I'm writing an Arduino sketch to control a display with my Arduino Nano. I have wired it up as explained here, but used pin 3-7 instead of pin 2-6 listed in the example. The reason I did so is that I also added a push-button on interrupt 0 (= digital pin 2). I'm calling the sleep mode with a method, as explained in the section "Example" here. The Arduino seems to sleep, turning off all LEDs but the on/off one. The problem I have now is that the LCD display is sometimes still enabled (but only sometimes, not always). Why is it behaving like this? And how can I switch off everything possible to save as much energy as possible?

Here is my code piece:

int buttonPin = 2;

void setup() 
  pinMode(buttonPin , INPUT);
  digitalWrite(buttonPin , HIGH);

void loop() {
  if(counter == 100) {
    enterSleep();            // Enter sleep method!

void enterSleep()
  attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(2), wakeUpNow, LOW);

  /* The program will continue from here. */
  /* First thing to do is disable sleep. */

void wakeUpNow() {
  // execute code here after wake-up before returning to the loop() function
  // timers and code using timers (serial.print and more...) will not work here.
  // we don't really need to execute any special functions here, since we
  // just want the thing to wake up
  • 1
    I see nothing related to an LCD there at all. Maybe you forgot that bit?
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:42
  • The LCD is the main part of my question. I need to know why it won't be switched off when arduino is going to sleep
    – D. Müller
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:44
  • The LCD might be in your question, but it's not in the code. Are we supposed to just guess what you're doing with it? snippets-r-us.com
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:45
  • Simply put: how are you turning off the LCD?
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:46
  • I don't do anything special to turn the LCD off. After making some lcd.setCursor(x, y) and lcd.write("message") I'm calling the enterSleep method. I thought that the commands inside this method switch off all output to the pins.
    – D. Müller
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


The problem is that you are not specifically doing anything to "turn off" the LCD (that is, switch off the back light - note that the LCD module will still be consuming power while you sleep).

When you sleep the MCU it does just that - it goes to sleep. Its clock stops ticking. Not a lot more than that really. So if you are using PWM to control the backlight of the LCD, when the clock stops ticking the PWM will stop happening, and the I/O pin will remain stuck in whatever state it happened to be in at that moment - leaving you with random on or off at sleep time.

The solution? Manually turn off the backlight just before you sleep.

digitalWrite(9, LOW);

To save more power you might want to consider adding a high-side switch to the power of the LCD module. With that you can physically disconnect the power to the LCD to stop it consuming any power at all during sleep mode. Of course, after re-enabling it you will need to fully reinitialize the module.

The same goes for any other external hardware that takes a power supply.

A high side switch can be built from a P-channel MOSFET being controlled by an N-channel MOSFET. There's plenty of examples on the web.

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