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I want to use the HD44780 character LCD (commonly available in 16x2 characters, though I am using the 20x4 version) in an industrial application but since it will be on 24x7, I am just a bit worried about it lifespan expectancy. I hope it could last 5-10 years.

Have been searching all around, including the datasheet by Hitachi but no info on lifespan.

I would really appreciate if someone could share his experience using one in a real life application.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's a low tech low-stressed component. Absent full sunlight outdoors in a marine application, or elevated temperatures, I'd be disappointed if it didn't last fifteen years or so. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Sep 27 '16 at 12:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or extreme cold. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 27 '16 at 12:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ That Hitachi datasheet very likely only concerns the LCD driver chip so not the display itself. I agree with the two comments above. As long as you do not stress it (including no mechanical stress and vibrations !) it should last for may years. \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Sep 27 '16 at 12:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ We use them in point-of-sale systems. They should last for decades in normal indoor use; weakest point is the backlight (incandescent bulbs have finite lifetime and LEDs fade over time) \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Sep 27 '16 at 13:22
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My experience is that the 1602 type LCD display module will last a long time. What will not last a long time is the backlight if your module has one. In particular the ones I've used that have a white LED backlight last about 3 years before the LED brightness dims to the level as to render the display to about 10% of its original light level.

It is possible that other types of backlight may be better. A yellow/green type of LED may last a lot longer. On the other hand displays with EL strip backlights are also known to age in fairly short order.

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There is no inherent wear-out mechanism except in the backlight LED. The types with zebra connectors are more sensitive to moisture and if there are PCB contamination problems then the part may not tolerate humidity well.

Minimize those problems by keeping them cool, dry, away from vibration and shock, and keep the backlight current well below maximum.

If there is vibration, or other environmental problems a COG construction may be better, but evaluate it and preferably test on a vibration table.

For real-life application we used many of these in a commercial automated capuccino machine, and they had no problems (using a reputable Asian brand name of module) provided they were mounted in a stress-free way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Grateful to the answers of all of you. Just to clarify further that it is an in door application, with moderate humidity, temperature and vibration free, and the backlight is yellow-green LED so now I am confident that it should last longer than my expectation. I will consider this answered. Cheers! Dave \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Sep 27 '16 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dave - Have seen an LCD failure mode: In LCDs, two glass plates sandwich the active LCD liquid. Their edges are often sealed with epoxy. A failed epoxy seal allows liquid escape, reducing, then killing optical contrast. (LCDs tend to go dark). This failure was in a similar constant-temp, vibration-free environment, but occurred after many years of service. \$\endgroup\$ – glen_geek Sep 27 '16 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @glen_geek: value your sharing your experience. I guess I can live with replacing it after many years of service should that happens. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Sep 27 '16 at 15:09

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