8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 23, 2017 2:45 AM by balearicdynamics

    Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?

    neliger

      Hi,

       

      ePaper screens I can found on the net for using with a RaspBerry Pi are incredibly small. I'm sure a lot of you already have think about using a Kindle ePaper screen on projects. I've seen an episode of TBHS explaining that trying to re-use embedded screen could be a huge waste of time, but in the case of ePaper screens, I think it could be really interesting.

       

      I've seen a project where a Kindle was rooted and used as screen, but keeping the Kindle circuit, battery, and case. This is exciting, but why keeping useless electronics on a project ?

       

      I want to know if somebody have found the pinout of the Amazon Kindle screens, and maybe how to use it with a RaspBerry Pi ?

        • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
          balearicdynamics

          hello Loic,

           

          agree that the e-ink experimental screens are too small to do something useful. This is also the reason I appreciated a lot the https://www.element14.com/community/community/project14/geekygadgets/blog/2017/06/14/project-portfolio-badge#comment-109…  by fvan Until now this is the first useful project I saw based on a small e-ink display. I though several times to manage something similar with e-ink kindle devices; in past I have also contacted some companies to know how to have at least an A5 format e-ink display to manage it for custom projects but this technology is incredibly close!!! To have a "dev kit" based on e-ink, you should invest at least 3000$ and the distribution of large e-ink screens is controlled and limited to big companies only AFAIK.

          You idea of using the Kindle screen sounds great and I have already explored in past how it was the worth to manage it in some way. The main problem I see is that the firmware and software updates on the Kindle models are too frequent to have it just hijacked. Probably when you finish your project your system stop working on most of the devices due a new firmware update/upgrade.

          Then there is also another problem I see: Kindle has a price that is cheap for a reader (the better price on the market considering the possibilities and performances of the Kindle reader ecosystem setup worldwide by Amazon). But it is a really high price for a budget project; the less expensive device will cost around 70$ - until they decide to stop producing it.

           

          The only affordable solution I see on the today scenario - and it is in my queue to try this - is a node-js application or something similar with the embedded board connecting as a local web server to the Kindle "experimental" browser.

           

          Until now I have already setup a test with good results making my Calibre library (about 6000+ volumes) available wirelessly in a server-client configuration through the kindle browser. A new update I have in mind to publish soon  .

           

          Anyway IMHO the way of the kindle browsing is at least the most immediate and reliable possible.

           

          Enrico

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
            • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
              neliger

              Thanks Enrico, the browser idea can be useful in some projects.

               

              Interesting point of view on the market. Wonder why all these mysteries.

               

              Regarding the price, you can find some old Kindle on eBay for very low prices sometimes, but I suppose the pinout of these screens are "top secret" ^^

                • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
                  balearicdynamics

                  Absolutely true, not only but you can also find broken kindle with the screen working.

                  I have a slightly approach different (maybe different by other makers? Maybe I am not a maker? Maybe yes )

                   

                  I follow two different points of view in my projects or when I think to something or designing something.

                   

                  Case A: Make a product. Ok, it's prototyped, it's artisanal, it's just something simple but should be replicable, other people who loves it should be able to buy one for a chap price from me on Tindie. This means that the components should be something commercial, or very diffused or anyway easy to find on the market. Then any new "customer" as a matter of fact is a new user that can hack, mold, modify, bend the original project. This is interesting, sounds good to me. Means that things moves. So I can do something that is a simple add-on or a shield or something else but with components you can find, or probably already have in your maker lab etc.

                   

                  Case B: Make a project for all. The point remain the same. My prototype is a suggestion, maybe - hopefully - opens a door (also the small doorway for the cat but open something). Others can take inspiration and make their own, different, probably better, starting from the idea I suggest. And also in this case this should be something - ore than case A - extremely flexible and replicable.

                   

                  In both of cases the projects are always open projects, as I get information and inspiration from other as probably others do the same from my posts. It's not a question of earning, not stri tly related to the project itself. But IMHO is must be replicable. Else it remains just a good exhibition of your ability to do things. That can't be - for obvious reasons - really shared with other.

                   

                  Last - also part of my approach - when I search for a solution, and I find something complex, maybe too complex, I always think that it is not the right solution because if a solution should be it is mandatory it should be simple. Else it is not a solution, it is another complex problem

                   

                  Just personal opinions. Enrico

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
                      neliger

                      I understand your opinion, and think it's a valuable one for the community

                       

                      Here, I've spend most of my time doing things alone, with a way to do it like "If the door is closed, then I'll use the window, but I'll do it anyway". So I never really think about doing something sharable or replicable.

                       

                      Maybe this should change, but it could be very frustrating, as for this example of ePaper screen, if you want to do something replicable, then you do nothing

                • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
                  Andy Clark (Workshopshed)

                  I've seen projects using a Kobo reader but I believe they go down the root and install O/S approach.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
                    Roger Wolff

                    I have done an E-ink project. I used an E-ink display from aliexpress. The problem is that there is no datasheet for those e-ink displays. The displays themselves require odd voltages and are slightly tricky to drive correctly.

                     

                    The main advantage of an E-ink display is that you can leave the display un-powered for 99% of the time. So you can last a long time on a battery. This advantage mostly goes down the drain if you use a raspberry pi.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
                      John Beetem

                      There are Kindle hacks at Hackaday.  A quick look only found software hacks, but there may be hardware specs somewhere either at Hackaday or a linked site.

                       

                      I've been meaning to play with e-paper for a while.  I have a freebie ST Discovery board with a small e-paper display to get me started when that project bubbles up to the top.

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Using a Kindle ePaper screen with RaspBerry Pi ?
                          balearicdynamics

                          John, I tool a look to the kindle hacks. All are really very interesting but these hacks are very intrusive. Essentially you should dissect and destroy a kindle, at least considering it will loose its original use. I have a Kindle paperwhite with some hunderd of books. It is about a couple of years that most of the literature I read is on kindle. IMHO by the point of view of a User+Maker that owns a Kindle the best for him is improve what he can do, integrate it with its own boards and buildings without destroying it.

                           

                          Enrico