24. June 2022

Weather display for LilyGO TTGO T5-4.7″ E-Paper ESP32 deployed using Arduino IDE 2.0

LilyGO TTGO T5-4.7″ E-Paper ESP32 is nice display which integrates ESP32, USB-C, Li-Po and 18650 accumulator support in one board. The display driver is GDEH0213B72.

One interesting use-case for the board is Weather display.

There are several steps to get the Weather display working. Let’s walk through them.

Drivers

Linux users may skip this section since modern the kernel contains support for CH34x drivers.

macOS users may encounter the following error when flashing:

Failed to write to target RAM (result was ...)

It’s necessary to install the driver from https://github.com/WCHSoftGroup/ch34xser_macos.

Windows users may need to install https://www.wch.cn/download/CH341SER_EXE.html.

Arduino IDE setup

Download Arduino IDE 2.0.

Add ESP32 boards support. Click File, click Preferences, select Settings tab. Enter following URL to Additional boards manager URLs:

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/espressif/arduino-esp32/gh-pages/package_esp32_index.json

Click Ok. Click Tools, select Boards: …, click Boards Manager… . It will open left pane with list of boards. Type esp32 to Filter your search field. Find esp32 by Espressif Systems, click Install.

Preparing code

Open a terminal and clone LilyGo-EPD47 library to Arduino/libraries:

Linux:

cd ~/Arduino/libraries
git clone git@github.com:Xinyuan-LilyGO/LilyGo-EPD47.git --depth 1

macOS:

cd ~/Documents/Arduino/libraries
git clone git@github.com:Xinyuan-LilyGO/LilyGo-EPD47.git --depth 1

Make a clone LilyGo-EPD-4-7-OWM-Weather-Display to the directory with Arduino projects. The folder name with the project should match the name of the source code file OWM_EPD47_epaper_v2.5 to avoid unnecessary step of moving the file.

Linux:

cd ~/Arduino
git clone git@github.com:Xinyuan-LilyGO/LilyGo-EPD-4-7-OWM-Weather-Display.git OWM_EPD47_epaper_v2.5

macOS:

cd ~/Documents/Arduino/
git clone git@github.com:Xinyuan-LilyGO/LilyGo-EPD-4-7-OWM-Weather-Display.git OWM_EPD47_epaper_v2.5

Open Arduino IDE 2.0, click File, select Sketchbook, click OWM_EPD47_epaper_v2.5.

The project requires ArduinoJson to build. Click Tools, click Manage libraries… . The pane with Library Manager should open, type ArduinoJson to Filter your search field. Find ArduinoJson by Benoit Blanchon, click Install.

Try to build the project.

It might fail with the following error:

.../Arduino/libraries/LilyGo-EPD47/src/rmt_pulse.c:9:24: fatal error: hal/rmt_ll.h: No such file or directory
compilation terminated.
Multiple libraries were found for "WiFiClient.h"
  Used: .../.arduino15/packages/esp32/hardware/esp32/1.0.4/libraries/WiFi
  Not used: .../arduino-1.8.13/libraries/WiFi
exit status 1

Open the file ~/Arduino/libraries/LilyGo-EPD47/src/rmt_pulse.c and comment out line 9:

/* #include <hal/rmt_ll.h> */

The project should be buildable now.

Configuring local parameters

Open file owm_credentials.h and configure ssid, password, apikey, City, Country.

The project is acquiring data from openweathermap.org. Create new free account in order to get apikey.

The project implementations contains support for power saving, so if you’re flashing in the early morning/late night you might be surprised that nothing is on the display. To change power-saving options open file OWM_EPD47_epaper_v2.5.ino and change WakeupHour to a value that suits your need.

Flashing

Connect the module. Select the board from dropdown in toolbar. Click Port (/dev/ttyACMx on Linux), filter for ESP32 Wrover module and click Ok.

Click Upload arrow.

If the flashing is successful you may enjoy new Weather display. Congratulations!

3D printed enclosure

There are several versions of files for 3D printing. You can find them in the discussion at GitHub – LilyGo-EPD47. The picture in this article is based on model thing:4782302 printed on Original Prusa MINI+ with PET-G. The model has a few cosmetic limitations:

  • It’s not possible to keep the display standing while USB-C is connected.
  • Buttons are not completely reachable.
  • The display must be attached by a tape or other method to the stand to avoid detaching from the case.

Notes

When ordering the board with the display from the e-shop, double-check whether the battery holder is present. Even when it’s displayed on the picture it does not mean that the battery holder or battery is part of the delivery.

When connecting by USB-C to USB-C cable the device should light up at least a red led. If nothing is visible, rotate the USB-C connected to the board by 180 degrees or use USB-A to USB-C cable.

2. April 2017

Custom font for OLED display connected to ESP8266 via SPI

Small OLED displays can easily extend the functionality of ESP8266.

I made an experiment with 128×64 OLED display from Com-Four.

The first challenge was how to connect the display to ESP8266. The recommended way for high performance is to use Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI). The advantage of this approach is the speed, the disadvantage is that it will take more pins.

The display could be connected in following way (also described in the example of ESP8266_SD1306 library):

ESP8266 - SD1306
GND     - GND
3V      - VDD
D5      - SCK (also known as CLK)
D7      - SDA (also known as MOSI/DOUT)
D0      - RES
D2      - DC
D8      - CS

If you’re using PlatformIO, just add ESP8266_SD1306 library to dependencies in platfromio.ini:

lib_deps =
 ESP8266_SSD1306

Now you can run any example from Squix78 library. The library contains 3 sizes of Arial font: 10, 16 and 24px.

My goal was to display temperature from Observatory in Brno. Retrieving temperature and sending it to MQTT for ESP8266 was quite easy.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import paho.mqtt.publish as publish

import urllib.request
f = urllib.request.urlopen('http://www.hvezdarna.cz/meteo/lastmeteodata')
content = f.read().decode('utf-8')

items = content.split(' ')

publish.single('/home/monitor/display/0', items[4], hostname='localhost')

I used default Arial 24 font. The problem was that the number was too small and barely readable from a distance. Luckily Daniel Eichhorn published great online tool which is able to generate font of any size for OLED display: http://oleddisplay.squix.ch.

My first attempt was to generate Roboto Light 54px font. It was working, just number 4 was not visible. I discovered a bug in the generator, that too big font will overflow default size of char in the jump table.

After several attempts I’ve found the right font for me DejaVu Sans 52px. This font was far more readable.

The last touch to make the font more readable was to tune down contrast little bit by the command:

display.setContrast(10);

I can definitely recommend this type of OLED display. It has good readability even during a sunny day. The code is available at GitHub in LampESP project.