FriendlyArm S430

S430 DisplayThis could be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever done!  The S430 is a low-cost  4.3” capacitive touch-display designed to work with FriendlyArm boards such as the NanoPi S2, M2, M3, the NanoPC T2 and T3 and finally the Smart4418.

When I think of the HASSLE I’ve had getting a cheap(ish) Chinese display to work with my Raspberry Pi 3 (read elsewhere – still not resolved – you have to make changes to the Raspbian system but more importantly alignment no longer seems to work so the touch part is useless and no-one has a solution).. I spend days on this and finally settled for a display with no touch!

But I digress. The S430 offers 480*800 resolution, is bright, clear and has 4 nice recessed mounting holes and a ribbon cable out the back  – none of this HDMI-awkward-connector nonsense as per the above.

And that’s it. I unpackaged the unit, I took a NanoPi M3 which was sitting minding it’s own business serving up Node-Red – I turned it off – plugged in the ribbon cable, turned it on – and immediately, lightning fast text – no drivers, no setup, nothing.  When the board eventually popped up with Debian – everything worked – accurate positioning, sensitive capacitive touch etc.

tmpC1FFIt really is hard to say much more more – it is good and it does what it “says on the tin”. It is accurate, thin and most importantly, it is cheap.

As you can see, I just happen to have everything set up in portrait mode and it all just works. Being capacitive I’ll have to go find a proper capacitive pen as you can’t just use any old bit of plastic as you would with the resistive displays – on the other hand – no pressure is needed either.

I could see this working a TREAT with Node-Red Dashboard.  Images in here will expand if you click on them.

I’m quite excited as you can tell.

There is a BIG caveat to all of this which may or may not be important to you – I asked FriendlyArm about landscape mode and they said they had “not implemented landscape mode” – something I find extremely strange… that’s going to limit things a bit….


20 thoughts on “FriendlyArm S430

  1. Great information on this LCD! I was wondering, does it work with the Neo line of NanoPis? I’d like to use the Neo-Air for a project.

    1. I think you’ll find the NEOs don’t have that connector. The M3 does and so do a few others – if you look at the ad for the S430 it gives you a (short) list.

  2. landscape orientation is fixed now! Below is the reply from FA techsupport

    Copy the attachment file(xorg.conf) to the /etc/X11 path of Debian system, then reboot the system will be ok.

    Kind Regards,
    Jiamei Jiang

    email me if anyone needs the file


    1. Stunningly good Jiamei – but you didn’t attach anything as far as I can see. I’ll give that a shot as soon as you do – if you have a problem email it to me as and I’ll make it available… I don’t have your email address.

        1. Just got around to using this with Ubuntu – i.e. command line – it does NOT seem to work with this – so you boot up all the way to the login… and the text is all still in portrait mode…

          Any ideas anyone?

            1. The landscape mode works well with the Lubuntu desktop, but with the Friendly Core (command line) it is still in portrait.

  3. I’ve just ordered the Nano PI M3 as this works with the LCD you mention above. The Pi3 is doing a good job with Node-Red but occasionally I see delays in response to the Enocean switches which causes someone to press the button a second time thinking it didn’t work and a light comes on and then goes off again. Not very WAF.
    The M3 I am hoping will be that little bit faster to avoid these situations. The only downside is Linux support is seemed to be very poor. Will give it a try and see how it goes.
    The Pi3 will be reused as a door camera with face detection if the M3 works out 🙂

    1. Hi Dave

      Well up until recently I’d be heading to Armbian but for the M3 and M1+ I went straight to the FriendlyArm site for the Debian installation and really, can’t fault them. In particular the M3 WIFI installation is just fine with cheap-shite WIFI dongles from China. I have a pair of M3s working a treat on WIFI constantly. The M1+ as it is new I still have on hardwired but when I tested WIFI and Bluetooth they came up straight away.

    1. Well I can tell you it works. I tried a video and that worked at full belt – though until I get the orientation turned 90 degrees I can’t test that at it’s best.

      1. Hi,

        And when your NanoPi M3 succesfully boot with normal output on S430 LCD,
        what was in your dmesg in similar line as below?

        [ 0.000000] Kernel command line: console=ttySAC0,115200n8 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait init=/sbin/init loglevel=7 printk.time=1 consoleblank=0 lcd=HDMI720P60 bootdev=2

        What value was for LCD= ?

        Because when I boot my NanoPi Fire3 with S430 connected I still have
        in dmesg line.

        Seems like MCU didn’t recognize the LCD model.
        Could anybody help to fix that?


        1. Hi,

          Sorry for the question above.
          It was simple bad contact on FPC cable connector.
          Now I can see Lubuntu GUI on S430 and

          pi@FriendlyELEC:~$ dmesg | grep ‘Kernel command line’
          [ 0.000000] Kernel command line: console=ttySAC0,115200n8 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait init=/sbin/init loglevel=7 printk.time=1 consoleblank=0 lcd=S430,180dpi bootdev=2


  4. Just to let you know, the link to your blog ( still gives an error but the direct link to this post seems to work.

    1. It will get better Phil – they changed the IP address of the site – as it is on a new server – and it will take varying time before the site comes up – I’ve checked on some remote servers and it comes up fine but I had to clear the cache on my browser. I would imagine by this evening – all will be well. Let me know if you continue to have problems after that.

      Profuse apologies from the service provider and myself.

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