Developing a Touchscreen Wall Switch / Controller / Panel

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f6188e08fa8> #<Tag:0x00007f6188e08e90>

I am developing a touch control panel as a replacement for my wall switches (it might as well do as a panel)

My own requirements:

  • It has to be “nice & cool” (otherwise my wife would never allow me to install them at home :slight_smile: ) No visible wires or electronics…
  • Directly pluggable on a wall switch (this may require specific HW, which I can design), I will make an alternate version just connecting to some USB source on the back.
  • “Plug & play”… no complex setup / maintenance needed (at least to use it out of the box)
  • Nice simple interactive UI (full screen HTML5), video and photo capable

The PoC:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • Pimoroni Hyperpixel 470

This ends up being a square 8cm x 8cm touchpanel (720x720) with Linux, video capable. Nice starting point.

If there is interest I will try to make an “Open Source Hardware Touch Switch Computer”.

The Pimoroni screen is cool (works nearly out of the box), so good for the PoC but it has some drawbacks:

  • The connector on the back places the rPi too on the border: the SD card becomes visible on the side, and does not allow for something to hide the electronics on the sides.
  • It is expensive, so multiplying for the amount of switches at home…

So I am looking at some OEM touchpanels (plenty of options in alibaba) and may try to develop my own interface (and get it done in China), but it may take some time: so, by now, I will work with the Pimoroni :slight_smile: (alternatives welcome)

I am a hobbyist with limited time, so please be patient if interested :slight_smile:

Pedro

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That sounds promising!
Looking forward to your updates :+1:

Update 1 - Hardware & Sorftware

This thing already turns on and off some of my lights… :slight_smile:

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is a bit short of power to run a HTML5 browser, specially if you want video on the panel… but good progress. It has taken me a while to make it work, but so far so good.

  • The good news is that I have it working (acceleated video*, chromium, running more or less smoothly on a custom lightweight HTML5 page)

  • The not so good news is that HABPanel is quite slow, and as I do not use it normally, I am not spending much time by now to make it run faster.

(*) Once I solve some issues with the hardware acceleration on the Pi hanging eventually, I will post (out of this thread) a how-to on how to get there… Solved, explanation here: GPU memory problem.

I am considering replacing the Rasbperry Pi Zero W with a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ (note A+, instead of B+, smaller with no Ethernet ports). This would definitely make the whole thing run faster, and getting HABPanel to work would be straight-forward…

Back and Side views:

I hope I will be able to keep it thin when it comes to plugging / finding a box case… :slight_smile:

Pedro

Update 2 - Power supply

For the power supply, I came across this (Legrand USB charger)

  • Good for Europe
  • Still a bit thick out of the wall plug… but the smallest I have found.

If somebody knows of something better for Europe (>1.5A), or for the rest of the world, please post :slight_smile:

Once everything is working, I would probably design my own power supply integrated with the card to be embedded on the wall if I cannot find an existing one. This has some safety implications to be considered before sharing the design, as any mains connected circuitry is potentilly lethal.

I will revisit this topic if I am not able to find something already done that fits the requirements, but so far I will be using either the Legrand above, or “out-of-the-box” wall sockets with integrated USB power supply, like this one:

image

Pedro

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