M5Paper end of life?



  • Just received the following notification from Digi-Key:

    You have purchased the following part number from Digi-Key within the last two years. The manufacturer has announced an update to the part status.
    Part Affected
    Manufacturer M5STACK TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD
    Description M5PAPER ESP32 DEV KIT 4.7"E-INK
    Manufacturer Part Number K049
    Digi-Key Part Number 2221-K049-ND
    Status Obsolete
    Substitutes Please click here

    Digging around leads to: https://media.digikey.com/pdf/PCNs/M5Stack/PCN20210513-01.pdf

    Which contains: "The display driver chipset for K049 cannot be purchased and supplier from our vendor any more. We will look for new display driver as the alternative material. This version will stop for sale. "


  • M5Stack

    Yes. That's true. We are sad about that.



  • Are we going to see another version?

    I've been hunting for something like this for years, and I stopped checking for a few months, just to find you'd released and discontinued the product during that short window I was away!

    I would gladly pay to get a new version, and I can see more uses for this product than most other parts of the M5 Lineup.
    As it is I'm paying a premium to get a model from a distributor with leftover stock.



  • @davec said in M5Paper end of life?:

    Are we going to see another version?

    I've been hunting for something like this for years, and I stopped checking for a few months, just to find you'd released and discontinued the product during that short window I was away!

    I would gladly pay to get a new version, and I can see more uses for this product than most other parts of the M5 Lineup.
    As it is I'm paying a premium to get a model from a distributor with leftover stock.

    Yes, A never version is already in development and the first photo appeared on twitter this weekend.



  • @ajb2k3 that tweet from 29 May is showing the same board as the current M5Paper. Even the same display driver chip - which seems to be in short supply.

    @m5stack I wonder if the issues with v1.0 that have been pointed out by multiple people have been fixed - especially the power management part.


  • M5Stack

    @fonix232 sorry? the power management issues? could you say more detail? what product defect do you mean?



  • @m5stack I've tagged you multiple times in the thread that detailed the issues with the M5Paper. Please check it under the Feature Wishlist category.

    But to summarize:

    • the switch to the SLM6635 from the previously used AXP192 is a downgrade - less channels to control, worse battery life control, and faulty voltage reporting during charging (basically it reports the charging voltage instead of the actual cell voltage, and also fails to charge above 4.2V while the cell in the M5Paper is 4.35V)
    • the IT8951 is a massive power hog due to issues in its firmware. It's obvious from the schematics that you planned to hook that up to a USB port as well (which never happened and makes firmware updates impossible without HW mod), but the point is... This damn driver eats 80-100mA in idle. Which is unacceptable. There were suggestions to use a secondary MCU that would take care of the eink waveform generation with a similar API the IT8951 uses (but open source), or a shift register.
    • the SHT30 is a bit useless because the internal heat of the unit skews temperature, and humidity can't be reliably detected with the limited airflow. An MMU would be much more beneficial
    • I would also like to see a newer ESP32 (preferably the S3, when it becomes available), due to those having built in USB stack, making the M5Paper a great handheld hacking tool - e.g. one could program it to act as a USB keyboard, or a hard disk (exposing the SD card), or even a hardware crypto wallet similar to Trezor.

    Overall the display and form factor are great, but there's a lot more potential that could be brought to your users with just a little more attention. The current M5Paper just feels like you guys got a bunch of new engineers that brought some relevant experience, and wanted to use parts that they knew how to work with, instead of picking parts that actually work well together. LilyGO brought out a very similar board with the (almost) same display, but better battery management, no power sucking eink controller, or unnecessary sensors.

    Edit: here's the link for the topic I've mentioned https://community.m5stack.com/topic/3007/m5paper-ideas-recommendations-for-a-revision-or-v2-model/21


  • M5Stack

    @fonix232 Thank you very much for pointing out these issues. We have actually considered these issues. We will try to avoid these issues as much as possible in future iterations of the design.



  • @m5stack I'd gladly consult with your engineering team in my free time, to at least try to give a customer/consumer oriented viewpoint. I believe that a company works best if they listen to their customers and work together to get the best possible product out to the market.

    Also, in the meantime, could you please confirm/answer the so far unanswered question from the thread linked above? About the IT8951E sources, if you'd be able to publish them, and if it's possible to flash the chip through the existing SPI interface. I'm pretty sure the community would be able to find the reason why it's sucking so much power unnecessarily, and we could possibly even fix it, so that future batches can ship with better performing components.



  • Agree @fonix232, @m5stack needs a public alpha consumer base that can test their products and report issues in real-time to a problem log that can send info to the engineers to fix up issues for their products.

    I'm willing to be a part of this alpha consumer base.



  • Hello guys

    there is a new version, M5Paper V1.1, available in the M5Stack store. It seems to be more or less identical with the original version, maybe except for the e-Ink screen panel?

    Does anyone understand below comment from the M5Paper product description?

    'M5Paper v1.1 adopts flexible e-Ink screen panel, which is the same model as that of M5Paper v1.0 hard e-Ink screen panel. All features and specs are the same for both models.'

    Is the new and old version actually the same or not? And what is the difference between a flexible and a hard e-Ink screen panel?

    Thanks
    Felix