Information Displays

Separate from the web interface and touch screen displays I have a number of information displays around the house.


Above my desk I have a dedicated 19″ monitor connected to a Raspberry Pi3 which displays a dashboard from Grafana which shows things like current power usage, environmental data and status of various doors and windows.


LED Matrix

This is a large RGY LED matrix sign connected via a serial to USB adapter to my main desktop Linux box, a Python script runs on here to subscribe to an MQTT topic on the Debian server so that various messages can be displayed on it. Typically this is mode changed (home/away/bed etc.), incoming calls, tweets etc. Pictured below with a Tix clock below it.


The Sinclair TV (Raspberry Pi)

converted an old Sinclair Pocket TV into a status display using a 2.2″ SPI LCD and a Raspberry Pi Model A. This runs a Python app that I wrote using PyGame for the graphical side that subscribes to various MQTT topics and displays various environmental data.

Sinclair TV MQTT Display
Sinclair TV MQTT Display

Pi-Lite (Raspberry Pi)

The Pi-Lite is an LED matrix that sits on top of a Raspberry Pi, it was one of those things I backed on Kickstarter that seemed a good idea at the time but in reality isn’t particularly useful. I have this connected to a Raspberry Pi Model B rev 2 that site on my desk and performs a few other functions, it just subscribes to an MQTT topic that I send certain notifications to.


PaPiRus ePaper (Raspberry Pi)

Another Kicstarter project I backed was the PaPiRus 2.7″ ePaper screen for the Raspberry Pi, I’ve connected it a Pi Zero which makes for a nice compact unit and have written a Python script to subscribe to a bunch of MQTT topics to display on the screen. This is quite a new addition so more to come on this one.


2.2″ LCD (Spark Core)

The Spark (now Particle) Core is a small Wi-Fi board using the TI CC3000. I have this connected to a 2.2″ SPI LCD which displays the current house mode as well as external temperature and humidity. It is also connected to an NFC reader which can be used with my NFC Ring or an NFC tag/card to set the system into home or away mode. Communication is via MQTT.


RGB Backlight Display (Arduino)

I made this display in 2011, it is based on a WiNode (an Arduino clone with an RFM12B radio), an ST7565 display with RGB backlight and a Nintendo DS Touchscreen, it display current power usage as well as internal and external temperature and the backlight colour changes with power usage which is nice for a quick glance. This also has a DS18B20 temperature sensor in it which is used to send the room temperature back to the server via the RFM12B. I wrote a blog post about this here.

WiNode Based Wireless GLCD Display

KS0108 Display (Arduino)

This is the first display I made back in 2011, it uses a KS0108 based display and an Arduino, it displays current power and external temperature which it receives via an RFM12B radio and the room temperature from its own built in DS18B20 sensor which is also sent back to the server via the RFM12B. I wrote a blog post about this here.  I also made a version of this using a Sparkfun LCD-09351 which is basically a KS0108 with an ATmega168 based serial backpack attached which simplifies connections a lot.

emonGLCD Complete

Mini OLED (ESP8266)

I’m still intending to do something with the tiny OLED MQTT display that I prototyped here.

ESP8266 MQTT OLED Display
ESP8266 MQTT OLED Display


On my Android phone and tablets I use Meta Widget which allows me to display some data (power usage, temperatures, HA system mode) in a widget.

Tasker shortcuts and Meta Widget display on Nexus 7


Read more about  my smart home automation system here.


Last modified: 18 September 2016

One thought on “Information Displays

  1. Dear Nathan. It looks particularly exciting with your Grafana Display based on a Raspberry Pi. Are you good to describe in more detail how you have structured it. Perhaps your Raspberry Pi is just a Chromium browser that retrieves data on other systems. Hope you will elaborate on how to collect data and present them.

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