Raspberry Pi Powered Super Digital Photo Frame

HaD reader [Greg] just finished an LCD picture frame project he’s been working on for a while. This is no ordinary photo display. His brother came up with the idea of having a device to display photos that could be changed remotely. [Greg] gave it some thought and came up with a plan; use a Raspi as the brains, connect to the internet via WiFi and display photos stored in a specific Google Drive folder. Any authorized user can upload photos remotely to the frame so the frame-owner has a constant stream of new photos to view.

Of course, using an off-the-shelf picture frame may have been too easy. Instead [Greg] decided to start with an old computer monitor and wrap it in a wooden frame so it looks good. Mounted to the back of the LCD is a Raspberry Pi with a USB WiFi dongle. The monitor runs at 14 VDC and luckily has an external power supply. Since the Pi runs at 5 V, a buck converter taps into the LCD’s input power and outputs a Pi-happy 5 volts.

This project doesn’t stop with displaying photos! The user can also switch to a weather view. The weather image displayed is generated from weather data pulled from the internet in the exact same manor used by folks who make stand-alone weather displays out of old Kindles. Oh yeah, switching between photos and weather is done by wireless remote! On the frame unit itself there is only one button, but it has 3 functions: A quick press turns the screen off, a short hold syncs with Google Drive and a long hold powers off the RaspPi.

If you’d like to make your own frame, [Greg] has graciously made all his scripts available for download…. not to mention his very detailed build log.

18 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Powered Super Digital Photo Frame

  1. Interesting timing, I just finished mine as well. There’s a website out there that allows you to create a page which can use your own pictures and overlay weather, time and schedule information. I used this for the software and an LCD from a broken monitor to create mine, wooden frame as well. You can check out the write-up on my website… http://www.rickybee.com

  2. You could do similar with a chrome cast which I think would be cheaper (and give you the option of casting).

    I’d like to see the ESP8266 or similar appear as an SD card or USB stick filesystem. Then you can hook it up to the existing LCD photo frames everyone has but nobody uses.

    I don’t think the photo frames use the SPI mode of SD cards though. It would probably be easier with Linux, I know the BBB can do it bit cost is a factor here, same issue with those hackable WIFI SD cards.

  3. Cool! I’ve built somethin similar for my mother on Christmas last year. Also based on a RasPi but using FTP to access a folder on my server. My frame uses a 7″ screen from China and a 12V/5V power supply of an external CD-drive. I simply use FBI as display software and no user interaction is required or possible.

  4. I’ve been contemplating something similar. My major difference would be using a Beagle Bone Black instead. The sell some decently sized LCDs touch screens for it (7-10″ iirc) that the BBB mounts to directly on the back. Makes for tighter integration and all you’d need to make it fancy would be a frame.

  5. Ha, this is exactly the same idea I had for my grandparents Christmas gift this year, but hooked up to a tv in their rooms at the nursing home, so that everyone in the family can send in pictures, and let it play on screen. I’ll also include Skype for those that want to exchange video. Great minds think alike I guess. …You know it always amazes me how two people, that have never talked to each other, never share anything can have the same identical idea. Like most physics, two different people came up with the same idea, one just a few years before someone else, and we all know the names now from either the more popular one, or the first to publish one. Even Calculus from newton and Leibniz, or Tesla and Marconi. But its also logical too, because true absolute things all should lead to one point.

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