5 Steps to Finding the Perfect Character LCD

Finding the optimum character LCD for your new product is as easy as 1, 2, 3 . . Never mind, you get the idea.

1. Choose the right size.

Character displays come in a variety of sizes ranging from an inch or two, up to several inches. The larger the display, the more characters can be displayed at a time. 

As IoT increases in popularity, low power is a growing concern. One down side to a larger display is not only the increase in cost but the power to drive it. If you’re running on batteries, choose a smaller display.

2. What is the best driving voltage?

There are two standard voltages for all character LCDs.


This is the most common and the best in colder temperatures(more power keeps LCDs warm, happy, and best of all, operational).


Great for battery powered products since it can be driven by two double a (AA batteries).

There is no price or lead time difference between the two. 

3. Need to read your display at night? Then order a backlight.

Most character LCDs contain an LED backlight as standard equipment. The backlight can be turned on and off independently of the LCD itself.

The one downside to a backlight is that it consumes power. In fact, it demands (such a harsh word, how about ‘kindly requests’) more than 10x the amount of power than just the LCD. Their current draw ranges anywhere from 15mA up to 90mA.

4. Will you read your display in direct sunlight?

Ever try to read your cell phone or tablet in direct sunlight? It becomes washed out with excessive light.

Character LCDs outperform color displays such as TFTS in sunlight because they can be built with either a transflective or reflective polarizer.

So, which is the best polarizer for your new product?

  • If you need to read the display in sunlight and have a backlight for night readability?
    • Go with transflective.
  • No need to read at night, just needs to be read realllllly well in direct sunlight?
    • Go with reflective.

There is no price difference between the two polarizers.

5. Number of characters.

How many characters do you want to display at a time? Standard configurations include: 8×1, 8×2, 16×1,16×2(most popular), 20×2, 20×4 and 40×4.

The first number is the number of characters on each line. The second number represents the number of lines. So, if you have an 8×2 display, you have 16 characters that can be seen at any one time.

6. Bonus:

This is a freebee.

Character LCDs have been around for years and will still be around years from now. Unlike other LCD technologies that are discontinued every year or two.

If you need your display to be available for the next few years? Then go with Character.