Image from “The Elephants Dream” by Blender Foundation


A few months ago i bought a 3.2” TFT display from banggood for my Raspberry PI. After a few days trying to put it to work, here’s how. My approach doesn’t uses any custom kernel

First, a few specs for the TFT

Display module: flexfb, fbtft

Touchscreen module: ads7846

The TFT needs SPI support, lets enable it

sudo raspi-config








Note: If you get the following error:

ERROR: could not insert 'spi_bcm2708': No such device

Don’t worry – just reboot your Raspberry PI now

After rebooting the PI, let’s start configuring the necessary modules

Add the following lines to /etc/modules (the support for the display and touchscreen)

fbtft_device name=flexfb gpios=dc:22,reset:27 speed=48000000
flexfb width=320 height=240 buswidth=8 init=-1,0xCB,0x39,0x2C,0x00,0x34,0x02,-1,0xCF,0x00,0XC1,0X30,-1,0xE8,0x85,0x00,0x78,-1,0xEA,0x00,0x00,-1,0xED,0x64,0x03,0X12,0X81,-1,0xF7,0x20,-1,0xC0,0x23,-1,0xC1,0x10,-1,0xC5,0x3e,0x28,-1,0xC7,0x86,-1,0x36,0x28,-1,0x3A,0x55,-1,0xB1,0x00,0x18,-1,0xB6,0x08,0x82,0x27,-1,0xF2,0x00,-1,0x26,0x01,-1,0xE0,0x0F,0x31,0x2B,0x0C,0x0E,0x08,0x4E,0xF1,0x37,0x07,0x10,0x03,0x0E,0x09,0x00,-1,0XE1,0x00,0x0E,0x14,0x03,0x11,0x07,0x31,0xC1,0x48,0x08,0x0F,0x0C,0x31,0x36,0x0F,-1,0x11,-2,120,-1,0x29,-1,0x2c,-3

ads7846_device model=7846 cs=1 gpio_pendown=17  speed=1000000 keep_vref_on=1 swap_xy=0 pressure_max=255 x_plate_ohms=60 x_min=200 x_max=3900 y_min=200 y_max=3900

For X, we need to configure it to start in the framebuffer /dev/fb1

Edit the configuration file for X display:

sudo vi /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-fbturbo.conf

This is the contents of the file:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Allwinner A10/A13 FBDEV"
        Driver          "fbturbo"
        Option          "fbdev" "/dev/fb0"
        Option          "SwapbuffersWait" "true"

Change the line

Option          "fbdev" "/dev/fb0"


Option          "fbdev" "/dev/fb1"

Save the file and quit

In /boot/overlays there’s the device tree overlay to add support for the touchscreen this LCD brings – ads7846. We just need to tell to the RPi to add support for it.

Device Tree Overlays make possible the support of many hardware configurations with a single kernel and without the necessity to blacklist or load kernel modules.

More info about Device Tree Overlays in here.

There’s a small configuration file – config.txt – that controlls the usage of the Device Tree Overlays.

sudo vi /boot/config.txt

add the following line (at the end of the file):

# Touchscreen - to know what's this line about
dtoverlay=ads7846,cs=1,penirq=17, speed=500000, swapxy, pmax=255, xohms=100, xmin=200, xmax=3900, ymin=200, ymax=3900

Make sure the SPI line is also there:


Reboot the PI

Now, check the device in /proc/bus/input/devices

cat /proc/bus/input/devices

and you should see something like:

I: Bus=0000 Vendor=0000 Product=0000 Version=0000
N: Name="ADS7846 Touchscreen"
P: Phys=spi0.1/input0
S: Sysfs=/devices/platform/soc/20204000.spi/spi_master/spi0/spi0.1/input/input0
U: Uniq=
H: Handlers=mouse0 event0
B: EV=b
B: KEY=400 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B: ABS=1000003

If you start X, you can now touch the screen, but it will not be calibrated.


To calibrate the screen, we must do this as root

sudo bash

Install packages

apt-get install xinput evtest libts-bin

Set the environment for the calibration, exporting two variables

export TSLIB_TSDEVICE=/dev/input/event0

export TSLIB_FBDEVICE=/dev/fb1

Note: Every time you want to calibrate again, those two variables must be exported

Execute the calibration:


Just press were the crosshair is:


(and you should see the resolution in the console – given by ts_calibrate)

xres = 320, yres = 240

Your terminal should give some results:

Took 19 samples...
Top left : X = 899 Y = 3070
Took 14 samples...
Top right : X = 3072 Y = 3137
Took 17 samples...
Bot right : X = 3263 Y = 880
Took 1 samples...
Bot left : X = 712 Y = 895
Took 14 samples...
Center : X = 786 Y = 939
46.247009 0.078900 -0.013472
203.000641 0.008692 -0.055027
Calibration constants: 3030844 5170 -882 13303850 569 -3606 65536

The data (Calibration constantes) will be written to /etc/pointercal file. Just cat /etc/pointercal to see the file contents.

To test the calibration, execute ts_test (as root) and in the console you should see some information:

1444847435.977810: 180 141 169
1444847435.987800: 179 141 170
1444847436.007834: 200 145 176
1444847436.017815: 179 147 176
1444847436.017815: 179 147 176
1444847436.027867: 179 147 168
1444847436.037893: 178 148 162
1444847436.057784: 165 152 145
1444847436.067846: 168 153 143

Calibration4 Calibration3

Press Ctrl+c to terminate

Now, reboot the PI

After the reboot, you should have the touchscreen calibrated

If you find out that the axis are reversed (It will probably happen), just create the file 99-configuration.conf (you can give it other name) in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/ with the following contents:

Section "InputClass"
         Identifier "calibration"
         MatchProduct "ADS7846 Touchscreen"
         Option "Calibration" "219 3835 3984 219"
         Option "SwapAxes" "0"

Start the display manager again and it should be ok

Note: You still have another option, that is adding the following line to /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc, above the . /etc/X11/Xsession line, staying like the following

DISPLAY=:0 xinput --set-prop 'ADS7846 Touchscreen' 'Evdev Axis Inversion' 1 0

. /etc/X11/Xsession

Between the . (dot) and / there’s a space

Now, you’re able to use your TFT without any fuss or custom kernels


If you want to display the boot messages and have a command line in the tft screen, just add the following to /boot/cmdline.txt


full line (default options):

dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=PARTUUID=a6fb46b2-02 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait fbcon=map:10

This is a kernel option that will tell it to map the display to tty 1 and fb (framebuffer) 0


The default font is just way to big for the small screen. Luckily there’s a way we can adequate that.

sudo apt-get install kbd
sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

And choose the following options:

Encoding to use on the console: <UTF-8>

Character set to support: <Guess optimal character set>

Font for the console: <Terminus>

Font size: <6×12 (framebuffer only)>

Now you have a smaller font on the CLI and on the TFT display



Banggood avaliable Raspberry PI image with support for the TFT LCD display