Review: PiFace Control and Display

My thoughts on the PiFace Control and Display LCD screen

Today I wanted to review the LCD screen I have for my Raspberry Pi, called the PiFace Control and Display. I received this at the same time that I got my Raspberry Pi Camera.

I got this from Element14/Newark”.

PiFace Control and Display

Features of the PiFace Control and Display

The reason I wanted an LCD screen is because a lot of the little projects I was doing on the Pi had the need of some basic way to show output to me. For example the output of a script or some basic status message.

The PiFace Control and Display does this and more, here is a rundown of some of the features;

  • 16 character by 2 line alphanumeric display
  • User definable custom characters
  • LED backlight
  • Infrared Receiver
  • 3-position navigation switch
  • 5 tactile switches
  • Python libraries provided

Installation of the PiFace Control and Display

Physically installing this was very easy, the board fits over your GPIO pins (which, as a an aside, means that you can’t use any of the pins for anything other than the LCD display).

Getting the display up and running from a software point of view was pretty easy too.

  1. You run sudo raspi-config to enter the main Raspberry Pi setup screen.
  2. Select “Option 8 Advanced Options”
  3. Choose the A5 SPI option, set this to
  4. Select then .
  5. Reboot your machine

I did not have any infrared remotes that would let me play with the receiver, so I did not try and set this up.

To control the PiFace programmatically there are Python libraries, they are fairly well documented to get you started but are lacking community input to help expand on them.

Thoughts on the PiFace Control and Display

Given how easy it is to get the basic input and output functionality working I would recommend this to anyone who either needs very simple input (including a basic form of list/character selection) or very simple output displayed.

Uses for the PiFace Control and Display

One of the things myself and a few people in work are excited about is using this as a basic score tracker for our table tennis matches, such a tracker has very basic input and output needs which makes the PiFace Control and Display a natural choice.

I have also hooked it up with my camera to do face detection and alert the LCD when a face is detected.

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