Microcontroller User Interfaces

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The intent of this page is to document different styles of user interfaces for microcontrollers together with code ( any language ) to drive them. We could use some contributions, can you help?


Momentary Button

  • Pro Cheap, simple, uses only 1 bit port
  • Con If you use a bunch uses a lot of port bits

Rotary Switch

  • Pro
  • Con

Can be self decoding: position of switch indicates state of microcontroller.

Rotary Encoder

  • Pro
  • Con


Use to feed a voltage to an analog to digitial converter. You sould be able to get quite a few discrete values out of this while still having it easy to use. Instead of a pot you can use a rotary switch with fixed resistors switched.

  • Pro Uses only 1 pin if using an AtoD converter.
  • Con Readint takes a AtoD converter ( or standard io port(s) with software. Takes a bit of time.


  • Pro
  • Con


Single Led

In its simplest form either on or off, slightly harder to read are various patterns of blinks.

  • Pro
  • Con

Multiple Led

  • Pro Cheap, simple, easy to drive. One port bit per led ( untill you get to large numbers where ticks kick in ) Match with a pushbutton and state of the microcontroller and means to change it is simple.
  • Con Can use more port bits than you have.

A shift register can make driving a large number easier.

7 Segment Led

  • Pro
  • Con