Trying out the SmartiPi 2 Case with the Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi official 7 inch Display
Recently I decided to give my Raspberry Pi 4 & Raspberry Pi 7 inch Touch screen a new home.
They were previously setup in the "7 inch display frame" which was fine initially but the display image had to be inverted meaning the touch layout was upside down and useless.
The other issue was the USB ports were partially blocked by the stand limiting what could be connected. So it done the job but was not ideal.
It also didn't help that my frame had lossed a leg after it took a dive of the table, typically not the leg that is across the USB ports.
So it was time for a new case. The Raspberry Pi 4 and the 7 inch touch screen are now in a SmartiPi 2 Touch Case.
This is a much better setup and I can use the touch screen again as they display doesn't need to be inverted.
The smartipi 2 Touch Case is designed to take the official Raspberry Pi 7inch touch screen display with a Raspberry Pi, B+, 2, 3, 3B+ or Pi4 mounted on the back.
Basically all the standard size Pi's which have the DSi display port. The Pi Zero/w don't have a DSi port so can't connect to the screen.
It comes supplied with both micro-usb or usb-c cable Y cables so you can power both a Pi and the screen from a single power supply.
The case is modular so has different supplied back plates depending if you want GPIO access or a Fan. Additionally you can buy a deep back so you can fit a Hat board under the case as well.
On the front of the display there is a mounting point for the Raspberry Pi Camera onto a flat panel or a Lego style panel. There is also a blanking plate if you don't want to fit a camera.
The display can be mounted to a plastic base with a sturdy plastic hinge with metal bolts, allowing the display to be angled. You can also attach your own base with the supplied mounting hinge attachments.
So this is a well thought out case with a sturdy design.
The issue with mounting a Raspberry Pi on a case is something will probably be blocked. The USB and Network ports are easily accessible as well as the HDMI, Camera and audio/video port.
It's the SD card port that is completely covered by the case. The solution that is used is the backing plate holds the Pi onto threaded pegs that go through the mounting holes on the pi.
Then when you want to change the SD card you simply unclip the back. Rotate the Pi and swap the micro-SD card.
The issue I have with this setup and a Pi4 is the backing plates supplied with the case are either with a Fan and vent holes or with a cutout to access the GPIO ports.
So if you need the fan and want to access the gpio ports you have to thread wires through the Fan vent holes. GPIO extenders can't be used with the fan. It would be nice to have had a Fan with a GPIO cutout as well.
If you want to add a permanent card to your Pi then can buy a deeper backing plate separately.
If the backing plates are not suitable for your use then you can remove it but you will need to connect the Pi to the case with nuts on the mounting pegs. This will mean you won't be able to change the SD card without having a spanner handy though. Some type of push on rubber clips would be useful to hold the Pi in place without the backing plate attached so a Fan or Large Heat sink could be added whilst giving full access to the GPIO pins.
The Raspberry Pi is about making things so you inventive people will come up with your own solutions.
Overall this is a good setup if you have the Official 7 inch Raspberry Pi Display.
Good quality build and additional accessories available.
All cables supplied for with the case; Display, Camera and power (micro-usb, usb-c)
All ports accessible with the standard backing plates.
The backing plates can cause limitations with your choice of cooling for a Pi4/ Pi3B+ or GPIO access. Not such an issue for Pi3 and older.
Trade off between SD accessibility and using a Fan with GPIO port access.