Many type of times I’ve taken into consideration buying a digital photo framework, but tright here was constantly somepoint placing me off. Many of the commercially obtainable options are easel back frames, designed to be placed on a table. The few choices obtainable for hanging frames have actually the unsightly worry of the dangling power cable, something that I disfavor and also don’t want to deteriorate. Neither cable concealers, nor breaking walls seemed acceptable to me. I simply want a digital photo frame I have the right to hang on a wall surface and foracquire, while it does its image transforming point.

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I additionally reap the idea of structure somepoint that could potentially live a long life and become a family members heirloom, displaying moments of our background. I realize this goal is the a lot of difficult, and the only intuition I have about it is that in order to extend its life, both hardware and software application ought to be constructed making use of as much as feasible open up requirements and able to run both digital and also offline.

Armed through these ideas and a newuncovered desire to experiment via solar panels and also basic hardware tinkering, I set on a mission to construct precisely what I had actually in mind through the devices I was familiar through, and also with a desire to learn about brand-new modern technology.

The nitty-gritty


After some research I chose the first version would be based upon a Raspberry Pi Zero, powered by a PiJuice board through a 1000mAh battery, associated to an IT8951 Controller, itself attached to a 10.3-inch e-Paper display capable of displaying 1872×1404 through 16 greyscales. The battery on the PiJuice is recharged by an array of 6V polycrystalline solar panels associated in series creating a theoretical 1 amp of existing. Everypoint is mounted on a custom-designed structure which gives an ample 3cm of inner depth for placing the three boards and also miscellaneous wiring out of sight.

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Since power is a scarce resource, this setup takes advantage of the fact that ePaper basically just needs power when refreshing the picture. Accordingly, the Raspberry Pi is off the majority of of the moment, and also just boots to percreate a refresh, displaying a new photo, then easily goes earlier to sleep. Raspberry Pi OS was optimized to boot in around 20s. All in all, a refresh takes less than a minute from boot to power off. PiJuice offers an API to both monitor the state of the battery and to develop WAKE occasions making use of the onboard RTC.

A bunch of scripts cobbled together performs a couple of simple functions: fetching a brand-new photo from a internet server, displaying it (along with a couple of debugging values), and also scheduling the following booting-time based on the power easily accessible. When the battery level is high, choose above 90%, the photo is readjusted commonly, say eexceptionally couple of hours. The reduced the battery level, the less frequent the wake-ups. This is an excellent way to let the battery make it through long stretches of cloudy days. At the incredibly lowest level (

I love the top quality of ePaper. Hard to think this is simply 16 colors.


I am curious to know if this is a things various other civilization would be interested in structure or buying. While the primary motivator for this job was for me to build somepoint I wanted and gain some learning in the procedure, I wonder if other world would certainly gain a tool like this in their residences. It absolutely wouldn’t be exceptionally cheap – the retail price of the display alone is $150, even considering wholesale dynamics I can’t imagine the total expense of this easily going below $200. But I additionally think that the worth of our personal stories is much as well vital to connect a price tag to it.

If you are interested in contributing to this project or would certainly be interested in having actually one yourself, reach out to me!