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  • PicŪ Basic

  • Inexpensive alphanumeric LCD Arduino boards usage in Proton and the Amicus18 board

    The Alphanumeric LCDs available from Ebay are incredibly inexpensive and are usually less money than buying the LCD module itself. They are designed for an Arduino board, which has the same pinout dimensions as our Amicus18 board. However, the pinouts on an Arduino board are reversed. Plugging one of these boards into an Amicus18 board makes designing the final circuit simplicity itself, and may well be less expensive than getting a custom PCB designed and built.

    The code presented here allows these shields (the Arduino name for an add on board) to be used with the Proton compiler, which is free to use when programming the chip used on the Amicus18 board. i.e. the PIC18F25K20. It replaces the compiler's Print command code with code that works flawlessly with these LCD boards.

    The LCD shields come in various colours but seem to follow exactly the same pinouts and operation except that the Buttons that are connected to the microcontroller's ADC have different resistance so give a different value when pressed.

    A standard LCD shield is shown below:

    The demo program is listed below:
    ' Demonstrate the replacement Print command with reversed bits
    ' For use with some Arduino alphanumeric LCD shields on the Amicus18 board, or a user's own design
    ' These use a 4-bit interface to the LCD
    ' The buttons on the LCD shield are attached to AN0 and give a different ADC value for each button press
        Include "Amicus18.inc"                  ' Use an 18F25K20 operating at 64MHz. i.e. An Amicus18 board
        Include "Amicus18_ADC.inc"              ' Load the Amicus18 ADC macros into the program
    ' Setup the LCD for the pins used on the LCD shield
        Declare LCD_DTPin = PORTC.0             ' The shield uses RC4, RC5, RC6, RC7 for the data pins
        Declare LCD_RSPin = PORTB.7             ' The shield uses RB7 for the RS pin
        Declare LCD_ENPin = PORTB.6             ' The shield uses RB6 for the EN pin
        Declare LCD_Interface = 4               ' The shield uses a 4-bit LCD interface
        Declare LCD_Lines = 2                   ' 2 lines by 16 characters
        Declare LCD_Type = Alphanumeric         ' It is an alphanumeric LCD
        Declare LCD_CommandUs = 2000            ' 2000us time for commands to be sent to the LCD
        Declare LCD_DataUs = 50                 ' 50us time for data to be sent to the LCD
        Include "Hitachi_4.inc"                 ' Load the replacement "reversed" Print command for a 4-bit interface
    ' Create variables
        Dim LCD_wButton As Word                 ' Holds a value for a button pressed
    $define _GHI_LCD                            ' We're using an Arduino GHI LCD shield for this demo
    $ifdef _DF_Robot_LCD                        ' Are we using the DF Robot LCD Shield?
    ' Yes. So set ADC button values for the DF Robot LCD Shield
        Symbol cButton_Left = 792
        Symbol cButton_Right = 0
        Symbol cButton_Up = 235
        Symbol cButton_Down = 521
        Symbol cButton_None = 1023
    $ifdef _GHI_LCD                             ' Are we using the GHI LCD Shield?
    ' Yes. So set ADC button values for the GHI Electronics LCD Shield
        Symbol cButton_Left = 481
        Symbol cButton_Right = 0
        Symbol cButton_Up = 132
        Symbol cButton_Down = 308
        Symbol cButton_Select = 721
        Symbol cButton_None = 1023
        GoTo Main                                           ' Jump over the subroutines
    ' Get a Button press from the LCD shield's buttons
    ' Input     : None
    ' Output    : LCD_wButton holds the Button press value
    ' Notes     : Because the ADC value may vary, detect the Buttons with some flexability
    $define Get_Button(pResult) '
        GoSub _Get_ButtonPress       '
        pResult = LCD_wButton
        LCD_wButton = ADIn 0                                ' Read the ADC for a Button pressed value
        Select LCD_wButton                                  ' Check the value from the ADC
            Case cButton_Left - 5 To cButton_Left + 5       ' Is it the Left button?
                LCD_wButton = cButton_Left                  ' Yes. So make the Button pressed value fixed
            Case cButton_Right To cButton_Right + 5         ' Is it the Right button?
                LCD_wButton = cButton_Right                 ' Yes. So make the Button pressed value fixed
            Case cButton_Up - 5 To cButton_Up + 5           ' Is it the Up button?
                LCD_wButton = cButton_Up                    ' Yes. So make the Button pressed value fixed
            Case cButton_Down - 5 To cButton_Down + 5       ' Is it the Down button?
                LCD_wButton = cButton_Down                  ' Yes. So make the Button pressed value fixed
            Case cButton_Select - 5 To cButton_Select + 5   ' Is it the Select button?
                LCD_wButton = cButton_Select                ' Make the Button pressed value fixed
            Case Else                                       ' Otherwise no Button is pressed. So...
                LCD_wButton = cButton_None                  ' Make the Button pressed value fixed
    ' Setup the program
    ' Input     : None
    ' Output    : None
    ' Notes     : None
    $define Program_Setup() GoSub _Program_Setup
    ' Open the Analogue to Digital Converter for an input on AN0, where the buttons are connected
        Program_Setup()                                     ' Setup the program
        Print At 1,1, "Press a Button"
        While                                               ' Create a loop
            Get_Button(LCD_wButton)                         ' Get a button press
            Select LCD_wButton                              ' Test the button press value
                Case cButton_Left                           ' Is it the Left button?
                    Print At 2,1,"Left Pressed  "           ' Yes. So print it
                Case cButton_Right                          ' Is it the Right button?
                    Print At 2,1,"Right Pressed "           ' Yes. So print it
                Case cButton_Up                             ' Is it the Up button?
                    Print At 2,1,"Up Pressed    "           ' Yes. So print it
                Case cButton_Down                           ' Is it the Down button?
                    Print At 2,1,"Down Pressed  "           ' Yes. So print it
                Case cButton_Select                         ' Is it the Select button?
                    Print At 2,1,"Select Pressed"           ' Yes. So print it
                Case Else                                   ' Otherwise no Button is pressed. So...
                    Print At 2,1,"              "           ' Empty the line on the LCD
        Wend                                                ' Do it forever
    The code is available from here:
    Alphanumeric LCD Shield Usage

    Note that the code is for 18F devices only.
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