Dakboard Wall Display With Pi Zero W

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About: I am a support manager at an IT company in Yorkshire, UK. I have worked in and around IT for the past 20 years or so but have maintained an interest in computing and electronics since being a child with my f...

I work in IT. Often we get customers who would like us to remove their old kit. This usually leaves us with a pile of scrap, and monitors are one of the things we find which are wasted. At home I had upgraded my own monitors and this left my older ones sitting doing nothing so I thought about ways I could utilise them to display many of our family photos that don't often get any screen time unless we are purposefully looking through the albums.

I found the website Dakboard.com and this brought about some ideas, as I had been playing with Raspberry Pi's; the 2 ideas were brought together.

Step 1: Old 20" Monitor

So the monitors we had laying around were HP 20" LED monitors. I cracked open the frame of the monitor and disconnected the button array, you can keep this and reconnect it later if you so desire but I chose not to.

Measure the screen and cut out your mitres accordingly. I used a mitre power saw and checked each angle before making the final cut. This left me with the 4 relevant pieces for the back of the frame. The timber used was some 4" x 1" PSE from my local Wickes store.

The mitres were glued and then nailed into place using panel pins to hold in place. This was then left overnight to dry. Whilst this was drying, I also cut the mitres of the front of the frame.

Step 2: Architrave Frame

For the front of the frame I used an piece of architrave. This was around £4 or so for a 2m piece from my local Wickes store. Giving it 10mm to cover the silver areas of the monitor screen, I cut the mitres accordingly again.

These were then glued and nailed into place using panel pins and left to dry overnight. I used bungee cores to hold the frame together until the glue dried.

Step 3: Fitting the Monitor

After the glue dried overnight, I tested the monitor screen inside the frame I had made. It was not perfect but this did not worry me, as long as it covered the silver edges of the screen I was happy, the rest could be adjusted later in the build.

Using a piece of wood measured to the correct width, I drilled some holes and mounted this to the back of the screen using the Vesa mounting holes and some M4 bolts.

Step 4: Sanding & Staining Time

Once the screen was happily mounted, I knocked the panel pins further into the frame using a nail punch and filled the holes using wood glue and sawdust.

[edit] The outer edges were then rounded off using the relevant cutter bit with the router [/edit]

Once the filler was dry, I clamped the frame down and began the arduous task of sanding down the frame using a selection of different grade sandpapers.

Once the frame was lovely and smooth and all the filler was smooth. I finished the frame with Briwax - Tudor Oak.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Briwax-400g-Wax-Polish-Or...

Once this has been applied, leave it to dry and then buff it up with a clean cloth. The shine looks incredible!

Step 5: Fitting the Guts

Now the frame is finished, it's time to mount the Pi Zero W onto the back of the machine and begin fitting all the electrickery.

I marked the mounting holes for the Pi Zero W, but didn't have any M2.5 screws or bolts. I used some standoffs from a PC case but the screws were too big for the Pi. I therefore widened the holes on the Pi to accommodate the correct screws, again from a PC build. I was careful to ensure the screws did not touch any of the components on the Pi Zero board to create a short.

To power the Pi Zero, I used a simple 3 pin power socket with USB power on. This was £5 from Home Bargains, the backbox was around 75p and I had some old 3-core power flex from an old device that was recently scrapped. I fasted the backbox to the bottom of the frame, drilled a hole at the bottom of the frame for the cable and then wired up the socket. I wired a plug up to the other end of the cable for the mains power.

As this monitor only had VGA inputs, I had to procure a HDMI to VGA converter with a HDMI to mini HDMI adapter for the Pi Zero. I routed the VGA cable around the top of the monitor and also connected a standard IEC kettle lead to the monitor power and plugged into the socket fitted inside the frame.

Step 6: Completion!

This was then the final product all finished. The SD card was then built using Raspbian Lite and following this guide to install the basic requirements to open up Chromium browser upon bootup. Many thanks to the chaps at Die Antwort for the help with this.

I had come across the website Dakboard.com previously and really liked the look of it. I created an account on there, linked to my Google Photo's account and created a new album for displaying upon the wall display. The URL is given by Dakboard to open up your display without authorisation, this is copied into the autostart file for the openbox application on Raspbian, full details are in the Die Antwort page which is linked above.

Power up, enjoy.

[edit] Correct URL links to dakboard.com thanks to RiggedTaco.

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    4 Discussions

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    Tom De prins

    4 weeks ago

    This drew my attention because i have a digital photoframe made with a Pi Zero waiting for a frame. Looks good but it looks like you can lose a lot of space if you remove the metal corner profiles and wall socket and screw 2 or 4 screw in from the sides. You won't even see them ;)

    Instead of a wall socket you can use Wago connectors or loop terminals. The raspberry pi can be mounted on the other side of the wood barrier where's there's open space. Or you can mount it on the display with double sided tape or something. If you do all these things you can even replace the wood barrier with a panel so the back is completely closed.

    Just some ideas :p

    1 reply
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    Goll420Tom De prins

    Reply 27 days ago

    Thanks mate, however using the wall socket was the easiest and cheapest way of providing 240v and 5v for the pi. It looks nice on the wall with some flush mount fittings and doesn't look too bad for the width. Plus my other half likes to put ornaments on our living room one! :)

    I'm curious what software you used on your pi zero for the photos?

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    Goll420DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Reply 2 months ago

    Why thank you. The interface can show your calendars too from Office 365/Google etc.