Frequently Asked Questions

What is the default login for Raspbian?

The default login for Raspbian is username pi with password raspberry. Note: The standard keyboard layout is English and so Y and Z are swapped on German keyboards.

How to switch the console to HDMI?

Run $ con2fbmap 1 0 and to switch back to the display $ con2fbmap 1 1.

How to change the console font?

The font can be changed with console-setup or edit the file /etc/default/console-setup.

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup
Encoding to use on the console: <UTF-8>
Character set to support: <Guess optimal character set>
Font for the console: Terminus (default is VGA)
Font size: 6x12 (framebuffer only)

How to switch the Desktop (X-Window-System) to HDMI?

  • Desktop on HDMI: $ startx -- -layout HDMI
  • Desktop on TFT: $ startx -- -layout TFT
  • Desktop on HDMI with expansion on TFT: $ startx -- -layout HDMITFT

If you have not used the automatic installation script then open 99-fbturbo.conf and change fbX (fb0=HDMI, fb1=Display):

$ sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-fbturbo.conf
$ startx &

How to mirror/copy the HDMI output to the display?

This can be done with fbcp. Further infos can be found here.

  • Install fbcp:

    $ cd /tmp
    $ sudo apt-get install -y cmake
    $ git clone --depth=1
    $ mkdir -p rpi-fbcp/build
    $ cd rpi-fbcp/build
    $ cmake ..
    $ make
    $ sudo install fbcp /usr/local/bin/fbcp
    $ cd ../..
    $ rm -r rpi-fbcp
  • Run fbcp:

    $ fbcp &
  • Stop fbcp:

    $ killall fbcp
  • Enable automatic startup of fbcp:

    $ sudo wget -O /etc/init.d/fbcp
    $ sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/fbcp
    $ sudo update-rc.d fbcp defaults
  • To force HDMI output to a resolution of 320x240, add the following lines to /boot/config.txt.

    hdmi_cvt=320 240 60 1 0 0 0

    Or for a resolution of 640x480 (will be scaled to 320x240 on the display)


How to switch the backlight on/off?

The display backlight can be turned on/off and can also be dimmed (using PWM).

  • backlight off: $ echo 1 | sudo tee /sys/class/backlight/*/bl_power

  • backlight on: $ echo 0 | sudo tee /sys/class/backlight/*/bl_power

  • dimming with Software-PWM (further infos here)

  • dimming with Hardware-PWM and wiringPi (will mess up audio, 0-1023):

    $ sudo apt-get install wiringpi
    $ gpio -g mode 18 pwm
    $ gpio -g pwm 18 222
  • dimming with pigpio (0…255)

    $ sudo pigpiod
    $ pigs pwm 18 100

How to set or disable the blanking/screensaver time?

For further infos have a look here:

Please note when the display shows the same content over several hours then the image can burn into the screen. Further infos can be found here.

How to emulate a right mouse button under X-Window-System?

  • Debian Wheezy

    Open evdev.conf

    $ nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/evdev.conf

    and add the following lines to the ADS7846 Touchscreen section:

    Option "EmulateThirdButton" "1"
    Option "EmulateThirdButtonButton" "3"
    Option "EmulateThirdButtonTimeout" "1000"
    Option "EmulateThirdButtonMoveThreshold" "30"
  • Debian Jessie

    The EmulateThirdButton option has be removed from Jessie and as workaround twofing can be used: Installation Guide, Source Code

Where can I found an on-screen keyboard?

You can install Florence Virtual Keyboard or Matchbox Virtual Keyboard with the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install florence
$ sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

I only see the top left part of a program window/dialog?

Most programs are not designed for a small screen (<640x480) and so you see only a part of the window. It is possible to scale the screen with fbcp, but the best practice is to create an user interface specially for the display. This can be done for example with Pygame or Tkinter (example).

The display stays black/white (no output)?

If the display is black and the backlight is also off then the FBTFT driver is not installed or loaded correctly. If the backlight goes on and the display stays black or white then check if the FFC connector is correctly closed. When using a flex cable for the connection (RPi-Display Flex Edition) then the jumpers MISO, MOSI and SCK have to be closed. On other problems please check your SD-Card and power supply.

Touchscreen problems under Pygame?

If you want to use the touchscreen with Pygame, you need the latest Debian Wheezy image or install an old version of libsdl on newer systems. In Debian Jessie and newer the SDL version has changes which causes weird behavior when using the touchscreen with Pygame. See the RaspberryPi Forum, Adafruit Forum, Adafruit Bugreport and the Debian Upstream Bugreport for more information.

A simple Pygame test program can be found here.

Alternative touchscreen libraries: python-evdev, pygamets

Does the display work with Windows 10 IoT?

We have not tested it yet, but there are already projects available for the ILI9341 display controller and ADS7846/TSC2046 touch controller from Graham Chow and Peter Oakes .

Does the display work with Raspbmc/OSMC?

Yes, the FBTFT framebuffer can be installed on Raspbmc/OSMC and the HDMI output can be mirrored to the display using fbcp.

Does the display work with Kali Linux?

Yes, the FBTFT framebuffer can be installed on Kali Linux. Pre-built images for the Raspberry Pi can be found here.

How to install and run RetroPie on the display?

You can use the RetroPie SD card images or you can install RetroPie on an existing system. If you use the SD card image with RetroPie, then you can skip the last two installation steps.

  • Add the following lines to /boot/config.txt to force HDMI to 320x240:

    $ sudo nano /boot/config.txt
    hdmi_cvt=320 240 60 1 0 0 0
  • Run the installation script and install FBTFT and fbcp:

    $ wget -N
    $ sudo /bin/bash 270
    Enable TFT display driver and activate X windows on TFT display? y/n Y
    Activate the console on the TFT display? y/n N
    Install fbcp (Framebuffer Copy)? y/n Y
    Enable automatic startup of fbcp on boot? y/n Y
    Install xinput-calibrator? y/n Y
    Install tslib (touchscreen library)? y/n N
    Reboot the system now? y/n Y
    Rebooting now...
  • Install RetroPie and then reboot the system:

    $ cd ~
    $ git clone --depth=1
    $ cd RetroPie-Setup
    $ chmod +x
    $ sudo ./
    $ sudo reboot
  • Run RetroPie, if you have not enabled the automatic startup:

    $ emulationstation

How to install and run Quake 3 on the display?

  • Run the installation script install FBTFT and fbcp:

    $ wget -N
    $ sudo /bin/bash 270
  • Add the following lines to /boot/config.txt to force HDMI to 320x240:

    $ sudo nano /boot/config.txt
    hdmi_cvt=320 240 60 1 0 0 0
  • Install Quake: English Guide, German Guide and then reboot the system.

  • Run Quake:

    $ fbcp &
    $ ~/quake3/ioquake3.arm

How to install and run SqueezePlay on the display?

  • Install SqueezePlay:

    $ wget
    $ sudo dpkg -i squeezeplay_7.8.0~337_armhf.deb
    $ sudo chmod u+s /opt/squeezeplay/bin/jive_alsa
  • Run SqueezePlay on HDMI and the display:

    $ fbcp &
    $ sudo /opt/squeezeplay/bin/ &
  • Run SqueezePlay only on the display:

    $ sudo SDL_FBDEV=/dev/fb1 /opt/squeezeplay/bin/ &

Can I use the RPi-Display together with a HiFiBerry?

Yes, it is possible to use a RPi-Display B+ and HiFiBerry together. But the backlight control signal of the display has to be changed from GPIO18 to GPIO12 (BL jumper), because GPIO18 is used by the HiFiBerry. The led pin has also to be changed in the overlay file /boot/overlays/rpi-display.dtbo from GPIO18 to GPIO12.

Note, the automatic HAT detection will not work, if both ID EEPROMs are connected to the Raspberry Pi.

Further infos: RPi-Display schematics, HiFiBerry pins, Overlay Compiling (rpi-display-overlay.dts), Device Trees and overlays, .dts files

Hints about Displays

Further infos (e.g. ghost images, screen burn-in) about displays can be found here.

How is the display and touch controller connected to the RPi?

Display  Raspberry Pi   Info
GND      GND            Ground
5V       5V             5V Power Supply
LCD-LED  GPIO18         Display Backlight, can be set to GPIO12 with Jumper BL
LCD-RST  GPIO23         Display Reset
LCD-DC   GPIO24         Display Command/Data Select (DC/RS), Jumper IO24-RS
LCD-CS   GPIO8  (CE0)   Display Chip Select
ADS-CS   GPIO7  (CE1)   Touchcontroller Chip Select
ADS-IRQ  GPIO25         Touchcontroller Interrupt Output
MISO     GPIO9  (MISO)  SPI Master-In Slave-Out
MOSI     GPIO10 (MOSI)  SPI Master-Out Slave-In
SCK      GPIO11 (SCK)   SPI Clock

Our MI0283QT-Adapter v1.5 can be connected in the same way, when it is set to 8-Bit SPI: Jumper IM0=0, Jumper IM1=1, Jumper BUSY-RS=RS/DC on pin 12.

Where can I find the schematics of the RPi-Display?

The schematics and layout files can be found here. The .brd and .sch files are in the CadSoft/Autodesk Eagle format.

What is the optional switch on the RPi-Display for Raspberry Pi Model A and B?

There are pads for an optional tactile switch or VT93N1 LDR sensor (Light-Dependent-Resistor) on the PCB with a connection to GPIO22 of the Raspberry Pi.

  • Connection

    GPIO22 -> SW or LDR
  • How to read the pin state?


    $ gpio -g mode 22 in
    # 0 = SW pressed or LDR bright light, 1 = SW not pressed or LDR low light
    $ gpio -g read 22


    $ sudo -i
    $ echo 22 > /sys/class/gpio/export
    $ echo in > /sys/class/gpio/gpio22/direction
    $ exit
    # 0 = SW pressed or LDR bright light, 1 = SW not pressed or LDR low light
    $ cat /sys/class/gpio/gpio22/value

How are the tactile switches connected on the RPi-Display B+?

  • Connection

    SW1 -> GPIO17
    SW2 -> GPIO27
    SW3 -> GPIO22
  • How to read the pin state?

    # set as input and enable pull-up
    $ gpio -g mode 17 in
    $ gpio -g mode 17 up
    # 0 = SW pressed, 1 = SW not pressed
    $ gpio -g read 17

How to connect the GPIO-Adapter for RPi-Display B+?

The FFC connectors have top contacts and so the FFC cable contacts have to be aligned to the top.

If you want to connect the display via the FFC cable then have a look here and the jumpers MISO, MOSI and SCK have to be also closed.

How to flash/update the ID EEPROM?

The EEPROM on the RPi-Display for Raspberry Pi Model B+ can be updated as follows. Before the update the WP jumper next to the EEPROM has to be closed.

  • Install EEPROM utils:

    $ git clone --depth=1
    $ cd hats/eepromutils
    $ make
    $ chmod +x
  • Generate EEPROM data:

    $ wget
    $ ./eepmake rpi-display.txt rpi-display.eep /boot/overlays/rpi-display-overlay.dtb
  • Update/Flash EEPROM:

    $ sudo ./ -w -t=24c32 -f=rpi-display.eep

    Note: For a Device Tree Kernel add to /boot/config.txt the following line before flashing: dtparam=i2c0=on (before any dtoverlay statement).

SPI Mode

The display can be controlled via 8-Bit or 9-Bit SPI. Note: FBTFT has currently no DMA support for 9-Bit SPI.

  • 8-Bit SPI (performance: about 20 FPS, <10% CPU usage)

    • Jumper IM0 set to 0
    • Jumper IM1 set to 1
    • Jumper IO24-RS closed
  • 9-Bit SPI (performance: about 10 FPS, 65% CPU usage)

    • Jumper IM0 set to 1
    • Jumper IM1 set to 0
    • Jumper IO24-RS opened