Del Hatch's ePiPod Offers a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W-Powered ePaper Take on Apple's Classic iPod

Offering around five hours of playback per charge, this Python-based portable audio player packs a sunlight-readable display.

Gareth Halfacree
23 days ago β€’ Music / HW101 / Python on Hardware

Electrical engineer Del Hatch has released a device that offers a new take on cloning Apple's classic iPod music player: the ePiPod, powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W single-board computer and featuring a sunlight-readable ePaper display.

"[I] was inspired by a comment on the original PiPod project: 'It would be cool to see one with an ePaper screen," Hatch explains, referring to an earlier project from fellow maker Bram Rausch that saw the creation of a Raspberry Pi Zero-powered Apple iPod-like portable music player. "Challenge accepted!"

The original PiPod used a 2.2" 320Γ—240 LCD for a display, positioned above a quintet of tactile push-button switches for control. The ePiPod, as Hatch has named his spin on the original design, mimics the same layout but replaces the TFT with an electrophoretic 250Γ—122 ePaper display β€” offering extremely low power draw and full readability in sunlight, at the expense of an inability to see what you're doing in the dark.

"Because this ePaper screen uses an SPI interface (like the original LCD screen), the change mostly involved implementing the ePaper power supply (SMPS) [Switched-Mode Power Supply] from Waveshare's reference design, along with using the Waveshare driver library, and then using the Python pillow graphics library to draw to the screen."

The portable player is driven by a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, the considerably more powerful success to the original Raspberry Pi Zero single-board computer. The board is connected to a carrier via its general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, while audio is delivered from a dedicated 24-bit I2S digital to analog converter (DAC) through a headphone amplifier.

"Using the project's standard 1,200mAh battery," Hatch notes, "the continuous play time is now four hours, 48 minutes."

More information on the project is available on Hatch's Hackaday.io page, with Gerbers and software sources published to GitHub under an unspecified license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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