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Application Note
Crystal Clear and Visibly Superior LCD Modules
Temperature Compensation for LCD displays
The optimal contrast setting for LCD displays varies with ambient temperature. For most
applications this variation in contrast is tolerable over the “normal” temperature range of 0°C to
+50°C. Most Hantronix LCD modules are available with an extended temperature range option
which allows the display to operate from -20°C to +70°C. The changes in contrast are NOT
usually tolerable over this wide a range of temperatures, which means a way of adjusting the
contrast voltage as the ambient temperature changes must be provided.
As the temperature decreases the LCD fluid requires a higher operating voltage in order to
maintain a given optical contrast. See figure #1. One way to provide for this is to give the user
control of the contrast. This is a simple solution but quite often its not desirable or practical.
Figure #1. Temperature compensated voltage provided by the circuit in Figure #2
(solid line). The dashed line describes the way in which the LCD operating voltage
varies with temperature.
The chart can be used to predict the voltage at VL needed to produce good
contrast on the display by adding the “relative voltage” to the contrast voltage of
the display at 25°C. If, for instance, a display looks good with -3v on VL at room
temperature (25°C) this display will need -2.7v at 50°C.
- Page 1 -
Crystal Clear and Visibly Superior LCD Modules
The controlling microprocessor could measure the ambient temperature and supply the
proper voltage to the LCD, but this is complicated and expensive.
The most common solution to the temperature compensation problem is to provide a circuit
such as that in Figure #2 to adjust the contrast voltage automatically.
15K @ 25°C
B = 4200(k) T
Figure #2. Schematic diagram, simple compensation circuit.
This circuit uses a negative temperature coefficient thermistor to sense the ambient
temperature. It should be placed as physically close to the LCD module as possible. The
PNP transistor is connected as an emitter follower to provide the drive current to the LCD’s
contrast voltage (VL) input.
The voltage VEE will vary depending on the requirements of the LCD. NOTE: VL and VEE are
measured in relation to the VDD supplied to the LCD. An extended temperature range
character display will require about -7.8v at its VL input at 25°C or about -2.8v relative to
ground. The VEE voltage will need to be about 25% higher than the actual voltage required at
the VL input of the LCD. During development the VEE should be a variable voltage that can be
used to adjust the contrast to an optimal level. The VEE can be made fixed or adjustable for
the production units.
This circuit will work for all character modules and graphic modules up to 320 x 240.
Modules larger than this are not available with the extended temperature option.
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