Power conservation is top priority for battery powered handheld products with an LCD. Therefore, choosing the optimum display technology is key to a long battery life.
So, which LCD technology is best for battery powered products?
Segments, aka glass only or static displays, have the lowest battery appetite, making them a popular choice for new OEM designs.
Two Voltage Options
Segments can operate on 3.3V or 5V. 3.3V is preferred for battery driven applications unless the display operates in cold temperatures. As the mercury drops, 5V will outperform 3.3V.
Either voltage draws less than 1mA, perfect for two AA cells.
Advantages of Segment Displays
The estimated price for segment displays vary from $0.25/each to $10 each depending on the size of the glass and quantity. Glass size is the single biggest factor in the price.
Estimated lead times run from six to nine weeks from order to delivery.
Low Probability of Obsolescence
Segment displays have been in production for many years and show no signs of going away. They contain very few components: ITO glass, pins, nematic fluid and some epoxy. All four items have matured and are available from a multitude of suppliers.
Sun Light Readability
Segments excel in direct sunlight when built with a reflective polarizer. One hundred percent of ambient light is reflected, providing the user with sharp contrast.
If a backlight is needed, a transflective or transmissive polarizer can replace the reflective polarizer.
The display is built to the size requested by the OEM engineer. There is a one-time tooling fee (NRE) that provides customers with samples and supporting documentation. Once paid, there are no additional tooling fees unless a modification of the tooling is requested by the OEM.
Monochrome means the background is one color and the segments are a second color. Color background options include yellow/green, blue, white, black, gray and others. There’s no price or lead time difference for any monochrome color variation.
A LED backlight can be added to a segment display for nighttime operation. The backlight draws anywhere from 10mA up to 50+ mA depending on the brightness and number of LEDs. DC driven LEDs are simple to dim. Save power by shutting off when not in use.
Need a touch screen? Yes, even a touch screen can be added to a segment display since they are fully customizable.