circular lcd display made in china

We have used Liquid Crystal Displays in the DroneBot Workshop many times before, but the one we are working with today has a bit of a twist – it’s a circle!  Perfect for creating electronic gauges and special effects.

LCD, or Liquid Crystal Displays, are great choices for many applications. They aren’t that power-hungry, they are available in monochrome or full-color models, and they are available in all shapes and sizes.

Today we will see how to use this display with both an Arduino and an ESP32. We will also use a pair of them to make some rather spooky animated eyeballs!

Waveshare actually has several round LCD modules, I chose the 1.28-inch model as it was readily available on Amazon. You could probably perform the same experiments using a different module, although you may require a different driver.

There are also some additional connections to the display. One of them, DC, sets the display into either Data or Command mode. Another, BL, is a control for the display’s backlight.

The above illustration shows the connections to the display.  The Waveshare display can be used with either 3.3 or 5-volt logic, the power supply voltage should match the logic level (although you CAN use a 5-volt supply with 3.3-volt logic).

Another difference is simply with the labeling on the display. There are two pins, one labeled SDA and the other labeled SCL. At a glance, you would assume that this is an I2C device, but it isn’t, it’s SPI just like the Waveshare device.

This display can be used for the experiments we will be doing with the ESP32, as that is a 3.3-volt logic microcontroller. You would need to use a voltage level converter if you wanted to use one of these with an Arduino Uno.

The Waveshare device comes with a cable for use with the display. Unfortunately, it only has female ends, which would be excellent for a Raspberry Pi (which is also supported) but not too handy for an Arduino Uno. I used short breadboard jumper wires to convert the ends into male ones suitable for the Arduino.

Once you have everything hooked up, you can start coding for the display. There are a few ways to do this, one of them is to grab the sample code thatWaveshare provides on their Wiki.

The Waveshare Wiki does provide some information about the display and a bit of sample code for a few common controllers. It’s a reasonable support page, unfortunately, it is the only support that Waveshare provides(I would have liked to see more examples and a tutorial, but I guess I’m spoiled by Adafruit and Sparkfun LOL).

Open the Arduino folder. Inside you’ll find quite a few folders, one for each display size that Waveshare supports. As I’m using the 1.28-inch model, I selected theLCD_1inch28folder.

Once you do that, you can open your Arduino IDE and then navigate to that folder. Inside the folder, there is a sketch file namedLCD_1inch28.inowhich you will want to open.

You can see from the code that after loading some libraries we initialize the display, set its backlight level (you can use PWM on the BL pin to set the level), and paint a new image. We then proceed to draw lines and strings onto the display.

Unfortunately, Waveshare doesn’t offer documentation for this, but you can gather quite a bit of information by reading theLCD_Driver.cppfile, where the functions are somewhat documented.

After uploading the code, you will see the display show a fake “clock”. It’s a static display, but it does illustrate how you can use this with the Waveshare code.

This library is an extension of the Adafruit GFX library, which itself is one of the most popular display libraries around. Because of this, there isextensive documentation for this libraryavailable from Adafruit.  This makes the library an excellent choice for those who want to write their own applications.

As with the Waveshare sample, this file just prints shapes and text to the display. It is quite an easy sketch to understand, especially with the Adafruit documentation.

The sketch finishes by printing some bizarre text on the display. The text is an excerpt from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and it’s a sample of Vogon poetry, which is considered to be the third-worst in the Galaxy!

Here is the hookup for the ESP32 and the GC9A01 display.  As with most ESP32 hookup diagrams, it is important to use the correct GPIO numbers instead of physical pins. The diagram shows the WROVER, so if you are using a different module you’ll need to consult its documentation to ensure that you hook it up properly.

The TFT_eSPI library is ideal for this, and several other, displays. You can install it through your Arduino IDE Library Manager, just search for “TFT_eSPI”.

There is a lot of demo code included with the library. Some of it is intended for other display sizes, but there are a few that you can use with your circular display.

To test out the display, you can use theColour_Test sketch, found inside the Test and Diagnostic menu item inside the library samples.  While this sketch was not made for this display, it is a good way to confirm that you have everything hooked up and configured properly.

A great demo code sample is theAnimated_dialsketch, which is found inside theSpritesmenu item.  This demonstration code will produce a “dial” indicator on the display, along with some simulated “data” (really just a random number generator).

One of my favorite sketches is the Animated Eyes sketch, which displays a pair of very convincing eyeballs that move. Although it will work on a single display, it is more effective if you use two.

The first thing we need to do is to hook up a second display. To do this, you connect every wire in parallel with the first display, except for the CS (chip select) line.

The Animated Eyes sketch can be found within the sample files for the TFT_eSPI library, under the “generic” folder.  Assuming that you have wired up the second GC9A01 display, you’ll want to use theAnimated_Eyes_2sketch.

The GC9A01 LCD module is a 1.28-inch round display that is useful for instrumentation and other similar projects. Today we will learn how to use this display with an Arduino Uno and an ESP32.

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TFT display module is a Thin Film Transistor, and AMOLED is Active-matrix organic light-emitting Display. The TFT display module is backlight-on the liquid crystal panel; AMOLED is a panel that emits light on its own; TFT display module structure is more thick and strong, AMOLED is very thin and also weak, TFT display module is used widely than AMOLED, AMOLED is used in consumer products the most, like a smartwatch, mobile phone, and TV.

IPS is In-Plane Switching, It is also known as free viewing angle, which means the viewing angle of the display on 4 sides is the same, a normal display has its best viewing angle like 6 o’clock or 12 o’clock. While the TFT display module contains normal viewing angles and IPS display,IPS display is a kind of TFT display module.

TFT display module belongs to LCD, LCD is Liquid Crystal Display, it contains mono(single color) LCD and color LCD, single color LCD is barely used now, and color LCD has STN and TFT two types. Therefore, TFT display module is a kind of LCD display.

OLED is Organic Light Emitting Display, it is a display that emits light on its own, and it does not need an extra backlight, so it requests lower power consumption than TFT display module but its lifetime is shorter than TFT(5000 hours), AMOLED is a kind of OLED but it is more colorful. TFT display module requests a backlight to light on and power consumption are higher than OLED, but its lifetime is much longer(20000 hours).

The LED display is working by lighting up the LED lights, the TFT display module is lighted up by the backlight and the liquid crystal starts to work and shows contents. TFT display module has brighter and more true color, and lower price and LED display has lower power consumption, smaller heat, and longer lifetime.

Compares to other types of display, TFT display module is the more widely used, it can be made in different shapes and sizes, from very small sizes to big sizes. The resolution now is higher and higher, and the price of custom TFT display modules is more and more competitive. Its lifetime is longer than the OLED display, and its color is brighter than OLED.

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