Frequently, an 8051 program must interact with the outside world using input and output devices that communicate directly with a human being. One of the most common devices attached to an 8051 is an LCD display. Some of the most common LCDs connected to the 8051 are 16x2 and 20x2 displays. This means 16 characters per line by 2 lines and 20 characters per line by 2 lines, respectively.
Fortunately, a very popular standard exists which allows us to communicate with the vast majority of LCDs regardless of their manufacturer. The standard is referred to as HD44780U, which refers to the controller chip which receives data from an external source (in this case, the 8051) and communicates directly with the LCD.
The 44780 standard requires 3 control lines as well as either 4 or 8 I/O lines for the data bus. The user may select whether the LCD is to operate with a 4-bit data bus or an 8-bit data bus. If a 4-bit data bus is used the LCD will require a total of 7 data lines (3 control lines plus the 4 lines for the data bus). If an 8-bit data bus is used the LCD will require a total of 11 data lines (3 control lines plus the 8 lines for the data bus).
The three control lines are referred to as EN, RS, and RW.
The EN line is called "Enable." This control line is used to tell the LCD that you are sending it data. To send data to the LCD, your program should make sure this line is low (0) and then set the other two control lines and/or put data on the data bus. When the other lines are completely ready, bring EN high (1) and wait for the minimum amount of time required by the LCD datasheet (this varies from LCD to LCD), and end by bringing it low (0) again.
The RS line is the "Register Select" line. When RS is low (0), the data is to be treated as a command or special instruction (such as clear screen, position cursor, etc.). When RS is high (1), the data being sent is text data which sould be... [continues]
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