RPi Screens

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Revision as of 12:06, 2 February 2012 by Themroc (Talk | contribs) (VGA/RGB analog)

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Hardware & Peripherals:

Hardware - detailed information about the Raspberry Pi boards.

Hardware History - guide to the Raspberry Pi models.

Low-level Peripherals - using the GPIO and other connectors.

Expansion Boards - GPIO plug-in boards providing additional functionality.

Screens - attaching a screen to the Raspberry Pi.

Cases - lots of nice cases to protect the Raspberry Pi.

Other Peripherals - all sorts of peripherals used with the Raspberry Pi.

Supported Standards

The following display outputs are supported on the board:

  • Composite video (NTSC and PAL) via an RCA plug (the yellow socket on your TV) or SCART socket.
  • HDMI 1.3a standard output.
  • Display Serial Interface (DSI) - via unpopulated 15-way flat flex connector.

These interfaces allow the use of a broad range of displays, including:

  • Televisions (HDMI or composite).
  • Computer monitors (HDMI/DVI-D cable) (VGA monitors would require either a composite or HDMI to VGA or component scan converter box).
  • DLP/Laser Pico Projectors (HDMI/DVI-D cable).
  • RAW LCD panels (DSI + interfacing hardware)
  • Composite and HDMI outputs can not be used at the same time (one or the other.)


Directly from the board.


With an inexpensive passive HDMI to DVI-D cable or convertor.

Composite video

Composite video (NTSC and PAL) via an RCA plug, directly from the board.

VGA/RGB analog

The Broadcom BCM2835 only provides HDMI output and composite output. RGB and other signals needed by RGB, S-VIDEO or VGA connectors are however not provided.

A couple of options for VGA or component RGB outputs, bridging from either HDMI or the MIPI DSI interface:

Firstly, the following *might* work. Beagleboard people have reported various levels of success (mainly "issues"):


Something similar:


...it may need to be modified as described here:


Alternatively, it may be possible to design an expansion board that plugs into the LCD headers on the R.Pi. Here is something similar for Beagleboard:


Some more converters that should work:

Potential RGB interfacing chips:

They emit Hsync, Vsync and RGB w/ about 8 bits each (sometimes, it's called "MIPI DPI")

The SOC (system on a chip) does not support any kind of analog component video, including VGA, since the SOC is designed for mobile phone use where this would not be a requirement. Additional componenty would be needed to generate RGB signals. Additional componentry would push the price beyond the $25 target and therefore won't happen.

interfacing to Raw LCD panels

Nokia N900 has 800x480 DCS LCD (afaik its like DSI, but has build in framebuffer). Replacement screen is about ~$40 (~$50 with 4pin resistive touchscreen).

Nokia N8 has AMOLED 360x640 pixels DSI LCD. Replacement screen is about ~$35, another ~$25 for Multitouch Synaptics T1021A touchscreen (I2C + interrupt IO, no docs/drivers).

The schematics for apples iPhone 3gs and 4g suggest they speak DSI, thus they can probably be connected directly. The older iPhones use a "Mobile Pixel Link" connection from National Semiconductor. The 3GS panel (480×320) goes as low as US $14.88, while the 4G one (960×640) can be had for US $17.99.

Other panels with MIPI DSI: www.panelook.com

Potential LVDS interfacing chips:

TC358764/5 Display Bridge (MIPI® DSI to LVDS)

DVI receiver TFP401A, TFP403, or TFP501 + LVDS transmitter SN75LVDS83B or SN65LVDS93A (Mentioned earlier fit-VGA is build around TFP401A, probably many more "active" DVI2VGA cables are build the same way)

I2C/SPI ADC can be used to interface 4 pin resistive Touch Screens, For example STMPE812A. Texas Instruments has a solution for 4 or 8 wire touchscreens using their rather cheap MSP4309.

16x2 LCD Displays

The old-style 2-line, 16-character LCD displays can be commonly controlled over UART, thus providing a cheap way to display values for sensors etc.