HCSCI Panel and Raspberry Pi

One of the options available for running HCSCI Panel is Raspberry Pi, and it can be the most convenient one when running several panel modules in a cockpit.

We’ve aimed to make HCSCI Panel as optimized as possible, and it will work with any Raspberry Pi, even the first one.
We have tested it with the first Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 3.

The first Raspberry will not perform greatly with a large panel, but may still be used for lightweight modules that don’t have many gauges on them or don’t have any smooth movement, such as annunciator panels.

Raspberry Pi 3 is enough to run any large panel module – just make sure that your CPU is adequately cooled, otherwise it will slow down. We’ve just attached a small radiator to it (without a fan), and it was enough.

Also, enable the Experimental OpenGL driver in your system for better performance. (For a system, we recommend Raspbian). See this page for more info.

We haven’t tested HCSCI Panel with RPi 4, but we presume that its 2 HDMI outputs will allow you to use the single Raspberry to run the whole main panel, pilot and co-pilot side, with the wide modules that we have designed for use with 2 screens.

So, you could buy RPi4 if you want to use a wide panel module with 2 screens, but for a single screen, RPi3 will be enough. And even the oldest Raspberry will work for annunciator panels and other modules that don’t require a lot of smooth movement.

Settings up displays of non-standard size

When you make your cockpit with HCSCI Panel, some small modules, such as standalone annunciator panels, can be displayed on small screens that are easy to fit into place inside your cockpit.
For displays of non-standard dimensions, Raspberry Pi may not always be able to run them with their native resolution, but luckily, you can still configure HCSCI Panel to display the module in its real size on such screen.

In this example, we have a 7.8″ display with 800×300 native resolution, but our Raspberry is running it with 1024×768. With such discrepancy, the desktop on the screen looks distorted.

In order to make HCSCI Panel work with this display correctly, we’ll need to edit its “settings.ini” file and add the lines that list the resolution currently used by the system, and the display’s real width and height, in millimetres.

Screen_Resolution = 1024,768
Screen_Horizontal = 186
Screen_Vertical = 69

HCSCI Panel will now correctly scale to the screen dimensions.

If you want to configure your Raspberry Pi for the best fit with your display, see the instructions on this page.

If you need to position the display vertically, you can use the screen rotation option in your system and specify the screen dimensions for HCSCI Panel in reverse, listing the shorter side of your screen as “Screen_Horizontal” and the longer side as “Screen_Vertical”.