PiGRRL Switch: Choosing the Screen

The centerpiece of any tablet or in the Switch’s case tablet-thingie, is the screen.  Therefore, that seems like the best place to start my PiGRRL Switch design.  But first, a brief list of the Switch’s display specs:

  • Size: 6.2 inches
  • Resolution: 1280×720
  • Type: LCD

Now the Raspberry Pi has a wide array of compatible screens, but unfortunately I’ve been unable to find a 6 inch one to match the size of the Switch.  However, there are an abundance of 5 inch and 7 inch screens.  This effectively means that my console display will have to be either larger or smaller than the Switch.

The 5 inch display I was looking at was from Elecrow with a resolution of 800×480.  However, after looking at the dimensions of the display, it looks like it’s only slightly larger than the Raspberry Pi.  This would require me fitting the supporting electronics (e.g. HDMI splitter, battery, etc.) into a small space.  After the space concerns I ran into on my Raspberry Pi Tablet, I have no doubt I won’t be able to do this.  So with that it mind, I decided to go with the larger, 7 inch display.

The two 7 inch displays I considered were Elecrow’s 7 inch display with a resolution of 1024×600 and Chalk-Elec’s 7 inch HD display with a resolution of 1280×800.  I’ve used Chalk-Elec’s 10 inch display before for my tablet/oscilloscope project and was completely satisfied with it, but at two times the cost of Elecrow’s display I decided to go with the lower resolution.  The highest resolution console of the first five console generations was the N64 with a output capability of 480i (or 576i for PAL regions).  This means the 1024×600 resolution is more than capability of properly displaying any games I might want to play.

Because the screen input requires a specific resolution, the Raspberry Pi’s configuration file needed to be modified.  I used this site as a guide.  I added the following lines to /boot/config.txt

  • max_usb_current=1
  • hdmi_group=2
  • hdmi_mode=87
  • hdmi_cvt 1024 600 60 6 0 0 0

These lines increase the current to the USB peripherals and configure the HDMI to output the exact resolution required by the display.

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