Getting touchy, take cover, but don’t lose your Hat ..The ultimate RPi3 W10 IoT prototyping setup

Hi All,

In this post I will explain, how with a couple of simple hacks to the Raspberry 7″ touch Display Case ,that serves as a case for and the display and the RPi, I was able to build my”Ultimate” – Yes I did eat to much Adafuit lately – Raspberry Pi 3 Prototyping setup using the 7″ Touch display and this case

By enabling Hat and breadboard usage at the same time while the display and  Raspberry Pi are hosted inside this case.

When I started out with Windows IoT on the Raspberry  I bought the official Raspberry 7″ touch display , but it WAS  uselessly laying around, while I later found out that it was not supported by Windows 10 IoT yet.

While testing the latest insider build, thanks to this   PI 3, Windows 10 IoT, 7″ LCD and Browser Support !! YouTube video from  Peter Oakes

I found out that the Raspberry 7″ display should work now !

And Peter does a great job showing and  explaining how to get it all working in the video. , while in the meantime next to that giving a review of the new Windows 10 IoT core build, giving good tips and shows using NooB to install Windows 10 IoT builds, so a well worth watch !

Thanks a lot for that !

 Note that Peter had the same issues I was running into  while evaluating the new build as I did   (Windows IoT Build 10.0.14297 on Raspberry Pi 3)  , I’m running a but later build , but outside the Raspberry Pi 3 now correctly displayed in the default app


the rest seems still the same, no Bluetooth no network  .

So with the official Raspberry 7″ touch display now supported on the Raspberry Pi 3 when running the latest insider build of Windows 10 IoT and this great I could get started building up the one I got.

I also got the the Raspberry 7″ touch Display Case  at the same time I bought the display,  A really great case, but when prepared to build in the display and the RPi 3, I noticed a couple of issues with this case

  1. Access to Raspberry Pi while build in is very hard. (read impossible )
  2. No access to the MicroSD card
  3. No access to the USB port of the display to power it.
  4. No room or possibility to add a Hat
  5. No access to GPIO

Point 1

Is of course a general one with using a case with a raspberry, but a bit more extreme in this case. Although there are cut-outs for all RPi ports the rest is completely inaccessible without completely disassembling the case .

Point 2

can be annoying when you need to flash, although using NooB  for installation and update of the OS image can help here ( Also covered in   PI 3, Windows 10 IoT, 7″ LCD and Browser Support !! YouTube video  )

MicroSD access can be needed for flashing Still  see also  :  Error DEP6701 Wrong format: Separator ‘|’ and the Trail of Raspberry Pi Power Management , or for example editing the config.txt , but when that happens not too often, while an issue with mobile usage not really expected to give problems in this use case as it is much easy to do a proper shutdown.,  and disassembling is not that hard

And there is not much too do as the display flat cable covers it


Point 3

No access to the Displays USB port to power it, there are 3 options

From :

Powering the display

There are three options for powering the display:

1) Separate power supply

2) USB link ( From Display to RPi not the other direction)

3) GPIO jumpers

This leaves only Option 3 open, use the 5V bus of the RPi, normally a valid option, but I would like to  be able to power the display separately.

Point 4

No room at all in with the case to add a hat.

Point 5

No access to the GPIO bus.

Point 3 till 5 do make extending the RPi’s functionality with Sensors and actors impossible,  depending on where you want to use it for more or less an issue and surely not where this case was designed for.

Hence, really a great case overall but not for my intended use of my raspberry Pi – prototyping – at all.

.. but still with some small hacks and additions I was able to “fix” the last 3 issues and turn it from a bad in to great setup for prototyping instead.

Making the Displays Micro USB Connector accessible

to be able to power the Display separately I needed access to the USB connector of the display itself, this connector is directly below the one of the RPi.

I started by enlarging the cut-out for the RPi’s micro USB , till where it is connected to the front plate, this turned out to be not enough and I ended up making also a cut-out in the panel


Note : the cut-out in the picture above did not turn out to be enough either, I had to make it almost as big as the one in the case see later pictures.

I also decided to create an extra cut-out to be able to attach a flat cable to the GPIO Header of the Raspberry Pi.


In the next step you will see I made a lot of scratches on the Case.

This would not be needed !

Those where made by me being careless and slipping out often while creating the initial carve , I was not very careful while creating this cut-out   as it will not be in direct sight later and  they could easily enough be prevented by using the right tools, only thing I got was this:


I did all modifications including initial cut only with that, making it unnecessarily hard and a hell of a job, making me in turn careless.

b.t.w. in real life it does not look half as bad as on the picture 😉

Advice: Good tools make easy work 😉

I decided to create the cutout for the flat cable directly against the panel,mostly as I did not have good tools, making it easier to make initial cut this way, I’s satisfied with it but  probably also can be moved a bit more to the curve on the back of the case.


With this cut-out for the GPIO flat cable in place, I did the first assembly testing.

I needed to make the USB cutout even bigger, but did accomplice a nice fit.


With the case modifications in place, I was ready for next step.

GPIO Flat cable and I2C connection

With the Display powered separately over USB no 5V is  needed from RPi bus so only 2 cables are left on the GPIO bus of the Raspberry connected to Ping 3 and 5 for the I2C connection.

On the raspberry side I also took those away to be able to connect a GPIO flat cable instead.

On the Display side, I replaced them by a bit longer Female-Female cables.


Be sure to note wich one is connected to the SDA pin and wich one to the SCL,  I took the same colors as pin 3 and 5 on the ribbon (Grey and Blue )  for reference

But instead of connecting them to the Raspberry Pi I lead them together with the GPIO ribbon outside of the case.

Now I could build the rest of the case together,

Note Make sure that you give the flat cable some room, when inserting display and raspberry Pi into the frame as it needs to bend behind the RPi a bit.

First test

As we do not have the needed I2C connection between the Rpi and display anymore, we need to provide that again, for a first test, we can connect the 2 SPI cables back to the flat cable like this :

insert 2 connector pins into pin 3 and 5 of flat cable (outside as pin one is left)


then connect the two SPI cables to the flat cable.


 Now we are ready to test, so we can plug in both USB cables for Power.


The RPi should boot now and the Display including touch should be fully functional.


Now that we have the RPi + Display running inside the Display case, but now with an GPIO ribbon and the Displays I2C cables hanging out..

The fun starts

Instead of just looping back, for the next step I connected a Black Hat


This board Allows to attach a hat and still keep an GPIO header free.

I connected the I2C cables for the monitor like this :



Now I could add the GPIO ribbon and a Hat (in my example an 16 Channel PWM hat) .


So now I can control Servos from the RPi while in the Display case, and can easily change to another hat when needed.

A great win !,

But I did not stop there, for prototyping a breadboard is handy, so I decided to add a Pi T-Cobbler and a Breadboard also.

Again looping back I2C channel for the display:


During the boot  added Bluetooth and Wifi USB ( Still needed for now)


MS Foldable keyboard nicely detected (Logitech still had problems) , so I could configure Wifi, even with plastic still on the display  the touch worked fantastic.


Without plastic and with Wifi.

So as well a Hat as a Breadboard connected !

And the cool thing as as well the Display as the Hat are using I2C that is multi device,

we did not loose a single GPIO pin on the way !

So we still have All GPIO pins available on the breadboard !!!!

So from hard to expand to very easy to expand, with only some small hacks, Happy prototyping ..


Greetings /\/\o\/\/

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