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Segment Displays

Blaze Display Technology Co., Ltd. | Updated: Nov 27, 2018

Although Segment displays are an older technology, it is still one of the most popular. After all, they cannot display all the colors of a TFT or OLED like what can be seen on a cell phone and tablet.

Why? Below are key reasons why people keep designing these LCD displays into new products.


Lowest Piece Price

The unit price of a segment display can range from less than $0.50/piece to $15/piece depending on quantity, size of glass, and other variables.


Lowest Tooling Fee

The tooling fee for a custom display is the lowest of all the technologies and allows the customer to receive a LCD that is manufactured to the exact dimensions requested, including custom icons and segments.

Focus LCDs offers a one-time NRE (Non-recurring engineering) or tooling fee. This includes all design, technical support, and samples.


Low Power Consumption

Segment displays require less power than other display technology such as TFT, OLED, and UWVD. This makes these LCDs ideal for applications that are battery powered or solar powered. They require the lowest power to drive, an estimated 2uA per centimeter squared. Glass only displays (no backlight and no controller) require an estimated 10% of the power that is required for a LED backlight. In other words, a static display without a backlight will draw around 1mA; the same display with a LED backlight will demand from 10mA up to 25mA. Most displays can be driven at 3.3V or 5V since microprocessors can operate at both voltages. 3.3V is becoming more popular since two double ‘AA’ batteries can produce between 3.0V and 3.3V.


What is a Segment?

A segment is any line, dot or symbol that can be turned on and off independently. The photo below is of a segment LCD that contains numbers, a small clock symbol, the word ‘Jul’, and the letters ‘PM.’

What is a ‘seven’ (7) segment?

There are four numbers in the above LCD (0 8 4 7) all are seven segments. In other words, the ‘0’ has seven segments, the ‘8’ has seven segments and so on. Each number has seven independent segments. Each segment can be turned on and off independently to create other numbers and some letters such as E, F C and others. This is an example of a ‘seven’ segment. But there are some letters that a seven segment cannot display such as the letter ‘M’ or ‘V’. In this case a fourteen segment configuration can be used.


What is Fourteen Segments?

A fourteen segment is able to display any number and even more letters than the seven segment.



An icon is a small symbol or set of words that is only one segment. In other words, when the segment is ‘on,’ the full word or symbol turns on. When it is “off,” the word or symbol turns off. In the photo above: the clock symbol is one segment, the word ‘JUL’ is one segment, the letters FOCUSLCDS.COM are one segment and the letters ‘PM’ are one segment.

This type of custom display can contain any icon required by the customer. Common icons include:


Battery symbol

Antenna symbol

Plus and Minus signs (+ / –)

Bar Graphs


The advantage of icons is that they convey a message that can be understood in any language. An example of this is the battery symbol, this icon is understood anywhere in the world.


Permanent Segments

It is possible to burn a segment into the glass so that it is always “on”. In this case, the ‘FOCUSLCDS.COM’ has been burned into the glass and can always be seen by the customer even when the power is “off”. Some customers will have their company name burned into the glass.


Hence the display is called a segment display because each segment can be turned “on” and “off” individually. You choose the number of seven or fourteen segments and which icons you want on your custom display.

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