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Driving E-ink display

E-ink displays, such as the ED060SC4-V2, are easily available off eBay. They are sold as spare parts for e-book readers, but there is nothing to stop you from using them in your own hobby projects. Or is there?

The only problem is that there is very little documentation available on how to drive these displays. I have assembled below a list of the useful material I have found. All of this was found using Google:

Long story short, I have found out reasonable way to control the display and the pages below will tell the details. Here is a short demo video:

If your browser does not support WebM for video, you can either watch on YouTube or download the video.

Electrical connections

To drive a plain E-ink panel, you need to provide it with specified supply voltages and to drive the digital signals with the timing that it expects. Unlike with normal TFT-panels, E-ink screens do not have a minimum refresh rate so you can do this even on a very slow microcontroller.

Driving waveforms

Having the electrical connections figured out, there is the problem of what kind of signals to feed into the display panel. In theory, it is simple enough: just shift in some bits to the source driver register and step the gate driver register. In practise, however, there are a few gotchas..

Software driver

Actually drawing the graphics for the display is both the easiest and the hardest part. The basic algorithms for line drawing, fonts etc. have been known for decades, and there are a thousand implementations available online. However, there seems to be a lack of good open source graphics libraries for microcontrollers, and close to zero that could do display list rendering.