Discontinued LCD Controller Drivers for Monochrome Modules

Focus Character LCD displays and Graphic LCD modules include built-in LCD controller drivers. The function of the LCD controller driver is to convert the customers’ firmware (software) to characters and graphics. But, not all LCD controller/drivers are created equal. And over time, some of these LCD drivers are discontinued. The challenge to this is that the word ‘equivalent’ is not the same as ‘100% exact, drop-in match’.

Discontinued LCD controller drivers

Every few years the IC manufacturer discontinues their version of the LCD controller driver and this forces the customer to switch controllers or rewrite their firmware. Many LCD display data sheets call out a specific LCD controller/driver and then add the words ‘or equivalent’. Equivalent does not always mean 100% equivalent. There are small differences between each manufacturer of LCD controller drivers.

When the supplier of a LCD controller driver discontinues their current product, the monochrome LCD manufactures are forced to switch to an equivalent source. When this happens we highly suggest each customer test a sample of the new LCD controller drivers before ordering production quantities. Our estimate is that a customer can swap between different LCD controller drivers 95% of the time without having to modify or change their firmware. However, there is a 5% failure rate.

Some LCD controller driver manufactures include Sunplus, Sitronix, Samsung, and Epson. At the current time we use the SPLC780D (Sunplus) or the ST7066 (Sitronix) LCD controller drivers on all our alphanumeric (Character) LCD Displays.

Test new LCD controller drivers

When we work with a customer on a new LCD project, regardless if this is a standard display or a customized LCD display, we suggest the following:

  • Ask if the current LCD controller drivers are being discontinued.
  • Test a sample of the new LCD controller driver before ordering production quantities.
  • Think about whether you need additional displays for your repairs. You may want a last time buy of your LCD made with the “soon-to-be-obsolete” LCD controller driver.

Our standard list of Character displays includes 8×1 LCD display, 8×2 LCD display, 16×1 LCD display, 16×2 LCD display, 16×4 LCD display, 20×2 LCD display, 20×4 LCD display, 24×2 LCD display, 40×1 LCD display, 40×2 LCD display, and the 40×4 LCD display.

Static displays do not come with the LCD controller drivers on board. The customer supplies the driver on their printed circuit board. Our standard list of segment displays (glass liquid crystal displays) include 7 (seven) segment LCD display, 14 (fourteen) segment LCD display, and 16 (sixteen) segment LCD displays.

Focus Displays designs and supplies custom LCD displays and can help you with your replacement LCD display needs. The majority of our LCD modules have the options of TN, STN, and FSTN. Backlight options include EL and LED (transflective and transmissive).

Call us at 480-503-4295, we’re ready to help you.