A Very Practical E Ink Dashboard for Home Assistant

Markus Haack built a simple and practical E Ink dashboard display for Home Assistant.

Home Assistant is open source software that has achieved something we don’t often see: it has far surpassed the proprietary closed-source competition in capability. Even if price weren’t a concern, you would likely choose to use Home Assistant because it is extremely powerful and versatile. It will work with almost any hardware you want, so the possibilities are endless. Markus Haack took advantage of that to build his own practical E Ink dashboard for Home Assistant.

A Home Assistant server will be track and log a ridiculous amount of data behind the scenes, but you won’t ever see most of it. Automation is the name of the game and Home Assistant can use all of that data to trigger any action you can imagine. But sometimes you do want to see a bit of the data with your own eyes and this dashboard makes it accessible. Haack chose to display information like the day’s weather and statistics about his car, but this will work with any data that the Home Assistant server can access.

This is painless thanks to ESPHome, which is microcontroller firmware designed to help people create IoT (Internet of Things) devices that play nice with home automation systems, such as Home Assistant. When configured correctly, an ESPHome device will appear to Home Assistant like any other compatible consumer IoT device.

In this case, Haack installed ESPHome on Waveshare’s convenient ESP32-based Universal ePaper Raw Panel Driver Board. That connects easily to a Waveshare 2.9" ePaper screen without any soldering or special adapter. ESPHome has a configuration available for this hardware, so it couldn’t be any easier.

From there, the rest of the process should look familiar to anyone experienced with Home Assistant templating and YAML. Gathering data is simple (assuming there is a Home Assistant “sensor” to query), though displaying that can be a bit more complex. Haack provides his display logic, but anyone recreating this project will likely need to tweak that for their own use.

Haack used some plywood (painted a lovely shade of green) to construct a frame for the E Ink screen and the control board. It sits there unobtrusively providing Haack with information at a glance.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist. Check out my YouTube channel: Serial Hobbyism
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