The Liquid Crystal Shortcut

So I’ve been reading up on electronics a bit, and trying to get my head around amps and volts and Ohm’s law (and not doing a great job with that). There’s a part of me that is slapping a ruler in his hand, saying “Stick to the fundamentals! Learn the necessary boring stuff first, then do the cool things!”

Case in point: I had a guitar teacher when I was in high school. He encouraged me to learn scales and chords, saying that once I had those mastered I could play any song I wanted. But at the end of each lesson, he also offered to try to transcribe bits of songs for me. That was my favorite part.

I had him transcribe songs like White Lion’s When the Children Cry and Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns ‘n Roses. I never did learn those scales and chords, but by god to this day I can still pretend I’m Vito Bratta.

So I’ve tried to stick with the books, first. But last night I decided to skip ahead and dove into a Liquid Crystal tutorial. And reader, it was delightful.

I found a few videos, and this one from Circuit Basics helped me visually see how things needed to be wired up.

For the most part, I was a monkey just following instructions. My setup involved wiring up the proper pins to power and ground, with just a rudimentary understanding of how everything worked together.

The Arduino IDE is actually one aspect of the project I feel pretty comfortable with. On the coding side of things, I don’t anticipate too many issues – but for now I’m just loading up existing sketches and watching how they run.

In the photo above, I was delighted just to see the screen light up. With a little tweaking of the potentiometer, I was able to get the display looking brighter/better. And also got some actual “hello world” text to display.

I’ve purchased some colored jumper wires (I’d like to color coordinate things better), and may re-do this soon. I don’t think it will be too hard a leap to add on a GPS module, getting me one step closer to my dream of making a Reverse Geocache Puzzle.

I’m still going to try to keep reading, and get myself versed in the basics. But for now, I’m really enjoying the short cuts.


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