This new Adafruit shield makes it easy to use a 16x2 Character LCD. We really like the range of LCDs we stock in the shop, such as our classic blue & white as well as the fancy RGB negative and RGB positive.

Unfortunately, these LCDs do require quite a few digital pins, 6 to control the LCD and then perhaps another 3 to control the RGB backlight for a total of 9 pins. That's half of the pins available on a classic Arduino!

With this in mind, we wanted to make it easier for people to get these LCD into their projects. So we devised a shield that lets you control a 16x2 Character LCD, up to 3 backlight pins AND 5 keypad pins using only the two I2C pins on the Arduino! The best part is you don't really lose those two pins either, since you can use I2C-based sensors, real-time clocks, etc. and have them share the I2C bus. This is a super slick way to add a display without all the wiring hassle.

This shield is perfect for when you want to build a stand-alone project with its own user interface. The 4 directional buttons plus select button allows basic control without having to attach a bulky computer.

The shield is designed for 'classic' Arduino-shaped boards such as the Uno, Metro, etc. But it will also fit "Mega" sized boards because the I2C pins are labeled SCL/SDA.

This used to come as a kit but now comes as an assembled SMT design, so much less soldering is required.

Revision History:

  • As of May 29, 2024 – The PCB's design has been updated. Now it comes with the  buttons, chips and other components already soldered into place. You will still need to solder on the shield headers and the LCD, but it's a lot easier.

This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 14, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Jun 05, 2024.

Text editor powered by tinymce.