PINE64

Full Version: LCD on Pine 64+: my experience (or DO NOT BUY)
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If you're considering getting the LCD for the original Pine64+, or perhaps later versions, please consider this.

My Pine64+ is the kickstarter version with 2gb ram. Due to lack of spare cash when I first got the Pine64, I've tried to do this on-the-cheap, by buying unofficial accessories and (trying to) get them to work with the Pine64. Due to challenges with getting non-Pine64-sold WiFi to work, I ended up getting the official WiFi from Pine64.org, and assumed that would go a lot easier (it did), and assumed the same of the LCD touchscreen panel (it very much did not). I also got the 5MP camera. (Jury is still out on that.)

My Pine64 has gathered dust, mostly, and run BOINC some, and I've tried various OS's. My dream, however, is to get a working "Kitchen Computer" that will track various household things, fairly distribute chores to household members, show & edit Google calendar items for the family, edit our individual to-do's, birthdays, track taking meds, feeding the pets, if it's a recycle/bulky-trash/trash day, how long it's been since something got changed (A/C filter, oil filters), and so on. Google and Amazon have since developed similar ideas, but my dream idea (which has similarly gathered dust) is something that I can program myself, and can excel in ways that the lame, pathetic, limited-imagination programmers of Google & Amazon & their users would never dream or at least bother to do (well).

For years (?), I've known that the official (Pine64-sold) LCD touchscreen panel is a steal, compared to RasPi, etc. What I didn't know was why it was so inexpensive (or who was doing the stealing). 

The LCD arrived along with the WiFi and camera. I noticed that the 7" LCD touchscreen has a slot for a camera to go in, but the Pine64 5MP camera is much too big to fit. (Could you make it fit, somehow?) I decided to get them working one at a time, the WiFi first. It was pretty much a no-brainer. Then the LCD. Nothing. Black screen.

I vaguely remembered there being separate Pine64 images for HDMI and LCD output. So I researched into that, and was greatly disappointed in the support of the community for something I thought that (surely, by now) would be supported: the original Pine64+ running some form of Linux with the LCD touchscreen.

(Could you get a non-standard touchscreen, with matching ribbon connections?)

The research came up with:
  • modsbyus.com has a working Armbian image that used the LCD screen and touch interface
  • earlier (standard Pine64) versions of Armbian worked with the LCD with tweaks to a text file (/boot/armbianEnv.txt), at least for some
  • Some buyers of the 7" LCD have accidentally rendered it trash, by tearing a ribbon connection on it. I vowed that this would not occur to me and my precious LCD.
An official image is naturally preferable, since it is more likely to be kept going in the future, and less likely to have little errors, important omissions or even intentional trickery hidden in it.

The problem is that the current, standard images of Pine64 Armbian desktop do not work with the LCD. You have to find an earlier version, up to _______.___. And good luck finding that. You could ask the community. I know I've occasionally downloaded an image for my Pine64 over the years, and never used it.

So I took the risk, and tried modsbyus.com Armbian. It worked. The LCD screen was working! The touchscreen interface was fine. Joy!

That is, it worked after a sort. When I tried to connect to my WiFi, up popped a password request that wasn't asking for my WiFi password, nor asking for the credentials that modsbyus.com had already supplied.

During the next little delay, while I went back to seeing if any of the images of Armbian I had would work with the LCD, I discovered that the fragile ribbon connector had somehow torn, despite my efforts to treat it all very gingerly.

You can scoff all you want at my lack of research into the LCD before I purchased it. Perhaps I deserve that.

If you want to use the LCD with Android, it will. But I would disconnect the LCD from the Pine after each use, until you're ready to put it in an enclosure. That main ribbon cable may seem sturdy enough at first, but it can tear VERY easily.

My LCD is now in the trash, and you all have my dream idea to do with, as you will. But I know that my ideas for programming it would have been ideal, at least for me and my household.
Must admit to a similar experience having bought-in to a Pine through Kickstarter with the acrylic case, OK 2 sheets and some spacers, which worked fine. Treated myself to the play box case and official LCD and carefully assembled it but its never worked for me.
It's still in a box somewhere.  Sad