Raspberry Pi Primary Display Cape - 3.2" Touchscreen

This is the 3.2" Raspberry Pi Primary Display Cape, a small touch-sensitive screen that attaches directly onto your Raspberry Pi and displays the primary output like what is normally sent to the HDMI or Composite output. It features an integrated Resistive Touch panel, enabling the Primary Display Cape to function with the Raspberry Pi without the need for a mouse.

Communication between the 3.2" Primary Display Cape and the Raspberry Pi is interfaced with a high speed 48Mhz SPI connection, which utilizes an on-board processor for direct command interpretation and SPI communication compression, and features a customized DMA enabled kernel. This combination allows this display to output 25FPS when displaying a typical image/video, and can achieve higher depending if the image can be compressed.

The Primary Display Cape is designed to work with the Raspbian Operating System running on the Raspberry Pi, as that is the official Raspberry Pi operating system.

The Primary Display Cape features a breakout header (P2), which enables all of the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins to be accessed while the cape is connected. These can be access with jumper wires or with an IDC ribbon cable.

Note: The Raspberry Pi Primary Display Cape is now able to support Raspberry Pi 2 and any NOOBS issue (like the one mentioned in the Product Video below) has also been fixed.

  • Universal 3.2” Primary Display for the Raspberry Pi
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi A, B, A+, B+, and Pi2 versions.
  • 320x240 QVGA Resolution
  • RGB 65K true to life colors
  • TFT Screen with integrated 4-wire Resistive Touch Panel
  • Display full GUI output / primary output
  • High Speed 48MHz SPI connection
  • 25 Frames per second (FPS)
  • Powered directly off the Raspberry Pi
  • 4x corner plates with 2.6mm holes for mechanical mounting

Raspberry Pi Primary Display Cape - 3.2" Touchscreen Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

3 Programming

Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #656613 / about 9 years ago / 2

    Is this product compatible with the new Pi Model? The Raspberry Pi 2.

    • Member #657062 / about 9 years ago / 1

      It doesn't for me. Not sure how if it is a Pi 2 issue or if the kernel provided by 4DS is just not compatible with the latest raspbian. Doesn't seem to boot after installing the debian package and the display doesn't come on either.

  • Member #703261 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Can you combine a touchscreen with a Piface Digital ?

  • Member #688146 / about 9 years ago / 1

    I bought this for the Pi 2. I downloaded the package the Quickstart guide told me to download, but it would not install. I found a new package on the manufacturer's website and downloaded that, which is supposed to work with the Pi 2. It installed successfully. I shut down my Pi and install the hardware. The screen never came on when powered back up.

    The worst part is now when I plug in my monitor I just get a squared off color rainbow and can't get to the command line or GUI. My Pi is essentially bricked and I have lost all of my work.

  • Member #506570 / about 9 years ago / 1

    The 320x240 screen is a little small, can I enable the virtual screen ability of the X server over this screen? I tried to find the config but I am not sure where it is.

  • kristof123 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Is it somehow possible to use the touchscreen and hdmi-out at the same time? ie. some controls on the touchscreen, and a fullscreen app to a HDMI-connected display?

    • I'm not certain but I would imagine that it is possible to use this and an additional display. The reason is that this communicates via SPI using a proprietary driver. I doubt that built-in graphics is involved at all. You could configure your X11 to use two different devices like a typical dual-monitor setup on a PC.

      • kristof123 / about 10 years ago / 1

        Maybe I'm overlooking something... But I've tried that, after installing the firmware for the touchscreen... But when I try to detect the displays it says that no displays are detected, not even the working touchscreen is detected as a display. I'm not a very advanced Linux-user... but I'm guessing that the 4Dsystems-firmware for some reason disables all other display outputs. However, when connecting a HDMI display, it DOES show something on the screen what looks like a command prompt that shows what is happening "behind the screens" when using the x11 on the touchscreen.

  • Member #458884 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Has anyone come up with an enclosure for this either with the RasPi attached or on the end of a ribbon cable?

  • 4DTech / about 10 years ago / 1

    PLEASE NOTE - Compatibility for NOOBS has been added, contrary to the comment by Sparkfun in the video they released. This has just been released and is available for download directly from the 4D Systems website. http://www.4dsystems.com.au/downloads/4DPi/kernel4dpi_1.2-1_all.deb Sparkfun will be alerted accordingly to update the link above.

  • Member #581120 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Is it compatible with pcDuino as primary screen also?

  • dbc / about 10 years ago / 1

    Binary package for driver module, but no source? I couldn't find source either here on on the 4D systems web site. Does this only have a closed-source driver?

    • 4DTech / about 10 years ago / 1

      Its coming in the next few days, will be on the 4D Systems product page by the end of this week.

  • the 2 pins that are clipped are 27 and 28 that are only used if you are writing to a EEPROM. I assume that if you get the B+ to specifically write EEPROMS and not for the extra GPIO's then you would know not to clip those pins, However if you are like me and want a small display for a portable and want the GPIO's of the B+ along with the reduced power requirements then WOOO HOO CLIP CLIP BABY!

  • sprior / about 10 years ago / 1

    I was under the impression that "cape" was a BeagleBone Black specific term and that Raspberry Pi addons are called "shields". Is this not the case?

    • 4DTech / about 10 years ago / 1

      Not 100% sure why Sparkfun called these Capes, but at the end of the day its an add on display module, and Capes and Shields are essentially the same thing. But yes.

  • kabram / about 10 years ago / 1

    It looks like this and its cousin https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13052 are not compatible with the Model B+ which has 40 GPIO pins?

    • 4DTech / about 10 years ago / 1

      Not sure where you got that impression. These are compatible with A, B and B+ Raspberry Pi's

    • JED / about 10 years ago * / 1

      The B+ pins match the B pins and ADD MORE. Two ways to use an older style cable on a 40 pin GPIO header - get an adapter (Adafruit product 1986 is one, $3) OR clip a couple of pins on the B+ so that the 26 pin cable will plug in. Since the PI is inexpensive, throwing away some connectivity on one by snipping pins is no big deal. I don't have a B+ yet, so I have NOT tested.

  • Member #6931 / about 10 years ago / 1

    While it would seem like this display should work with the Raspi camera under the raspistill CL program or PiCamera for Python, I wonder if anyone has tried this yet. I've used other (serial) displays from 4D systems and they work very nicely, so I am optimistic about this module

Customer Reviews

3 out of 5

Based on 2 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

Really easy to setup, small quirks

Setup went through without a hitch and I had it running in minutes. Looks great! Some small quirks to be aware of: using this for the terminal, I could only get tty1 working. Also, I can only get the graphical desktop at first boot; if I log out to the tty and rerun startx manually, it outputs over hdmi instead of the cape. Not a huge deal; actually kind of a nice glitch to switch to a bigger display for debugging/dev.


I was hoping to use this with Xwindows to allow the pie to show weather, some data from my weather station and other things of the sort. But the Xwindows implementation supplied does not have any virtual scrolling, so what you can display is very limited. It doesn't appear to do double clicks and definitely doesn't do any zooming. If you plan on using this screen with your own types of programs it might work, but if you want to use it with regular applications, you're better off getting a regular touchscreen to use with this.