Getting Started with the Pi 7" Touchscreen LCD

Pre-requisites

This guide assumes you have a A+, B+, Pi 2 or Pi 3. See below for tips on using an older Pi.

You should have a good power supply, the official Raspberry Pi 2A or 2.5A supplies are a sound choice.

You should have a recent Raspbian or NOOBS SD card, or update your existing card to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Updating Raspbian/NOOBS

You'll need the latest software and the Raspbian OS in order to drive the screen. Make sure you have a network connection and type this into Terminal:

curl https://get.pimoroni.com/uptodate | bash

Connecting the screen

On your A+, B+, Pi 2, or Pi 3 you will need to connect the main display ribbon cable between the display driver board and your Pi. This cable looks just like a Pi camera cable, and fits into the connector on the edge of the board nearest the SD card slot.

At the driver board end, the gold contacts on the ribbon cable should face upwards away from the LCD panel. The ribbon should then loop around and plug into the Pi, which is mounted on the back of the assembly.

Powering the screen

You have three choices when it comes to powering the screen;

Use the supplied jump wires

Using the red and black jump wires supplied in the screen kit, you can connect the 5V and GND pins from the driver board to the GPIO of your Pi.

This is a quick and easy way to get started, however you wont be able to connect HATs to your Pi!

Use a Y splitter cable

We sell a microB USB splitter cable which will let you connect one power supply to both the display board and your Pi.

Use two power supplies

If you're using a plethora of power hungry USB devices and a power hungry HAT you might want to use two power supplies. This is possible to do, but it can be tricky to turn them on at exactly the same time so the Pi and LCD can talk to each other and initialise properly.

Rotating the screen

If you're using our stand, you'll have to rotate the screen. We've orientated it so that the Pi power, AV and HDMI ports are facing upwards, to keep the sleek low profile look, and the GPIO is at the bottom so you can wrap a ribbon cable underneath for easy access to GPIO via Black HAT Hack3r.

You can rotate the LCD by editing /boot/config.txt and adding the line: lcd_rotate=2 to the top.

You can do this by booting up your Pi, going into the Raspberry menu, picking "Accessories" and then "Terminal".

  • In Terminal, type "sudo nano /boot/config.txt"
  • Add the line "lcd_rotate=2" to the top of the file.
  • Press CTRL+X
  • Then Y
  • Then Enter.
  • And reboot!

Debugging

If you get a black screen, it likely means your DSI cable ( the one between the Pi and the driver board ) isn't seated correctly. Turn off your Pi and display and double-check the cable is pushed firmly into each connector, and that the gold contacts face upwards on the driver board side.

If your screens looks weird and fades out the picture like an old CRT TV when you turn off your Pi- don't worry, this is perfectly normal!

Brightness & Power Control

These features are supported in the hardware, we're told, and software support is coming soon. This article will be updated to reflect whatever brightness/power control goodness is introduced.

Virtual ( On-Screen ) Keyboard

There are a couple of options for this. So far I've seen:

Florence

Suggested on the Pi forums by Hove is Florence: http://xmodulo.com/onscreen-virtual-keyboard-linux.html. Install with:

sudo apt-get install florence

Matchbox

Suggested by Alex ( the almighty @raspitv ), and scattered on various blogs, is Matchbox, which you can install like so:

sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

And then find in Accessories > Keyboard.

Find some screenshots ( of it on a smaller LCD ) here: http://ozzmaker.com/2014/06/30/virtual-keyboard-for-the-raspberry-pi/

Reverse Mount

As Clive demonstrates below, you can make a much more compact setup by flipping your Pi and mounting it with the ports facing towards the back of the LCD. However, the current GPIO ribbon cables we use wont fit between the two metal risers, so you wont be able to easily break your GPIO out in this configuration.

If you're going for a permanent setup, then you can just solder the power cables to the underside of the GPIO.

Pi LCD guide Image pinched from Clive Beale: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/dont-try-this-at-home-how-not-to-hack-the-raspberry-pi-display/

More LCD Goodies

I want to run my touchscreen at 90 degrees

( And have the touchscreen actually work! )

Gasp! Okay, I can see why you'd want to do this! I couldn't put it better than the great step-by-step forum post here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=120793

I want to make my own case/Mount it in something

You can find a technical drawing with dimensions of the display and mount hole locations here: https://github.com/raspberrypi/documentation/tree/master/hardware/display

The touchscreen doesn't work with Kivy!

Use this guide: https://github.com/mrichardson23/rpi-kivy-screen

Shopping basket

Need something for this project? You can use the links below to add products to your Pimoroni Shop basket for easy checkout.

Dual microB USB Power Cable
£3.00
Official Raspberry Pi Universal Power Supply
£8.00
Mini Black HAT Hack3r
Fully Assembled £10.00
Mini Black HAT Hack3r
Solder Yourself Kit £8.00
Mini Black HAT Hack3r
PCB only £4.00
Black HAT Hack3r
£10.00
Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display with Stand
Tangerine £74.00
Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display with Stand
Coupé £74.00
Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display with Stand
Royale £74.00
Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display with Stand
Noir £74.00
Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display with Stand
Flotilla £74.00
Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display with Stand
Jade £74.00
Want to checkout or change something? Click here to view your cart.

Tutorial
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Raspberry Pi

Phil Howard

phil@pimoroni.com
@gadgetoid
Phil is Pimoroni's software guru, instantly recognisable by his somewhat pirate-themed moustache growing attempts. Usually found buried neck deep in Python libraries, he's also been known to escape on occasion and turn out crazy new products. If you need a helping hand, he's a prolific Twitter user and rampages around the forums like a T-Rex. Ask him if you need help with Pimoroni's software libraries, or Propeller HAT.