The Arduino code presented below works equally well on the Trinket M0 and Mini Trinket 5v. If you have an M0 board, consider using the CircuitPython code on the next page of this guide, no Arduino IDE required!
The 5V Trinket was tested at 8 MHz. The Maxbotix LV Series can operate from 2.5 to 5.5 volts, most likely supporting Trinket 3V and Gemma. The LCD display is a 5 volt device so it may require separate power if you keep it as part of your project.

To test the display, wire the DAT pin to Trinket GPIO #0, the CLK pin to Trinket GPIO #2, 5V to the Trinket 5V or USB line and GND to GND.

Ensure your Arduino IDE has support added for Adafruit Trinket.  For IDE version 1.6.7 and above, all you need to do is add the Adafruit AVR Boards package in the Tools -> Board Managers section which provides Trinket support.

The display test program is a variation of the Hello World program. You need to install two libraries for the I2C and LCD functions: the Wire library and Adafruit_LiquidCrystal library respectively. Unlike when Getting Started with Adafruit Trinket was published, no modifications to the IDE are needed, only support added for the boards.  Much easier.

If this is your first time using Trinket, work through the guides first:

If you are using an Adafruit Trinket 5V 8 MHz be sure and select the Programmer as USBtinyISP in the Arduino IDE under the Tools menu.

Software Libraries Used

To maximize the functionality of software on Trinket, new libraries need to be installed. See the All About Arduino Libraries tutorial for details on how to download and install thee liquidcrystal library.

No library is needed for the ultrasonic sensor.

// SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2018 Mikey Sklar for Adafruit Industries
// SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2018 Anne Barela for Adafruit Industries
// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT

 Demonstration sketch for Adafruit LCD backpack
 using MCP23008 I2C expander and Maxbotic LV-EZ1 Ultrasonic Sensor
   (other pin compatible Maxbotix sensors should also work)
 Tested with the 5 volt Trinket mini microcontroller at 8 MHz
 The ultrasonic sensor and pin use should be Gemma and Trinket 3V compatible
 This sketch reads the LV-EZ1 by pulse count and prints the distance to the LCD
 The circuit:
 * 5V to Arduino 5V pin, I2C Backpack 5V and EZ1 +5
 * GND to Arduino GND pin, I2C Backpack GND and EZ1 GND
 * Display I2C Backpack CLK to Trinket GPIO #2 
 * Display I2C backpack DAT to Trinket GPIO #0 
 * LV-EZ1 Ultrasonic Sensor PW pin to Trinket GPIO #1 

   Portions of code provided free use on
   by Bruce Allen and Bill Gentles

 Version 2.0 Adds Arduino IDE 1.6.7 and greater Wire support 
             Anne Barela for Adafruit Industries

// include the library code
#include <Adafruit_LiquidCrystal.h> // Tiny LiquidCrystal library using TinyWireM

#define EZ1pin 1               // Trinket GPIO #1   

// Connect display via  i2c, default address #0 (A0-A2 not jumpered)
Adafruit_LiquidCrystal lcd(0);

// These values are for calculating a mathematical median for a number of samples as
// suggested by Maxbotix instead of a mathematical average
int8_t arraysize = 9; // quantity of values to find the median (sample size). Needs to be an odd number
//declare an array to store the samples. not necessary to zero the array values here, it just makes the code clearer
uint16_t rangevalue[] = { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0};
uint16_t modE;        // calculated median distance

void setup() {
  pinMode(EZ1pin, INPUT); // Sey ultrasonic sensor pin as input
  lcd.begin(16, 2);       // set up the LCD number of rows and columns: 
  lcd.setBacklight(HIGH); // Set backlight on (HIGH on, LOW off)

void loop() {
  int16_t pulse;  // number of pulses from sensor
  int i=0;
  while( i < arraysize )
    pulse = pulseIn(EZ1pin, HIGH);  // read in time for pin to transition
    rangevalue[i]=pulse/58;         // pulses to centimeters (use 147 for inches)
    if( rangevalue[i] < 645 && rangevalue[i] >= 15 ) i++;  // ensure no values out of range
    delay(10);                      // wait between samples
  isort(rangevalue,arraysize);        // sort samples
  modE = mode(rangevalue,arraysize);  // get median

  lcd.setCursor(0, 0);                // write data to LCD display via I2C backpack
  lcd.print("Range: ");               // write to LCD
  lcd.print("    ");
  delay(500);                        // Read every half second

// Sorting function (Author: Bill Gentles, Nov. 12, 2010)
void isort(uint16_t *a, int8_t n){
  for (int i = 1; i < n; ++i)  {
    uint16_t j = a[i];
    int k;
    for (k = i - 1; (k >= 0) && (j < a[k]); k--) {
      a[k + 1] = a[k];
    a[k + 1] = j;

// Mode function, returning the mode or median.
uint16_t mode(uint16_t *x,int n){
  int i = 0;
  int count = 0;
  int maxCount = 0;
  uint16_t mode = 0;
  int bimodal;
  int prevCount = 0;
    while( x[i]==x[i+1] ) {
    if( count > prevCount & count > maxCount) {
    if( count == 0 ) {
    if( count == maxCount ) {      //If the dataset has 2 or more modes.
    if( mode==0 || bimodal==1 ) {  // Return the median if there is no mode.
    return mode;

What if I have no display?

Using the contrast potentiometer on the backpack (a small silver bump), turn the dial with a small screwdriver. Change the contrast until you can read the text.

Saving Space

The above code compiles to 4,336 bytes of 5,310 available. This leaves over 900 bytes of code on an original Trinket if you wish to add additional functionality. On a Trinket M0 you have a ton of space to spare. If you use decimal (floating point) numbers, you will most likely exceed the space available. The Arduino IDE built-in functions which calculate floating point math are somewhat large.

This guide was first published on Oct 01, 2013. It was last updated on Oct 01, 2013.

This page (Arduino Code) was last updated on Dec 03, 2021.

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