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Raspberry Pi 2.8″ TFT Add-on

Raspberry PI 2.8" TFT Add-on is customized for Raspberry Pi based on 2.8" TFT LCD display module. The screen is driven based on an 8-bit data bus and a 4-bit ILI9323DS to control bus interface, which can display 263K colors. Module controls contents to be displayed via GPIO on Raspberry Pi. With touch function, it can be used to display the desktop of Raspberry Pi and realize clicking, touch and feedback.

Before you start

  • You need a Raspberry Pi that can work properly and can be connected to network
  • You need a Raspberry Pi 2.8" TFT Add-on
  • All the following operations are based on the lastest official Raspberry Pi image RASPBIAN, the downloading address is http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian_latest
  • All the following operations are to be performed by logging in RPI via SSH. You can also log in via console or operate directly by connecting to monitor via HDMI interface


RPI 2.8" TFT Add-on is customized for RPI, thus assembly is quite easy — there is a 26pin female header on the board, just plug it into the 26pin male header on RPI, as shown in the following photos:

Installation and settings

Driver Installation

RASPBAIN defaults to turn off SPI driver, thus you need to enable SPI first. Location of the configuration file is:/etc/modprobe.d/raspi-blacklist.conf you should remove or comment out the spi blacklist line

download the package lists from the repositories and "updates" them to get information on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies.

sudo apt-get update

If you want to build FBTFT driver into the kernel, you should use:

sudo REPO_URI=https://github.com/notro/rpi-firmware BRANCH=builtin rpi-update

Download the driver with rpi-update tool. The following commands regard FBTFT drivers as loadable modules.

sudo REPO_URI=https://github.com/notro/rpi-firmware rpi-update 

The installation in this article is regarded as loadable module.

Enable Driver

As GPIO pin definitions in the driver are different from those in actual use, we need to re-define the pins and to rotate the video output by 90 degrees according to habits.

sudo modprobe fbtft_device name=itdb28 gpios=reset:7,dc:2,wr:3,cs:8,db00:17,db01:18,db02:27,db03:22,db04:23,db05:24,db06:25,db07:4 rotate=90

After the driver is successfully loaded, you can find the following information with dmesg


FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1 startx

Then you can see image output on 2.8' screen.

Framebuffer use

Boot X automatically to 2.8' TFT Add-on

Create file: /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-fbdev.conf Contents are shown as below:

Section "Device"  
  Identifier "itdb28"
  Driver "fbdev"
  Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb1"

Save and exit.

Add the following contents to file /etc/modules

 fbtft_device name=itdb28 gpios=reset:7,dc:2,wr:3,cs:8,db00:17,db01:18,db02:27,db03:22,db04:23,db05:24,db06:25,db07:4 rotate=90

This way, x will be automatically boot to 2.8’ TFT Add-on.

Play Video

You can play videos of various formats on the screen with mplayer, and you will not need to boot X.

sudo apt-get install -y mplayer 
wget http://fredrik.hubbe.net/plugger/test.mpg
mplayer -nolirc -vo fbdev2:/dev/fb1 -vf scale=320:-3 test.mpg

Image Viewer

fbi displays the specified files on the linux console using the framebuffer device. PhotoCD, jpeg, ppm, gif, tiff, xwd, bmp and png are supported directly.

sudo apt-get install fbi
wget http://imall.iteadstudio.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/im120525010_8_1.jpg
sudo fbi -d /dev/fb1 -T 1 -noverbose -a im120525010_8_1.jpg


You can use 2.8' TFT Add-on as a console with con2fbmap. con2fbmap is a system utility to show or change the mapping of the consoles to the frame buffer device.

Map console 3 to framebuffer 1, login screen will show up on the display

con2fbmap 3 1
con2fbmap 3

And then it will prompt

console 3 is mapped to framebuffer 1

You can map each console to different framebuffer device according to your needs.

con2fbmap console [framebuffer]

Framebuffer Mirroring

fbcp is used for copying primary framebuffer to secondary framebuffer. It requires lastest raspberry pi firmware (> 2013-07-11) to working properly.

sudo apt-get install cmake
git clone https://github.com/tasanakorn/rpi-fbcp
cd rpi-fbcp/
mkdir build
cd build/
cmake ..
sudo install fbcp /usr/local/bin/fbcp

Start fb copying process in the background

fbcp &

Then you can play video/image on /dev/fb0, which will also show up on /dev/fb1.

wget http://fredrik.hubbe.net/plugger/test.mpg
mplayer test.mpg