Review of PiFace Digital

Table of contents

RoadTest: PiFace Digital

Author: davidbaker100

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?:

What were the biggest problems encountered?: OS image did not work.

Detailed Review:

First off, I would like to thank Element 14 for selecting me to road test the PiFace Digital.


The PiFace Digital came packaged in a small box that was barely larger than the board itself. Inside was the board in an anti-static bag and a small sheet of paper that had regulatory compliance information on it. In fine print, at the top of one side, it stated the website where the getting started guide was located. In fact, it was so hard to see that I found the website written on the silkscreen before I found it on the paper.


When I first signed up for the road test, I was worried that the PiFace Digital would not allow enough room for the heat sink I have attached to my cpu/gpu, so when I first went to attach it to my pi, I was worried. Fortunately though, it left plenty of room in between the two boards to allow not only for the heat sink, but also for air flow.


One thing that came as a surprise to me was the little rubber foot that rests on the HDMI port to support the PiFace Digital and take some of the stress off the connector. I expected them to use something more secure to hold the two boards together and take the stress off the connector, but when you think about it, anything more would just be impractical.


In the quick start guide it tells you where to get the specific OS image that contains the emulator and allows the PiFace Digital to be used to its full potential. I went to the website and began the process of downloading the image and putting it onto an SD card. This part took me several tries as it had been a year since I had done it:-)


The next step was to boot up my Raspberry Pi and try out the PiFace Digital, so I hooked everything up to my Pi, added power, and … ERRORS!!! Halfway through booting the screen switched to a mile long list of errors that scrolled by until it stopped, at which point I waited about two hours before giving up on it. I tried for two months to get it to work but no matter what I did, it always ended in a list of errors.


Overall I think the PiFace Digital is a good product. The only complaints that I have are that the gpio pins do not extend through the PiFace Digital to allow for more expansion boards to be added on top of it. Also, the documentation was a bit thin and lacking, and the recommended OS image did not work.

  • Mine also worked.

    There is a an error in the documentation, but it appears there are multiple different copies, and some have been fixed.


    It is frustrating when things don't go as expected.

    What surprises me is that given all the previous reviews and the large support forum, it took two months of frustration and trying.


    I found most of the documentation was linked from the element14 website.

    The product was available before the roadtest, and I downloaded it before it arrived.


    The sites have been overhauled in the last few days, and the feel and look of them are similar and much clearer.



  • Mine worked quite well when I used Raspbian and followed the instructions to install the piface software.  I went this route mostly because I didn't want to lose any changes I'd made to my existing raspbian os.