The NKC 65k Color LCD Shield isn’t difficult to assemble, it is, however a bit time consuming. The most difficult part of the assembly is soldering the connector board to the LCD itself. You must carefully line it up on both the LCD AND the shield board itself. More on that in a moment.
To begin, first make sure you have all of the parts. Compare the packing list with what you have. Once you are sure you have every thing, you need to start with the LCD. Take the very small connector board and, carefully, solder one of the strips to the LCD. You will know where, it’s kind of obvious, but, in case you can’t, on the shield board, look for the outline
of the LCD. On the component side, you will see several solid tracks that appear to go nowhere. This is what you will have to line up. Once you place the LCD on the Shield board and line them up…the LCD has a tit that goes through the board on one side, line it up using that. Once satisfied, remove the LCD and continue to solder the connector board to the LCD. When you are done, place the LCD back on the shield, make sure the board lines up and then solder it to the shield board. Congratulations, this was the toughest part of the assembly.
The official instructions say to solder the header now. I would advise to wait. The problem is that the resistors are difficult to solder if you insert and solder the headers first. So, I would solder those outer resistors next. Those are the 1K and 10K resistors. While you are at it, solder all of the small, .1uf capacitors (the little bright blue capacitors) into place. A few of these are also next to the headers and in difficult spots if the headers go first.
Solder the remaining resistors into place. The board is clearly marked, so it should be very easy to figure out where to solder them.
The two large 10uf capacitors are polarized, meaning they must be soldered in a specific way. Notice they both have a gray arrow on them, that is the negative side and must be soldered in with the arrow pointing to the negative sign or round hole on the board.C1 would have the gray arrow facing the LCD and C7 has it facing the Max232 Integrated Circuit.
For the large LM317, place in the three holes, flat side facing toward the Max232. Solder the center pin. Carefully, bend the LM317 backward so it is as flush to the board as you can get and solder the remaining pins.
If you have a 16 pin, through hole IC socket (one does not come with the kit) I would suggest you use it in the assembly. It is ok if you do not, it makes it easier if, for some reason, you should ever have to swap the chip out. If you have the socket, go ahead and solder it to the board, paying attention to pin one. If you do not have the socket, insert the chip with pin one facing the edge of the board. Pin one is where the ‘u’ shape is on the outline of the chip on the board. Once you are satisfied that you have pin one in the proper place, solder the chip to the board.
The only things left should be the headers. An easy way to solder them in is to place them in your Arduino UNO and then carefully place the board over them, making sure the pins penetrate the board. Solder them.
Wow, you’ve assembled your board. Now you need to test it. There is a demo sketch (two of them) on the NKC Electronics web site. Download them and then up load to your Arduino. If all went well, you see a short demo on the screen.
This is a busy but useful board and a ‘fun’ project. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to assemble and test. There are better panels out there, but this kit is currently $4.95 and could be useful in a monitoring project, a game or for an at a glance status for one of your project.
Official assembly guide Demo 1 - direct I/O Demo 2 - using digital read/write Demo 1 is much faster and is what I would use for things that need speed.