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Alternative to the Sainsmart LCD shield for Pro Timer Free

#1 npeters
I thought that I would share the details of the display shield that I used for my version. I live in Australia, and the only Sainsmart shield I could find was from overseas and would have taken too long to be delivered. Living at the bottom of the world often means 30 days+ delivery times….

Instead of the Sainsmart unit, I found a board described as follows on *Bay from an Australian seller: “LCD Keypad Shield Blue Backlight LCD1602 Module Display For Arduino ATMEGA328”. I checked the description and although not 100% physically identical to the Sainsmart it looked close enough, so I bought one to try out. It cost AUD$10 delivered, and it arrived within 3 days (better than waiting 30 days+ from China). There is a photo attached of the 1602 ATMEGA328 shield I used if you want to source your own Sainsmart alternative.

It works perfectly! You only need to download the Arduino LCD4Bit_mod.h library, and then tell the compiler to include the Arduino LCD4Bit_mod.h library before you compile the code to make it work.

Here’s a photo of mine – I priced getting the Logodeckel box made by a local 3D printing service, but they wanted AUD$330 (about $200 Euros!) for it, so I just used a cheap plastic jiffy case from a local electronics store instead. I cut a hole for the display to fit very snugly and it looks great - I have included a picture of the (unfinished) timer with the LCD working..

Because my case is quite thin, it would not fit 4 AA batteries either in a row or stacked in twos, so I used the smaller AAA Eneloop batteries so it will fit into the case. This may leave me short on power for all night shoots (still untried though) and so I am also planning to keep handy an external rechargable USB 5 volt power bank using the Arduino's USB port for additional power if this is ever needed.

I am now just waiting on some 3D printed buttons to arrive to complete the job, plus I am making a smaller power supply using 4 x AAA Eneloop batteries so it will fit into my case (its powered from USB at the moment). I have also decided to add a flash shoe mounting that will allow the timer to adjust so I can see the LCD no matter what angle the camera faces up at. I also note I am using vn. 0.92 of the code and it seems to work well so far.

Greetings from Australia, and happy shooting!
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#2 gwegner
Thanks for sharing! :-)
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#3 ramigrafx
Could you please indicate how you have altered the sketch? I have also purchased the same display shield
#4 npeters
Hi - I recall that I didn't alter the sketch itself, but rather I added the LCD4Bit folder and its files into the "lib" directory which is inside the directory where I have the Arduino compiler located, in my case like this

C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\lib\LCD4Bit\

The library files are located in the LCD4Bit directory. I recall that it found the library when I compiled it, no problems.

Hope this works for you.

Cheers, Norm

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