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Raspberry Pi Primary Display Cape - 3.5" Touchscreen

This is the 3.5" 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 3.5" 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 17FPS 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 3.5” Primary Display for the Raspberry Pi
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi A, B, A+, B+, and Pi2 versions.
  • 480x320 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
  • 17 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 - 3.5" 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.

  • I have seen other spi displays that cause the pi3 bluetooth to fail, can anyone confirm that this display and bluetooth work at the same time?

  • will this work with windows 10 on the raspberry pi? If so how would you make it work?

  • Is it compatible with Raspberry Pi 2 as well?

  • I've got this display to work on my pi, but I've noticed that the vertical viewing angle is pretty poor and it seems to be oriented so that the viewing angle is more oriented along the length rather than the width. I'm wondering if the LCD is more suited to portrait mode than landscape. The default settings have the display fairly dim, are there any settings which improve the viewing angle?

  • Am I missing something? cannot get the PiCamera to work when this display is hooked up. running the kernel4dpi_1.2-1_all.deb (was NOOBS kernel before). This with the camera enabled through the raspi-config. Keep getting 'failed to create camera component" in all camera apps/scripts. Also, just switching back to original NOOBS kernel and bypassing this display gets the camera working again. any advice?

  • 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.

  • Ugh. This "HAT" isn't going to work for me. I need a faster framerate for 24+ fps video and SPI won't cut it. I need DSI or HDMI.

    • The 3.2" is capable of doing 25 FPS if you want to check that out. SPI speed can be boosted to 64Mhz too. All in the Datasheet.

  • Capes for BBB, Shields for RasPi... Or is this convertable? Does the BBB go into a telephone booth (remember those????) and swirl around and come out wearing aRasPi Cape???

    • 6 of 1, half a dozen of the other. Not sure why Sparkfun called these Capes but at the end of the day they are the same thing really.

  • It's a shame that SW1-SW5 aren't officially supported (because of the layout change with the B+), but perhaps there's a way to get them to work with an A or B rev Pi, even if you have to solder on your own switches/header.

    • It is unfortunate. On the next batch of boards from the factory, there will be external button support via the on board processor. It is unfortunate this feature had to be removed on the first batch.

  • Now I can build a handheld Minecraft system. Or at least I could if I wasn't broke.

  • What is different between the 3.2 and 3.5 other than size?, the price differs with $20 for 0.3"? And, Cape, isn't that for Beaglebones?, Hat's for RaspberryPi I thought?

  • And now... What we REALLY need, is an aesthetically acceptable (wife acceptance Factor) case, into which we can put the pi, and this cape, and hang it on the wall and have it look like a small picture frame, and have it act as picture frame, thermostat, security control, home automation control, etc... Some case that wouldn't be more ugly than your standard molded thermostat case.

    • This right here. Someone who knows how to do 3d printing or whatnot get on that (i.e. not me). PLEASE?!

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I need more time

I'm still trying to get my Raspberry Pi to work the way I want it to. I haven't even plugged in my touchscreen yet. I'll let you know how it goes.