I recently received the official Raspberry Pi 7 inch Touchscreen. It works fine so far, but I would like to control the brightness and switch off/on the backlight. I tried xbacklight, it is not working. /sys/class/backlight is empty. I didn't find a clue in /sys/devices/.

  • Raspbian Wheezy is installed. sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade was executed.
    – Markus
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


There apparently have been 2 versions of the 7" touchcreen. The 1.0 versions did not support adjusting the backlight brightness, but the 1.1 versions do, and you can do it by setting a value from 0 to 255 like this:

sudo sh -c "echo 80 > /sys/class/backlight/rpi_backlight/brightness"

There's a lengthy thread here that discusses this feature: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=120968

  • This doesn't answer the question. The user said, "/sys/class/backlight is empty".
    – shrewmouse
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 15:14
  • If you read the linked thread, I think the reason for /sys/class/backlight being empty is either you have the older 1.0 touchscreen, or you need to update the Pi's firmware to get the touchscreen support Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 2:57

I have found that as of 01/12/17 the method Kevin mentioned in his answer to echo to bl_power to turn the backlight on/off does not always work consistently.

As the question linked describes, an alternative to turning the backlight off via bl_power is setting the brightness to 0 in the brightness file which does the same thing in my experience.

Also, in order to not have to use sudo sh -c create the file /etc/udev/rules.d/backlight-permissions.rules and add this line:

SUBSYSTEM=="backlight",RUN+="/bin/chmod 666 /sys/class/backlight/%k/brightness /sys/class/backlight/%k/bl_power"

I also had the same problem in the end i sent it back as it broke within a 2 weeks the problem is due to the on board graphics driver raspberry say there are going to release it i class the screen as a unfinished prototype they should not have released it without backlight support or even a dim switch would do it does start to hurt eyes u could vnc to an android tablet as a altenitive

  • Please make an effort to use reasonable grammar.
    – Jacobm001
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 18:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.