This version of the board looks a little better.  Wired the ground and +5v on the back (and one data line) to reduce the number of line crossings.  There are still two but far better than the first layout.  It follows the same schematic from the original post.  I also added a 470 Ohm variable resistor between the backlight (Pin 15 of the 16 pin header) and the +5v.  (My Dremel skills need reevaluation.)

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Here is a video link of the backpack operating.

The completed project with a glimpse at the breadboard prototype version.

This is not the first serial backpack for Arduino and it wont be the last.  I wanted to build one of these because I did not want to pay $16.95 plus shipping for something that could be built for $1.11.

Here is the parts list:

1 x Small Stripboard $0.66
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/small-stripboard-94x53mm-copper.html
1 x 74HC595 8 bit shift register $0.20
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/74hc595-8-bit-shift-register-ic.html
1 x 10pf Ceramic Disc Capacitor $0.01
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/capacitors/ceramic-disc-capacitors/10-x-10pf-50v-ceramic-disc-capacitor-pkg-of-10.html
1 X 40 Pin Pin Header $0.24
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/40-pin-2-54-mm-single-row-female-pin-header.html

The finished product looks like this.  I did a pretty bad job of laying out the wires so there is some overlap.

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Here is my feeble attempt at drawing out a schematic.  I used visio so I did not have the luxury of rerouting tools like Eagle has.  Maybe I will try that next.

SerialLCD3Wire2

I used the LiquidCrystal_SR3W.h from here: https://bitbucket.org/fmalpartida/new-liquidcrystal/src/bebe49d613c15933d3c2f41721f707526adc32dc/LiquidCrystal_SR3W.h?at=default

I wound up with this Arduino sketch to do a simple hello world app that outputs the current millisecond and animates an X across the second row of the LCD.  It’s pretty basic but I can now use this in my projects that need to provide the user with a display.

I got the schematic from this link: http://www.electronics-lab.com/projects/mcu/015/index.html