Build a digital photo frame

Thread Starter

trivettegiacomo

Joined Nov 8, 2022
6
Hi, i would like to build a digital photo frame that can show pictures or videos. What electronic components are needed, and where can I buy them?
For the display the requisites are low battery consumption and high quality definition.
Thanks.

G
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
6,078
I doubt that you can acquire the components for less than 10 times the cost of a finished unit. Mass produced goods are always cheaper than anything you can make. The lovely wife “killer queen” sews, and dresses she makes cost way more than mass produced ones. But she can compete on gowns for ballroom dance, which cost about $4000.
 
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Thread Starter

trivettegiacomo

Joined Nov 8, 2022
6
I doubt that you can acquire the components for less than 10 times the cost of a finished unit. Mass produced goods are always cheaper than anything you can make. The lovely wife “killer queen” sews, and dresses she makes cost way more than mass produced ones. But she can compete on gowns for ballroom dance, which cost about $4000.
Hi Bob, thanks for your reply. I know that, but it isn't the point. i just want to try to build my own, or i can evaluate to ask someone to build it in "white label" mode, but i don't know who can do that .:(
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
2,616
There are quite a few projects online to display graphics stored on an SD card using an Arduino. If you have not used one before, there is a bit of a steep learning curve but is is well worth the effort and it opens up a whole new field of possibilities for you. I get all my project parts from Aliexpress. The prices are low but delivery is a bit slow' You should be able to get all the parts for under $20.00, depending on the size of screen you need. Here is a link to one of the tutorials:

https://www.instructables.com/Arduino-TFT-display-of-bitmap-images-from-an-SD-Ca/
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,679
Components

Microcontroller platform
Very large memory storage, e.g. 64GB microSD card
SD card slot or USB slot
Touchscreen LCD
Sound output?
Battery
Battery management system
Case
Software development suite
Software

Firstly, define the size of your screen.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
6,078
What have you done before? I think you have no idea if the extent of this project.

You could possibly make some something with a raspberry Pi and an HDMI capable screen, but even that would require a lot of learning if you have not done this sort of thing before.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,679
Before you even consider going the DIY route, let's look at what the off-the-shelf options would cost.

Let us assume that you want something around 7-10" screen.

Apple iPad, US$400 - $800
Android tablet, $80 - $300
Brand X tablet, $30 - $200
Digital photo frame $50 - $200

For about US$100 you can buy a digital photo frame off-the-shelf and ready to go.

For a DIY project with zero embedded experience it would cost about $500 plus 2-5 years of learning how to do it.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,453
Yes, you are right. The only things i know is that i will need a display and a microprocessor. Can you help me?
One thing you need to do is to decide what features you want.
  1. A clock to turn the frame on and off,
  2. image/video formats you want to support,
  3. a way to group files (by date or content),
  4. delay between viewed images,
  5. transition options,
  6. input devices (SD, USB FLASH, etc),
  7. how many control "knobs",
  8. file system formats (FAT, FAT32, exFAT),
  9. internal FLASH to save files,
  10. battery backup for clock,
  11. etc.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
2,616
Before you even consider going the DIY route, let's look at what the off-the-shelf options would cost.

Let us assume that you want something around 7-10" screen.

Apple iPad, US$400 - $800
Android tablet, $80 - $300
Brand X tablet, $30 - $200
Digital photo frame $50 - $200

For about US$100 you can buy a digital photo frame off-the-shelf and ready to go.

For a DIY project with zero embedded experience it would cost about $500 plus 2-5 years of learning how to do it.
Or, with very little experience, some effort and very cheap components you can build one using an arduino step-by-step tutorial that will give you all the details you need, including the wiring and software. The cost of the project will vary with the size of screen you want. Here are some typical Aliexpress prices, including shipping, (in Canadian $) for what you will need:

Arduino nano (microcontroller) .......$3.00
Micro SD card reader......................$2.00
Display 1.8"......................................$5.00
Display 2.4"......................................$7.00
Display 3.5"......................................$17.00
Display 5".........................................$40.00
Display 7"................................ ......$60.00
 

Thread Starter

trivettegiacomo

Joined Nov 8, 2022
6
There are quite a few projects online to display graphics stored on an SD card using an Arduino. If you have not used one before, there is a bit of a steep learning curve but is is well worth the effort and it opens up a whole new field of possibilities for you. I get all my project parts from Aliexpress. The prices are low but delivery is a bit slow' You should be able to get all the parts for under $20.00, depending on the size of screen you need. Here is a link to one of the tutorials:

https://www.instructables.com/Arduino-TFT-display-of-bitmap-images-from-an-SD-Ca/
Thankyou! yes i've already used Ardiuno, my idea is to make this photo frame very thin. do you know if an Ardiuno "slim" version exists?
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,663
Yes, you are right. The only things i know is that i will need a display and a microprocessor. Can you help me?
Ignore this and see my correction in Post #22

Even with this limited list, you are missing several other items you will need. They fall under the category of knowledge.

  • What is your coding experience? In what languages?
  • What is your microprocessor experience? What platforms?
  • How is your knowledge of various graphics file formats? BMP, JPG, PNG, MP3 or 4, and any other formats you want to display (photos could be any of these)?
  • What types of graphic hardware have you used? Component, NTSC, HDMI or others?

This list is just what I can think of off the top of my head. It is why people have stated that this may be more difficult than you think. Even taking an incremental approach, it could take several years to accomplish. Someone with all this knowledge might be able to do it quicker. How much of these topic are you familiar with?
 
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MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,679
Let's use this as an example of complexity.
1667927215726.png

Here is an everyday digital timer that retails for about US$20.
With your knowledge and experience and source of supplies, could you build this in a time frame of about 1 month?

Now consider that building a digital photo is 1000 times more complex.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
2,616
Just a note to the other members:
I am here to help people who ask for it. If their request is not practical or way beyond their capabilities, I will help to point that out to them and try to offer them some kind of alternative. The solution to this particular request is very well documented in a number of very detailed tutorials on-line and can be made successfully with very little cost or experience.
The negative comments I have seen above are enough to discourage anyone from asking for help on this forum. If you are not aware of a solution, just skip to the next question. Let's try to keep it positive, guys.
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
639
There's a ton of them at local thrift stores for around $10 each, maybe less. The only reason I give them a second glance is because I once saw one that included analog video in. They don't have very big screens, though. So, if you scored a free LCD monitor from the sidewalk, putting a Pi on the back would give you an extra big photo frame. And some worthwhile experience doing stuff in Linux.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,856
Welcome to AAC. It’s good to have you join us.

If you want to pursue this project for more than just the frame itself, that is, to learn or to give as a gift that you made personally, or many other things I won’t think of, then you should probably start by searching for completed projects like what you want to build.

It is almost certainly true there are tens of how-to videos addressing this on YouTube, as well as other resources which a simple search should find. If you survey the available options but don’t find any exactly to be exactly what you want, please do ask questions here about the details.

It is very hard to help someone when they are trying to do something complex and literally don’t even know how to start. I am sure that if you do some research your questions will be of the sort that people feel good about answering, and you will get good help here.

Don’t be discouraged by this initial reaction. What you can learn from it is that without some actual project to help with people are going to focus on the practicality of whatever you are asking about. If you want to pursue this, some research and a fuller description that reflects at least a basic foundation about what you want to do will get you a lot of very good, expert help.
 
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