How LCD Heaters Work

What do LCD heaters look like?

LCD heaters, used on a custom LCDs, are small pieces of flexible plastic or film that is placed on or next to the LCD glass. The plastic is flexible and is similar to a touch screen that is applied to the top of the custom LCD glass. The heater film is transparent and will not obstruct the view of the display.

LCD heaters are manufactured with a layer of conductive film. Lead wires are then attached to the end of the film to supply the necessary power.

Heater technology, used on custom LCD displays, is similar to heat tape that is applied to water pipes in the winter. A small amount of heat is applied to the water pipe to keep the water from freezing and breaking the pipe. The same idea is used in very cold temperatures to keep the liquid crystal display operating. LCD displays employ a liquid that is sandwiched between two layers of glass. This liquid will freeze when the ambient temperature becomes too cold.

What activates custom LCD heaters?

The LCD heaters are not active all the time but only when the temperature reaches a preset value. One way to control when the heater is active is to have the customer’s product include a circuit or sensor that activates the heater when the ambient temperature reaches a critical level.

A second option is to have us design and build your custom LCD display containing a circuit that interfaces to the LCD. The circuit activates the heater at a temperature selected by the customer’s designer.

Do LCD heaters come in standard sizes?

There are a number of heater film manufactures that offer standard size heater modules. Standard LCD heater film sizes eliminate the need for a tooling cost and possible MOQ (minimum order quantity) requirements.

In the case of custom LCD displays, a standard size LCD heater film may not meet the requirements. In this case, the film would need to be customized to provide the exact size and electrical characteristic necessary. The customized heater file may require a tooling fee.

How to save power with LCD heaters

One key design consideration to keep in mind is how well the LCD is insulated. Is the display in the direct path of winds that will draw away its heat? We suggest that insulation be one of the key concerns when designing your product. When adding heat tape to a water pipe, it is recommended to place foam around the tape to hold the heat in place. The same is true with LCD heaters. If you can keep the LCD out of wind and in an enclosure that ‘holds’ the heat, your heater will require less wattage. This alone will reduce the amount of power necessary to maintain the operating temperature of your custom LCD display.

The photo below of a weather station located at Cape Baird, Ellesmere Island. Insulation in this location would be critical to keep all custom LCD displays operating.