Brian Lough Looks to Build a Community Around the Espressif ESP32-Powered “Cheap Yellow Display”


Maker Brian Lough is looking to build a community around a low-cost touchscreen display device powered by an Espressif ESP32 microcontroller, dubbed the “Cheap Yellow Display” — replacing the relatively poor vendor support with a community-driven ecosystem designed to make the gadget a lot more accessible.

“This is pretty nice hardware and a cheap price,” Lough says of the compact 320×240 microcontroller-equipped full-color LCD properly termed the ESP32-2432S028R, “but the software instructions/support around it is pretty poor. Just a single link to a ZIP file on a random website. [But] this display is only about $15 delivered so I think it’s really good value.”

Maker Brian Lough wants to build a community around the ESP32-powered “Cheap Yellow Display” device. (📹: Brian Lough)

Lough should know: he has history in design his own Espressif ESP32-based devices, having launched a HUB75 LED matrix controller dubbed the ESP32 Trinity a couple of years ago. “I’m no longer creating hardware products,” he says, “but I think it would be interesting if we could create the same kind of community around this display, where people can share examples and projects made for this display.”

The Cheap Yellow Display, or CYD, itself has an Espressif ESP32 module with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity behind a 320×240 full-color LCD panel with a resistive touchscreen overlay. There’s a USB connection for both power and data, plus an SD Card slot for storage and “some additional pins” available for interfacing with external hardware.

“I think it’s useful for the following types of people,” Lough suggests. “People just getting started with working hardware — as everything is already connected, there is no soldering or additional components required. People who are familiar with working with hardware, but are lazy (like me) — sometimes you just want to build a project without having to assemble any hardware. People who aren’t really looking to learn anything, but just want to build some cool things.”

To support these, Lough has stepped in where the original vendor was lacking and has provided a getting-started guide, a range of code examples, alternative display libraries, and demos of how the display can be flashed with ESPHome and integrated into Home Assistant and other smart home control systems. There are even 3D-printable stands available — and the hope is that as the popularity of the CYD grows, so too will the ecosystem.

More information on the CYD is available in the above video and in Lough’s GitHub repository.


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