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16x2 LCD interfacing with Spartan3 FPGA XC3S200 Development Kit


The expansion of LCD is Liquid Crystal Display which is used to display the character. The character is represented as the ASCII value (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). To display the character only the ASCII values are sent to LCD. The ASCII is 8bit. Here we have used 16x2 LCD with 5x8 pixel matrix (per character). The definition of 16x2 is the LCD contains 2 rows and 16 characters can be displayed per line. The single character displayed in 5x8 pixel matrix.


Fig 1: LCD Display

Pin Details

Pin no Name Function Description
1 Vss Power supply Ground
2 Vdd Power supply +5v
3 Vo Contrast adjust 0-5v
4 RS Command Register select
5 RW Command Read /Write
6 E Command Enable
7 D0 Input/Output Data(LSB)
8 D1 Input/Output Data
9 D2 Input/Output Data
10 D3 Input/Output Data
11 D4 Input/Output Data
12 D5 Input/Output Data
13 D6 Input/Output Data
14 D7 Input/Output Data(MSB)
15 A LED BKL +5v
16 K LED BKL Ground

Pin Description

Power supply

The first two pins of LCD must be connected to +5v and 0v.


The Vo pin is a contrast pin which is used to control the contrast of LCD. That is done by variable resistor. In FPGA kit the 10K variable resistor is used to control the contrast. The simple connection is given below Fig 2. There are three pins the two pins are connected to power supply and middle one is connected to Vo.

Note:The contrast range must be (0- 5v) for proper condition.


Fig 2: Circuit connection for contrast pin

RS (Register Select)

RS is a command pin for LCD. The LCD command and RW operations are determined by RS pin. The LCD contains two register which is the data and command register. When command writes on the LCD, the data register is used. When the data either read or write on the LCD, the command register is used. The selections of register are determined by the logic status of RS. If the logic state of RS is ‘1’, the data register is selected. If the logic state of RS is ‘0’, the command register is selected.


When the data send to data pins of LCD, the high to low pulse will be given.

Data pins (D0-D1)

The D0-D1 is data I/O pins. The LCD is accepted the 8 bit data as a parallel form. The format of data stream is first bit must be LSB bit continue it the other bits are sent. Note: The LCD support only ASCII value of whatever the data is.

LED backlight

The pin no’s 15 & 16 are allocated for LCD backlight. The supply of LED backlight is +5v & 0v. It makes brightness of LCD display. The LED backlight pins denoted as (Anode (A), Cathode (K)) on LCD.

Interfacing with Spartan3 FPGA Development Kit


Fig 3: Interfacing Spartan3 FPGA Development Kit with LCD

LCD Placement on Spartan3 FPGA Development Kit


LCD consist of 8- Data lines D0-D7, RS- Register Select line, RW-Read Write line, En- Enable line.
br> First we need to send commands to initialize the display, Curser Position, Clear Display, increment curser etc. All this command are send to instruction Register. Instruction Register can be enabled by RS = ‘0’, RW = ‘1’, En= ‘1’.

ASCI Values for Commands used in the code

38 = Function Set: 8-bit, 2 Line, 5x7 Dots
0c = Display on Cursor off
06 = Entry Mode
01= Clear Display
C0 = Place Curser to 2nd line

After sending commands, Data can be transferred to Display in the LCD. For sending Data enable Data Register by sending RS= ’1’, RW= ‘1’, En= ’1’. Data can be transferred in 2 ways 8-bit mode and 4-bit mode. Here we are interfacing in 8-bit mode with the entire Data pin D0-D7.

ASCI Values for Data’s used in the code

50 - P 41- A 4e- N 54- T 45- E 43- C 48- H
20- Space
53- S 4f- O 4c- L 55- U 54- T 49- I 4f- O 4e- N 53- S

VHDL Code consists for 2 counters i and j. i counter used to divide the clock and j counter used to get the array elements.

VHDL Code for 2x16 LCD Display

library IEEE;

entity lcd is
port ( clk 	: in std_logic;    				--clock i/p
       lcd_rw	: out std_logic;   				--read & write control
	lcd_e 	: out std_logic;   				--enable control
	lcd_rs	: out std_logic;   				--data or command control
	data  	: out std_logic_vector(7 downto 0));   	--data line
end lcd;

architecture Behavioral of lcd is
constant N: integer :=22; 
type arr is array (1 to N) of std_logic_vector(7 downto 0); 
constant datas : arr :=    (X"38",X"0c",X"06",X"01",X"C0",X"50",x"41",x"4e",x"54",x"45",x"43",x"48",x"20",x"53",x"4f",x"4c",x"55",x"54",x"49",x"4f",x"4e",X"53"); --command and data to display                                              

lcd_rw <= '0';  --lcd write
variable i : integer := 0;
variable j : integer := 1;

if clk'event and clk = '1' then
if i <= 1000000 then
i := i + 1;
lcd_e <= '1';
data <= datas(j)(7 downto 0);
elsif i > 1000000 and i < 2000000 then
i := i + 1;
lcd_e <= '0';
elsif i = 2000000 then
j := j + 1;
i := 0;
end if;
if j <= 5  then
lcd_rs <= '0';    --command signal
elsif j > 5   then
lcd_rs <= '1';   --data signal
end if;
if j = 22 then  --repeated display of data
j := 5;
end if;
end if;

end process;
end Behavioral;
User Constraint File
NET "clk"  LOC = "p55"  ;
NET "data(0)"  LOC = "p108"  ;
NET "data(1)"  LOC = "p112"  ;
NET "data(2)"  LOC = "p113"  ;
NET "data(3)"  LOC = "p116"  ;
NET "data(4)"  LOC = "p118"  ;
NET "data(5)"  LOC = "p119"  ;
NET "data(6)"  LOC = "p122"  ;
NET "data(7)"  LOC = "p123"  ;
NET "lcd_e"  LOC = "p107"  ;
NET "lcd_rs"  LOC = "p104"  ;
NET "lcd_rw"  LOC = "p105"  ;


Fig 4: Output of LCD Display