Products for USB Sensing and Control Canada flag
Products for USB Sensing and Control

sales inquiries

quotes, distributor information, purchase orders

technical inquiries

support, advice, warranty, returns, misshipment

website inquiries

corrections or suggestions


Unit 1 - 6115 4 St SE
Calgary AB  T2H 2H9


Unit 1 - 6115 4 St SE
Calgary AB  T2H 2H9
+1 403 282-7335

PhidgetTextLCD Adapter

ID: 1204_0B NRND

This product supports our Phidget21 libraries. Use as a drop-in replacement for legacy systems.


Quantity Available: 397

Qty Price
5 $28.50
10 $27.00
25 $24.00
50 $21.00
100 $19.50
250 $18.00
500 $16.50
1000 $15.00

For new systems and projects, we recommend using the following VINT products instead of this one.

Note: The 1204_0B is identical to the 1204_0, except that you have the option of whether you want to include the USB cable.

The PhidgetTextLCD Adapter lets you connect one or two HD44780 LCD modules. The adapter can handle up to 4 lines of 40 characters, depending on the LCD module you are using. You can separately adjust the backlight and the character contrast of each LCD module. It connects directly to your computer via USB.

This adapter supports the following LCD screen sizes:
1x8, 1x16, 1x40
2x8, 2x16, 2x20, 2x24, 2x40
4x16, 4x20, 4x40


  • Connect up to 2 text LCD screens
  • Adjust brightnes and contrast of the screen backlight
  • Mounting hardware included


LCD Screens

This adapter can interface up to two text LCD screens. Each screen comes packaged with the cable required to connect it to the PhidgetTextLCD Adapter. Note that the 4x40 screen requires both ports on the TextLCD, so you can only interface one screen of this size.

Product LCD Screen
Part Number Price Number of Rows Characters per Row Character Width
LCD Screen 2x20 (12.7mm Characters)
$25.00 2 20 5.9 mm
LCD Screen 2x20 (5.5mm Characters)
$18.00 2 20 3.2 mm
LCD Screen 2x40 (5.5mm Characters)
$25.00 2 40 3.2 mm
LCD Screen 4x20 (4.75mm Characters)
$20.00 4 20 3 mm
LCD Screen 4x40 (4.89mm Characters)
$35.00 4 40 2.8 mm

Replacement LCD Cables:

Each LCD screen we sell comes with the appropriate cable, but if you need a replacement or need to wire up a custom screen, you can find the extra cables in the table below:

Product Physical Properties
Part Number Price Connector A Connector B Cable Length Cable Gauge
LCD cable (1x16 connector)
$3.50 Amphenol Mini PV 65863 Molex 50-57-9416 300 mm 26 AWG
LCD cable (2x8 connector)
$3.50 Amphenol Mini PV 65863 Amphenol Mini PV 65863 300 mm 26 AWG
LCD cable (for 40x4 Screen)
$3.50 Amphenol Mini PV 65863 (x2) Amphenol Mini PV 65863 300 mm 26 AWG


You can protect your board from dust and debris by purchasing an enclosure. An enclosure will also prevent unintentional shorts caused by objects touching the pins on the bottom of the board or any terminal screws.

Product Physical Properties
Part Number Price Material
Acrylic Enclosure for the 1204
$8.00 Clear Acrylic

USB Cables

Use a USB cable to connect this Phidget to your computer. We have a number of different lengths available, although the maximum length of a USB cable is 5 meters due to limitations in the timing protocol. For longer distances, we recommend that you use a Single Board Computer to control the Phidget remotely.

Product Physical Properties
Part Number Price Connector A Connector B Cable Length
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 28cm 24AWG
$3.00 USB Type A USB Mini-B 280 mm
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 28cm Right Angle
$3.50 USB Type A USB Mini-B (90 degree) 280 mm
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 60cm 24AWG
$3.50 USB Type A USB Mini-B 600 mm
USB-C to Mini-B Cable 60cm 28AWG
$5.00 USB Type C USB Mini-B 600 mm
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 83cm Right Angle
$4.50 USB Type A USB Mini-B (90 degree) 830 mm
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 120cm 24AWG
$4.00 USB Type A USB Mini-B 1.2 m
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 180cm 24AWG
$4.00 USB Type A USB Mini-B 1.8 m
USB-C to Mini-B Cable 180cm 28AWG
$6.00 USB Type C USB Mini-B 1.8 m
USB-A to Mini-B Cable 450cm 20AWG
$12.00 USB Type A USB Mini-B 4.5 m

Getting Started

Welcome to the 1204 user guide! In order to get started, make sure you have the following hardware on hand:

Next, you will need to connect the pieces:

1204 0 Connecting the Hardware.jpg
  1. Connect the LCD screen to the adapter using the LCD cable.
  2. Connect the TextLCD adapter to the computer using a USB cable.

Now that you have everything together, let's start using the 1204!

Using the 1204

Phidget Control Panel

In order to demonstrate the functionality of the 1204, the Phidget Control Panel running on a Windows machine will be used.

The Phidget Control Panel is available for use on both macOS and Windows machines.


To open the Phidget Control Panel on Windows, find the Ph.jpg icon in the taskbar. If it is not there, open up the start menu and search for Phidget Control Panel

Windows PhidgetTaskbar.PNG


To open the Phidget Control Panel on macOS, open Finder and navigate to the Phidget Control Panel in the Applications list. Double click on the Ph.jpg icon to bring up the Phidget Control Panel.

For more information, take a look at the getting started guide for your operating system:

Linux users can follow the getting started with Linux guide and continue reading here for more information about the 1204.

First Look

After plugging the 1204 into your computer and opening the Phidget Control Panel, you will see something like this:

1204 Panel.jpg

The Phidget Control Panel will list all connected Phidgets and associated objects, as well as the following information:

  • Serial number: allows you to differentiate between similar Phidgets.
  • Channel: allows you to differentiate between similar objects on a Phidget.
  • Version number: corresponds to the firmware version your Phidget is running. If your Phidget is listed in red, your firmware is out of date. Update the firmware by double-clicking the entry.

The Phidget Control Panel can also be used to test your device. Double-clicking on an object will open an example.

Text LCD

Double-click on the LCD object, labelled Text LCD, in order to run the example:

1204 TextLCD Example.jpg

General information about the selected object will be displayed at the top of the window. You can also experiment with the following functionality:

  • Select a screen size that suits your LCD screen with the Screen Size drop-down menu.
  • Write in the Display text text boxes, your input will be mirrored on the LCD screen.
  • Drag the Contrast and Brightness sliders to a level where you can clearly see the text on the screen.
  • Toggle the Cursor and Cursor Blink checkbox to view the current cursor position on the LCD screen.
  • Toggle Custom Characters to show an example of the 1204 using bitmaps.
  • Use the Clear button to clear the screen.

Using Your Own Program

You are now ready to start writing your own code for the device. The best way to do that is to start from our Code Samples.

Select your programming language of choice from the drop-down list to get an example for your device. You can use the options provided to further customize the example to best suit your needs.

Code Sample Choose Language.png

Once you have your example, you will need to follow the instructions on the page for your programming language to get it running. To find these instructions, select your programming language from the Programming Languages page.

Technical Details


Liquid Crystal Displays are display devices used to convey information through arrangements of pixels. Graphic and Text LCDs are the most common types available for electronic products. The 1204 supports the following screen sizes (lines x characters): 1x8, 2x8, 1x16, 2x16, 4x16, 2x20, 4x20, 2x24, 1x40, 2x40, 4x40. Please note that your program has no way of automatically detecting the size of the attached screen, so you need to set the screen size with call from Phidget22 API in order to have text strings display properly.


Below is a pinout diagram for the connector on the 1204, with descriptions of each pin. Remember to use the end of the cable with the larger connector with the 1204 if you want the wire colors to be consistent with the diagram.

Pin Description
A LED Anode (+)
K LED Cathode (-)
VSS Board Ground
VDD Supply Voltage (5V)
VO LCD Operating Voltage
RS Register Selector
R/W Read/Write Signal
DB0-DB7 Data Bus Lines

Text LCDs

Lcd display.png

Text LCDs display full text strings set in software. Since text characters are defined from the ASCII standard library, other ASCII standard set characters and glyphs can also be sent to the text LCD. This can be done easily by using unicode characters within your text string. In C#, this may look something like this:

tLCD.WriteText(LCDFont.Dimensions_5x8, 0, 0, "Apple starts with \u0041");

The four parameters of the WriteText method are as follows:

  • The font type, which will always be the one above for the 1204 because it's the only font it supports
  • The horizontal position of the text within the line
  • The vertical position of the text (which line)
  • The text to be printed

In this example, the string \u indicates that a unicode character follows, and the unicode character 0041 represents the capital letter A (you can also reference it with '\x41', which is the same character in hexadecimal). After the LCD converts the unicode character, the above example would cause the LCD screen to read Apple starts with A. A chart of all ASCII standard set character codes is available here.

Custom Characters

Custom characters can also be generated for the 1204. A custom character can be any arrangement of pixels within the space allotted for a single character. Single characters are made up of pixels arranged in a grid 5 pixels wide by 8 pixels high. Once generated, custom characters can be stored in any one of eight volatile memory locations on the PhidgetTextLCD, and can be recalled with a simple API command from software. Custom characters are designed by creating a byte array of ones and zeroes, like this:

	Byte[] heart = new Byte[] {
		0,0,0,0,0 };

The above bitmap creates a character that looks like a heart. In order to use this bitmap on your screen, you have to assign it to a memory location and use it in a WriteText call.

	tLcd.SetCharacterBitmap(LCDFont.Dimensions_5x8, "\x1", heart);
	tLcd.WriteText(LCDFont.Dimensions_5x8, 0, 0, "Heart: \x1");

The above code causes the string Heart: ♥ to display on the screen. You can store up to eight characters at the same time; one character in each of the locations \x1 to \x8. If you set a character to location \x9, it will be the same as setting \x1. Likewise, \xA will set \x2, and so on for \xB, \xC, etc.

What to do Next

  • Programming Languages - Find your preferred programming language here and learn how to write your own code with Phidgets!
  • Phidget Programming Basics - Once you have set up Phidgets to work with your programming environment, we recommend you read our page on to learn the fundamentals of programming with Phidgets.

Product Specifications

Electrical Properties
Current Consumption Max 500 mA
Current Consumption Min 34 mA
Current Consumption Max (1x8 or 2x8 screen) 200 mA
Current Consumption Max (2x20 or 2x24 screen) 76.5 mA
Current Consumption Max (4x40 screen) 181 mA
Current Consumption Max (Backlight) 400 mA
Available External Voltage 5 V DC
USB Speed Full Speed
Board Properties
Controlled By USB (Mini-USB)
Physical Properties
Operating Temperature Min 0 °C
Operating Temperature Max 70 °C
Customs Information
Canadian HS Export Code 8471.80.00
American HTS Import Code 8471.80.40.00
Country of Origin CN (China)


Product History

Date Board Revision Device Version Packaging Revision Comment
August 2011 0 100 Product Release, requires phidget21 2.1.8+
August 2011 0 101 getLabelString fixed for labels longer than 7 characters
January 20180 101 BRemoved USB cable from packaging

Software Objects

Channel NameAPIChannel
Text LCD LCD 0 - 1


Back Forward
Print this API

Code Samples

Example Options


				Make your selections to display sample code.

Code Samples


LCD Visual Studio GUI C# Windows Download
LCD JavaScript Browser Download
LCD Text LCD Example Objective-C macOS Download
LCD Text LCD Example Swift macOS Download
LCD Text LCD Example Swift iOS Download
LCD Visual Basic .NET Windows Download
LCD Max/MSP Multiple Download

Here are the options for LCD display besides using the 1204:

Product Board Properties
Part Number Price Controlled By
Graphic LCD Phidget
$30.00 VINT
PhidgetTextLCD 20X2 : White : Integrated PhidgetInterfaceKit 8/8/8
$70.00 USB (Mini-USB)
PhidgetTextLCD Adapter
$30.00 USB (Mini-USB)