I don’t often have time to write product reviews, but I simply can’t help but share the really great stuff:
- Such as Three Fun Things to Try with your Raspberry Pi – Off The Shelf!
- Making the most of the low cost Nooks by Using Nook for Raspberry Pi remote display
- Or the very useful AdaFruit Pi T-Cobbler
I can categorically say that Texy’s TFT Touch Screen and Kit is another one of those things which I can’t help but share!
[Click on the pictures to see additional detail]
Texy’s TFT Touch Screen Kit:
Texy’s TFT Touch Screen and Kit itself comes in 2 forms, just the PCB and Display or with an additional perspex case to fit it all inside.
These are supplied pre-built ready to plug into your GPIO socket.
The display itself is a 2.8″ TFT backlit display, with a resolution of 320 x 240 (QVGA) and 64k colours, drawing just 90mA. If you override the backlight (by setting P1 Pin18 LOW) to switch the screen off, it’ll only draw 14mA in standby (ideal for battery powered applications).
The following shows the 2.8″ screen being compared to a 9″ DVD player screen 640 x 220 (from the RPi Analog output). Note standard TV resolution is around 720 x 480 (or 576) and will always be a little blurred due to the analog signals.
We can see the TFT is very sharp and easier to read even on the small screen, thanks to its digital connection.
Aside from providing a useful terminal display, the screen is able to display the Raspberry Pi desktop. It is even possible to show video (although don’t expect full speed frame-rates).
The magical bonus is the addition of the resistive touch-screen, which opens up a multitude of project possibilities where a full keyboard, mouse and display setup wouldn’t be practical. Combine this with some python code and Tkinter (for example) and you’ll have a very effective touch-based control system in no time.
Texy’s has also added a P1 header pass-through to the display board, so with the use of a ribbon cable you can either connect the display directly to the Raspberry Pi and make use of the GPIO with the cable, OR you can attach the display to the ribbon cable and use the GPIO connections on the underside of the display. The Display uses the SPI interface, including CE0 and CE1 (as well as GPIO0 Pin11, GPIO1 Pin12 & GPIO6 Pin22).
The rest of the GPIO pins are available for other hardware (there is even a GPIO pinout key printed on the board, which makes a handy quick reference when you really need it). This is excellent since there are so many kits out there which are greedy and hog all of the GPIO pins, even when they aren’t using them (I wish all designers built in GPIO pass-through into their designs).
There are pre-configured images available which will drive the display (this is probably the easiest option for most). You can modify your own setup to use the screen but this may be difficult for some ((as always making a backup before doing so is recommended). Note, it will not act like a typical plug-in display, so accelerated output from the GPU is not available for example. No doubt as the display is used by more people the installation will become easier. This aspect could be more user friendly, I hope to see some scripts to switch between different screen outputs and setups.
Additional details are also here: Configuration and Setup
With the addition of a virtual keyboard such as matchbox-keyboard, you can create a standalone setup. The touch-screen once calibrated allow you to use it like a mouse, tapping acts like the left mouse button, dragging moves the cursor.
Cases are something which I tend not to go for very often, simply because I often find they restrict the Raspberry Pi too much and get in the way of experimenting with hardware (which I do a lot). However, I’ve found that once you start adding things onto the Raspberry Pi (wifi dongles, sd-cards sticking out, the Pi Camera, GPIO cables, modules etc etc), more and more of it is exposed to damage so some kind of protection is a must.
Introducing Texy’s display case, which not only provides additional support for the Display unit, but extends out to protect the SD-Card while still allowing access to all the sockets and connections. It should be obvious that the trade off to having open access is that the case won’t be weather proof, but the Raspberry Pi is lifted off the surface so would stand a good chance in a coffee spill type situation).
There is even a neat little gap next to the LAN port where you can tuck the Raspberry Pi Camera module (see above)!
Note: Since it makes use of the Model A and Model B Rev 2 mounting holes, Model B Rev1 boards unfortunately won’t fit without some additional mounting (not included).
The full kit adds up to a very neat and tidy solution, while at the same time not adding excessive weight and bulk to the Raspberry Pi it packs in some exceptionally useful features.
Until there is the possibility of a larger, higher resolution screen which uses the DSI connector (this is something which only the Foundation will be able to produce as it requires detailed information about the GPU interface to implement), Texy’s screen provides an excellent, low power, compact and affordable option.
By combining the screen with a USB power pack, perhaps a wireless/bluetooth keyboard you have a very neat and portable setup. You will be able to hack anywhere you want to hack!
It is available by contacting him on the Raspberry Pi forum’s/or visiting his eBay listings from his sales page here: Texy’s TFT Touch Screen and Kit
Please check on Texy’s pages to confirm these:
Ready assembled and tested unit will cost £25 (plus postage costs).
The case is available for £12
10cm ribbon cable is available for £3
Of course for something larger (9 inches), there is now Raspi.tv HDMIPi 9 inch Screen , less portable but beautiful none the less. Prices start at £75.
RaspiTV’s HDMI screen Kickstarter (which was a huge success)