Raspberry Pi 3 with Touchscreen and Camera V2


I just got a Raspberry Pi 3 with touchscreen and camera. I am a seasoned Photon and Linux user, but have never used the Pi before. Any words of wisdom before I start breaking things?

EDIT March 5th:

Don’t want to read the entire blog, just go straight to the video:

The link is https://youtu.be/h5NnSbo351I

The physical setup for the touchscreen looks OK, the software installation seems to make sense except the virtual keyboard looks like it needs to first be installed by SSH or an attached keyboard. Anyone done this lately? Be nice if I didn’t have to hook up a keyboard or screen first.

Particle setup looks OK https://docs.particle.io/guide/getting-started/start/raspberry-pi/ Wifi setup seems easy enough to understand.

The Camera looks like it is Plug and Play just not sure what software works on it. For programming the Python code looks easy enough to follow https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/getting-started-with-picamera/worksheet/

So if anyone else has the 7’’ touchscreen with the Pi3 and you are using the Particle.io IDE could you maybe touch base here?


For easy setup, I’d recommend enabling VNC and/or SSH (both disabled by default). They can both be enabled with just the touchscreen, as they don’t require any keyboard interaction. That way you could install the virtual keyboard using SSH or VNC.

To connect, you could either hook it up to ethernet or enable the guest network with no password on your wireless router just for a little bit so you can connect via SHH and install the virtual keyboard:

sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

That should get you started.


@Kurticus thanks for the suggestions, SSH and or VNC will make copying and pasting Linux commands a lot easier.

P.S. How are you finding using the Particle.io IDE with the PI3? Have you used many Analog sensors, or Serial (uART, SPI or I2C) .

Also have you used many PWM actuators (Steppers, Servos, DC motors)? Kind of hoping that my working Photon code will transfer to the PI3, it is probably not going to happen smoothly.


@rocksetta You’re welcome! I just got my beta access a couple days ago and haven’t gotten around to setting it up yet actually.

I’ve used all kinds of servos and sensors with the Pi before… But it was with Python code, not the Photon IDE C language. I’ve been messing around with Arduinos and Raspberry Pis separately for a couple years now. I got the Photon maker kit as a Christmas gift, and have been trying to familiarize myself with how the Photon differs from Arduino.

I’m sure there’s some kind of graphic that assists with mapping the Photon pin outs with the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins. Since there are already so many ways to remotely manage the Raspberry Pi, I haven’t given the Particle.io IDE much thought. Signed up for beta out of curiosity.


You mean this pinout in the docs? https://docs.particle.io/datasheets/raspberrypi-datasheet/#pin-out-diagram

Also SSH is now enabled by default.


This project shows you how to use the Raspberry Pi camera with Particle.


I found a VNC setup website at https://www.realvnc.com/docs/raspberry-pi.html#raspberry-pi-setup.

It has a free cloud signup for non-local connections. Anyone know if that is necessary, since I could just run my own php or Nodejs server?



Also SSH is now enabled by default.

That is interesting and disturbing all at the same time! In the past I have used Putty on windows that should give SSH a bit of an edge over VNC. I will look into that.

This looks like an interesting headless setup



After all this research it seems that almost always an attached keyboard and mouse is useful. I think I am just going to wimp out and wait till I get back to school to find a usb mouse and keyboard. I believe a pre-setup wireless mouse and keyboard will work but I am not in any hurry.

Still interested if anyone is having success with the online Particle IDE, flashing code by Wifi to the PI much like how we use the Photon. I have seen lots of info about using the Particle CLI but I am not interested in that route.



Just checking, have you actually booted your Pi yet and connected to it with SSH? I can help you set it up without a mouse, keyboard or monitor.

All you need is your computer and wifi / ethernet. The quickest way is to actually edit the file on the SD card and put in your wifi credentials, but it is a Linux filesystem.


After that, boot your Pi and it will automatically connect to your wifi.

Also, you’ll probably find onboard to be a better on-screen keyboard:

sudo apt install onboard



sudo apt install onboard

Probably should be:

sudo apt-get install onboard

Thanks for the heads up about the Wifi. Never occurred to me that I could edit the sd card, I assumed it was a special boot format instead of normal Linux files. I have a Ubuntu laptop so editing it should be easy. I wonder if Bash-on-Windows would also be able to edit the sd card? I assume windows can’t.


Apt is the new apt-get. It is a nicer wrapper and has more features.


You would need to mount the Linux partition, which is not something windows can easily do.

Using your Ubuntu laptop would work perfectly, just keep in mind that you will have to edit the file as sudo due to file permissions on the SD card.


No Problem. Looks like you can add multiple SSID’s by just repeating the lines for each Wifi you wish to setup.


I also found an android App called fling which should be able to give me my IP which I think is needed by the SSH client.


The Raspberry Pi actually broadcasts its MDNS hostname, so you can connect to it using raspberrypi.local

I helped write the section in the docs explaining this.



Thanks. I saw


somewhere but did not get why it was important.

I am in!


did not work but android “fling” identified the IP and that allowed SSH. Thank you very much.

@nrobinson2000 Any PI installation suggestions other than:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

The upgrade is taking a long time about 2 hours~

onboard virtual keyboard did not install so I did the following

sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

The the particle client

bash <( curl -sL https://particle.io/install-pi )

particle-agent setup

For camera run and enable it

sudo raspi-config

Change password

sudo passwd pi


Great, you are in.

Have set up the touchscreen yet?

Have you tried taking pictures yet?

raspistill -vf -hf -o /home/pi/$DATE.jpg


SSH enabled by default on what distro? https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/a-security-update-for-raspbian-pixel/


I always use Raspbian Jessie Lite when setting up Pi’s, and the last time I set one up (a week or two ago) I swear SSH was already enabled.


Haha who knows. Not a huge deal anyways, anyone planning on setting up Particle.io IDE should be plenty capable of enabling it, if it’s not already enabled. Thanks for adding that guide info on your previous post!


@nrobinson2000 most things are working, still waiting to setup the Camera. but I have enabled it. Touchscreen is nice, but the virtual keyboard reminds me of why I like a connected keyboard and mouse. Had to make a keyboard.sh file on the Desktop to run the virtual keyboard. And had to make it run-able by typing:

chmod 775 keyboard.sh

The file contained



Ran some websites and the browser seems fine. I might rotate the screen which needs the sd card removed, which is hiding under the cables for the touchscreen and fairly hard to remove. Strange there isn’t an easier way to rotate the screen.

P.S. The touchscreen cables were a bit tricky to connect. Lucky my version of the touchscreen comes with most of it assembled, you just have to connect the PI with a cable using some really small clips.