Starting with the screen

A project log for Pip-Boy 2000 Mk VI Upgrade

Upgrading The Wand Company's Pip-Boy 2000 Kit with electronics

P.MoP.Mo 01/12/2019 at 17:590 Comments

Part of the reason I ended up with an e-ink display is that it had the closest size to that of the opening in the model (a lost of the LCD displays have a wider aspect ratio that leads to some letterboxing). In addition I have always wanted to play around with them so seem like a good excuse.

Now, eink screens have much lower refresh rates (though I am hoping to be able to hack around and improve it a bit for partial refreshing when using the menu system), but at worst case it will just be able to cycle through some different wallpaper images. The advantage being that once an image has been displayed on the screen it is fixed, even if the power is removed. This will make it much less power hungry and will not have to worry so much about draining the battery.

I've gone for the Waveshare 4.2inch 400x300 black and white module - black and white over three colour to get a half decent refresh rate and to fit within the body without having to cut up anything. More of that in another post but before I built it into anything I wanted to do a test to ensure that everything worked so it was out with a pi and the user guide to see if I could get a pip-boy image of sorts onto the screen.

Wiring is courtesy of a JST header beneath the board, photo to remember the colour coding and then I hot glued some header to a piece of foam core to mock up the circuit. Below you can see that I managed to follow the instructions to download the relevant software and then, using the python 3 demo code as a base, upload a typical pip-boy screen using a pi zero W. The image remains even after the power is removed:

I'm happy that I got it all working without much fuss - the image needs cleaning up for the two-colour display (there is no native gray-scale) so the traditional screens may need a little tweaking, but adding a green filter and it looks like it will work nicely. Also scored a kindle with a broken screen for a tenner on ebay, so will be trying to extract the light layer and add front illumination to this screen without trashing it.