Introduction: Amazon Echo Wall Display

I wanted a screen that would display the Amazon App next to my Echo dot. The Video is my set up working with my other project Smart Sprinkler With Wemo & IFTTT.

Step 1: What You Need

Hardware

  • Laptop screen or flat screen monitor.
    • In this I will be using a laptop monitor LTN156AT24 that can be found on online for ($25-$50, Ebay)
  • Short HDMI cable (1 foot is perfect) ($7, Amazon)

  • 8GB or more SD/Micro SD card ($7, Amazon)

  • Micro USB charger (for Raspberry Pi) ($7, Amazon) See optional hardware if you want to use just 1 power cable

  • Raspberry PI ($35, Amazon)

    • I will be using a Raspberry pi 3 but this will run on any version note you will need a wifi dongle if using the Pi version 1 or 2 or Zero also the raspberry zero will need a OTG cable and a usb hub.
  • LCD Controller Board
    • This is only needed if using a laptop screen
      • The laptop screen will have it model number on the back just search for "Model _________ controller board " and make sure they are the same. I picked up mine for $25
    • A 12 volt, 2 Amp or more power adapter.
      • There are tons of things that use 12 volt power adapters. Just look on the back of the adapter for Output and it will tell you the voltage and amp output.
  • Picture framing material to make frame and hang it up.
  • 1 foot HDMI cable
  • USB to Mini USB cable.
  • Adhesives and tape.
  • wireless mouse and keyboard

Optional hardware:

  • USB car charger
  • Wire
  • Pair Male + Female 2.1x5.5mm 12V DC Power Jack Plug Adapter Connector

Software

RASPBIAN JESSIE WITH PIXEL

Step 2: Setting Up Operating System on Raspberry Pi

Installing OS instructions:

Windows pc

Mac

Helpful Link

Raspberry Pi help

Step 3: Hooking Everything Up and Setting Up PI

    Hook up controller board to the back of the laptop screen.

    • Hook Raspberry Pi to controller board's using HDMI cable.
    • Hook up a keyboard and mouse to the Raspberry Pi USB Ports.
    • Hook 12 volt 2 amp power to the controller board plug in the Pi's Power
      • Once Power is applied press the power button on the monitor and you should see the pi begin to boot up.

    When you have booted into Pixel and you are on the the desktop, we will need to get it connected to the internet. Use the Keyboard and mouse that is connected to the Raspberry Pi.

    1. Look to the top right of the Pi desktop, there will be a network icon where you select your Wifi name and enter the WiFi password.

    2. There are a couple ways to figure out your IP address.

    • Open up Terminal its on the top left under open Terminal icon.
    • Type the following
      • ip addr show
    • your network ID should look something like this "inet 192.168.1.232/24 brd 192.168.1.255 scope global wlan0" take note of that Ip address.

    3. To make it easier to copy commands from here and paste them you will need to download PUTTY on your Desktop or Laptop that is connected on the same network.

    • open Putty on your computer and enter the IP address of the Pi. Make sure that SSH is selected. Accept the pop up that pops up the first time SSH into the Pi
    • Now you will see Login as:
    • Username: pi
    • Password: raspberry

    Now to check for updates and install them.

    • Open Terminal on the pi or connect via PUTTY. You will enter one command and press enter after each line.
      • sudo apt-get update
      • sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
      • sudo apt-get install -y rpi-chromium-mods

      • sudo reboot

    • Note: this will take a while around 45 min's and will ask up a couple questions select Yes is what I do

    If you would like help for further setup of remote shell, realVNC, and SSH

    Step 4: Setting Up Pi in Kiosk Mode

    Login to Raspberry pi using your preferred method of RealVNC, SSH. or directly connected with keyboard and mouse.

    1. Install the unclutter app, which will hide the mouse cursor after a few seconds of inactivity:
      • sudo apt-get install unclutter
    2. Now we’ll make a couple system configuration changes:
    • sudo nano /boot/config.txt

    Now that the configuration file is open we will set the screen orientation and some other configurations. The # marks command that is noted out and not active or a note that tells you what the command does.

    3. press the down arrow key until you reach the end of the file and copy and paste everything bellow.

    • # Display orientation. Landscape = 0, Portrait = 1, Landscape reversed = 2, Portrait reversed = 3
    • display_rotate=1
    • # Use 24 bit colors
    • framebuffer_depth=24
    • # Remove loading lightning bolt
    • avoid_warnings=1

    "the ^ stands for ctrl"

    Hit ctrl+exit then (Y) for yes and then Enter to save.

    6. To set up Kiosk mode, screen to stay on, and load the Chromium browser to open the Chromium on boot:

    • sudo nano ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

    Now the auto start file is open. Arrow down to the bottom and paste all of the following.

    Now hit Ctrl+x then (Y) for yes and than enter to save.

    7. Disable sleep

    • sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

    find the section [SetDefaults] The one with brackets. Find xserver-command=X and remove note # also add so it looks like the following.

    • xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms

    Now reboot

    • sudo reboot

    Step 5: Log in and Test

    After you reboot keep your Mouse & keyboard connected.

    • Log into the Alexa App site and check the keep me logged in box.
    • Now to make sure it logs in properly just reboot.

    Step 6: Building Power to Change 12 Volts to 5 Volts With a Car Charger

    1. open up the car charger cut off side tabs and the spring hooked to the fuse.

    2. hook up the + to + to positive side of the 12 volt connector and - to -

    3. test USB charger before plugging into the display controller or Pi I use USB Led chips because you can get a pack of them for a dollar online.

    Step 7: It Could Be Better.

    Changing the tabs without a mouse this is the best way I found so far but not perfect.

    Before we set up the auto start and Kiosk mode we need to set chromium to auto open tabs and remember login to the amazon page.

    On the Pi open up Chromium and go to the top right and click the vertical dots and open up settings. Under the On startup you will select Open a specific page or set of pages.

    Set Pages.Click on the Set Pages link and add the following links

    http://alexa.amazon.com/spa/index.html#cards

    http://alexa.amazon.com/spa/index.html#lists/shopp...

    http://alexa.amazon.com/spa/index.html#lists/todos

    http://alexa.amazon.com/spa/index.html#player

    These links will open as tabs under chromium allowing you to assign a hot key of Ctrl+Tab to change between tabs with a single button. I'll be using a usb xkey programmable keypad to do this but there are ways to hook single button to output that.

    Comments

    author
    bsorli made it!(author)2017-05-04

    Interesting and curious if you have any ideas to add IR Touch to provide direct input, additional web interfaces like Google Calendar, and direct access to Prime and Google Music?

    One of my main problems with watering relates to leaving faucets on too long, and the water control options and reminders/automation would help relieve this issue. Keep up the great work!

    author
    klilly1 made it!(author)2017-05-04

    I do have another laptop display I might try a IR touch overlay on. The Alexa web app does have a tabs that you can go to get agenda, prime music, shopping list... but you need a mouse to open them and I haven't figured a way to hot key them.

    I used the site Dakboard that makes it really easy to integrate your calendar photos and stuff to and that worked well with google stuff.

    For the sprinkler project I did have to add new Teflon tape to stop a drip coming from the handle. Just last week we had a spring snow storm where the morning it was sunny in Colorado and then 4 inches of snow hit by midnight So luckily I had a IFTTT trigger set for tomorrows for cast call for freezing or snow it sends me a notification to disconnect and drain.

    Thanks

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