Are you facing problem using the 16x1 / 16x2 LCD while displaying characters. Then read this article first before you start debugging. I have noted down some common problems faced while using these displays and their probable cause,


  • Display showing black boxes: This problem tends to occur if you have chosen a very low value of the display contrast control resistor. The contrast control resistor is connected from pin#3(VEE) to pin#1(VSS/GND). This resistor value should be 4.7K ohms. Also, display may show black boxes even when you are writing the data very fast onto the display. So make sure you provide sufficient time delay after you send each character. 
  • Display showing wrong characters: The display shows wrong characters even when you are sending the right ASCII values. This problem is because the display is not receiving the proper data since there is a problem in the connection of data lines. There might be a short circuit  between adjacent data lines or it might also occur if some of the data lines are not properly connected. So make sure you examine for short circuits between adjacent tracks going to LCD display.
  • Display showing totally blank lines: This problem also occurs if you have set the contrast control resistor value too high. So make sure you have selected the value to be around 4.7K ohms. If your display contrast is ok, then you can see very light black boxes in character positions instead of totally blank lines. 
  • Contrast OK, Delay OK but still no display: If you are not getting proper character display even after setting the right contrast values and providing the right delay in code, then there might be a chance that your controller's logic voltage levels are not compatible with the display's. The LCD display works at 5V logic levels so if you are powering your controller with a 3.3V or a power supply lower than 5V, then make sure you add strong 4.7K Ohms pull ups to all the 11 LCD lines (8 - data, 3 - control). Connect the pull ups from LCD lines to +5V power supply (LCD supply).

 Apart from then above things i would also suggest you to make sure,

#1. You are sending the proper commands.

#2. Providing proper delay between data and command writes

#3. You are holding the enable pin HIGH long enough for the display to latch the data in.

#4. You wait for the LCD to initialise itself on power up and then start sending commands. DB7 pin indicates LCD busy.

Also see :


About the Author

is the author of this blog and is an Embedded systems design engineer by profession & Founder @ Valetron Systems Pvt Ltd

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find us on Google+



EasyEDA: Free Circuit Design Software

  • Easy Schematic Capture
  • Powerful Circuit Simulation
  • Online PCB design

Design Your Circuit and PCB here:

PCB Prototype Manufacturer - JLCPCB

Electronic Components Online Store