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LCD 1602 and Pi – Part 1: 1602 LCD displaying Interface IP addresses for a headless Raspberry Pi

So I’ve been working on some projects for work and I dug into my collection of parts and pulled out my OG raspberry pi’s (RPi). I am using them as endpoints for a proof of concept project for OT visibility. But since they are all headless, (meaning there are no monitors or keyboards for input and output), the RPi’s just looks boring and also, I have to dig through the DHCP server log to see what IP address the RPi grabbed.

So I thought to myself, there got to be a better way. Since there are a bunch of these GPIO (General Purpose Input /Output) pins on the RPi’s, and there are some display connectors, I have a few options.

  1. get a touch screen for the Raspberry Pi and go from there.
  2. Maybe a simple LED?
  3. Maybe some LCD displays?

Option 1 is too much of an overkill. Option 2 just doesn’t show enough information. Option 3 seems like it could work. So I started to research on using LCDs.

Here is what I’ve found and Yes it is super easy. So I found these 16×02 LCD displays. So there are two ways to output to these displays, you can use multiple GPIO pins and connect them to the 16×02 displays or you can use a I2C chip and connect to the LCD display using only 4 pins. This includes 5v Vcc, GND, SDA (Serial Data), SCL (Serial Clock). So what is I2C?

I2C stands for Inter-IC, it is a serial communication protocol. It is very handy. So instead of doing a bunch of soldering and breadboarding, I was able to connect it up and get everything running in 5 minutes. Don’t believe me take a look below.

So yes… under 5 minutes is just the physical wiring but actually configuring the SD card take a little bit more time. Which I can go into a bit more in my next post.

Materials used:
1602 Serial Blue LCD Module Board with i2c – https://amzn.to/2GOdvz6
Breadboard Jumper Wire – https://amzn.to/2YP4Q9C
Board standoff assortment kit – https://amzn.to/2GMlqNa
Raspberry Pi (model 3 b – not the same as in the video) – https://amzn.to/2YLP1wo
Small wifi adapter for pi – https://amzn.to/2Kf9BkW

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Part 2: is here
http://www.mintrix.net/blog/2019/08/21/lcd-1602-and-pi-part-2-configuring-and-orange-pi-for-1602-lcd-with-i2c/

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