Custom Segment LCD Design Guide

This custom Segment LCD design guide is limited to multiplexed segment or static (direct drive) LCD displays that do not contain a controller/driver interface. This article is part two in a series written to help customers choose the best options for their custom Segment LCD design.

Custom Segment LCD Design Considerations ~ MOQ

We receive many calls asking us to cross over LCD displays that have been discontinued LCD by another module supplier. Many times these displays are unique to the original supplier and requires us to design and manufacture a custom LCD to match the exact specifications.

Custom LCDs are manufactured for only one customer and therefore require a MOQ (minimum order quantity). Why?

When manufacturing custom LCDs the most efficient use of the assembly line requires the custom LCD display manufacture to build in larger batches. This means the manufacturer will set a MOQ limit requirement for the build. At this time the MOQ for custom LCDs is 1,000 displays per build. However, we are able to build smaller sample runs for testing of the display.

We have customers contact us who only require fifty or one hundred custom manufactured displays per year. Unfortunately we cannot supply that small of a quantity since the time required to build 100 units is roughly the same amount of time to build 1k, 5k or 10k.

Custom Segment LCD Design Considerations ~ Tooling fees

The advantage of custom LCDs is that it allows the engineer to design the LCD around their product and not the other way around. In order to design and build a unique LCD module, a one-time tooling fee is required. The tooling fee covers engineering services, design time, counter drawings, samples, freight to our warehouse in Arizona and US-based support.

We require tooling, or Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE), fees to be paid before the custom Segment LCD design process can begin.

Custom Segment LCD Design Considerations ~ LED backlight

Backlights are necessary if your display will be operating in the dark. Many times the application that uses a custom backlight is battery or solar powered and has limited power. Therefore, the amount of time the backlight is ON needs to be kept to a bare minimum.

Custom backlights require a one-time tooling fee to design and build the LED assembly. We are no longer supporting Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL) and try to avoid EL backlights whenever possible. It is still possible to order custom LCDs with an EL backlight, but the MOQs for EL continue to increase making it an unpopular option. Currently the MOQ for an EL backlight is 500.

You can choose many different colors of backlights. Below are four examples of LED backlights. The polarizer does affect the look of the background color. The photo on the left is with a transmissive polarizer, the photo on the right is a transflective polarizer.

To find out more about increasing the sharpness (contrast) on LCD displays or to start your custom Segment LCD design, please contact Focus LCDs at 480-503-4295.