There is no need for a second power supply. Just connect a resistor from Vcc to pin 15 on display and pin 16 to GND.
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I went to the web site for the display that I think I have # Par tm204aff and the pin out shows voltage on pin 2 but they also show + on 15 and - on 16 for lcd backlight. Could this be one of the problems. I'm using a old display cord to patch from j2 to the display, is there a min. wire size for this connection?