Inky Frame 7.3" (Pico W Aboard) – Inky Frame Only

by Pimoroni

An extra-large Pico W powered E Ink® photo frame / home dashboard / life organiser with glorious seven colour display and wireless connectivity.

There's a new ePaper screen in town, and it's a biggie! Inky Frame 7.3" features a super crisp E Ink display with 800 x 480 pixels of seven colour goodness. We've added five buttons with LED indicators for interacting with the display, two Qw/ST connectors for plugging in breakouts and a micro SD card slot for storing photos of fond maritime adventures (or whatever floats your boat).

Every Inky Frame comes with a pair of sleek little metal legs so you can stand it up on your desk (and a selection of mounting holes if you'd prefer to do something else). There's also a battery connector so you can power it without annoying trailing wires, and some neato power saving features that mean you can run it from batteries for ages.

Here are some things we reckon this mahoosive Inky would be great for:

💡 An ultra readable, low power consumption home automation dashboard

🖼️ Displaying stylised photos, pop art images or favourite comic panels.

📊 Showing cute graphs and readouts from local or wirelessly connected sensors

👀 Displaying fascinating data from online APIs.

What's new? 😎

Running this size of display from a microcontroller is a challenge (even with one as awesome as Raspberry Pi Pico W). To give it a hand we've added an extra 8MB of PSRAM to this Inky Frame, so we can store the display buffer in the extra memory and free up the Pico's onboard RAM to do Pico things.

You can now set the thickness of lines and text in PicoGraphics (making vector fonts a lot more useful on a big screen). You can set up custom pen colours which dither Inky's seven primaries into (most) colours of the rainbow - this works best with blocks of colour or chunky text. We've also added some shiny new helper functions for Inky Frame to make interacting with the buttons, LEDs and RTC much more straightforward.

Pico W x E Ink®

Multi-colour EPD displays use ingenious electrophoresis to pull coloured particles up and down on the display. The coloured particles reflect light, unlike most display types, meaning that they're easily visible under bright lights.

E-paper is also ultra low power. It only consumes power whilst refreshing and the images on the display stick around for a really long time whilst the display is unpowered. This means these displays are perfect for powering from battery!

⚠ It takes approximately 40 seconds to refresh this display, so it will work best in projects that don't need constant refreshing.

Features

  • Raspberry Pi Pico W Aboard
    • Dual Arm Cortex M0+ running at up to 133Mhz with 264kB of SRAM
    • 2MB of QSPI flash supporting XiP
    • Powered and programmable by USB micro-B
    • 2.4GHz wireless
  • 7.3" EPD display (800 x 480 pixels)
    • E Ink Gallery Palette® ePaper
    • ACeP (Advanced Color ePaper) 7-color with black, white, red, green, blue, yellow, orange.
    • Ultra wide viewing angles
    • Ultra low power consumption
    • Dot pitch – 0.2 x 0.2mm
  • 5 x tactile buttons with LED indicators
  • Two Qw/ST connectors for attaching breakouts
  • microSD card slot *
  • 8MB PSRAM
  • Dedicated RTC chip (PCF85063A) for deep sleep / wake **
  • Fully assembled
  • No soldering required.
  • C/C++ and MicroPython libraries
  • Schematic

Inky Frame Only includes

  • Inky Frame 7.3" (with Pico W Aboard)
  • 2 x metal legs

Inky Frame + Accessory Kit includes

  • Inky Frame 7.3" (with Pico W Aboard)
  • 2 x metal legs
  • 3 x AA battery pack
  • 3 x AA batteries
  • USB micro B cable
  • Velcro square for attaching battery pack
  • microSD card

Software

Our C++/MicroPython libraries include support for the Inky Frame display. You'll get best performance using C++, but if you're a beginner we'd recommend using our batteries included MicroPython build for ease of getting started.

You can draw on the screen using our lightweight PicoGraphics library, which includes functions for displaying text, shapes and images (plus individual pixels of course), and we've provided some examples to get you started.

Inky Frame 7.3" ships pre-loaded with MicroPython and some fun examples that use the wireless capabilities of the Pico W to display interesting things. To enable Inky Frame to connect to the internet, you'll need to save a file called secrets.py to the Pico W using Thonny. It should contain the following lines:

WIFI_SSID = "your_ssid_goes_here"
WIFI_PASSWORD = "your_password_goes_here"

To return to the launcher, hold down buttons A and E and tap reset.

MicroPython

C/C++

Connecting Breakouts

The Qw/ST connectors on Inky Frame make it super easy to connect up Qwiic or STEMMA QT breakouts. If your breakout has a QW/ST connector on board, you can plug it straight in with a JST-SH to JST-SH cable.

Breakout Garden breakouts that don't have a Qw/ST connector can be connected using a JST-SH to JST-SH cable plus a Qw/ST to Breakout Garden adaptor. Want to use >2 breakouts at the same time? Try this adaptor!

Notes

  • Measurements: 176.20mm x 139.20 mm (L x W)
  • Overall display dimensions: 170.2 x 111.2mm (W x H)
  • Usable area dimensions: 160 x 96 mm (W x H)
  • These seven colour ePaper displays work best when refreshed at an ambient room temperature - between 15 and 35°. If the screen is cold you might find that the colours are less vibrant or the display is much darker than it should be.
  • Due to the size of this panel and the esoteric practices surrounding suspending coloured particles in goo, there is some expected variation in colour density towards the corners. This is most noticeable when displaying block colours - green and orange in particular become less saturated towards the corners of the panel. We've noticed that the corners can also sometimes have a pink tinge when displaying full white (especially when the screen is cold).
  • * A micro SD card can be added to cache data downloaded over wifi or for logging information prior to uploading via wireless. It can also be used to preload assets for your user interface. Certain tasks (like decoding a jpeg or downloading a file) require an SD card to be present as they need a large working space and wouldn't be able to fit entirely in RAM.
  • We've found Pico flavoured C++/MicroPython is quite fussy about SD cards so if yours doesn't work, try another or formatting using FAT. The cards in the Accessory Kit, or our 32GB or 64GB cards will work fine.
  • ** Inky Frame's onboard RTC (Real Time Clock) means it can be put into a super deep sleep mode that only draws about 20uA of power. Inky Frame can turn off the power that drives the Pico W and the display completely. It can be woken back up by the RTC , the front buttons or the external trigger on the extension header. You can also read the RTC to keep track of the time and date, of course!
  • On the expansion header is an external trigger input. if this is transitioned from low to high then Inky Frame will wake up from deep sleep. This lets you add your own wake button or circuit or build Inky Frame into a more complicated system. The external trigger is 3.3V max.
  • 'Shipping image' by donvictorio, via Shutterstock.

About Pico W Aboard

Our new Pico W Aboard products come with a built in Raspberry Pi Pico W. This means you get all the advantages of a RP2040 microcontroller - a speedy fast dual-core ARM processor, a dynamic, growing ecosystem and a choice of different programming methods to experiment with. Most excitingly though, Pico W has wireless connectivity, so your Pico/RP2040 devices can communicate with each other, and the internet! 🌍

View all Pico W Aboard!