Short and Simple

Sony Dash Internet Connected Alarm Clock service discontinued indefinitely

Sought a way to reuse parts, stumbled upon lcd control board on aliexpress

Brainstormed ideas on how to use the display, decided on using Electron

Project benched until I can get my hands on a Raspberry Pi Zero W due to size restraints of Sony Dash Shell

Lengthy Explanation

Alright so this project all stems from my Sony Dash Internet Connected Alarm clock that I bought 4 years ago service literally being cut. This may have been fine, but the Dash literally does not boot into the interface anymore. Upon boot it searches for the network connectivity, then tries to ping Sony's servers which, well, don't exist any longer. So I pretty much literally have a brick on my hands, so lets try to rectify that.

My idea is to basically hook up the original display to a raspberry pi 3 and control it via push buttons. The display was originally a touchscreen but I sincerely doubt I'll be able to find a module to convert touch inputs into data the pi can actually use. So the first thing I did was hop onto aliexpress and buy an LCD control board, luckily I found one for around 20 dollars, pretty expensive when you compare it to the 50 dollars I initially spent for the Sony Dash but well, its not always about the cost.

Next was to trying to come up with what would display my GUI, at the time I was working at Seneca CDOT(Centre for Development of Open Source Technology), my colleagues at the time were working on a device which I can't really explain due to NDA but it involved using a Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen to monitor changes. I was able to ask them how they implemented such a GUI to boot on launch and was directed at Electron as a startx replacement.

Since I was working with a raspberry pi theres many distros available to me so I did some research. One such distro is FullPageOS which is setup to boot chromium in fullscreen upon boot, with initial testing on my setup though, the aspect ratio was incorrect, and it seemed to refuse to acknowledge my mouse and keyboard inputs. At the time I may have just been using an outdated build.

With a semi solid idea of what I wanted to do I moved onto maneuvering the parts around and figuring out how to make things work and well, I certainly didn't do enough planning. The LCD control board is massive, let alone the insufficient size inside the shell.

What the LCD Control Board looks like alt

What happens when I try to put them together alt

With this stumbling block in my way, I was at a loss of words, but theres no point stopping just yet. I considered the possibility of merely cutting plastic off the back of the casing but my expertise in the area of cutting plastic is somewhat lacking so I moved onto testing.

Temp Setup built out of lego alt

What the back looks like alt

With FullPageOS acting somewhat buggy for me, i decided to just toss Raspbian on the Pi and figure I would just test setting up electron as the default Startx application, but the issues with the display arose as well with Raspbian. In the picture below you can notice that not the entire screen is being used. The Sony Dashs LCD is a weird format(by todays standards) of 800x600 so I guess this is to be expected.

LCD powered on alt

And well thats where this story ends for now, I'm hopeful that I can fit everything inside the casing snuggly with a raspberry pi zero W.