Pricer Brand ePaper Price Tag Teardown

What's inside a 5.83" digital price tag?

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There are a few different companies making ePaper price tags. They don't sell these to consumers, instead providing bulk devices, service, and support to stores. But sometimes you can get them on eBay. I picked up this Pricer brand HD150 ePaper price tag for $20.

I have a deep interest in ePaper and these digital price tags are an interesting part of that. While some brands have RF comms for updating the display, this one is a Pricer brand tag that uses IR for updates. I believe the idea is that retail stores will have transmitters in the ceiling that can update tags as needed.

I grabbed this on off of eBay for $20. It's an HD150 model, although it's very difficult to find detail about these so I really didn't know what I was purchasing.

I was pretty happy when it arrived and found that it has a display that measures almost 6 inches on the diagonal. With no visible screws, I used a spudger to pry the front and back cases apart at the seam on the edge. Unfortunately I cracked the front frame in half along the top but I'm not bothered by that.

Check out the teardown project log for more images and thoughts on what I found when taking this one apart.

  • Directly driving the ePaper (with Red ghosting)

    Mike Szczys03/25/2021 at 18:31 2 comments

    I've established with near certainty that this the GDEW0583Z83, a black/white/red ePaper display with a resolution of 648x480. The company provides demo software for the panel, but it doesn't work as expected. Black and white are just fine, but the red layer has extremely poor performance:

    You can see the black and white look good, but the red is mixed with black, and the ghosting bars above each of the four boxes is also red layer ghosting.

    I think this is a problem either with the initialization of the display, or that a custom LUT is needed and not provided in the example file.

  • PCB Photos

    Mike Szczys02/23/2021 at 00:42 0 comments

View all 2 project logs

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skip hansen wrote 12/20/2021 at 19:45 point

Just a quick link  for anyone interested in playing with these tags using the stock firmware:  I can verify that it does work!

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Arya wrote 06/18/2021 at 11:08 point

>>>I think this is a problem either with the initialization of the display, or that a custom LUT is needed and not provided in the example file.

This is where I'd break out the logic analyzer and capture whatever it is that is sent by the original controller to update the tag, then compare the init sequence and data format with one produced by company's example code and see what's the difference =)

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Steven wrote 04/07/2021 at 16:34 point

The (IR-based) protocol for these is actually already reverse-engineered, if anyone wonders. It seems the original work was hit by a cease-and-desist from the company, but there's still plenty of information to be found. Particularly in French (hint, hint). All references to the company name have been removed, though.

I'm waiting for some of these to arrive, and am planning to see whether I can swap out the phototransistor with a regular one, such that the original ASIC still drives the display (I'm assuming it has some LUTs coded in there somewhere...), and put another WMCU in the spot where the NFC tag resides which pushes display data to the display through the IR protocol (except it'll just be over a wire).

Exciting times!

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gsyme.thursday wrote 04/03/2021 at 04:10 point

I just got one of these from Ebay. A couple of notes for other people who find this page:

The set of 10 pads (TP14 and friends) are accessible without opening the case: there are access holes hidden under a sticker on the back.

The NFC bit is just an ID sticker. Mine had a url on it, which seems to go to a device-specific page on Pricer's site. It was invalid! Apparently you have to link  the device to the system somehow

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skip hansen wrote 12/12/2021 at 23:21 point

Yes they are!  Thanks for the tip.  NB: DO NOT REMOVE the batteries if you want to use the stock firmware, it's in RAM!  I was able to measure my battery voltage and happily my batteries aren't dead (yet).

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initrd wrote 02/23/2021 at 00:45 point

Cool! Maybe it could work with or another adapter board.

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Mike Szczys wrote 02/26/2021 at 22:52 point

I'll have to check it out and see, thanks! Looks like they've got some good documentation going for it:

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