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pi-top with latest Raspbian and screen working at full brightness !!!

Hi everyone.

below is what I've came up trying to use latest raspbian version with pi-top forcing the screen to full brightness.

I've been trying to use the latest raspbian version but was unable to force screen brightness to full value until...

inside /home/pi/.pi-top/sys/ there's a python script that manages comunication with pi-top HUB .

it manages:

-screen brightness increment/decrement ( and expilcit values between 1 and 10 )

-screen blank / unblank

-system shutdown ( when requested, the HUB must be shutdown also...)

by executing

ps ax | grep hub

you will see that script in execution...

Now you can bring the sys directory with you and boot in the latest raspbian .

once in raspbian, the display should be not so bright...

*) put sys directory where you wish.

*) uses another executable to check screen status:

It calls the execution of xscreensaver-command .

But raspbian hasn't it installed by default .

so we can open a text editor and edit sys/

around line 171 there is


print "Reading screen state"


must change in

print "Reading screen state"


( we started a multi line comment )

then, around line 184 there is

# Incorrect log from command - take value from hub and presume correct
screen_off = resp_bin_str[6]

if isValid(resp_bin_str, screen_off):
 print "Valid response"


should became

# Incorrect log from command - take value from hub and presume correct
screen_off = resp_bin_str[6]
screen_off = "0"
if True: #isValid(resp_bin_str, screen_off):
 print "Valid response"


( we ended the multilline comment, set screen_off to a default value and changed the if condition to be always true )

*) now. you need to enable SPI interface in raspbian:

execute sudo raspi-config and in advanced options enable SPI interface by default and answer yes when asked for enable automatic kernel-module load.


if screen is flickering, reboot by shutdown raspbian and unplugging/plugging the AC power.

*) now you need SPI python module ( by default rasbpian has not, pi-top has it ) .

in a terminal ( be aware of spaces in https addresses to be removed before executing the instructions )

mkdir python-spi
cd python-spi

wget https : / / / doceme / py-spidev / master /'
wget https : / / / doceme/py-spidev / master / spidev_module.c
wget https : / / / doceme/py-spidev / master /
wget https : / / / doceme/py-spidev / master /

sudo apt-get install python-dev
sudo python install


now create some empty file. in a terminal

cd sys

touch ./brightness_signal
touch ./shutdown_signal
touch ./screen_signal


now you can execute the script ( and let it run )

sudo python ./

*) the funny part:


#to increase brightness
echo "increment" > ./brightness_signal

#to decrease brightness
echo "decrement" > ./brightness_signal

#to set brightness to a explicit value ( between 1 and 10 )
echo "10" > ./brightness_signal
#to blank the screen ( not tested, but should go )
echo "blank" > ./screen_signal

#to unblank the screen ( not tested, but should go )
echo "unblank" > ./screen_signal

#to shutdown ( not tested, but should go )
echo "shutdown" > ./shutdown_signal


*) ok.

now we can say that this approach is not the better one, but for my need it's ok. A good idea to start could be binding keystrokes to above commands to manage brightness from keyboard ( but another good idea should be implement a better python script than the ugly editing I've done above, which is not reliable... )

have fun!! :)

This thread is completely outdated. If you want to use standard Raspbian, look at

2 people like this
Thank you :)

This is not well documented.  How does the .pi-top directory happen?  There are a few steps missing on getting started.  rricharz material is about as useless.  I will just keep googleing until I find something that works and post the link here for the rest of us. 

Hi, .pi-top does not exist anymore since more that a year! stanoc‘s input is outdated. If you want to use the pi-top with the latest Raspbian Stretch, look at . If you find that this is useless, please tell us know why. What needs to be improved to make it useful for you?
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