Easy e-paper finally comes to microcontrollers with these breakouts, shields and friends that are designed to make it a breeze to add a monochrome, tri-color, or grayscale eInk display. Chances are you've seen one of those new-fangled 'e-readers' like the Kindle or Nook. They have gigantic electronic paper 'static' displays - that means the image stays on the display even when power is completely disconnected. The image is also high contrast and very daylight readable. It really does look just like printed paper!
Adafruit has liked these displays for a long time, but they were never designed for makers to use. Finally, we decided to make our own!
Breakouts and Flexibles
- We have a newer 296x128 Tri-Color display with the UC8151D chipset, which has has black and red ink pixels and a white-ish background.
- The older tri-color breakout, which had the same Product ID, had the IL0373 chipset. This display is no longer offered.
- The 2.9" monochrome flexible display has a resolution of 296x128 and is flexible. For this display, you will probably want to pick up an e-Ink Breakout Friend or e-Ink Feather Friend. There is an extension cable available for this type of connection also.
- The newer 296x128 Tri-Color FeatherWing with the SSD1675 chipset.
- The older tri-color FeatherWing with the IL0373 has the same display as the older breakout. This display is also no longer offered.
- The grayscale FeatherWing features 4 levels of grayscale. We have a 296x128 Grayscale FeatherWing.
Using our Arduino library, you can create a 'frame buffer' with what pixels you want to have activated and then write that out to the display. Most simple breakouts leave it at that. But if you do the math, 296 x 128 pixels x 2-bits-per-pixel = 9.5 KBytes. Which won't fit into many microcontroller memories. Heck, even if you do have 32KB of RAM, why waste 9KB?
So we did you a favor and tossed a small SRAM chip on the back. This chip shares the SPI port the eInk display uses, so you only need one extra pin. And, no more frame-buffering! You can use the SRAM to set up whatever you want to display, then shuffle data from SRAM to eInk when you're ready. The library we wrote does all the work for you, you can just interface with it as if it were an Adafruit_GFX compatible display.
For ultra-low power usages, the onboard 3.3V regulator has the Enable pin brought out so you can shut down the power to the SRAM, MicroSD and display.
We even added on a MicroSD socket to the breakouts and FeatherWings so you can store images, text files, whatever you like to display. Everything is 3 or 5V logic safe so you can use it with any and all common Maker microcontrollers.