Notes on PaPIRus

0724151241-00A couple of weeks ago that awfully nice Aaron Shaw of Pi-Supply Sent me a welfare package of some hardware that I have no ability to obtain for myself. I’d asked if he could bung me a few official Raspberry Pi psu’s, A Black Hack3r & a Motor board that he being the nice chap he is did. However, he also included a few PiCrusts, PiSwitch, a Fish Dish (by the way I really do suck at soldering these days :) 0717151551-00my only excuse is great rustiness (pun not intended :) ), old age (bad eyes, shaky hands) and bad tools, really bad tools, honest it’s the tools really. I think not only are they rubbish but they are out to get me too. Not that i’m paranoid or anything. Also included was a PaPiRus ePaper HAT from his recent kickstarter and available on the Pi-Supply website . I had some things I had to do before I could start playing with it so didn’t start until yesterday afternoon so really haven’t done much with it yet. I do have some ideas but I need to get some other things organised before I can put it all together.

There doesn’t seem to be much (Any?) documentation for it yet so here are a few of the notes i’ve made as i’ve been playing with it and working out how to control the epaper screen, the rtc and which GPIO the 4 buttons seem to be on. By the way IMHO I think epaper is upsidedown as the buttons are at the “top” of the PCB.
0724151333-00I’m sure there is a way to “rotate” the display but so far I haven’t found it.







To control the ePaper part of the PaPiRus you’ll if you haven’t already done it you’ll need to enable spi & preferably devicetree using raspi-config. The options to do that are under Advanced Options. Once you have enabled spi and rebooted you’ll need to install the PapiRus driver which you can grab either from or from my fork where i’ve fixed a missing ENVVAR & started tidying up the repo and adding a few bits and pieces Follow the the installation instructions in the in eithe rof those two repo’s and you should be good to go. There are a few demo programs in there although I think the python module isn’t being installed correctly but I know sweet fanny adams about python so when I got errors saying that the progs couldn’t find the EPD module I used a sys.path.append() hack and added the path to the module files just before the import EPD (& changed case)


'''This is a hack as I don't know why it's not finding the installed papirus module
without it'''
from epd import EPD

Although you can use python to control the PaPiRus using python, you can also use it over a FUSE filesystem mounted on (by default) /dev/epd

[email protected] ~ $ sudo service epd-fuse start
 [ ok ] Starting EPD: epd_fuse.
 [email protected] ~ $ ls /dev/epd
 BE current display LE temperature
 command current_inverse display_inverse panel version
 [email protected] ~ $
File         Read/Write   Description
--------     -----------  ---------------------------------
version      Read Only    The driver version number
panel        Read Only    String describing the panel and giving 
                          its pixel width and height
current      Read Only    Binary image that  matches the currently 
                          displayed image (big endian)
display      Read Write   Image being assembled for next display 
                          (big endian)
temperature  Read Write   Set this to the current temperature in Celsius
command      Write Only   Execute display operation
BE           Directory    Big endian version of current and display
LE           Directory    Little endian version of current and display
Command   Byte   Description
--------  -----  --------------------------------
'C'       0x43   Clear the EPD, set `current` to all zeros, `display` 
                 is not affected
'U'       0x55   Erase `current` from EPD, output `display` to EPD, 
                 copy display to `current`
'P'       0x50   Partial Update. Only update changed pixels

The above table comes from Adafruits’s page on using the RePaper epaper display

e.g. cat /dev/epd/panel
EPD 2.7 264x176 COG 2 FILM 231
 echo 'C' >/dev/epd/command

to clear the display.

You can also find examples on how to use the ePaper display in RePaper’s github repo.

I’ve not confirmed this yet but the 4 buttons on the PCB seem to be on GPIO.26 through GPIO.29 inclusive. BCM.16,BCM.26,BCM.20,BCM.21 (GPIO.25,27,28,29) I’m sure someone will confirm that eventually (unless I start fiddling with them over the next few days)


The PaPiRus has a battery backedup RTC and after a bit of time digging around (ok trying to find a combination of magnifying glasses that would let me read the teeny weeny insy wincy writing on all the ICs & a bit of googling I found out that the RTC chip is an NXP 8523T aka PCF8523 or as near as damn it.

To talk to the RTC chip you’ll need to enable I2C, again easiest way is to do it in raspi-config. and although it seems a bit weird to have to do it still with devicetree you’ll need to also modprobe (or add to /etc/modules) i2c-dev to get /dev/i2c-1 created. you’ll also want to modprobe rtc-pcf8523 (or add to /etc/modules) and finally

sudo -s
echo pcf8523 0x68 > /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-1/new_device

and can now use hwclock -r to read the time or hwclock -w or hwclock -s to set the rtc from the systemclock or set the systemclock from hwclock.

The first time you try to read the rtc when it is still in factory state you’ll get an error using hwclock -r until you’ve set it using hwclock -w (you might have to do hwclock -w twice to get it to work, at least I had to). Obviously you’ll want all that to be set to happen on boot but i haven’t got around to that yet as i’m still fiddling.

I’m sure there is a lot more I haven’t discovered yet but I will eventually and this should do as a good starting point for others.

Finally. The PaPiRis is a nice but of kit although it is a bit irksome I really haven’t found a nice case for the Pi it’s currently on as the 2.7″ display is a bit close to the closures in the official case & I had to remove the top layer on a Pimoroni Pibow B+ Coupe case. I’m sure i’ll find a nice case for it eventually.


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