ePaper Display COG Driver Interface Timing % RePaper.org % 2013

1 ePaper Display COG Driver Interface Timing

Description Detailed information to design a timing controller for 1 44”, 2”, and 2.7” E-paper panels
Doc. No. 4P008-00
Revision 02

2 General Description

2.1 Overview

This document explains the interface to the COG Driver to operate the EPD for a MCU based solution using two pages of memory buffer. This document applies to 1.44”, 2.0”, and 2.7” EPDs.

Both new and previous display images are stored in memory buffer, then the COG Driver is powered on, initialized, panel updated in stages and then the COG Driver is powered off. Refer to the EPD controller in section 1.5 to see the complete update cycle from Power On, Initialize, Update and Power off. To operate the EPDs for the best sharpness and performance, each update of the panel is divided into a series of stages before the display of the new image pattern is completed. During each stage, frame updates with intermediate image patterns are repeated for a specified period of time. The number of repeated frame updates during each stage is dependent on the MCU speed. After the final stage, the new pattern is displayed.

V110 and V220 are names for two types of Front Plane Laminate which is the PET material that contains the microcapsules that is used to manufacture EPDs. V110 is the current generation of material, and V220 is the next generation of material. The materials are similar but have a few differences. V220 was designed to have a higher contrast ratio and is excellent for e-readers which are frequently updated. For V110 and V220, contrast ratio and white reflectance are compared in the charts below for reference.

Around the active area of the EPD is a 0.5mm width blank area called the border. It should be connected to VDL (-15V) to keep the border white. After approximately 10,000 updates with the constant voltage, the border color may degrade to a gray level that is not as white as the active area. To prevent this phenomenon, PDI recommends connecting BORDER as described in our documentation so that it can receive a control signal to turn on and off to avoid the degradation.

Section 1 is an overview and contains supporting information such as the overall theory for updating an EPD, SPI timing for PDI’s EPDs, as well as current profiles.

Section 2 describes a method to write to memory buffer. Previously updated and new patterns are stored in the memory buffer to compare the old and new image patterns during the update.

Section 3 describes how to power on the COG Driver which consists of applying a voltage and generating the required signals for /CS and /RESET.

Section 4 describes the steps to initialize the COG Driver.

Section 5 describes the details on how to update the EPD from the memory buffer, create a line of data, update in stages, and also power down housekeeping steps.

2.2 Input Terminal Pin Assignment

No Signal I/O Connected to Function
1 /CS I MCU Chip Select. Low enable
2 BUSY O MCU When BUSY = HIGH, EPD stays in busy state that EPD ignores any input data from SPI.
3 ID I Ground Set SPI interface
4 SCLK I MCU Clock for SPI
5 SI I MCU Serial input from host MCU to EPD
6 SO O MCU Serial output from EPD to host MCU
7 /RESET I MCU Reset signal. Low enable
8 ADC_IN - - Not connected
9 VCL C Capacitor -
10 C42P C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
11 C42M C -
12 C41P C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
13 C41M C -
14 C31M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
15 C31P C -
16 C21M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
17 C21P C -
18 C16M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
19 C16P C -
20 C15M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
21 C15P C -
22 C14M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
23 C14P C -
No Signal I/O Connected to Function
24 C13M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
25 C13P C -
26 C12M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
27 C12P C -
28 C11M C Charge-Pump Capacitor -
29 C11P C -
30 VCOM_DRIVER RC Resistor & Capacitor The signal duty cycle can drive VCOM voltage from source driver IC
31 VCC P VCC Power supply for analog part of source driver
32 VDD P VDD Power supply for digital part of source driver
33 VSS P Ground -
34 VGH C Capacitor -
35 VGL C Capacitor -
36 VDH C Capacitor -
37 VDL C Capacitor -
38 BORDER I - Connect to VDL via control circuit for white frame border
40 VCOM_PANEL C Capacitor VCOM to panel
I: Input
O: Output
C: Capacitor
RC: Resistor and Capacitor
P: Power

2.3 Reference Circuit


​1. VDD and VCC must be discharged promptly after power off. ​1. Pin.1 location

2.4 EPD Driving Flow Chart

The flowchart below provides an overview of the actions necessary to update the EPD. The steps below refer to the detailed descriptions in the respective sections.

2.5 Controller

The diagram below provides a signal control overview during an EPD update cycle. The diagram is segmented into 3. Power On COG Driver, 4. Initialize COG Driver, 5. Write data from the memory to the EPD, and 6. Power Off COG Driver. The segment number and title matches a section title in this document which contain the details for each segment.


​1. PWM: 100~300 KHz Duty= 50% Square wave.

The PWM signal starts before VCC/VDD input and stops during the initialization of the COG Driver to ensure there is a negative VGL on the COG Driver. Our reliability testing shows that with low temperature that the COG Driver has the possibility of VCC generating a slightly positive voltage, and the PWM is an effective solution for this condition. Refer to the section 4 of this spec.

2.6 SPI Timing Format

SPI commands are used to communicate between the MCU and the COG Driver. The SPI format used differs from the standard in that two way communications are not used, and CS is pulled high then low between clocks. When setting up the SPI timing, PDI recommends verifying the control signals for the overall waveform in Section 1.5, next verify the SPI command format and SPI command timing both in this section.

The maximum clock speed that the display can accept is 12MHz. The minimum is 4MHz. The SPI mode is 0.

  • Below is a description of the SPI Format:

SPI(0xI1I2, 0xD1D2D3D4,D5D6D7D8…)


ImIn is the Register Index and the length is 1 byte Dm~n is the Register Data. The Register Data length varies from 1, 2, to 8 bytes depending on which Register Index is selected.

Register Index Number Bytes of Register Data
0x01 8
0x02 1
0x03 1
0x04 1
0x05 1
0x06 1
0x07 1
0x08 1
0x09 2
  • Before sending the Register Index, the SPI (SI) must send a 0x70 header command.

  • Likewise, the SPI (SI) must send a 0x72 is the header command prior to the Register Data. The flow chart and detailed description can be found on the next page.

  • SPI command signals and flowchart:

  • SPI command timing

3 Write to the Memory

Before powering on COG Driver, the developer should write the new pattern to image buffer, either SRAM or flash memory. The image pattern must be converted to a 1 bit bitmap format (Black/White) in prior to writing.

Two buffer spaces should be allocated to store both previous and new patterns. The previous pattern is the currently displayed pattern. The new pattern will be written to the EPD. The COG Driver will compare both patterns before updating the EPD. The table below lists the buffer space size required for each EPD size.

EPD size Image resolution(pixels) Previous + new image Buffer (bytes)
1.44" 128 x 96 3,072
2" 200 x 96 4,800
2.7" 264 x 176 11,616

4 Power On COG Driver

This flowchart describes power sequence for the COG Driver.

​1. Start :

Initial State:


​2. PWM:

100~300KHz, 50% duty cycle, square wave to eliminate the potential negative voltages that could occur at low temperature. Keeping PWM toggling until VGL & VDL is on (SPI(0x05,0x03)).


For implement this function, Developer needs to use a pin from Microcontroller to control. BORDER is used to keep a sharp border while taking care of the electronic ink particles.

5 Initialize COG Driver


​1. SPI(0x01, Data):

  • Different by each size

    • 1.44”: SPI(0x01, (0x0000,0000,000F,FF00))

    • 2”: SPI(0x01, (0x0000,0000,01FF,E000))

    • 2.7”: SPI(0x01, (0x0000,007F,FFFE,0000))

  • To send first byte protocol (0x70) before Register Index (0x01), and then send second byte protocol (0x72) before Register Data (0x0000,0000,01FF,E000).

​1. If register data is larger than two bytes, the developer must finish sending the data prior to sending another Register Index command.

​1. PWM: 100~300KHz, 50% duty cycle, square wave to eliminate the potential negative voltages that could occur at low temperature.

​1. Should measure VGH >12V and VDH >8V

​1. Should measure VGL <-12V and VDL <-8V

​1. Gate and Source Voltage Level is different by each size:

  • Different by each size

    • 1.44”: SPI(0x04,0x03)

    • 2”: SPI(0x04,0x03)

    • 2.7”: SPI(0x04,0x00)

6 Write data from the memory to the EPD

This section describes how data should be sent to the COG Driver which will update the display. The COG Driver uses a buffer to store a line of data and then writes to the display.

6.1 Data Structure

  • EPD Resolutions
EPD size Image resolution(pixels) X Y
1.44" 128 x 96 128 96
2" 200 x 96 200 96
2.7" 264 x 176 264 176
  • Data components

  • One Bit – A bit can be W (White), B (Black) or N (Nothing) bits. Using the N bit mitigates ghosting.

  • One Dot/pixel is comprised of 2 bits.

  • One line is the number of dots in a line. For example:

    • The 1.44” uses 128 Dots to represent 1 Line.

    • The 2” uses 200 Dots to represent 1 Line.

    • The 2.7” uses 264 Dots to represent 1 Line.

    • The COG Driver uses a buffer to write one line of data (FIFO) - interlaced

Data Bytes Scan bytes Data Bytes
1st - 25th (Even) 1st - 24th 26th - 50th (Odd)
2" Example: Because method to write is interlaced, write the even data bytes for a line {D(200,y),D(198,y), D(196,y), D(194,y)} …. {D(8,y),D(6,y),D(4,y), D(2,y)} 2" Example: Write bytes for every scan line {S(1),S(2), S(3), S(4)}…. {S(93),S(94), S(95), S(96)} 2" Example: Write the odd data bytes for a line {D(1,y),D(3,y), D(5,y), D(7,y)}……… {D(193,y),D(195,y),D(197,y), D(199,y)}
  • One frame of data is the number of lines * rows. For example:

  • The 1.44” frame of data is 96 lines * 128 dots.

  • The 2” frame of data is 96 lines * 200 dots.

  • The 2.7” frame of data is 176 lines * 264 dots.

  • One stage is the number of frames used to write an intermediate pattern. This can vary based on the MCU choice. PDI’s design writes 16 frames of data per stage, and then 4 stages for 2” and 1.44” to update the display from the previous to the new pattern. 2.7” need 21 frames of data per stage.
Panel Size FPL Stage Time (ms) MCU Frame Time (ms)(Recommend)
1.44" V110 480 > 50ms
1.44" V220 480
2" V110 480
2" V220 480
2.7" V110 630 > 70ms
2.7" V220 630

6.2 Store a line of data in the buffer

This section describes the details of how to send data to the COG Driver. The COG Driver uses a buffer to update the display line by line.

  • 1.44” Input Data Order
  • 2” Input Data Order
  • 2.7” Input Data Order

6.3 Writing to the display in stages

This section contains the method to write to the display in stages. Each of the 4 stages should be the same use the same number of frames. Rewrite the frame during each stage.

The flow chart that follows describes how to update an image from a previous displayed image stored in memory buffer to a new image also stored in memory buffer. See the sample previous and new images below.

7 Power off COG Driver

8 Glossary of Acronyms


Electrophoretic Display (e-Paper Display)

EPD Panel


EPD Module

EPD with TCon board


Timing Controller


Thin Film Transistor


Microcontroller Unit


Flexible Printed Circuit


Front Plane Laminate


Serial Peripheral Interface


Chip on Glass


Print Contrast Signal


Pervasive Displays Incorporated