Using a Raspberry Pi with a Hope Industrial Touch Screen and Keyboard

Hope Industrial UM22 Touchscreen and Keyboard with Raspberry Pi internally integrated

Hope Industrial UM22 Touch Screen and Keyboard with Raspberry Pi internally integrated

The Raspberry Pi is a small single-board computer originally created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation as an affordable tool for teaching computer science. Due to its low cost, ease of use, and broad community support, the Raspberry Pi is now being used in a variety of diverse settings with users installing them in everything from home automation systems to autonomous aircraft.

Most of our customers connect our touch screens and displays to full industrial or commercial PCs and thin clients for industrial HMI and SCADA applications. But with the popularity of the Raspberry Pi, we have had multiple customers ask about compatibility of our screens with the popular single-board device.

At Hope Industrial, we were intrigued by the possibility and we realized the viability of this concept should be tested for our customers. While we would generally not recommend a PC designed for the education and hobbyist markets to be used for mission-critical industrial control applications, there seems to be sufficient interest in the Raspberry Pi to warrant a closer look.

In this post, we will walk through the physical installation of a Raspberry Pi into one of our industrial touch screen monitors as a proof of concept for the Raspberry Pi option.

In a following post, we will show how to configure the Raspbian Operating System to work with our display and keyboard, including fully calibrated touch screen functionality.

Why Try Raspberry Pi?

First, we should say that when it comes to a complete graphical UI, the Raspberry Pi is slow. It is probably too slow for most desktop-PC tasks, but there are cases in which the Raspberry Pi could be used in a manufacturing environment such as displaying simple HTML files, using a simple Remote Desktop client like FreeRDP (or VNC, etc.), or building a custom Linux application designed to run well using Raspberry Pi. Just don’t expect to stream your high resolution Flash training videos, at least not with a stock Raspbian installation.

Please note, this is only a proof of concept. We do not recommend this for any critical or business processes without first doing some additional testing. Aside from the fact that we cannot vouch for the computer’s reliability of time, there are two primary concerns with using the Raspberry Pi:

  • Heat – The Raspberry Pi generates 3.5 watts of heat, which needs to make its way out of the enclosure to avoid overheating either the Raspberry Pi or the industrial touch screen electronics. This is not a large amount of heat, but it could be a problem in hotter environments.
  • Compliance – Putting electronics inside the cable cavity of our industrial monitor would constitute a change to a critical component according to UL listings and other compliances (such as NEMA and IP ratings). This is not something we could sell as a standard product without additional certification, and doing this to your display could cause you to lose compliance with other standards you may require.

Also note, we could solve most of the above issues by putting the Raspberry Pi in a small attached enclosure. If that interests you, please contact us.

The Parts We Used

In order to show a full industrial workstation, we chose both a touch screen and an industrial keyboard:

Hope Industrial Fully Enclosed 22" Touch Screen

Hope Industrial Fully Enclosed 22″ Touch Screen

Hope Industrial Systems Components:

Raspberry PI Model B with Case and SD card

Raspberry Pi with Case and SD card

Other Components:

Other off-the-shelf cables and bits:

  • Standard USB cables, Ethernet cable, 4 GB SD card, and a standard 1 amp micro-USB phone charger (to power the Raspberry Pi).

How to Piece it All Together

1.  We were able to fit all components and cabling into the cable connection cavity of our Universal Mount 22″ display. The cable connections inside the cavity were low enough to allow room for the Raspberry Pi to sit on top of the connectors and flush with the cavity opening. Of course, we had to use the smallest, lowest profile cables we could find.

Raspberry Pi with all components installed and connections made, ready to be sealed

Raspberry Pi with all components installed and connections made, ready to be sealed

2.  We made the following connections:

  • HDMI on the Raspberry Pi to the DVI connector on the display
  • USB from the Raspberry Pi to the Keyboard and Touch Screen ports on the inside of the display
  • Ethernet and power (for both display and Raspberry Pi) from outside the monitor

3.  We coiled excess cable inside the cavity and placed it beneath the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi inside the touch screen cable cavity

Raspberry Pi inside the touch screen cable cavity

4.  We led cables out through our standard NEMA 2/IP22-rated cover plate for the demo, but you could easily use our Conduit Cover Plate for a full NEMA 4X/IP66-rated enclosure.

5.  Finally, we secured the cover plate to the monitor, and we mounted the keyboard to the monitor base.

6.  We did not use a mount in the demo, but any of our standard industrial display mounts would work.

Fully IP66/NEMA 4X sealed

Fully sealed with all components inside

The final product looks no different from our monitor, except a fully functioning Raspberry Pi is now built right in!

In Our Next Post

After installing the Raspbian OS using instructions from the web, the Raspberry Pi system will be fully functional. The keyboard works right out of the box, and the touch screen responds to touch, but is not calibrated.

In the next post, we will provide detailed instructions on how to calibrate and align the touch screen without using an outside driver. We’ll also show how to enable the “hold-to-right-click” feature, which is essential when using a touch screen without a mouse.

3 Responses to “Using a Raspberry Pi with a Hope Industrial Touch Screen and Keyboard”

  1. Steve December 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    This is interesting. Most of our plant pc’s are doing simple web page ( html ) displays or apps. I’m going to have to ask Santa for one of these so I can test it with one of our spare HIS touch screens…if nothing else…it’ll be a cool ‘nerd’ toy for me to fiddle with.

    Thanks for the blog, guys…much appreciated.

    Steve.

    • Daniel J. McGraw February 26, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Yes Steve, its a cool little board – it was fun getting it up and running and we’ve learned of a lot of customers using these in production environments since we posted these articles.

      You may want to also consider a BeagleBone (http://beagleboard.org/Products/BeagleBone) if you are doing a full UI – similar to the PI but should be a bit punchier speed-wise.

      Perhaps we can do a similar write up on one of those if there is interest.

  2. Didier Bouchard December 18, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    This is an awesome post. I will be following this

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