Video Display Hardware

Raspberry Pi Display

  • 800×480 RGB LCD display
  • 24 bit colour
  • Industrial quality, 140 degree viewing angle horizontal, 130 degree vertical
  • 10 point multi-touch touchscreen
  • PWM backlight control and power control over I2C interface
  • Metal framed back with mounting points for Raspberry pi display conversion board and Raspberry Pi
  • Blacklight lifetime: 20000 hours
  • Operating temperature: -20 to +70 degrees centigrade
  • Storage temperature: -30 to +80 degrees centigrade
  • Contrast ratio: 500
  • Average brightness: 250 cd/m2
  • Viewing angle (degrees): Top – 50, Bottom – 70, Left – 70,  Right – 70
  • Outer dimensions: 192.96 x 112.76mm
  • Viewable area: 154.08 x 85.92mm

Raspberry Pi Mainboard Video Features

The Raspberry Pi has several options for outputting video. This will vary depending on which model you are using. For the purpose of this project, we are using the latest full feature model, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. This unit features a full sized HDMI port, DSI and Composite video interfaces. This leaves you several options for outputting video.

The most common method is the HDMI port, the same port found on nearly every TV and PC display produced today. There are HDMI to Mini-HDMi adapters, as well as HDMI to DVI and VGA adapters making it possible to connect to nearly any display.

The second method and one less common is the composite video port. The first generation Pi had the large RCA type composite connection, later model B+ and Pi 2 Model B and now Model 3 B do not have the large composite port, but can still be used with an analogue display by plugging in to the 3.5mm socket that is also used for audio: you’ll need a 3.5mm composite video/audio lead if you wish to output both, available here.

The final option is the Display Serial Interface or commonly referred to as the DSI interface. This type of interface is mostly found on custom, or single LCD displays. This is the interface I used when connecting my display to my Pi.

There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of displays that can be connected to the Pi. It would be impossible for me to describe them all. So we will focus on the official Raspberry Pi Display. You can scroll up to the Hardware Overview to checkout and download the dimensions and read the technical specs for this display.

In this section we are more concerned with how to connect the display to our Pi. This display utilizes the DSI or Digital Serial Interface using a secondary display controller that is designed to mount on top of the Pi using provided standoffs. This allows you to connect the ribbon cable for the display to the Pi, as well as giving you the option of letting the Pi supply both power and ground for the display, or using a separate micro-usb connection. I chose to power the display using the GPIO pins using the provided Jumpers. This simplifies wiring and reduces the number of USB cables needed.

The display comes with mounting locations to mount both the Pi and the display driver board to the back of the display making mounting it in a custom enclosure or this instance, a car dash, very clean and easy.

Below you can see the hardware assembled on the back of the display.

The display also comes with mounting locations to mount it as well as the Pi (with additional room for add-on cards) into a self-standing case.

After purchasing this case, I decided against using it due to the additional size it added to the displays bezel. Space was already tight and I couldn’t spare the extra few millimeters.

The display has a very thin and beautiful bezel. Like was mentioned earlier, there are many displays available online for the Pi, but I have yet to find another with as thin and beautiful bezel as the official display. In a space constrained application like an automotive dash, it really does look great.

Below you can see how thin the bezel is. It having a larger area than the display itself, combined with the rear mounting tabs, allows for panel instillation and no need for bulky or complex mounting solutions such as the ones I was forced to resort to in Version 1.0 of this dash project.

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