Overview

Multi-Purpose Monitor

Are you in need of a small screen for your project? Our 5" (800x480) TFT display might be just what you're looking for. This display features a standard 40-pin connector and is compatible with our TFP401 HDMI breakout. Combined with our PowerBoost and a lipo battery, you can make this into a portable display. Our 3D printed case houses all of the electronics to make a nice little package. You only need to wire four connects, so it's a very easy DIY project that you can make in just a half an hour.

Embedded Display

There's lots of ways to position the display driver, effectively giving you the ability to mount the HDMI port in any orientation. This can be very useful, especially when you need to embed the display into an enclosure. Our 40-pin FPC extension board  gives you the flexibility to position the display driver away from the display, giving you the ability to design your own setup. 

Design & 3D Printing

I designed the case to house the screen, display driver, powerboost, battery and on/off switch. It's actually quite thin compared to a regular display because it doesn't need VGA or composite inputs. This is about as small as you can get, so it's great if you need to save space. The cover and case are designed to snap together. I designed little nubs on the edge of the case that snap into corresponding indentations so the two pieces actually lock together. It's also easy to take apart. The microUSB port from the display driver and powerboost are accessible, so it's easy to power off a USB port or recharge the battery. 

1 x 5.0" 800x480 TFT Display
40-pin without touchscreen
1 x TFP401 HDMI Breakout
40-pin TTL without touch
1 x FPC Extension Board
40-pin 200mm flex cable
1 x Powerboost 1000C
5V lipo charger USB boost @1A
1 x 2500mAh Battery
Lithium Ion Polymer 3.7V
1 x Slide Switch
SPDT breadboard-friendly
1 x Tripod Screw Insert
Camera and Tripod 3/8" to 1/4" Adapter Screw

Tools & Supplies

To put together the electronics, we just need a few tools like a soldering iron and some wire cutters. But using a panavise and helping third hands just makes things easier. 

1 x Panavise Jr.
Helps hold onto components while soldering
1 x Solder Iron
Heat pen used for melting solder wire
1 x Helping Third Hand
Helps hold onto wires while soldering
1 x 30AWG Wire
Silicone cover stranded wire
1 x Flush Cutters
Hakko Precision Flat Pliers
1 x Wire Strippers
Hakko Professsional Quality 20-30 AWG Wire Strippers

Extra Parts

These are some additional parts that you might find useful. In the main photo, you can see I'm using a Raspberry Pi 3, keyboard and a short HDMI cable, all of which are available in the shop. 

3D Printing

Parts

There's just two parts for this project, the enclosure and cover. I added an extra stand just for propping up the screen. The case features a hole near the bottom center for inserting a tripod screw adapter (3/8" to 1/4") so you can mount it to any standard tripod

5in-case

main enclosure. display is mounted to this part

no supports needed!

5in-cover

back cover of the enclosure. the battery, powerboost, display driver, and switch are mounted to this part.

supports? nope!

5in-stand

basic stand for propping up the display

needs supports for bridging the ribs

Slice Settings

I sliced the parts using CURA and Simplify3D. Both are great slicers, you'll have to adjust your slice settings in order to properly produce a tool path that is optimized for perimeters. The tolerances may slightly vary from printer to printer. 

Simplify 3D – Flashforge Creator Pro

  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Extrusion Width: 0.48mm
  • Extrusion Multiplier: 100%
  • Extruder Temp: 220C
  • Infill: 20%
  • Bed: No heat (PrintInZ Build Surface)
  • Default Print Speed: 60mm/s
  • Travel Speed: 90mm/s

CURA – Ultimaker 2+

  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Line Width: 0.5mm
  • Extruder Temp: 220C
  • Infill: 20%
  • Bed: 65C (Glass surface)
  • Default Printing Speed: 70mm/s
  • Travel Speed: 150mm/s

Circuit Diagram

Circuit Diagram

This provides a visual reference for the wiring of the components. They aren't true to scale, just meant to be used as reference. 

To power this circuit, we'll use a 3.7v 2500mAh lipo battery. The PowerBoost has an on board regulator that will convert the voltage to 5V automatically. It also has on-board charging circuit, so we can recharge it over USB when the battery gets low.

  • Ground from PowerBoost to Switch
  • Enable from PowerBoost to Switch
  • 5V from PowerBoost to 5V on TFP401
  • Ground from PowerBoost to ground on TFP401
  • Battery to JST connector on PowerBoost

On/Off Switch

Connect Switch to PowerBoost

I’m going to start by connecting the slide switch to the PowerBoost.

Switch Wires

To do this, I’ll use wire strippers and a spool of wire. I’ll need to cut two pieces of wire from the spool and make sure they’re long enough to fit inside the case.

Strip Wires

Then, I’ll use the wire strippers to remove a bit of insulation from the tips of each wire.

Secure Wires

I like to secure my wires to a pair of third helping hands. I find it easier if the exposed wires are oriented facing the same direction.

Tin Wires

To prevent the strands of wire from fraying, we can tin them by adding a small bit of solder.

Secure Switch

Once that’s done, I’ll swap out the wires for the slide switch.

Trim Switch

I’ll snip off one of the leads from the switch and cut the remaining two in half using flush diagonal cutters. Now I can work on attaching the wires to the slide switch.

Tin Switch

First, I’ll add a bit of solder to the leads on the slide switch. This makes it more sticky so it’s easier to attach wires.

Solder Wires to Switch

Using the tip of the soldering iron, I’ll heat up tinned solder and connect the wires.

Check Wires

With that done, I’ll double check to see if the solder joints are nice and solid.

Heat Shrink

A piece of heat shrink tubing will keep these two wires together. Just slip the wires through and apply heat to shrink the tubing.

Secure PowerBoost

Now that we have our switched wired up, we can work on connecting it to the PowerBoost. I’ll use a panavise to secure the PowerBoost so that I can keep it steady while I do the soldering.

Connect Switch to PowerBoost

The first wire from the switch will connect to the Enable pin, and the second wire will go to Ground.

Test Switch & Battery

Now we have our slide switch wired up to the PowerBoost. I like to check my work every so often so we can actually plug in the battery and test the switch to see if it’s all good. If it is, we should be able to power it on and off. The little blue LED indicate will light up when it’s on.

TFP401 Driver

Connect PowerBoost to Driver

Next we’ll work on connecting the PowerBoost to the TPF401 display driver.

Secure Display Driver

Again, using the panavise to keep the board secured while I do some soldering.

Display Driver Wires

I’ll need two more pieces of wire, this time for the voltage and ground connections for the display driver.

Strip Wires

Again, I’ll use wire strippers to strip the tips of each wire. 

Secure Wires

And back to the third helping hands to assist me by holding them in place while I tin them up.

Tin Wires

I find it much quicker to tin all of the tips of they're all held in close proximity of each other.

Connect Wires to Display Driver

With these wires all prepped, they’re ready to connect to the voltage and ground pins on the TPF401 display driver.

Check Wires

I’ll connect the blue wire to the ground pin and the red to the 5 volts pin.

Connect Display Driver to PowerBoost

After that we’re ready to connect it to the PowerBoost.

Secure PowerBoost

So i’ll go ahead and secure the PowerBoost to the panavise.

Solder Wires to PowerBoost

The ground wire from the display driver goes to ground on the powerboost, and voltage to voltage.

Check Wiring

And with that complete, we’re pretty much done with all of the wiring and soldering.

Test Circuit

At this point, I’ll connect the battery back to the PowerBoost and test the circuit, once again. So far so good, now we can work on connecting the display to the TPF401 driver.

Display

Connecting Display 

First, i’ll connect this 40-pin FPC Extension Board to the flex cable. 

Connect FPC Extension Board

The side with the blue strip faces up and gets inserted into the connector. Once it’s fully seated, we can close the latch to secure it.

Connect Display to FPC

Now we can connect the display to the FPC extension board. 

Orient Display

We’ll need to flip the display over and orient the connector so the copper pads are facing down.

Connect Display

Insert the connector so it’s fully seated and press the latch down to secure them together.

Check Display Connectors

Inspect the latch is fully seated and the cable has been installed straight.

Fit Connector

Then I’ll flip the display and position the flex PCB and extension board so they’re on the back of the metal casing.

Mount FPC Board

I used a piece of mounting tack to secure the extension board to the metal casing. This way it’ll stay in place and makes the assembly a bit more easier.

Check Display Connectors

Make sure the FPC board is secured to the back of the display. 

Get Display Driver

Next up, let’s connect the screen to the TFP401 display driver.

Connect Driver

The silver pads on the flex cable should be facing up, then we can insert and fully seat the connector. We just need to press in the little tabs on the side to secure it shut.

Test HDMI

A quick test using a GoPro and we can see the display is working nicely. The HDMI out from the GoPro looks pretty clean. And with that, we can move onto mounting the components to the 3D printed case.

Assembly

Before install display, remove the protective film from the screen! If you don't do it now, you might find it hard later. Or just make sure the green tab is accessible.

Install Display to Case

I’ll start with installing the screen into the 3D printed housing. We need make sure the orientation is correct then we can insert the display into the holders.

Snap Edges

Just press the side and corners from the display down until the little nubs grabs hold of the metal casing. They should just snap into place.

Check Display Corners

Flip the display over and double check to make sure it’s fully seated and installed.

Remove Protection Film

While we’re here, why not peel off the protective film, it’s always oddly satisfying.

Install Display Driver

Next we’ll mount the display driver to the back cover. Orient the PCB facing down and rest the mounting holes over the standoffs.

Mount Display Driver

Then we can insert and fasten 4-machine screws into the mounting holes and secure the PCB to the cover. You'll need #4-40 3/8" flat Philips machine screws.

Install PowerBoost

Next up, place the PowerBoost onto the corresponding standoffs.

Mount PowerBoost

and hold it in place while inserting just two machine screws. Fasten until fully tightened.

Install Switch

Last but not least, we’ll fit the slide switch into the little holder near the top, close to the display driver.

Connect Battery

Now we can plug in the battery once again and work out how to mount the battery to the cover.

Mount Battery

I just used four little pieces of mount tack, but you can stick on tape or some other type of adhesive. There’s a free spot next to the driver, so it fits here nicely.

Joining Parts

All that’s left to do now is to bring the two pieces together. 

Close Cover

You'll need to position the flex cable so it folds in a position that allows you to close to the case. 

Snap Fit Edges

The back cover has little indentations in the lip. The case has little nubs that snap into the indentations and is secured in place without the use of any screws, which is cool.

Final Check

And that’s pretty much, everything is installed and ready!

This guide was first published on May 31, 2017. It was last updated on May 31, 2017.