Question to anyone owning a Kindle Paperwhite

Hi all!

For a while now I’ve had the idea in my head to use an e-paper device as a status display for my openHAB2 setup. I know there are a gadzillion cheap LCD Android tablets out there that do that job quite nicely. But I have really set my mind on an e-paper display for various reasons.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite has an experimental web browser built in. It’s called experimental for ages and from what I gather by watching youtube videos it looks like it’s working reasonably well. However, I’m not that keen on ordering a Kindle just for doing a test. That’s why I would like to know if anyone here has tried to use one to display a HABPanel dashboard. Or if anyone owning a Kindle Paperwhite would try that for me. That would be much appreciated. MAybe it’s a dumb idea. But if it is, then I at least can rule out that option. :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot in advance! :slight_smile:

Jens

Had the same idea. An alternate device can be a

https://www.icarusreader.com/illumina-XL-HD/Illumina-XL-E785BK/Icarus-Illumina-XL-E785BK

it is running on android 4.x and you can install a chrome browser.

I never tried it but I’m interested to hear about such kind of experiences too!

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Good to see I’m not alone. :slight_smile:

This model also seems to be a possible option:

I believe the hardware is somewhat related (if not identical) to some devices Icarus sells.

Pros:

  • Android
  • Design (simple and reduced, centered display)
  • Price (only slightly more expensive than Kindle)
  • Availability (e.g. via amazon.de in Germany)

It is difficult to find reviews that focus on displaying static HTML/HTML5 dashboards. Yes, those readers are a flickering nightmare when browsing the web. But dashboards are one-pagers with few animations and refreshes, so I’m optimistic HABpanel should work fine in practice.

I have a screenshot from the browser of a Tolino Shine2HD (would be B/W on the Tolino)


I’'m sorry for missing the HABPANEL detail. Can’t take another screenshot, owner doesn’t allow (WAF in danger!)

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Never tried to use my Kindle for OH status. I have been using the experimental browser for ordering books and similar, but honestly, it is rather sluggish in responding and for me a tool of last resort rather than a browser that I would want to use; but maybe i am picky…I am using my kindle for reading and for this it works extremely well; everything else such accessing options, or in particular accessing the browser is rather slow, which for me would rule it out as a device for other uses; but I guess if you use it only as OH status device and do not have to flip through multiple panels, it may work well

Yes, I know, it is a bit whacky. :slight_smile: It would be helpful though if you could try to just slap one or two widgets (maybe a switch and a slider) on a dummy panel and access it via Kindle’s browser. I am not too worried about lag or flickering. I am moreworried that it does not work at all because of functional restrictions (JavaScript, Ajax, CSS support…).

It might be important which Kindle revision you are using. The latest version of the Paperwhite uses a browser based on Webkit which in principle sounds promising.

I think HABpanel would be a best-case scenario for an e-paper browser from a page refresh / layout point of view. There is little to no animation and there are mostly huge areas of the same color. Which makes me optimistic this could really work.

Allright, tried as desired, here some comments: manoeuvring is a major inconvenience; to access the server side stored habpanel (some switches and a picture), was next to impossible, the configuration buttons are super hard to hit, even when enlarging, it took about 20 clicks on the screen before I apparently hit the right spot…
But all else seem to work, except it is a small area, when you need to scroll or change panels, see my previous post
Hope that helps

Edit: you asked about device info, the best i can find is: the device supports WIFI and 3G and the firmware version is 5.9.4; serial number: B053 … 00KW in case that helps

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I decided to take one for the team and for wisdom and knowledge and ordered an Illumina XL HD. Fortunately for me my wife has long since given up hope and just rolled her eyes without further consequences. For now. :slight_smile:

Once this thing is here I will try out all “standard” ways of controlling openHAB with an android device. Basic UI, HABpanel and the android app.

FYI - I had a question related to using HABPanel on a e-reader a few weeks ago:

Don’t know how well it works on a Kindle - I tested on my old Kobo Glo and while it at least loads (surprisingly), it’s barely useable - but at least someone is doing it :slight_smile:

Hi All

The Illumina XL HD arrived today and I wanted to share my impressions.

This thing runs android 4.x and the initial setup is very straight forward. I just make the regional settings, connect to my WiFi and are good to go. My goal is solely to get HABpanel running, so I will focus on that and do not try much else. I will only try the Material theme (dark font on bright background) because everything else would not make sense on an e-paper display in my opinion. It just wouldn’t look good.

The built-in browser is a disappointment as HABpanel is next to unusable. Fortunately there is the Play Store. So I download Chrome, which goes quickly and without hassles. Chrome performs just like on the desktop in terms of rendering quality. Speed is an issue, but It’s absolutely doable. I am very surprised that there are zero issues with rendering. Glitches due to the e-paper display aside, which have nothing to do with chrome but are inherent to the e-paper technology.

The next surprise is that the controls respond very quickly. Switches react almost immediately, sliders are very responsive and usable. It just feels like on a desktop, minus the snappyness.

Switching panels is doable, although the sidepanel animation is not pleasing to the eyes. :slight_smile: But again, that was to be expected.

So, from a technical point of view, I am surprised how well this reader performs.

There are a few “buts” coming up, so let’s get into those:

  • My device has a fault with the background light in the upper right corner. As this is irrelevant for the purpose of this test I won’t include pictures.
  • There is a maximum timeout of 30 mins before the Illumina goes into standby. Unfortunately even when connected to the charger. Waking up happens instantly, but Chrome exits full screen mode after waking up. Not good for a wall-mounting scenario.
  • The contrast of the display could be better. I could have toyed around with CSS settings and whatnot, but I didn’t bother. So this is partly an issue with the technology and partly with the styles of HABpanel
  • I can’t figure out how to get this thing into landscape mode. Quite naively I had expected it to have an orientation sensor, but not so. So I did all my tests in portrait mode.

Here are a few screenshots. Please bare in mind that I do not have that much time on my hands right now and that my HABpanels are work in progress (and I have just started). So there are only a few switches, sliders and dummy items on them. And unfortunately I can’t do videos or anything fancy right now. Sorry about that.

Unfortunately I will have to send the Illumina back. If only for the faulty background lighting. But the standby-timeout, portrait vs. landscape and other issues are showstoppers for me. It was worth a try for me, though. And I will now look into the possibility of getting an el cheapo LCD tablet.

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Openhab on etch ‘n’ sketch :smile:

I’ve been wondering how it would work on these. Thanks