Adafruit piTFT install

I bought one of these neat modules and am writing up a small digest of the install procedure:


Easy install

mv pitftsh
chmod +x
sudo ./ -t 28r -r


This script carries out a lot of adaptations on the system. Details on the install in case you want to roll back a certain part of the install:

Installing screen driver:
sudo modprobe spi-bcm2708
sudo modprobe fbtft_device name=adafruitts rotate=90
export FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1

this happens automatic on load:

sudo nano /etc/modules

added two lines:


screen configuration saved in modprobe, sets rotation and framerate:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/adafruit.conf
options fbtft_device name=adafruitrt28 rotate=90

Calbration configuration is stored like this:

sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf

file contents:

Section "InputClass"
  Identifier "calibration"
  MatchProduct "stmpe-ts"
  Option "Calibration" "3800 200 200 3800"
  Option "SwapAxes" "1"

start graphc modes in piTFT (FB1), edit this file:

sudo nano ~/.profile


export FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1

Screen calibration

This is defined lke this:

sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/95-stmpe.rules


SUBSYSTEM=="input", ATTRS{name}=="stmpe-ts", ENV{DEVNAME}=="*event*", SYMLINK+="input/touchscreen"

Remove and re-install the touchscreen with

sudo rmmod stmpe_ts; sudo modprobe stmpe_ts

Then type

ls -l /dev/input/touchscreen

It should point to eventX where X is some number, that number will be different on different setups since other keyboards/mice/USB devices will take up an event slot

There are some tools we can use to calibrate & debug the touchscreen. Install the “event test” and “touchscreen library” packages with

sudo apt-get install evtest tslib libts-bin
sudo evtest /dev/input/touchscreen

Auto calibration script here:

sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
chmod +x
sudo ./

manual calibration:

sudo TSLIB_FBDEVICE=/dev/fb1 TSLIB_TSDEVICE=/dev/input/touchscreen ts_calibrate

and test:

sudo TSLIB_FBDEVICE=/dev/fb1 TSLIB_TSDEVICE=/dev/input/touchscreen ts_test

X-calibration system:

sudo dpkg -i -B xinput-calibrator_0.7.5-1_armhf.deb

delete old calibration:

sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf

Now you’ll have to run the xcalibrator while also running X. You can do this by startx and then opening up the terminal program and running the xinput_calibrator command (which is challenging to do on such a small screen) OR you can do what we do which is run startx in a SSH/Terminal shell and then run the xinput_calibrator from the same shell, which requires the following command order:

FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1 startx &
DISPLAY=:0.0 xinput_calibrator

Run sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf and copy the

Section "InputClass"
  Identifier      "calibration"
  MatchProduct    "stmpe-ts"
  Option  "Calibration"   "119 3736 3850 174"
  #        Option  "SwapAxes"      "1"

or whatever you got, into there. You can quit X if you want by typing fg to bring that command into the foreground, and then Control-C to quit.

Depending on the ‘rotation’ of the screen, when you do this calibration, you may need to comment out the SwapAxes part with a # and/or swap the numbers around so looks like:

Option  "Calibration"   "119 3736 3850 174"


Option  "Calibration"   "3736 119 174 3850"

Change Console look

First up, we’ll update the boot configuration file to use the TFT framebuffer /dev/fb1 instead of the HDMI/TV framebuffer /dev/fb0
sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt 
you can also edit it by putting the SD card into a computer and opening the same file.At the end of the line, find the text that says rootwait and right after that, enter in:
fbcon=map:10 fbcon=font:VGA8x8
then save the file.On the next boot, it will bring up the console.Note that the kernel has to load up the display driver module before it can display anything on it so you won’t get the rainbow screen, a NooBs prompt, or a big chunk of the kernel details since the module is loaded fairly late in the boot process.

I think the VGA8x8 font is a bit chunky, you probably want 12×6 which is what is shown in the photo above. To change the font, run
sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

and go thru to select Terminus 6×12

You may notice the console goes black after 30 minutes, this is a sort of ‘power saving’ or ‘screensaver’ feature. You can disable this by editing


and setting the blank time to 0 (which turns it off)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>