Inkplate 6PLUS: Verstaile, easy-to-use and energy-efficient Wi-Fi enabled 6-inch e-paper display
E-paper displays are fascinating. They mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper, and they look brilliant! E-Paper displays make reading comfortable and provide a wider viewing angle than most light-emitting displays. An idle E-Paper display can be easily viewed in direct sunlight without the image appearing to fade. Moreover, the fact that these screens resemble physical paper and appear lifelike is very captivating.
However, E-Paper display modules are a hassle to work. They require additional hardware like breakout boards for connectors and cables or external microcontrollers. This is where Inkplate 6PLUS recycled E-Paper display from e-radionica comes into the picture. Inkplate 6PLUS is a powerful, energy-efficient, Wi-Fi-enabled ESP32 board with a recycled 6.0-inch e-paper display featuring a touchscreen and front lighting. The Inkplate display is open-source hardware supported by an open-source software library. It is easy to use and convenient for both who prefer Arduino IDE or MicroPython. Also, it consumes power only when updating the content of the display, which means that it can be powered by a small lithium-ion battery and make a compact device out of it.
The display is very user-friendly. For displaying content, you need to install the board definition, download the library, and open one of the many sample applications. The Inkplate team says,
“Customizing those samples is about as easy as it gets. Using a library based on Adafruit GFX, you can add text, images, and other graphical objects to the screen with just a few lines of code. MicroPython and ESP-IDF libraries and sample code are available as well.”
Hardware is also plug-and-play. All that is needed is a connection via USB Type-C cable, and it is ready to display.
Inkplate 6PLUS uses E-Ink’s latest generation e-paper technology, Carta. It offers high contrast and high resolution; more specifically, it provides 212 Pixel density. Carta technology also provides a wider viewing angle, an expanded temperature range, and a pure reflective mode. Plus, they are touch-sensitive and support 64 levels of brightness. Kindle Paperwhite (2nd and 3rd generation) also uses this technology. The displays used in Inkplate 6PLUS are recycled (from 1st and 2nd generation Kindle Paperwhites, Pocketbook Touch Lux 3s, and possibly Kobo Nias).
The Inkplate’s all-in-one hardware consists of a dual-core ESP32 microcontroller with 4 MB of flash memory, 8 MB of RAM, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an onboard antenna. The microcontroller can be programmed with the help of a USB-to-UART converter as its USB Type-C port simplifies programming. The hardware has an MCP73831 charger that charges its Lithium battery when it is connected to USB power and draws power from that battery when the USB power is disconnected. An onboard charging LED indicates battery status, and battery-measurement circuitry gives easy access to the voltage.
The hardware includes a 6-inch, 1024 x 758 pixel e-paper display with support for grayscale, partial updates, and quick refresh cycles. MCP23017 IO expanders are used to drive the display and to provide extra GPIO pins. Moreover, it uses AP5726WG-7 and DAC MCP47A1 LED drivers for controlling the 64 different brightness levels. An onboard Real Time Clock (RTC) is utilized to reduce power consumption and keep time. The hardware consumes only 22uA in the sleep state and can go months on a full charge.
This all-in-one, easy-to-use, and highly compatible E-Paper display from the Inkplate family are perfect for a variety of applications such as reading and displaying the calendar, temperature, weather, air quality data, or any art piece.
- Support Inkplate 6PLUS on Crowdsupply: https://www.crowdsupply.com/e-radionica/inkplate-6plus
- e-radionica website: https://e-radionica.com/en/