Segment Displays with an On-board Controller

When ordering your custom segmented displays, you have a choice of adding an on-board controller or a glass only solution incorporating a direct drive/multiplex interface.

Segment displays, also referred to as ‘glass only’ or ‘static displays’ contain seven segmentfourteen segment and sixteen segment font that can display any number and some letters. The majority of custom segment displays also contain icons as can be seen in the photo below.

Segment LCDs with on-board controller

Microcontrollers with integrated LCD drivers can drive segmented displays with letters, numbers, characters and icons. Most segment displays do not contain an on-board controller driver or a microcontroller with integrated LCD driver. We are able to supply your segment display with a controller driver, but this increases the tooling and unit cost of the LCD.

In some cases a custom LCD module with an on-board controller driver may reduce the overall cost of your product since there has to be a driver somewhere in the system. Either we supply the driver on the custom LCD, or you supply it on your mother board (yes, I know ‘mother board’ is a dated term).

If you decided to design the LCD module with an on-board controller, please let us know what interface you need. Possible interfaces include:

Segment LCDs without an on-board controller

The majority of the custom segment LCD displays we supply are either direct drive (static) or multiplex such as a 4:1 mux.


A direct drive custom LCD panel requires one pin/connection for every segment. The advantage of direct drive is that the duty cycle is 100% and your contrast and character darkness will be excellent. The disadvantage is that a display with a large number of segments will need a large number of pins. This not only increases the cost of the display, but increases the effort to insert or mount the custom glass to your printed circuit board (PCB)


custom LCD glass panel incorporating a 4:1 mux requires one pin/connection for every four segments. This reduces the number of pins and the cost of the LCD, but decreases the sharpness of the display.

If you choose a direct or multiplex drive LCD Display, you will need to supply the microcontroller with integrated LCD driver on your board to interface with the custom segment module.

Below is a partial list of microcontroller and integrated LCD driver manufactures:

Focus Display Solutions has been designing and supplying custom LCD displays for over fourteen years. In that time we have learned a great deal about the process of designing and building a custom LCD Solution.

Ready to begin your custom LCD design?