Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Super Awesome Portable

by DrVegetable, published

Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Super Awesome Portable by DrVegetable Apr 19, 2016
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UPDATE: The original model was optimized to slice and print well on my printer, which has a 0.35 nozzle. But a friend had trouble slicing this for his 0.4 printer due to the very thin walls of the enclosure. So I have uploaded alternate versions of the case and surround .stl files that have a 2mm wall thickness. (The original is 1.85mm) The same brackets can be used with either design. After slicing, it is recommended that you inspect the tool path output in the gcode before you print, to ensure adequate wall strength.

The Raspberry Pi makes a great portable linux machine, but it is hard to manage without some kind of display. Now the 7" touchscreen makes it easy to see what the Pi is doing. There were a few good case designs already, but none of them allowed easy access to change the SD card. I also had problems slicing some of the existing designs to fit onto my 200mm printer.

This project was inspired by http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1082431 and http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1164446, but is a brand new design (not a remix) hand-crafted with OpenSCAD.

Design Goals:
1.) Full access to (almost!) all Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 Model B ports, including the SD card slot. The case intentionally covers the USB power input port on the Pi so that you don't accidentally try to use it. Instead, USB power goes into the port on the PowerBoost to charge the battery and/or run the Pi from wall power.
2.) Room inside for a large battery. I am using a 6000 mAH battery pack.
3.) 3D printable without supports - short bridging required. Can be printed on a 200mm print bed. To avoid warping, let printed parts cool before attempting removal from print bed. Total print time ~ 8 hours.
4.) All cables exit through the side or rear of the enclosure to allow it to sit smartly on edge during use.

The circuit I used was published by Adafruit. I used the element14 7" Touchscreen and the Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C lipo battery charger with a Raspberry Pi 3B, along with a 6000 mAH 3.7v lipo pack. You will also need to provide a SPST or SPDT slide switch, some velcro, and a few small (#0 or M3) screws to hold everything together.

NOTE: If you attempt to turn on the Raspberry Pi without a formatted (and uncorrupted) OS loaded onto the micro SD card, the monitor will not turn on. If the display doesn't work with your Pi, first make sure you have inserted a good micro SD card before you disassemble the unit.

For additional build instructions, see the excellent Adafruit page describing the original project:


Print Settings


Velleman K8200








Designed to eliminate overhangs and minimize bridging gaps, but may still be a challenge to print cleanly. To avoid warping, let all parts cool completely before attempting removal from the print bed.


Assembly Instructions

1.) Print the case, the screen surround, and a pair of brackets.
2.) The display controller PCB is factory mounted to the back of the touchscreen using four metal standoffs. We will not need the standoffs and they interfere with the other components inside the case, so replace them with the screws provided with the touchscreen. (You can use just two screws in opposite corners and save the other two screws to mount the Pi if you are short on hardware.)
3.) The brackets have a set of larger holes on one leg. Use these larger holes and four short M3(?) screws to connect the surround and both brackets to the back of the screen. Be careful that the screws do not sink deep enough to damage the back of the touchscreen!
4.) Use the other two screws provided with the touchscreen to mount the Raspberry Pi inside the printed case.
5.) If you have a SPDT switch with three terminals, cut one of the outer legs off to avoid short circuits. This makes it into a SPST switch. Solder the two remaining legs of the switch to the EN and GND on the PowerBoost 1000C. It doesn't matter which way you solder the switch, but it will determine whether you slide the switch toward the front or rear of the unit to turn the power on. (The case is designed to accept the switch in either orientation.)
6.) Use two of the jumper wires from the Touchscreen kit to connect 5v and GND on the video controller to pins 2 and 9 on the Pi GPIO connector, as per the Adafruit circuit diagram. Also connect the ribbon cable from the touchscreen to the Display port on the Pi.
7.) Cut one end off of the remaining two jumper wires and solder them into the 5v and GND outputs from the PowerBoost 1000C. Connect the other ends to pins 4 and 6 of the Pi GPIO connector, as per the Adafruit circuit diagram.
8.) Use two small screws to mount the PowerBoost into the case.
9.) Connect the lipo battery to the PowerBoost 1000C and use velcro or double-sided tape to secure the battery to the bottom of the case. Make sure the battery is secure and is not in position to be punctured by the screws you are about to install...
10.) Use four small wood or sheet metal screws to attach the case bottom to the angle brackets, taking care not to damage any internal components - especially the battery. The screws should self-tap into the small holes in the angle brackets.

Always remember to shut down the Pi through the menus or command console and let the operating system close down before you turn off the power with the slide switch. Failing to do so may corrupt or damage your SD card.

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Thanks for the great design! Mine's almost assembled with a Pi 3 inside, just need the last couple screws on the brackets. All the electronics boot up and work though. Did you stick with Raspbian for the OS or try something different?

Need to add sterio speakers and audio amp
I printed this and am using 3 x 18650 3000Mah batteries
Running Kodi it lasts about an hour with sterio amp and speakers

Printing this out right now. Looks really clean. Glad you designed it with the sd card accessible!! I was about to design my own case until i stumbled upon this one. Will post pics when finished!

would this work for the 7 inch sainsmart screen?

I don't know, but in my experience many of the different Pi displays are electrically compatible, but physically different. The thickness and shape of the screen, as well as the location of the mounting holes would all have to be pretty close to get a good fit.

Do you have a link to the specs/dimensions for the screen you are considering?

Oct 23, 2016 - Modified Oct 23, 2016

Thank you for the great design! I really like the access to the sd card. looks good.

Thanks for the kind words, and nice job on the remix!

The one thing to watch with the configuration you are using is that you could overload the voltage regulators on the Pi. Both the Element14 and Adafruit instructions suggest plugging power into the USB port on the display board, which has stronger regulators capable of supplying the Pi as well. (This was the original rationale for covering the USB port on the Pi.)

You might be fine, but it is something to be aware of.

See the text associated with Step 8 from the Element14 site:

Oct 23, 2016 - Modified Oct 23, 2016
regzzz - in reply to DrVegetable

Hi, thanks for the input.. (punt intended hehe) I was going with this info from the Raspberry Pi web site:


Step 4 says: Alternatively, you can power the display from a 5V pin on the Raspberry Pi, using the included jumper leads:

To me it sounds like the display can be powered by the pi through these pins.. maybe I'm reading it wrong?

Also found from adafruit: pictue: https://cdn-shop.adafruit.com/970x728/2718-04.jpg

I am sure I read a statement somewhere warning against doing this, but I can't locate it now. You may find that everything works just fine - I have run my Pi and display for short periods of time wired this way - but I think you will be exceeding the power rating of the regulators on the Pi board, so you could shorten their life.

You may be alright, but I would be on the lookout for any strange behaviors like excessive heat coming from the Pi, brownouts, or display glitches that might be symptoms of regulator overload.

Jul 28, 2016 - Modified Jul 28, 2016

If you've printed this out and updated your firmware, you probably found that your screen is now UPSIDE DOWN! Easy fix.
Go to your Rasbian prompt and type > sudo nano /boot/config.txt
You will see the text file.
Hit enter twice while the prompt is at the top to make room for a new line.
Move your cursor to the top and type LCD_ROTATE=2
Then type and it will ask if you want to save before quitting.
Hit Y
Then hit ENTER
You should be back to the Raspian prompt
Type sudo reboot
Your screen should be the right way up again

Thanks for this comment!

When I originally designed this enclosure I had the screen "upside-down" and thought about flipping it over in software. Instead I thought it would be easier for everybody if the screen was in the correct orientation by default, so I flipped it in the design.

It may be possible (I haven't tried this) to simply flip the screen 180 degrees when mounting it instead of reconfiguring the video driver in the OS. Possible problems would be the length of the ribbon cable and the asymmetrical overhang of the screen.

I hope you are enjoying your Pi!

Jul 19, 2016 - Modified Jul 19, 2016

What about a slot for the picamera cable???

Also, about how long will that 6 ah battery last?

I had given some thought to adding a camera mount to the case, but I didn't need it for my project. There are plenty of gaps in the case where the camera cable can come out. The best approach will depend on how and where you plan to mount the camera.

Battery life will depend on a number of factors, particularly how busy the Pi processor is. But a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation says you should be able to get at least 15 hours of runtime out of it. I haven't tried this, as I use the battery primarily as a UPS to protect the Pi from accidental power disconnection.

Thanks. By the way, if you want to add an honest to goodness power switch, checkout ATXRaspi. You could put it between the 1000C and the Pi.

Is that powerboost 1000c enough to charge a dead battery and power the pi3/7" screen when you are connected to external power? The current limit when plugged in to external power of the 1000c is limited by it's charge circuit, so even though the boost end is capable of +2A, the charge circuit is limited to 1.8A and then you have the inefficiencies of the boost end to account for. The pi and screen will run over an amp so it would be impossible to charge at an amp and supply the pi and screen with that 1.8A limit. I am wondering, does it just charge the battery more slowly, or does it not output enough to power the pi and screen?

That is an excellent question, perhaps better directed to the folks at Adafruit for an official answer.

But it does work. My system was completely dead just now (it had accidentally been left switched on) and I plugged in a 5v/2A USB charger, then powered it up. The system is on and running, and the charge light is lit. So I think this means that the PowerBoost is able to prioritize the load circuit over the battery charger if current is insufficient.

I don't know how well this would work with a lesser power supply.

First of all this look awesome. I am a big fan of mounting with neodymium magnets. I have built a couple of raspberry pi enclosures with displays that run off of batteries. My question is can you add a mount for the magnets so they are enclosed and won't break. Could they be part of a case so you can mount your raspberry pi on your frig so you could have a display there? Also can this be done or would the strong magnet cause problems with the raspberry? I would also like to see a mount that encloses the battery and can be mounted to anything with screws so you can mount the "Go Pro" on something temporarily.

Thanks! You could definitely add magnets to this case. The easiest way would be to glue the magnets to the bottom of the case. I doubt this would interfere with your Pi or other components, but there's only one way to find out. ; )

Great Project. Where did you get the battery? Maybe we could swap in some 18650's? looks like it has a lot of room.


I got the battery from a local electronics retailer. I would think any hobby or electronics store that carries Arduino or Raspberry Pi should carry some kind of suitable lipo batteries. Hobby stores that deal in remote control toys may also carry what you need.

The case has a decent amount of space for different battery shapes. It is wider than I needed it to be for the pack I am using simply because of where the brackets attach to the screen. I am already working on another case design that will have a thinner profile, and that may have more room for a long battery pack like the 18650.