Can't find the server because no one has updated the label on the front for 5 years?

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Have a machine that's changed role?
Have a machine that's changed name?
Sick and tired of updating the labels on the front of machines?
Need to find the machine that just died but can't because there's no machine with that name on the label?

Softlabel - ePaper information panel for servers.

Update the hostname displayed on the front of the machine every time you boot, every time you change it.
Display other useful information like the IPMI address.
Have access to this information even when the machine is shut off due the magic of ePaper.

Originally dreamt up because we couldn't find a machine called "terrapin" after a power disruption. The machine was powered off but being a server class machine it had enough fans running and blinky lights going that finding it was difficult. It had a completely different name on the old fashioned paper label. and all the time we wear searching for it we had a dozen devs breathing down our necks because they couldn't start work.

Once I'm done with the prototype phase which is working out how to talk to the display from the Atmel, the minimum memory for the frame buffer of a 2 inch display, I hope to lay out and order a PCB that has just the parts I need, and is just the size I need.

Looking at the seed studio board, if I incorporate the Atmel chip on the board and remove the reset switch, and sd card, I should be able to squeeze everything I need into a PCB not much bigger than the EPD.

Also to work out is a simple serial protocol, at the moment It's basically a letter followed by arguments.

c           - clear
x 0         - move x to 0px
y 0         - move y to 0px
t some text - print text at this point, increment y by 14px
d           - draw the display

This is mostly based on the limitations and constraints of the libraries provided, I hope as I write my own the options for more features - at least "clear line", and "clear rect" will be possible meaning partial updates to the frame (the whole image still needs to be re-drawn but it'll still be quicker than re-defining a whole frame from scratch)

As you can see, I have a sketch of a case to put this in, it's the perfect dimensions to clip on to the front of any standard 1ru case that has any sort of seam. An alternative case might be one that has screw mounts to screw into the rack studs, eventually I want to see manufacturers install this inside their cases.

I know a lot of cases already have LCDs in them, I hope to win any arguments with "cheap, requires near no power to operate, and in the event of a power failure, continues displaying while other display products go blank"

  • 1 × 2.0’’ a-Si, active matrix TFT, Electronic Paper Display (EPD) panel Perfect size for a 1 RU case.
  • 1 × Small e-paper Shield Prototyping, this makes it easier.
  • 1 × ATMEGA32U4-AU Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, DSPs / ARM, RISC-Based Microcontrollers

  • Shelved

    Shannon Wynter08/24/2015 at 14:44 0 comments

    Project shelved for the moment - I have better things to do and no motivation to do this, might pick it up again later.

    Just to head off the inevitable criticism, no I'm not sour over the HAD Prize, not getting in is actually a blessing, this time of year work gets nuts and I have so many other cheaper (free) things to do and get done.

  • Schematic Done - Sorta

    Shannon Wynter08/06/2015 at 22:29 0 comments

    So, after a week or so of arguing with Altium CircuitMaker, I have a schematic, I'm not entirely sure it's 100% correct, and I'm quite positive I want to go back to using Eagle (and may still do that) not that I have a lot of experience with Eagle either.

    If anyone wants to take a look at - - and offer any criticism/suggestions, I'll gladly take them - It's one thing to take a bunch of components and jumper them together...

    It's half arduino reference, half repaper reference. Regulating the usb5v to 3v, and ditching all of the repaper voltage conversion.

    All my source code is lost - I blame the Windows 10 upgrade and Disk Cleanup utility, don't ask the Disk Cleanup utility to clean up old installs unless you've copied your documents *off* the PC, not just out of the windows.old directory. I have backups, I just have to find them, and TBH it'll probably be quicker to start over anyway.

  • Schematics and compromise

    Shannon Wynter07/28/2015 at 22:16 0 comments

    So, I'm about half way through my schematic, it's tough with the amount of free time I get but it's coming along.

    Giving Altium CircuitMaker a go, normally I'd use Eagle but I figure I'm so far out of practice it doesn't make much difference either way.

    Have decided to compromise, in order to be lazy and keep using ATmega32u4 - Mostly for the simplicity of built in USB - frame buffering will be done on the host and streamed via the MCU to the EPD.

    I could render the frame for a 2 inch EPD on the MCU but it uses 2.4k out of the 2.5k of memory so it's just going to be easier this way - it'll be faster than relying on external flash and a lot simpler than picking a bigger MCU and working out USB.

  • New E-Ink Dev Kit

    Shannon Wynter07/14/2015 at 02:42 0 comments

    So I've gotten as far as I want with the dev board from Seeed, I've just recieved a new one (RePaper) from adafruit - it has better libraries (less coding work/rework) and a BOM that's much closer to what my board will have - though I intend to ditch the flash if I can.

    Can't wait to get home tonight and play with it.

  • First stages

    Shannon Wynter06/26/2015 at 04:46 0 comments

    I've aquired the components to prototype the job at hand and spent a good couple of hours working on it.

    Turns out that the libraries provided by seedstudio aren't the greatest, am going to have to write my own to get the V230 EPD working on this development board on this atmega.

    Their libraries work fine on a Leonardo with it's atmega32u4, but it's horrifically slow and requires an SD card as a frame buffer - I want to avoid the frame buffer if I can, hence Arduino Mega 2560, but if I can't work the code out for that....

    Final product will either be an atmel chip with enough memory to handle the frames, or use an SPI flash chip - I am probably going to ditch the GT20L16 font chip that's on the demo board in the final product too.

    Long story short - all the parts work, they just don't work together - yet.

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