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Inkplate 6COLOR E-Paper Colour Display

by e-radionica

Versatile, easy-to-use, Wi-Fi-enabled 5.8" e-paper COLOR display

Continuing the glory of the Inkplate series, we present you the newest board - Inkplate 6COLOR - an incredibly simple to use e-paper display, now with colorful e-paper display. Powerful, Wi-Fi-enabled ESP32 microcontroller makes this 5.8" color e-paper display incredibly easy to control. Just plug in a USB cable, open Arduino IDE (or MicroPython), and change the contents of the screen with a few lines of code! Thanks to its low-power mode, you can run it for months, or even years, on a single battery. The Inkplate series is everything you ever needed from an e-paper display, in a single ecosystem.

Making Complicated Technology Simple

Designed with simplicity in mind, InkPlate addresses all of the challenges that e-paper brings with it. Let’s start with hardware: everything is plug-and-play; just connect a USB Type-C cable, press the power button, and you’re ready to go. Inkplate boards contain all of the bits and pieces you need to get started, including a Wi-Fi microcontroller, microSD slot, extra input/output pins, Real Time Clock (RTC), Li-ion battery charger, and more. As for the screen, Inkplate 6COLOR has a slower refresh time compared to other Inkplate boards, but it compensates for that with a beautiful multicolor screen. You can show a total of seven different colors or use built-in dithering algorithms for even more realistic colors renderings on the screen.

Inkplate has you covered on the software side, as well. If you’re the Arduino type, you’ll have text on your screen in less than five minutes. Install the board definition, download the library, and open one of the many sample applications. Customizing those samples is about as easy as it gets. Using a library based on the Adafruit GFX graphics library, you can add text, images, and other graphical objects to the screen with just a few lines of code. The full documentation is here to help you finish your projects. MicroPython module and sample code will be provided as well.

E-Paper Looks Like Magic

The AC057TC1 e-paper screen from E-Ink Corporation packs seven color pixels for each physical pixel on the screen, and by dithering them, you can show real masterpieces on its screen.

Technical specs of the screen:

  • A 5.8-inch, 600 x 448 pixel color e-paper display, with the active area of 114.9 mm x 85.8 mm
  • Seven colors directly available (Black, White, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange)
  • SPI communication
  • Dithering algorithms built into the Arduino library, so you can show any color using the seven existing colors
  • 128 DPI (Dots Per Inch)
  • the manufacturer datasheet specifies a 25 second refresh time, but real-life observed refresh time is 10-11 seconds

What Can I Use Inkplate 6COLOR For?

  • A high-latency information panel - Show calendar, temperature, weather, and air quality data. Track your stocks, learn a new word each day, display information about whatever song is playing, or keep tabs on your social media accounts. Switch between various options easily using the touchscreen. Inkplate 6PLUS will draw almost no power until it needs to pull new data or refresh its screen.
  • A collaborative task tracker - Maintain shared lists of groceries to buy, chores to do, and birthdays to remember. No dry-erase markers required - just tap the screen to mark as done. Or, replace the power-hungry wall monitor in your office with an e-paper task display on each desk.
  • An open hardware e-reader - Sweep aside the barriers put in place by restrictive, centralized platforms, and e-read whatever you want!
  • Art - Frame photographs pulled from an SD card or an online camera roll. Or generate abstract art from sensor data. Or torment your house guests with a modern take on the "photo booth". 6COLOR is the perfect platform for showcasing artwork.

Features & Specifications

  • Display:
    • A 5.8-inch, 600 x 448 pixel color e-paper display, with seven colors directly available (Black, White, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange)
    • Dithering algorithms built into Arduino library, so you can show any color using the seven existing ones
    • According to the manufacturer datasheet, the display has a refresh time of 25 seconds, but our real-life observation is closer to 11 seconds
  • Connectivity:
    • A USB Type-C port for programming and power
    • An onboard ESP32 microcontroller with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE)
    • Plenty of additional GPIO pins and support for I²C, SPI, and easy/Qwiic connectivity
    • A MicroSD card reader (for storing images to be displayed, among other uses)
  • Power:
    • Extremely low power consumption, including a 18µA sleep state that can go days, weeks, or months on a single charge
    • A JST input and MCP73831 charger for Lithium battery power
    • An on-board Real Time Clock (RTC) to reduce power consumption and keep time
  • Physical:
    • Three capacitive touchpads
    • A pushbutton for power and an additional user button ("WAKE")
    • A form factor that's optimized for custom enclosures
    • An optional 3D-printed enclosure (source files will be available by the time Inkplate 6COLOR ships to backers)
    • Dimensions: 145 x 116 x 6 mm
    • Weight: 95 g
  • Software:
    • Arduino libraries (100% compatible with Adafruit GFX graphics library) and a MicroPython module that facilitates the rendering of text, images, and line art. An ESP-IDF driver will be available as well.
    • An Online Image Converter to prepare your images for display on Inkplate 6COLOR
    • A GUI Designer to help you build a user interface for your own application

Comparison Table

Check out how the Inkplate 6COLOR compares to the previous Inkplate displays.

Inkplate 6COLOR Inkplate 10 Inkplate 6 Inkplate 6PLUS
Screen Size 5.85" 9.7" 6" 6"
Resolution 600 x 448 1200 x 825 800 x 600 1024 x 758
Total number of pixels 268,800 990,000 480,000 776,192
Colors Yes, seven colors total No No No
Touch pads 3 3 3 No, touchscreen
All-in-one Board Yes Yes Yes Yes
Low-Power Mode 18 μA 22 μA 25 μA 22 μA
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery Charger Yes Yes Yes Yes
MicroSD slot Yes Yes Yes Yes
Greyscale No Yes Yes Yes
Partial Update No Yes Yes Yes
Refresh Time in Seconds 25 s / 11 s 1.61 s 1.26 s 1.27 s
Refresh Time per Pixel 93 μs / 41 μs 1.62 μs 2.63 μs 1.63 μs

Support & Documentation

Inkplate 6COLOR is open hardware driven by open source software. OSHWA certification is in the works. Its hardware design files and software are openly maintained in the GitHub repositories, as is the documentation. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, e-radionica provide free technical support through their forums.