Deployment and use of the SailPi tablet as real standalone tablet.

Hello from Mikkeli EU codeweek!

Link to latest release <- Use this to replicate my status, will boot to graphics, use this for official touchscreen, first run tutorial will be portrait!

It has been really busy week doing the Library of Babel proof of concept code for file uploads and preparing the SailPi tablet for prime time presentation at Mikkeli EU codeweek, I will link Mikkeli hacklab event coverage details where you can see me hacking it to use the RPi2 GPIO pins via a Python SailfishOS application.

Overall, the concept of a completely DIY tablet is quite enticing. Replacing of hardware is quite difficult to do these days, but on the SailPi tablet concept, quite much about everything is replaceable. SailfishOS is also proven to be very flexible, it displays well on both the official touchscreen, Adafruit PiTFT 3.5″ touchscreen and finally, any HDMI capable monitor or television can also do it. Issue is in the EGLFS driver, courtesy of Martin Brook’s (vgrade) excellent earlier adaptation for the original Raspberry Pi, running Mer and Nemo Mobile. This is not in any way his fault, since rendering EGL using the VideoCore is far from trivial, especially when adapted to Qt 5 libraries.

Overall cost has been something like this:

Official touchscreen + black frame: 58 British pounds = 78 euros

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B: 30 British pounds = 40.70

Sandisk UHS 1 16GB MicroSD card: 19,90 euros

The PiHut WiFi USB dongle: 6 British Pounds = 8.09 euros

20000mAh powerbank from eBay, when bought 16 euros, now 8 euros

Total cost: 146,69 euros

It is indeed possible to buy a cheap Chinese tablet for less than 100€ but the concept is what matters (at least to me it does). Flexibility of SailfishOS’s software combined with RaspberryPi2 hardware capabilities is an excellent combination. It is possible to do the setup even cheaper too.

The powerbank feature comes handy, especially when using the touchscreen. This gives 2 power inputs for the tablet, meaning that while charging the powerbank, you can use another charger as backup without downtime, just have the charger on the RPi2 and disconnect the powerbank from touchscreen.

Now some pictures (thank you aple for providing the camera + hot glue gun, Atte for a couple of wires and Markus for gluing the frame and powerbank extra support together, each and everyone from Mikkeli Hacklab for an excellent event):


Front view after a little bit misaligned gluing but no worries, I got some fingerprints to go with it 😀 !


Backview with the powerbank attached.


Bottom view from tablet.


Another bottom view.

IMG_3364 IMG_3365

Top (lost orientation, but I guess its top) views showing the GPIO ports not too badly blocked. The powerbank is leaning on the wires somewhat tightly.

But overall, the EU Codeweek even that was organized by Mikkeli Hacklab crew has been great fun, with talks on Open Finland Challenge by Teemu Ropponen (Open Knowledge Finland) and on API:Suomi by Jarkko Moilanen, I unfortunately could only attend on the API:Suomi event, where Jarkko provided a very interesting presentation on the current status of eg. APIOps movement and founding the Mikkeli API:Suomi organization with Mikko Lampi (also a founder and president of Mikkeli Hacklab).

Looking forward to organizing an event like this at Kuopio Hacklab, with lots of cool stuff to create with the crew and other volunteers. I thank the organizers and all the event participants for a great event!

29 thoughts on “Deployment and use of the SailPi tablet as real standalone tablet.

  1. Hey, I have tried SailPi on Pi2+original touchscreen last week but did not succeed. Could you post a link to SailPi system which works on such configuration?


      1. Hi,

        You can edit the file /var/lib/environment/compositor/gfx-rpi.conf to find the necessary environment variable that will do just that. Please note that the mouse cursor is prone to disappear, for which there is no remedy yet available. Sorry about that.


  2. Hi! This is seriously awesome! I myself am working on a Pi portable system and I’m actually making a stencil for laser cutting right now, and I think I might give SailPi a try =) What’s the battery life from the powerbank when it’s fully charged? Did you measure the current consumption?


    1. Hi, thanks for the comment!

      The problem with battery life is the fact that the touchscreen doesn’t turn off, but even with the screen on it has 4-5 hours of battery life with the powerbank I’m using. I don’t really know how to measure the current consumption, sorry about that.


      1. Hi!
        I’m sure one can squeeze out more life out of such a powerful battery =) I just calculated and my Pi (without touchscreen/LCD, just with some peripherals) holds 7 hours on 5V/2960mAh battery pack. But for that you’d better get help from some hardware-skilled guys. You can ask me for advice on hardware if you need it =)


      2. Heya,

        I know I can squeeze out a lot more :), I’ll ask my local Hacklab guys first tomorrow on our first electronics day about this. But if I get no answers there, lets band up try to optimize this one, thanks for your help!

        On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM, Sailfish on Raspberry Pi2 wrote:



      1. You’re welcome! It’s a great way to make your project visible. BTW, there’s, I don’t know whether it will help your project to be more visible or not, you should see =) Good luck with your work, and I hope we’ll be getting updates from time to time!


      2. Thanks for this as well, you’re golden as I don’t know much about these hacker sites :), also Raspberry Pi forums know but I think I’ll repost this.

        On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 2:45 PM, Sailfish on Raspberry Pi2 wrote:



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