As MrDEB contemplates using another LCD, Dave Jones has created another great video on using Dangerous Protptype's Bus Private for testing an LCD display. I've mentioned the Bus Pirate here before - it'sa serial analyzer/interface that understands a number of protocols. If you're trying to figure out an I2C, SPI, UART or One-Wire interface (among others) the Bus Pirate can be a huge asset.
Dangerous Prototypes makes an 74HC595- based converter to go from the serial protocol that the Bus Pirate understands to the parallel interface of a character LCD. If this sounds at all familiar, it's a technique that been discussed by mrbasher and Mike here extensively in the past.
Dave makes quick work of checking out a 8x2 display with the Bus Pirate. As with most of Dave's videos, there are lessons to be learned, including the dangers of using dual-row header cables. Dave had a crossed cable between the Bus Pirate and the '595 adapter board which was quickly found and corrected. If the cable had been reversed between the '595 adapter and the LCD, the outcome mat have been much worse.
Dave is very good at systematic troubleshooting - watch and learn.EEVblog #313 – Bus Pirate LCD Debugging