12.1 Inch Display Question

Hi this is my first post. Does anyone know if this screen would work with the Picade? It’s hard to tell as the description is very vague. Thanks.

The Screen

It only mentions VGA+DVI, while it’s possible to get one of those to work the cables or adaptors required aren’t exactly a graceful addition to an already spaghetti screen setup. I’d find the lack of any mention of HDMI off-putting.

It’s odd, though, because I can see what looks like an HDMI port in the photo.

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Is there any screen that you would reccomend?

Maybe this one?

I received this one last night and just took apart my Picade to mount it… but came here looking for any instructions on cutting the 8" bezel to fit the 12.1" screen.


Can’t vouch for it just yet, but I picked this specific one because those other listings have multiple models they can send you and this one was very specific model. This model also doesn’t have a large board on the back that some have found issue using the cross brace to mount.

I’ll let you know what I think if I can ever figure out how to cut the bezel… might just mount it up dirty and worry about that part later.

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Dry fit with no bezel

Figuring out my cuts

Bezel done…



Overall, I’m very happy.
I think the monitor is not bright enough, has poor viewing angles for anyone standing or sitting off angle, and it has a little light bleed, but those are minor nit-picks compared to how the nice it looks when playing a system.

I re-commented out the HDMI section in the text file.


Shame they don’t post to the UK. Any recommendations for screens that ship to here?


Looks like all the units that list on eBay UK include the USB touch controller. You don’t have to hook it up, but it’s a shame to pay for it and not use it. The touch drivers include Linux, so it may actually work on the Picade but I have no proof.

Let us know what you decide.

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I think I’ll probably go for that one. Would it work?
Also does the Picade without a screen come with the 12 inch shim?

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I just received two Samsung LTN121XL01-N03 units from displaysscreen.com. They are the same 12.1" panels that were sold by Pimoroni.

After spelunking all over the web, this was the only place I could find that actually had stock:


Yes, this site looks kinda shady, but it worked out well in the end. My spidey sense tells me that these are really test/reliability samples and not “new” as described. However, my panels have zero dead pixels and zero backlight bleed so…score!

I paid $19 for “expedited” shipping via DHL. The place (in Hong Kong, by the way) created a shipping label but fell asleep at the wheel when it came to actually having DHL pick up (a week later). Once on its way, it got over to me in San Francisco in only 4 days…not bad.

I got two control boards from eBay that work great:

They ship internationally from New York City. They’ll contact you to confirm the panel model number, as they’ll flash them with the correct firmware before shipment.

I spent DAYS and DAYS looking for an IPS (ok, PLS is close enough) LED-lit 12.1" display solution for my Picade. This is your best bet by a long shot. The brightness and contrast are top notch and there are no annoying CCFL inverter boards to deal with.


Thanks for the reply. In the picture on the website the screen looks a bit small. Is it really the right size?

I also purchased one of these screens from displaysscreen.com. It is the correct size. It does not come with a driver board though - you’ll need to source one of those. The link posted by jopamo (above) is a good US domestic source (i.e., no long wait time for shipping from Hong Kong) for a compatible driver board. Search ebay for “180979602491” and you’ll find the source I bought mine from. Very good vendor, and if you communicate with them after ordering and tell them which panel you have, they will make sure that you get a driver board that will work with it.

I haven’t yet built my Picade because I’ve been learning about this topic and have been assembling parts. Once I get everything done, I hope to create a comprehensive post on this topic. Until then, allow me to contribute some of what I’ve learned.

First, there are other threads in the Pimeroni forums on this topic. Here are two of them:

An important thing to note about upgrading to a 12.1" screen is that it requires a different video driver board than that which is included in the Picade kit with 8" display. It also requires a separate and additional 12VDC power supply, unless you are handy enough with electronics to add a power converter module so both the Pi and the 12.1" display can run off the same power supply. You’ll also need to determine the amperage needs of the 12.1" display and driver board, and make sure that the power supply you use will supply enough power to it.

The screen you will want needs to be a 12.1" 1024x768 screen (4:3 display ratio). There are various model numbers you can look for, including N121X5, LTN121XT, HT121X01, LTD121ECNN, and LTN121XL01. The easiest way to buy a 12.1 LCD screen and compatible controller is to order them together. Search ebay for “170947783291” for an example.

Note, however, that there are two different types of backlighting used on these panels: CCFL and LED. LED is better than CCFL in certain ways (more modern tech, uses less power, longer backlight life), but I haven’t found anyone who ships a LED-backlit screen (12.1" 1024x768) and driver board combo, and buying one of these LED-backlit screens plus a separate driver board will be more expensive than buying a combo with a CCFL-backlit panel. CCFL-backlit panels require an inverter board along with the driver board - as long as you order the right board for the right panel, it will be included. Personally, I purchased a LTN121XL01 (LED-backlit panel) and a separate driver board because (1) it’s the combination that Pimeroni originally offered and (2) I wanted an LED-backlit board. CCFL screens can be significantly cheaper, however - check the model numbers on amazon.com - you can often get screens for $50 or less.

Finally, you can cut the shim that comes with the 8" panel to fit a 12.1" panel. Or, you can contact Pimeroni, and they will send you a 12.1" shim free (shout out to the excellent folks at PImeroni for their SUPERB after-sale support!).

Setting up the Picade with the supplied 8" screen and driver board appears to be super simple. Replacing the 8" panel with a 12.1" panel is a bit more complex, but it’s an excellent learning experience. I’m already planning another project to use the leftover 8" screen and driver board - cigar box Pi laptop anyone?

Good luck with your upgrade!

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Yep. Whoever took the photos did so at an extreme angle (lazy). At first I thought it was a 16:9 ratio display. LOL!

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Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll go with your combination. Will this power the screen + the Pi + lights?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RAVPower-40W-4-Port-USB-Charger-Desktop-Charging-Hub-with-Quick-Charge-2-0-fo-/252582127107?hash=item3acf116603:g:b0cAAOSwmLlX~mef with the screen in the quick charge 2 port and with this cable https://www.amazon.co.uk/2-1mm-Module-Converter-Barrel-Connector/dp/B01G56J4I6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478123304&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+barrel+12v

Good question! Unfortunately, I can’t answer it authoritatively since I haven’t tried them. Personally, my strategy is: (1) learn as much as you can, including asking others for help, (2) make the best guess you can, (3) make sure you are aware of the return policies and associated costs if your guess doesn’t work, and (4) buy it and try it!

In your case, I’d suggest that you weigh the cost of the equipment you have specified against the cost of one power supply for the Pi (use one with recommended voltage/amperage according to the model of the Pi you’ll be using - for example, a Pi 3 will need a 5V 2.5A power supply) and one for the LTN121XL01 plus driver board (which will require a 12V 1A power supply like this one: https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/12v-1a-power-supply). I think you’ll find that it’ll be cheaper and simpler just to go with two power supplies. If you want them to only use one electrical outlet, then plug both power supplies into one extension cord. Also, note that the Picade doesn’t have an on/off switch, so you may want to add an inline switch to that extension cord for that purpose (make sure the inline switch is rated for 3.5 A or more if you’re using one 2.5A power supply and one 1A power supply).

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Thanks but I want to have 1 plug.

Me too! Like I said, if you are handy enough with electronics to add a power converter module, both the Pi and the 12.1" display can run off the same power supply. Something like this:

plus appropriate cabling, should allow you to tap power off one 5VDC power supply for both the Pi and the display. I’ve read about others doing that, but haven’t yet researched it well enough to give authoritative advice. I may need to learn to solder to I can create the cables I need.

If you’re looking to make this real neat, you’ll want to dispense with the inline switch and install a real on-off switch on the Picade. Again, I’ve read about others doing this, but haven’t yet researched it well enough to give authoritative advice.

Much depends on how much money and time you’re willing to spend, how much you’re willing to learn (and what you’re willing to try and possibly fail at while you’re doing it), and how urgent it is for you to have it up and working. You can also get started with a simpler setup, and improve it as time goes on. I started with just wanting something I could easily assemble in an hour or so, but the more I’ve learned the more I’m willing to research and invest and wait so it turns out elegant. It’s turning out to be my first in-depth dive into maker culture.

Good luck! Let us all know how it works out for you. I will do the same.

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I’ve gone ghetto and have my 12V 1A and 5V 2.5A supplies connected to a 2 outlet compact surge suppressor that’s Velcro’d inside the cab.

I’m sure there would be tons of cheers on official word on a clean unified power solution.

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Jopamo and Rick_E,

Because of both of you I couldn’t live with the 12.1" CCFL I originally sourced and installed. I went through the same vendors and received the screen a full 10 days before the driver board… so much for NY seller, but I digress.

The upgrade was totally worth the additional costs and time.

As for single power supply, I went with 99% of Paulcheffus’s build:

I installed the 12v power receptacle, LED power button, CPT 12v-5v step down, ATXRaspi and have everything working with a single power supply/cord. I upgraded the joystick with the Hori Hayabusa and clear colored Sanwa buttons and clear smoked Semitsu buttons. I also put some USB LED’s under the clear buttons for a quick and dirty light up button configuration. Overall, the setup works really well and looks even better. I owe Paulcheffus a huge thanks for all the extra help!

I’ll post some pictures in a moment.


I didn’t have a picture of it, but I’m currently only using 1 USB LED strip through the center now because of some over-draw of power. I’m looking in to the power issue but everything works great with the single strip.

Thanks again for the links and making me jealous, LOL!