Inky pHAT Experiments

Experimenting with my Inky pHAT eInk display on a Raspberry Pi Zero today. I’ll be using Pimonori’s own inky library.

I used balenaEtcher to load Raspberry Pi OS Lite onto the Pi’s MicroSD card. The original OS install broke at some point. Thankfully there had been nothing but a simple test script on the card.

The built-in raspi-config sufficed for getting the Pi online.

It’s wild to see that the test image I put on the pHAT is still there months later and as crisp as ever. Almost a shame to write over it.

Let’s Get Started!

  1. Enable ssh login support via raspi-config. Much easier to work on images from my personal Linux OS than from inside a GUI-less install of the Lite OS
  2. Reboot the Pi. Necessary after setting changes like the one above
  3. Log into the Pi and change the default password
  4. Install the Python 3 package installer: sudo apt install python3-pip
  5. Install the inky libraries: pip3 install inky[rpi,fonts]
  6. Try to follow the setup instructions for the library
  7. Create a simple script in the home directory. Find that Python can’t find the inky module. Try again with the REPL. Encounter the same issue
  8. Re-install the inky libraries but as the super user: sudo pip3 install inky[rpi,fonts]. Python still can’t find the module
  9. Try installing via the provided shell script: curl | bash. (You really shouldn’t be installing things this way.)
  10. Slap together some test images for the display with Glimpse while I wait. Copy the files over using scp
  11. Get tired of waiting for the script to finish, having forgotten how long things can take on a Pi compared to a regular desktop PC, and leave it running while I attend an event I’ve been missing

Not the most inspirational start but also a good lesson in why prep matters so much to personal projects. The more you can get out of the way before you start on the personal, project-specific part of the work, the better your chances of success. I look forward to revisiting this soon, though.