16-pin long 0.1" female header
as a socket but be aware it will stick out a lot.
There are two options, you can tuck the backpack behind the LCD
Make sure that you line up pin 1 of the backpack with pin 1 of the display. Pin 1 is on the right side of the backpack closest to the Adafruit logo. Pin one of the display should be marked. When correctly installed, the blue terminal block will be close to the edge of the display.
Or solder it so it's to the side, this way it's thinner.
Solder the header to the backpack.
Make sure that as you solder the first pin, the backpack PCB isn't leaning against the LCD, where the terminal blocks could short against some components. You can put some electrical tape or foam tape behind to avoid this if you think it could be an issue.
My LCD only has 14 pins. Which holes do I use?
The extra two pins are for the backlight. Your LCD doesn't have a backlight. Here's a picture of the backpack board layout, with pins 15 and 16 located. Just leave those empty. Cut the pin header down to 14 pins instead of 16, and attach your LCD to holes 1-14 in the backpack.
This guide was first published on Aug 27, 2012. It was last
updated on Oct 17, 2018.
This page (Assembly) was last updated on Nov 18, 2016.
If your LCD has 18 pins, you won't be able to use the extra backlight pins, just connect 1-16 and leave 17 and 18 disconnected