TorBox TFT

If you don’t want to use TorBox for security reasons only, but also would have a cute eye-catcher, then the combination with a TFT display could be an excellent option for you. In combination with the main menu entry 1 “Tor statistics”, such display is also a convenient way to see at a glance whether TorBox is running correctly or not.

Because of its hardware and software quality, we recommend using a PiTFT 3.5″ resistive touch 320×480 from Adafruit. However, you can use almost any display, even if we recommend a minimum size of 3.5″ because all menus and messages are set to work with a 25×80 textual screen. By the way: the touch capability of such a TFT doesn’t work in a terminal.

For example 1, we use a PiTFT 3.5″ resistive touch 320×480 from Adafruit with a Pimoroni Pibow PiTFT+ case on a Raspberry Pi 3 (Model B / Model B+). Unfortunately, Pimoroni’s Pibow PiTFT+ case is not available for the Raspberry Pi 4. However, this case is not absolutely necessary. Therefore, for example 2, we use a no-name 3.5″ TFT with a Pimoroni Pibow Coupé 4 case on a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B.

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Example 1: A PiTFT 3.5″ resistive touch 320×480 from Adafruit with a Pimoroni Pibow PiTFT+ case on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

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Remarks

  • After everything has been assembled, and the SDCard with TorBox has booted up, you can only see a bright TFT display at first. The TFT display can be configured correctly via SSH using menu entry 12 in the TorBox’s configuration sub-menu. Once this is done, the TorBox menu should automatically appear on the TFT display after booting.
  • If you use the PiTFT 3.5″ resistive touch 320×480 from Adafruit with a Pimoroni Pibow PiTFT+ case, you will need to remove the mounting holes from the side of the PiTFT board (they’re designed to be broken off cleanly).
  • The keyboard is convenient but optional. The one in the images above is the Miniature Wireless USB Keyboard with Touchpad from Adafruit.

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Example 2: A no-name 3.5″ TFT with a Pimoroni Pibow Coupé 4 case on a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

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Remarks

  • After everything has been assembled, and the SDCard with TorBox has booted up, you can only see a bright TFT display at first. The TFT display can be configured correctly via SSH using menu entry 13 in the TorBox’s configuration sub-menu. This feature is not implemented yet and will be released with TorBox v.0.3.2, coming end of August 2020!! If you like to test it out before, contact me! Once this is done, the TorBox menu should automatically appear on the TFT display after booting.
  • The keyboard is convenient but optional. The one in the images above is the Miniature Wireless USB Keyboard with Touchpad from Adafruit.

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How can I use the TorBox menu on the TFT display without an additional keyboard?

The easiest way to work with the menu on the TFT display is to use a keyboard directly connected to the Raspberry Pi. However, there is also a possibility to control the TFT display without a keyboard. To achieve this, you have to change the file .profile in your home directory:

sudo nano ~/.profile

Change following line:

./menu --> screen ./menu

Each started console runs now in a screen instance. The following commands can be used (for more check out man screen):

screen -ls -> list all screen instances
screen -x <screen-window-name> -> attache a specific screen instance

Within screen, the instance can be sent to the background using the CTRL-A CTR-D key combination.