[Review / Guide] Sainsmart 5″ inch HDMI touch display

Here is a nice little screen sold by Sainsmart, not only compatible with Raspberry-like boards, but with every HDMI-enabled device.

It could be powered via a 5v mini-USB cable and doesn’t need an external power supply so it is really autonomous.

It also features a SPI touch panel.

Unfortunately, the Sainsmart’s description is partly wrong, and they don’t give much details about installation / use. Lukily, I have sorted everything for you.

Note : this installation guide probably works also for the 7″ inch version !

1- Specifications

LCD Panel HannStar HSD050IDW1
LCD Type TFT Transmissive Normal White super wide viewing angle
LCD Size 5″ inches (display area : 108mm x 65mm)
LCD Resolution 800 x 480 RGB
Pixel pitch 0.135mm x 0.135mm
Video output HDMI
Video controller Texas Instruments TFP401
Touch panel type Resistive
Touch panel output SPI + 1 interrupt on 7x 2.54mm pin header
Touch controller Texas Instruments TSC2046
Powering 5V via Mini-USB
Size 143mm x 85mm x 75mm (including pin header extrusion)
Price / Availability $49.99 at Sainsmart

This display is very easy to use : just plug it to any HDMI port and to a 5V mini-USB and it will work.

The touchpanel needs a little more work, though.

2- Pictures

20150709_135201 20150709_135234


A view of the touchpanel header, the HDMI port, the power mini-USB, and the LCD controller.


The TSC2046 touch controller chip


The size – resolution ratio is comfortable to use on console


The display area is also sufficient for lighweight desktop work


Pixel pitch is fairly dense and colors are vibrant

Display and touchscreen connected to Raspberry Pi

Display and touchscreen connected to Raspberry Pi

This vertical view angle is not very good, the other ones are ok

This vertical view angle is not very good, the other ones are ok

20150709_144610 20150709_144629

3- Touchpanel wiring

Touchpanel uses one SPI channel, one additionnal pin for interrupt and one pin for ground.

So, it means touchpanel will only work with a SPI enabled board : Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi, Beaglebone, etc… It won’t work with a regular PC.

This guide is aimed to Raspberry Pi, but it may be adapted for other boards easily.

Display pin Raspberry Pi pin
T_IRQ GPIO 25 (pin 22) – Change to another pin if you wish
T_MISO SPI_MISO (pin 21)
T_MOSI SPI_MOSI (pin 19)
T_CS SPI_CE0 (pin 24) – Change to SPI_CE1 (pin 26) if you want to use the second SPI cable select.
T_CLK SPI_SCLK (pin 23)
T_BUSY Not connected

4- Touchpanel installation

TSC2046 controller is ADS7846 compatible, and last versions of Raspbian has an overlay ready to use.

Edit /boot/config.txt, enable spi and activate ADS7846 overlay.

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Add these lines to the end of the file :


Change cs=0 to cs=1 if you want to use the second SPI cable select.

Change penirq if you wired T_IRQ on another pin

5- Console touch calibration

Input devices get a device name which depends on the order of detection (/dev/input/eventX).

These udev rules will create a symlink /dev/input/touchscreen pointing to the touch controller device. Reloading the driver or rebooting is necessary for the change to take effect.


SUBSYSTEM=="input", KERNEL=="event[0-9]*", ATTRS{name}=="ADS7846*", SYMLINK+="input/touchscreen"


SUBSYSTEM=="input", ATTRS{name}=="stmpe-ts", ENV{DEVNAME}=="*event*", SYMLINK+="input/touchscreen"

Now, reboot.

In order to use the touch panel with python, X, and to calibrate it, a few packages need loading :

sudo apt-get install -y libts-bin evtest xinput python-dev python-pip
sudo pip install evdev

# install ts_test with Quit button
sudo wget -O /usr/bin/ts_test http://tronnes.org/downloads/ts_test
sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/ts_test

To calibrate the touchscreen :

sudo TSLIB_FBDEVICE=/dev/fb0 TSLIB_TSDEVICE=/dev/input/touchscreen ts_calibrate

6- X windows touch calibration

xinput-calibrator provides a way to calibrate the touchpanel for X windows use. Install

cd /tmp
wget http://tronnes.org/downloads/xinput-calibrator_0.7.5-1_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i -B xinput-calibrator_0.7.5-1_armhf.deb
rm xinput-calibrator_0.7.5-1_armhf.deb

Configure xinput-calibrator to autostart with X windows.

sudo wget -O /etc/X11/Xsession.d/xinput_calibrator_pointercal https://raw.github.com/tias/xinput_calibrator/master/scripts/xinput_calibrator_pointercal.sh
echo "sudo /bin/sh /etc/X11/Xsession.d/xinput_calibrator_pointercal" | sudo tee -a /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

On first start of X windows a calibration window will be displayed.


Delete /etc/pointercal.xinput and restart X to recalibrate.

Touch panel rotation

xinput-calibrator doesn’t handle touchpanels with X/Y swapped.
If your calibration results in swapped axis, add these config files.


Section "InputClass"
        Identifier      "calibration"
        MatchProduct    "ADS7846 Touchscreen"
        Option  "SwapAxes"      "1"


Section "InputClass"
        Identifier      "calibration"
        MatchProduct    "stmpe-ts"
        Option  "SwapAxes"      "1"

7- Disable screen blanking

Edit /boot/cmdline.txt and add consoleblank parameter

sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

add this to the end of the line :


Edit /etc/kbd/config and edit display blanking parameters

sudo nano /etc/kbd/config

Find these lines and replace the values with 0 (zero) :


8- Conclusion

This is a very cool display. It works out of the box (minus the touchpanel), is totally autonomous and the quality is great.

I only hope Sainsmart will upgrade it to 5″ inches 1080p panel, as the LCD controller chip seems to support it…

Sources :

About Captain Stouf

Spécialiste en systèmes informatiques, Développeur matériel et logiciel, Inventeur, Maker : électronique, Systems on Chip, micro-controlleurs, Internet of Things, Modélisation / Scan / Impression 3D, Imagerie...

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