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Can I ask a purchasing recommendations question (by definition off-topic), if it is so narrow, that an answer can be only one, because it points to a single product?

I.e.:

Raspberry Pi case that includes two-lines dot-matrix display that shows current RPi's IP address?

Number of RPi cases that has two-lines dot-matrix is very limited, because such displays are much more common with Arduino rather than Raspberry Pi. A product that shows current IP address without extra code (feature already added to system core) is problably only one on the market.

The problem is that I've been browsing search engines and various shops for weeks now and cannot find anything (only a bunch of do-it-yourself packs of RPi + dot-matrix display; no out-of-the-box solution). That's why I wanted to ask here.

Am I allowed, or is it still an off-topic?

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All apologies for not getting to this sooner.

Part of the purpose of the no-shopping rule is so that we do not turn into a free classified ads site for online electronics supplies etc. Realistically, that means this:

an answer can be only one, because it points to a single product?

Would be a daft exception to make, because what kind of advertiser does not want to convince potential buyers that a product is totally unique. We would then have to adjudicate between whether a "unique feature" really meets this qualification or not, and so on.

It may also be worth pointing out that, if you have really:

been browsing search engines and various shops for weeks now and cannot find anything

That while from your perspective you might as well ask here even if it is pointless since all it will cost you is a few minutes to type out the question, it is almost certainly pointless because:

  1. People who sell products online do not try to hide them. In fact, most of them doubtless go to considerable lengths to make them easy to find, and anything anyone might eventually point out to you here would, if still available, have been easy enough to find with a modern search engine (particularly if your user profile already has a long history of searching Pi related topics), so you would never have gotten to this point.

    Researching shopping is very much easier than technical research for information that is digestable to you, and the reason this site exists is to try and make that second category easier. To be blunt: I do not see any excuse for needing to solicit purchases here (which is why, although I did not institute the policy and did have some mixed feelings about it, I am will to defend and enforce it). Which brings me to my second point...

  2. If you've really searched that hard already, the reason you have not found anything is because it does not exist. Of course, proving something like that is impossible; I cannot logically claim there is no such thing on Earth the way I might for example argue there is no such thing as ghosts. And, even if you spent 10 hours a day for the rest of your life looking, I suppose you would never find incontrovertible evidence that it doesn't exist either and so would of course never loose your motivation to keep on looking ;\

Which makes this a bit of a Hail Mary pass. If it helps put your mind at ease though, I'll have been a moderator here for nine years at the end of the month. For most of that time (excluding vacations away from computers etc.) I've been here six days a week, and along the way I've gotten into Arduinos etc. and done quite a bit of shopping for hobbiest electronics, and I can honestly say I have never heard of anything like what you are talking about. I'd speculate that's because:

  • The reason these are available for Arduinos is because you can't plug an Arduino into a monitor, and even a small low-res LCD display (which are easy to use with a Pi and hence readily available with cases etc.) is a bit of a stretch. For most Arduino users, a simple multi-line bi-color text display is probably totally sufficient for their needs, and a dot-matrix one more than enough, making a case with the latter pretty snazzy stuff Arduino wise.
  • The 480x640 color displays which fit into the top of Pi cases don't actually cost much more than, eg., a 2 line LCD text display with a breakout and controller (economics of scale probably a factor). It would also be easy enough to make a case for the latter by simply cutting a rectangle out of an existing one and applying some epoxy. Hence, there is probably not much of a market for one (even if you, as someone with the need, finds that hard to understand1).

If you want to do a good job with chop shopping a plastic case, BTW, look around for a small rotary tool, aka. a "dremel" (which is actually a brand name). A cheap puny one is sufficient and should be easy to find for ~$25. Do practice a bit with some old tupperware before you attack your case though.

If you don't want to bother with the dremel, it can be done with a drill and a few metal files (including a tapered round and "three square" one).


  1. I've just been looking around for a 5V 5A power supply which is what is recommended for use with the Pi 5 (I have a line on getting a bare board but if I want the official supply I have to buy a whole kit for an extra $100) and I am appalled that while I've found lots of things that fit the bill but look like laptop supplies (with the brick in the middle of the cord) I still have not found any (besides the official supply) that are just wall adapters.
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  • Thank you for a very enlightening answer with a lot of arguments. I totally agree with your point of view that (in the light of your arguments) asking such question is still off-topic here or at least point less. I would like however to address second part of your answer (the one that tries to answer my example question). I am aware that I can use dremel to do all the necessary works on plastic case (and with proper blades -- to aluminum one as well). The issue is with programming as that particular case I am looking for was displaying IP address without any code needed to be written.
    – trejder
    Nov 12, 2023 at 14:10
  • And that is the whole case here. Doing a "RPi case + two-line dot matrix display" as a completely DYI project is of course feasible and there are a lot of guides in the internet that leads you step-by-step in achieving this. But you still need to write some code or bash script in order to display IP address on such screen. For some internal reasons I wanted to avoid that. Thanks again and all the best.
    – trejder
    Nov 12, 2023 at 14:11
  • I actually didn't get that part; "that shows current RPi's IP address" is a little subtle and just implied to me that's what you wanted it for. I'm not too sure that a case with an LCD display that is made to do only one thing is really a selling point. TBH, I don't believe they are sold that way for the Arduino either, since at the very least you'd have to install some sketch yourself, and there are plenty of tutorials around about how to do this, and open source sketches for doing whaterver you want with the LCD pretty easily. Which the Pi is more or less the same situation:
    – goldilocks Mod
    Nov 13, 2023 at 14:27
  • ...No matter what, you are still going to have to install some software, but what it would be doing is incredibly trivial anyway: Getting the IP address is drop dead simple, and there are various libraries around for using a 1602 LCD display w/ i2c backpack which would in the end make it even easier than with an Arduino because you wouldn't have to work the LCD sketch into whatever code loop you are running -- you could just run it as an independent process in a multi-tasking OS. I think given an LCD i2c lib 5 lines in a shell script would be too much.
    – goldilocks Mod
    Nov 13, 2023 at 14:27

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