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SB Components’ 2×2 Quad Display Board: A New MCU development board for Interactive Displays

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The SB Components’ 2×2 Quad Display Board is a sophisticated Microcontroller Unit (MCU) development board. The board can be fitted with either a Raspberry Pi Pico W board or an ESP32-S3-WROOM-1 module, offering flexibility in usage. The device’s primary function is to drive four small color displays, which can be either square or round in shape.

Features of the Quad Display Board

The board is equipped with four 1.54-inch square TFT displays or four 1.28-inch round displays, a microSD card, a Real-Time Clock (RTC) with a coin-cell battery holder, and a USB-C port for power and programming. It also includes a few buttons. While it might seem like an odd combination of features, the company anticipates the board to be utilized in signage, interactive displays, art projects, portable devices, data loggers, education, and more.

The main control of the 2×2 Quad Display Board is either a Raspberry Pi Pico W MCU or an ESP32-S3-WROOM-1 MCU. The Raspberry Pi Pico W MCU features a Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller with 264KB SRAM, whereas the ESP32-S3-WROOM-1 MCU has an ESP32-S3 dual-core Tensilica LX7 with 512KB SRAM and up to 8MB PSRAM.

Display Configurations

The Quad Display Board offers two display configurations to choose from. Users can opt for four 1.28-inch round displays or four 1.54-inch square TFT displays, both offering a 240×240 resolution with 65K/262K colors. The round displays are driven by a GC9A01 display driver, while the square displays utilize an ST7789 display driver.

Additional Features

Additional features of the Quad Display Board include a BME280 temperature, pressure, and humidity sensor, a 4-pin GPIO connector, four user buttons, a DS3231 RTC with a coin-cell battery holder, and a buzzer. The board also supports a LiPo Battery via a connector and charging circuit.

This board appears to be a variant of the company’s Dual Roundy and Dual Squary displays, introduced in January last year. The 2×2 Quad Display Board, however, ups the ante with four displays on the same side of the board.

Kickstarter Launch

SB Components has launched the 2×2 Quad Display boards on Kickstarter with a funding goal of 500 GBP or roughly 620 USD. The starting price for the ESP32-S3 variants of the 2×2 Quad Display board is $57 US, and $63 for the Raspberry Pi Pico models. Shipping costs add 7 GBP to the UK, and about $19 to the rest of the world.

In comparison, an ESP32 board with a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, such as the Elecrow ESP32 3.5-inch HMI display, costs around $20 plus shipping. However, it lacks some of the features of the SB Components board. The 2×2 Quad Display boards are scheduled to ship in June 2023, assuming everything goes according to plan.

As is customary, SB Components will not provide any code samples or deep technical details while the crowdfunding is in progress. They typically release the software part before shipping the rewards, so MicroPython, CircuitPython, and Arduino samples should become available in due course.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.