Paul Busby’s compact magnetic ePaper calendar schedules power-up to save battery

Maker Paul Busby has created a smart ePaper calendar, driven by a Raspberry Pi Zero 2W single board computer and 3D-printed case, taking inspiration for its layout from Microsoft’s Outlook client for Apple’s iOS.

“I created this project as a way to learn Python and GitHub while building something useful,” says Busby. “The device is magnetically attached to my kitchen fridge. Updates at 6am every morning to show me today’s scheduled events as well as many future events that can fit on the page. The battery percentage is displayed at the top right so you know when to reload and a timestamp of the last successful screen update is displayed at the bottom left of the screen.”

Busby was inspired for the construction of the MagInkCal project, released at the end of last year – but redesigned it as a more compact display with lower cost components. “This project uses a much larger [ePaper] screen,” says Busby, “and they’re much more expensive than the screen I used here.”

Inside the 3D-printed case, which includes magnets on the back so it can be easily mounted to a metal surface like a fridge or whiteboard, is a Raspberry Pi Zero 2W single board computer, a uninterruptible power supply (UPS) PiSugar2 and a real-time clock (RTC) card and a Waveshare 7.5″ ePaper display card.

“Using PiSugar2’s web interface, the built-in RTC can be configured to wake up and trigger the daily start of the RPi at a time of your choosing,” Busby says of how the device works.

“On startup, a cronjob on the RPi is triggered to run a Python script that retrieves calendar events from Microsoft Calendar for the next few days and formats them into the desired layout before displaying it on the [ePaper] display. The RPi then turns off to save battery power. The calendar remains displayed on the [ePaper] screen, because, well, [ePaper]…”

The full version including source code and 3D design files of the case has been released to GitHub under an unspecified open source license.