Finally, an Official Display for the Raspberry Pi

Yes, finally, and after years of work and countless people complaining on forums, there is a proper, official display for the Raspberry Pi.

It’s a 7-inch display, 800 x 480 pixel resolution, 24-bit color, and has 10-point multitouch. Drivers for the display are already available with a simple call of sudo apt-get update, and the display itself is available at Newark, the Pi Store (sold out) and Element14. There’s even a case available, and a stand ready to be sent off to a 3D printer.

As for why it took so long for the Raspberry Pi foundation to introduce an official display for the Pi, the answer should not be surprising for any engineer. It’s EMC, or electromagnetic compliance. The DPI (Display Parallel Interface) for the Pi, presented on the expansion header and used by the GertVGA adapter allows any Pi to drive two displays at 1920 x 1024, 60FPS. This DPI interface is an electrical nightmare that spews RF interference everywhere it goes.

raspberry-pi-touchscreen-thumbThe new display could have used the DSI (Display Serial Interface) adapter, or the small connector on the Pi that is not the camera connector. DSI displays are purpose-built for specific devices, though, and aren’t something that would or should be used in a device that will be manufactured for years to come. The best solution, and the design the Raspberry Pi foundation chose to go with, is a DPI display and an adapter that converts the Pi’s DSI output to something the display can understand.

The solution the Pi foundation eventually settled on is an adapter board that converts the DSI bus to DPI signalling. This of course requires an extra PCB, and the Foundation provided mounting holes so a Pi can connect directly to it.

While this is the first display to make use of the DSI interface, it will assuredly not be the last. The Pi Foundation has given us a way to use the DSI connector to drive cheap DPI displays. While the 800×480 resolution of the official display may be a bit small, there will undoubtedly be a few hardcore tinkerers out there that will take this adapter board and repurpose it for larger displays.

[Alex Eames] got his hands on the Pi Display a few weeks ago, you can check out his introductory video below.

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Hacklet 35 – BeagleBone Projects

The Raspberry Pi 2 is just barely a month old, and now that vintage console emulation on this new hardware has been nailed down, it’s just about time for everyone to do real work. You know, recompiling stuff to take advantage of the new CPU, figuring out how to get Android working on the Pi, and all that good stuff that makes the Pi useful.

It will come as no surprise to our regular readers that there’s another board out there that’s just as good in most cases, and in some ways better than the Pi 2. It’s the BeagleBone Black, and for this edition of the Hacklet, we’re focusing on all the cool BeagleBone projects on

lcdSo you have a credit card sized Linux computer and a small, old LCD panel. If it doesn’t have HDMI, VGA or composite input, there’s probably no way of getting this display working, right? Nope. Not when you can make an LCD cape for $10.

[Dennis] had an old digital picture frame from a while back, and decided his BeagleBone needed a display. A few bits of wire and some FPC connectors, and [Dennis] has a custom display for his ‘Bone. It’s better than waiting for that DSI display…

bed[THX1082] is making a bed for his son. This isn’t your usual race car bed, or even a very cool locomotive bed. No, this is a spaceship bed. Is your bed a space ship? No, I didn’t think so.

Most of the work with plywood, MDF, paint, and glue is done, which means the best feature of this bed – a BeagleBone Black with an LCD, buttons, a TV, and some 3D printed parts – is what [THX] is working on right now. He’s even forking a multiplayer networked starship simulator to run in the bed. Is your bed a starship simulator?


Beer. [Deric] has been working on a multi-step fermentation controller using the BeagleBone Black. For good beer you need to control temperatures and time, lest you end up with some terrible swill that I’d probably still drink.

This project controls every aspect of fermentation, from encouraging yeast growth, metabolization of sugars, and flocculation. The plan is to use two circuits – one for heating and one for cooling – and a pair of temperature sensors to ensure the beer is fermenting correctly.

If you’re looking for more BeagleBone Projects, there’s an entire list of them over on with GLaDOs Glasses, Flight Computers, and Computer Vision.

Using Cell Phone Screens with any HDMI Interface

Thanks to the worldwide proliferation of smartphones, tiny high-resolution displays are common and cheap. Interfacing these displays with anything besides a phone has been a problem. [twl] has a board that does just that, converting HDMI to something these displays can understand, and providing a framebuffer so these displays can be written to through small microcontrollers.

[twl] is using a rather large FPGA to handle all the conversion from HDMI to the DSI the display understands. He’s using an Xilinx Spartan-6-SLX9, one of the most hobbyist friendly devices that is able to be hand soldered. Also on the board is a little bit of SDRAM for a framebuffer, HDMI input, and a power supply for the LCD and its backlight.

On the things [twl] has in his ‘to-do’ list, porting Doom to run on a cellphone display is obviously right at the top. He also wants to test the drawing commands for the Arduino side of his board, allowing any board with the suffix ~’ino to paint graphics and text on small, cheap, high-resolution displays. That’s a capability that just doesn’t exist with products twice [twl]’s projected BOM, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

You can check out the demo video of [twl]’s board displaying the output of a Raspberry Pi below. If you look very closely, you’ll notice the boot/default screen for the display adapter is the Hackaday Jolly Wrencher.

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Hard Core Nintendo DSI hacking

dsi (Custom)

So, you hacked your DSI did you? Let me guess, you ran a flash cart. No? You probably added some LEDs then right? No? You must be pretty hard core, did you add a NES controler? No? Well what did you do?

We still have no idea what this guy is doing. But he is doing it very meticulously. We found [Micah Dowty]’s photo stream on flicker and we were instantly pulled in. He has done some extensive modifications to his DSI. He has spread its innards for all to see and begun hacking. It appears as though most of this is for memory dumps and direct access to the RAM in the unit, but frankly we just want to stare at these pictures.

Nintendo DSi teardown


Now that the Nintendo DSi has been officially released in the US, the team at iFixit has worked their magic. That magic being: completely disassembling it. They found the new 840mAh battery to be much smaller than the DS Lite’s 1000mAh. The device features two cameras, but both are a paltry 0.3megapixels. They note that this is the first Nintendo device that they’ve taken apart that didn’t require a tri-wing screwdriver.

Many more DSi compatible flash carts are available now than our initial report in December, so you can pick up a Nintendo DSi for homebrew without worry.

[via iFixit blog]

Nintendo DSi gets its first flash cart


A month ago, we reported that Nintendo’s new DSi portable didn’t work with any of the current crop of flash cartridges. Things didn’t look good for homebrew. Here we are a month later and looking at the release of the Acekard 2i. It’s the first DSi compatible flash cartridge. The features appear to be identical to previous versions and we expect other manufactures will be updating their product lines in short order. You can find a video of the Acekard 2i after the break.

These carts may exist because of pirates, but we happily use them for homebrew. There are a lot of great programs out there; here’s a list of 24 apps that are dedicated to music creation. You can run Linux on it too. It’s as easy as copying a file to a flash drive. If you have a DS and aren’t using homebrew, you’re wasting it. We’ll be picking up a DSi as soon as they’re in the US (they’re region locked).

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Nintendo DSi teardown


[bunnie] managed to pick up a Nintendo DSi while in Japan. It seems he had the device running less than an hour before he tore it down for an impromptu hotel photoshoot. There’s nothing too surprising and he mentions that the CPU certainly feels more capable than the previous model, which may explain the shorter battery life. The ARM processor sits under an RF shield directly below the WiFi card. The best photo is the top side of the board with every single debug point labeled in plain English on the silkscreen. We’re sure that’ll help with the development of new homebrew hardware.

[bunnie] has posted some interesting teardowns in the past. Have a look at his Sony XEL-1 teardown to see the inner workings of an OLED TV.