So, you have an Arduino. You have learned some basics, you may have followed the beginner’s guide to start. What’s next?

Adding a display to your Arduino can serve many purposes. Since a common use of microcontrollers is to read data from sensors, the display allows you to view this data in real time without having to use the serial monitor in the Arduino IDE. It also allows you to personalize your projects with text, images, or even touch screen interactivity.

Lots of Arduino starter kits come with a simple display form. There are also various ready-made Arduino shields. which are included screens. While we have covered larger displays designed for the Raspberry Pi, Previously, there are several options available that are better suited for Arduino-based projects.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the different types of displays, where to find them, and how to set them up.

1. Liquid crystal display

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is the most common display found in DIY projects and household appliances. This is not surprising as they are easy to operate, low power and incredibly cheap.

This type of display may vary in design. Some are larger, with more character spaces and lines, some come with highlighting. Most of them connect directly to the board via 8 or 12 pin connections to the Arduino, making them incompatible with boards with fewer pins available. In this case, buy a screen with I2C adapter allowing only 4 contacts to be monitored.

arduino lcd display

Available for just a few dollars (or as little as $1.95 on Aliexpress with the included I2C adapter), these simple displays can be used for real-time feedback on any project.

The screens can display many predefined characters that cover most use cases in different languages. Control your LCD with the liquid crystal library provided by Arduino. Methods display() and noDisplay() write data to the LCD as shown in the official manual on the Arduino website.

arduino lcd display

Note. If you are using an I2C LCD adapter, you will need to use the LiquidCrystal_I2C library.

If you prefer video tutorials, Circuit Basics there is a great way to set up and use LCD display 16×2 :

2. Seven segment displays

Are you looking for something simple to display numbers and a few basic characters? Maybe you’re looking for something with an old school arcade feel? Seven segment display can meet your needs.

If you haven’t come across these handy little displays yet, our Buzz Wire game uses one of them to display game status:

These simple boards consist of 7 LEDs (8 if you include a dot) and work just like regular LEDs with a common anode or cathodic connection. This allows them to take one connection to V+ (or GND for common cathode) and be controlled from your Arduino’s pins. By combining these pins in code, you can create numbers and a few letters, as well as more abstract drawings — anything you can think of using the available segments!

For a complete understanding of how these displays work, check out this detailed beginner’s guide from AllAboutCircuits .

As video guide Christian Blosol dedicated an episode of his series Anything Arduino seven segment displays:

3. 5110 Display

Next on our list is display 5110 which is also affectionately referred to as the Nokia display due to its widespread use in the beloved and nearly indestructible Nokia 3310.

Arduino display 5110

These tiny LCD screens are monochrome and have a screen size of 84×48 pixels, but don’t let that fool you. These displays cost less than $2 on Aliexpress, are incredibly cheap, and usually come with a backlight as standard.

Depending on which library you are using, multiple lines of text in different fonts can be displayed on the screen. It’s also capable of displaying images, and there’s free software designed to help bring your creations to the screen. Although the refresh rate is too slow for detailed animation, these screens are durable enough to be included in long-term, always-on projects.

Sparkfun has an extensive guide on how to use these little LCDs, or for a quick introduction to the 5110, check out this video by MKMe Lab :

4. OLED displays

To improve resolution and functionality, OLED display may be what you are looking for. At first glance, these screens are similar to those of the 5110, but are a significant upgrade. Standard 0.96″ screens have monochrome size 128 x 64 and are equipped with backlight as standard.

They connect to your Arduino with I2C which means that along with the conclusions V+ and GND only two additional pins are required to communicate with the screen. With a variety of sizes and color options, these displays are incredibly versatile.

arduino oled display

For a project to help you get started with OLED displays, our D20 electronic build will teach you everything you need to know, and end up with amazing digital dice for gaming sessions!

These displays can be used in the same way as the others we mentioned earlier, but their refresh rate allows for much more ambitious projects. The main monochrome screen is available on Amazon.


Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Displays (TFT LCD) are in many ways another step up in quality when it comes to options for adding a shield to your Arduino. Available with or without touchscreen functionality, they also add the ability to load bitmap files from the built-in Micro SD card slot.

Arduino has an official guide for setting up a TFT LCD without a touchscreen. Youtuber offers you a video tutorial that teaches you the basics of setting up the touch version:

The basic version of these screens cost less than $4, while the touchscreen versions cost less than $10. [Broken Link Removed]and these displays are a great choice when you need a beautiful display for your project.

6. Electronic displays

Looking for something a little different? Display e paper (or electronic ink in depending on who you ask) may be right for you. These screens are different, providing a much more natural reading experience, so it’s no surprise that this technology is the cornerstone of almost every e-reader available.

Arduino Display E-Ink

The reason these displays look so good is because of how they function. Each «pixel» contains charged particles between two electrodes. By switching the charge of each electrode, you can influence the negatively charged black particles to swap the positively charged white particles.

This is what gives e-paper such a natural look. As a bonus, when the ink moves into place, it doesn’t use force to keep it there. This makes these displays naturally low power to work with.

These high-tech displays cost more and 4.3 inch screen Waveshare stands more than 50 dollars. Youtuber once again help you with the following: how to plug and program these displays:

Screen dreams

This article covers most of the options available for Arduino displays, although there are certainly weirder and more wonderful ways to add feedback to your DIY devices.

Now that you have an idea of ​​what’s out there, why not include a screen in your DIY smart home setup. ? If retro games are more your thing, why not make your own tiny Arduino version of the classic Retro Pong. ?

The possibilities are endless and we’d love to hear how you’ve incorporated any of these displays into your projects. Have you come up with an unusual use for the Arduino display? Are you using a screen that we just didn’t think of in your project?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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