Jordan Blanchard's Weather Card Is a Compact, Solar-Powered ePaper Weather Sculpture

Designed for a minimal footprint, in all possible senses, this weather display harvests solar energy into an upcycled vape battery.

Maker and astronomer Jordan Blanchard has designed a compact desktop ePaper weather dashboard that's solar-powered, storing its captured energy in a battery salvaged from a disposable vape.

"[It's] a solar weather display close to the size of a card," Blanchard explains of the project. "The size is 12cm by 6.5cm [around 4.72×2.6"] and it has a little stand to stay up."

Designed for a minimal power draw, the "Weather Card" uses a LILYGO T5 ePaper display, which is powered by an Espressif ESP32-D0WDQ6 microcontroller on its rear. The face is a 2.13" electrophoretic display panel, capable only of black-and-white imagery but drawing no power unless it's in the process of updating — and offering a sunlight-readable paper-like viewing experience.

That's particularly useful in Blanchard's build, as the display is powered by harvested energy from a small 5V solar panel at the top of the build. This is stored in a lithium-ion battery salvaged from a disposable vape pen — holding enough power to have the microcontroller wake the radio every 15 minutes, download the latest weather data via the OpenWeatherMap API, and update the ePaper display. To finish the project, all the components are connected using brass rods — turning it into an open-frame circuit sculpture.

This isn't Blanchard's first experiment with sculpted solar-powered projects. Back in March last year he unveiled a functional model of a satellite, which used four solar panels to gather enough energy to capture time-lapse footage on using an Arducam ESP32-CAM board.

The full project write-up, including source code, is available on

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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