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LCDs for Low Power Applications

LCDs for Low Power Applications

Aug 20th 2021

Modern users expect a lot from your user interface, even on the smallest screens. The more prevalent displays are in your use case, the more power they consume, and the fewer options become available. Luckily, Focus LCDs provides solutions that use extremely little power and meet your needs. This becomes especially important in a world that is quickly substituting wires for batteries that also need to power other components such as processors, memory cards, etc. There is a balance that must be struck between reliability, usability, and ultimately, power consumption.


The most important thing to remember about all LCDs is that they all have a backlight (or sidelight, etc.). This functions by projecting a bright white light into your eyes, with the rest of the panel dedicated to converting that light into individual pixels. Batteries are depleted ten to fifteen times faster by backlights than by the LCD itself.


TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor. TFT is a mature technology with a low cost and long lifespan. Each display pixel is powered by an individual transistor (or up to 4!). These displays are known for their clear, vibrant colors and prevalence which cuts down unit price. However, they are known to suffer from poor viewing angles and incorrect color representation. Mobile phones, laptops, hang-on-the-wall LCD TVs, flat computer displays, and other hand-held gadgets are all conceivable thanks to their scalable design. TFT LCDs are also reasonably inexpensive, making them a market leader in the display industry.


AMOLED displays are the most energy-efficient option. AMOLEDs (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) are a flat light-emitting device that uses a succession of organic thin sheets sandwiched between two conductors. A brilliant light is emitted when an electrical current is applied. AMOLEDs are emissive displays that do not require a backlight, making them smaller and more energy-efficient than LCDs (which do require a backlight). Over a traditional LCD, AMOLEDs offer better image quality, much lower power consumption, a simpler design that offers performance in many environments, and a smaller footprint.

When it comes to AMOLED displays, a great way to save power can be to prioritize the use of solid black. Dark mode has become surprisingly common on mobile devices equipped with OLED screens. Not only does prioritizing black over white reduce eyestrain, but it also saves device battery. This works because AMOLED displays light up individual pixels as they are needed.

While AMOLEDs are the most energy-efficient display option, there are downsides to this technology. AMOLEDs tend to be more expensive due to the technology being relatively new and the supply being unstable. This unstable supply makes AMOLEDs prone to extremely long lead times. Additionally, the operating lifetime is much shorter than TFTs due to the degradation of organic materials used in AMOLEDs under certain conditions.

Other Considerations

Outside of the display tech itself, design and implementation can also play an important role in saving costs. LCD heaters are one consideration that might be needed in cooler environments. Two common options are heater films or quarter-watt resistors which are the most power-efficient option. Another consideration when it comes to power efficiency is insulation. Insulation helps to maintain heat within the unit, allowing optimized function and sustained life of the unit. This can be done through ruggedized and isolated enclosures. Ideally, the LCD should be able to generate its own heat needed for function.

Focus LCDs has options that are both power efficient and suit your requirements. This is especially essential in a world where cables are rapidly being replaced by batteries to power other components like CPUs, memory cards, and so on. Between dependability, usefulness, and, ultimately, power consumption, a balance must be achieved.