by Robert Poser

An easy-to-use, micro ePaper shield for the Particle & Arduino community

View all updates May 12, 2017

ePaper basics: Update Modes and First Tests

Update Modes

Now that the prototypes are working, we want to take a closer look at the e-paper display and its features. Let’s start talking about update modes. What are update modes? Basically they are the way how the displays content is driven. The standard mode is the so called "Full Update". All of the displays pixels are driven to black, then to white, then to their specific target gray level. This results in a lot of flashing, but as we drive the pixels to their extremes, we get a nice and defined end result. A full update looks like this:

Most other e-paper displays only let you use the full update mode. This is often related to restrictions given by the display’s manufacturer.

But Paperino is different: We also support so called "Partial Updates". In this mode only the pixels that really need to be changed are driven. This results in less flicker and less power consumption and looks like this:

So shouldn’t we use partial updates all times? Why bother with all the flickering? This is because the optical performance of a full update is nicer: You get better contrast and a well defined image. If you use partial updates too often, you’ll get a so called "ghosting" effect. Ghosting looks like old display content is burned in and shows through in the new image. You can get rid of ghosting by doing another full update.

So that’s it for now about update modes (spoiler alert: more to come soon!).

Project Log: Running First Tests

So the first pilot run was just kind of successful. The circuit itself works fine but the connector pinout was flipped. We quickly fixed it, ordered a new pilot run and tested the PCB successfully on the testing rig:

Here you can see some earlier PCB prototypes:

If you are interested in more details about the first assembly testing please head over here.

$8,893 raised

of $5,000 goal

177% Funded! Order Below

Product Choices


ePaper Display

Includes one ePaper display. Without a Paperino driver board you will not be able to change the image content.


Breakout Board

A universal ePaper breakout-board, ready to be wired-up on the breadboard with your own Arduino /-compatible MCU. Including accelerometer, temperature sensor, and ePaper display.


Robert Poser

Maker & Listener. Passionate about flexible ePaper displays, ultra-low power strategies, selfpowered-devices & other sustainable stuff ;-)

Robert Poser headshot

Robert Poser


PCB Manufacturer

See Also

Subscribe to the Crowd Supply newsletter, highlighting the latest creators and projects: