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I'm making a device which requires a display, and the display I want is similar to what goes into remote control of air conditioners.

What are these kind of displays, and how do they have some special icons built into them? I know lcd modules available for arduino etc can be an alternative, but I like the look of ones in remote control.

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    \$\begingroup\$ LCD modules can be made with any icons you want ... for a price. That's probably how your aircon did it. Unless you're making a million, you probably want to use standard bitmap displays instead (use software to draw your own bitmapped icons) \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I saw a product which uses good display with lots of icons etc but it's not a product which sells in large quantity or is costly. Was wondering if its really too costly to create such displays then. The one I saw was 10mm x 8mm approx, and cannot cost over 10 usd \$\endgroup\$
    – Ouroboros
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ They are LCDs with custom glass. Usually they contain just the bare glass and the LCD glass driver electronics are on the PCB. Modern microcontrollers can have an LCD glass driver built-in, but if not, then you need a separate chip between your MCU and LCD glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justme
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Cost of making custom LCD glass is not that bad. Figure a few thousand USD for MOQ + NRE costs. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2020 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpehroPefhany a bit better than I thought. \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Oct 4, 2020 at 20:46

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The only custom parts of a custom LCD are its size, and the transparent ITO electrodes on the glass. Typically, the electrodes are created with photolitography, which is somewhat similar to the process used for custom PCBs.

For LCDs, the setup costs are much higher than actual production costs, so you would not use them unless you planned to make a certain number of devices. The process is not as automated as for PCBs.

Dave Jones made several videos about a custom LCD for his USB power supply:

EEVblog #1055 - How to Design a Custom LCD
"How to design a custom multiplexed LCD display. Dave takes you through what is required to design your own custom LCD display and what consideration you need for manufacturing and choosing an LCD display driver."

EEVblog #1074 - Custom LCD Design - Part 2
"Looking at the manufacturers datasheet for approval, and test design considerations."

EEVblog #1105 - $100 Custom LCD Design - Part 3
"The $100 low cost custom LCD finally arrives! Will it work as intended?"
(Five modules for $138, including $33 shipping.)

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