These days, high-quality touchscreen displays have made their way into mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, digital camera, etc. Of course, you can use a smartphone or a tablet to control a Raspberry Pi, but for geeks, makers and hackers, building the best DIY project are even more important than attaching smart gadgets. Connecting a touchscreen display to your Raspberry Pi, allow you to give input and control the whole system.
However, if your project doesn’t have this feature, there is now a plethora of touch displays that will interact just fine with a Raspberry Pi. You can choose between five dimensions including the small screen with a diagonal of 2.8-inch, continue with 3.2-inch, 3.5-inch, 7-inch, and finishing with the largest touchscreen display by 9-inch.
With a diagonal of 2.8 inches, the PiTFT display screen is the best way to add a small and colorful display to your Raspberry Pi minicomputer. It’s large enough to display images, videos, or use it as a console.
The PiTFT display has a price of $34.95, and it’s large enough to help you display and control data with your minicomputer. In other words, PiTFT is perfect to create and prototype different things.
The Raspberry Pi touchscreen features a resolution of 320×240 pixels and uses the SPI interface to communicate with Pi.
Designed to fit perfectly with the Pi Model A and B, the display module works perfectly fine with latest Pi versions: Model A+, Model B+, Pi 2 Model B.
IBM Simon was the first smartphone with a touchscreen and a diagonal of 3 inches. Now, you can use a display larger than the first smartphone display to prototype a mobile device or any other gadget with a Pi.
You can use your Pi with three displays having a diagonal of 3.2 inches. These touchscreen are uLCD-32-PTU, SainSmart 3.2″ TFT LCD Display, and Eleduino 3.2.
uLCD-32-PTU is the first Raspberry Pi touchscreen display with 3.2-inch diagonal. At a price of $84.95, the display module is a powerful piece of hardware engineered with a 4D Pi Adapter and 5 way interface cable.
The display comes with a custom adapter shield to fit in seconds with a Raspberry Pi. More than that, you can use a comprehensive library to communicate easily with the board.
The SainSmart TFT LCD display is the second module with a diagonal of 3.2-inch. It has a price of $17.76 and featured with a wide viewing angle.
Engineered with SSD1289 controller, the module support 8 and 16-bit data interface. This means that it’s easy to display data on the touchscreen from many MCU like 8051, AVR or STM32.
The touch sensor of the module is ADS7843, and the touch interface is a 40-pin breakout.
The last Raspberry Pi touchscreen display with a 3.2-inch diagonal is the Eleduino TFT LCD with a price of $29.99. The display module is a special one designed especially for Raspberry Pi Model B and B+ and with a plug system that fit directly to your board.
The module runs a Raspbian Debian Wheezy version with a custom kernel, which means that you need some advanced Linux skills to work with it. But if you’re already familiar with Linux OS, you can plug the module directly in Pi and play videos or control the Pi camera at a touch of a finger.
The display has a viewing angle closer to 180 degrees and a very high brightness and contrast.
Since the module is attached directly to the Pi, you don’t need an additional power supply because it will draw power from the board.
If you want to use a Raspberry Pi touchscreen with a diagonal of 3.5 inches, you definitely have to choose between PiTFT and PiScreen.
These two touchscreen displays are perfect to build your homemade audio player or smartphone.
PiScreen had a price of $38.00 and a 3.5-inch TFT touch display having a resolution of 480×320 pixels. The touchscreen display works with A, B, B+ and Pi 2.
You can attach the module directly to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins or via a ribbon cable. If you choose the first option, you’ll have available only eight pins to interface other parts.
PiTFT is the second touchscreen with a diagonal of 3.5 inches. It has a price of $44.95 and a resolution of 480×320 pixels.
To communicate with Pi, you have to use PiTFT via the SPI interface and the GPIO pins 25 and 24. This means that the module works on top of your Pi.
Compatible only with Raspberry Pi 2, Model A+ and B+, you can use the module from start to run the X interface or pygame.
Do you want to build an iPad that costs less than $100? A 7-inch touchscreen is perfect to transform your Raspberry Pi into a tablet.
But only a tablet? No. You can use a 7-inch touchscreen display to build, for example, an E-book reader, audio player, tablet or a remote control with a touchscreen. If you want to touch your car with the power of Raspberry Pi, you can build a touch screen car computer.
You have two options to use the Pi board with a 7-inch touchscreen: Tontec and ELI70-CR.
The Tontec is a two-pieces 7-inch touchscreen LCD monitor at a price of $59.95. The display comes as a kit and includes the HDMI VGA Input Driver board.
The two pieces that form the display is the display driver and the resistive touchpanel. The display driver is engineered with an HDMI input and the on-board resistive touchpanel with an USB controller board.
With such dimensions, the module needs a large power supply. A charger with an output of 12V 2A DC should be sufficient to power the LCD screen.
Back to the screen specifications, it has a 16:9 aspect ratio and support a resolution of 800×480 pixels.
If you run Raspbian on your Pi, you need to recompile the kernel and add the touchscreen support. Unfortunately, Raspbian doesn’t come out of the box with support for touchscreen displays.
ELI70-CR is the second touchscreen TFT LCD monitor with a diagonal of 7-inch compatible with Pi. At a price of $119.00, the touchscreen display uses the same simple plug-and-play solution to communicate with your Pi. In other words, ELI needs a 12VDC power supply, HDMI and USB dongles.
The display uses the a-Si TFT LCD technology and provides a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.
It’s not too easy to work with such a large display. It has a weight of 255 grams, and because the display is often used attached by a support structure, it’s designed with four screw mounts.
What can you do with a 9-inch touchscreen display and a Raspberry Pi? Well, there are a lot of things that you can build, unless you don’t want to play with big screens.
Like the 7-inch screens, you can use a 9-inch touchscreen display to build a Raspberry Pi TV, tablet, all-in-one touchscreen PC, monitor, E-book reader, or use it as a touchscreen car computer.
The only one 9-inch touchscreen for Raspberry Pi is the SainSmart HDMI/VGA Digital 9″ and has a cost of $85.58.
It features a 9-inch display with 1024 x 600 pixels. It communicates with a Pi board via HDMI and VGA connectivity and it needs a 12VDC power supply to operate.