Smart(or Magic) Mirror


In my (so far) unsuccessful quest to mirror & control my Android phone on a Raspberry Pi + touchscreen (for my car), I kept on coming across MagicMirror for Raspberry PI online. I had the parts, so I built one.

The only thing I did not have was two-way glass. A cautionary note: two-way mirror glass = pervert in most applications, unless you are in the interrogation business. So expect questions and raised eyebrows. Other than that you should be able to get it from your local glass merchant. (In Auckland), I got 6mm (Pilkington) Mirropane™ from Howick Glass (who source from Metro Glass). It cost around 90 bucks (more than I wanted and expected to pay!)

To build, follow the instructions in MagPi magazine (Issue #40) article, tailoring to suit.


My tips would be:

Software (with links where to find instructions)

  1. Install Jessie Lite build to your Raspberry Pi,
  2. Connect to wifi 
  3. Sort out a fixed IP address for you Pi (for VNC)
  4. Turn/install VNC on raspberry pi and install RealVNC on the client computer (I did it steps 5 onwards via VNC on my laptop).
  5. Follow Magic Mirror installation guide this (near) word-for-word
  6. Ignore the instruction in (5) for turning off screensaver – easier to do it via the GUI. Doing it as per instructions via terminal did not work for me.

Hardware

An old Hyundai monitor with case stripped off. Its power supply provided 12V and 5V, but the 5V was redundant so I wired a USB micro-B plug to it to power the Pi.

  1. Source a good (2nd hand?) monitor with very black blacks and very vivid whites. I used a crappy old (and small…but free!) Hyundai screen – the whites aren’t that bright and the black isn’t ‘black’ so you see the outline of the screen behind the glass. It’s okay, but I suspect the effect would be better with a better screen,
  2. Paint the inside (non-visible parts) of your mirror frame black, plus put a black backing on the frame.
  3. Power your RaspPi from you monitor power supply. Requires some soldering.
  4. Important tips (to save yourself a lot of angst): Measure twice, cut once – or in this context, check twice, stick once:

i. I stuck my screen to the back face of the glass with 3M tape. Before stick, check one last time that your screen is working okay. I didn’t. I had forgotten to replug some of the screen internal PCBs together. 3M tape does its job. Well. If you do screw something else up: acetone, a plastic store card and patience (not anger!) unsticks double-sided 3M tape.

ii. The stripping off the casing of your monitor (and wiring up USB power if you are going that route) might involve pulling out various plugs and wires. Be careful with this- this plugs designed for rigors of tampering. I bent a pin of spend 1 hour trying to work out why I had gobbledygook on the screen, and then another hour fixing the pin.

Switch on the bottom edge of mirror frame turns the screen on and off. Pi stays on. Switch wired into screen control PCB (where the original power micro switch was).