ESP-IDF version 1.0 of the Firmware ready

SUN 21, JUN ´20

The Espressif IoT Development Framework (esp-idf) version of our firmware is ready to be tested:
Nightly branch: refactor/oop Stable: master

It took long development weeks but was time well spent. This version is working faster than Arduino-framework version and is using our own CalEPD epaper component. Only using our own component it was possible to make SPI communication faster. Last measurements for an 800*480 1 bit image was 800 ms download plus 2200 ms rendering. That means that you can get the image pixel buffer sent to the display in about 3 seconds.
Known limitations: No bluetooth support, configuration must be defined before compilation. The Bearer security token support is only in nightly build for now on branch: refactor/oop
Additional development efforts that are available as independant IDF components:

  1. CalEPD - Epaper ESP-IDF component
  2. Adafruit GFX graphics core component for ESP-IDF
This components are the core of the Cale-idf Firmware but can be used as components working together for your own firmware. Please check the detailed instructions in the repository on how to compile it. It's quite easy, even more than Arduino version, since just needs Display configuration and CALE bitmap URL. menuconfig flash monitor

New epaper display of 12.48 inches added

WED 10, JUN ´20

This new composite eink Firmware from the firma Waveshare is still in research phase. It's already added as an output display. We find this composite epaper display technology amazing, internally has 4 interconnected displays, that share MOSI and CLK. There is an example from the provider but we are actively working in making the WiFi download from this web-service a possibility at the end of June.
As an extra development since the end of Mai we are working in an Espressif IDF driver to be able to control exactly what is being sent to the epaper displays using ESP32 as an SPI master in the communication. Check the next news release for the repository address.

ESP8266/ESP32 non Bluetooth version updated

WED 13, MAI ´20

CALE original Firmware, the one that was done after the Eink Hackaday project, with hardcoded configuration and support for the ESP8266 has been updated.
Now it supports Service times, so it won't refresh at nights, and also goes to sleep as soon as the Epaper is rendered. One user reported up to 45 days of operational time with a 2200 mA/hr Lion battery. In his case the Eink was refreshed every 3 hours giving an aprox. consumption of 49 mA per day. With this new update that will make less refresh times per day, as per your Service Times settings, we expect the battery lifetime be even longer.

Four Epaper refresh Firmware is on the way

Based on a technology developed by Waveshare, we are going to support bigger Eink screens, that are composed internally by 4 displays. This will enable us to render our screens in an astonishing resolution of 1304×984 pixels on a 12.48 inches Epaper display. Being almost A4 sized, that's so far the biggest epaper display, we've dealt with so far.

A new Epaper is coming soon

WED 29, APRIL ´20

The awesome Inkplate 6 with a Kindle screen of 800*600 pixels is added to our supported Epaper displays

A new weather API: OpenWeather

TUE 28, APRIL ´20

OpenWeather API is integrated and ready to be configured.
It's easy to add, just get an Api key in their site and in our backend go to Content Add API and paste the key. And then add this api as a content partial in your Screen.
There is something new also that users in the USA requested: Temperature units

  • Metric - our usual EU Degrees ( C° )
  • Imperial - The imperium Farenheits ( F° )

We think it has not as much information as the old DarkSky, that had a cool one day prediction sentence, like "Today will rain till tuesday" among other things like sunrise and sunset time.

Or at least we did not find it. But it's enough to have Temperature and Humidity prediction for the next hours to see if you need to take the umbrella or not. It does it's job and it's free so we decided to implement first. There are another interesting weather Apis, but we will take action, only if at least some users ask to add them to their Screens.

TFT Firmware update

The TFT Firmware is now stable to use. This is a demo for anyone that wants to implement a welcome Screen in his project. It enables our Users to ship a product where you they can announce a Firmware update or any other dynamically requested image, that you control from CALE BACKEND, making it easy for the developer to update it any time he wants. Please note that we are not focusing our developments efforts in TFT output and this is a side project only. That's why this version does not have Bluetooth to receive configuration from CALE APP. Our main focus will be to have a low consumption Eink Firmware. This TFT Firmware is basically an example that you can follow to use our backend web-service and provide fresh JPG images in your projects.

EINK Firmware update

Martin, our CALE Firmware Developer, found a flaw in the Firmware that got an update last weekend. It was not going to sleep when it wakes up out of the Service Times.

The Service Times concept

You set a predefined time period where your display should refresh. The display wakes up and pings cale, the actual URL is your screen URL with /st at the end. This route returns just one byte: 0 or 1.  On 1 your display should be the seconds connected till downloading your image and rendering it. Then goes to sleep another round. Now on 0, it just wakes up that second, and goes to sleep again saving your battery like 10 seconds of high consumption and your display from a refresh when you are sleeping.

And on 0 was not sleeping. Now is fixed and if the Firmware is updated it can stay longer time working. So for those of you that can update the Firmware, please do it. Our estimations are that the Service Time can increase battery lifetime at least 20% or more depending on your setups.

The 10 pix left margin issue

We don't want to take a decision that will affect all User Screens without asking for permission. So we asked about feedback in our last newsletter and we are working in a solution.