When I started putting together my plans for the Home Assistant wall controller, the pandemic just kicked-in. The chip shortage was at its highest levels and Raspberry PIs became scarce and prices started increasing. Even though they would have been the perfect configuration, I needed to reconsider my options. A very good alternative to Raspberry PIs turned-out to be the BeagleBone Black. I’m now using these for several tasks in my system and can tell they are quite nice for a couple of reasons.

First off, BeagleBone Black is very energy efficient. It only draws 500 mA at 5V. This is something to seriously consider for an always on device in your house.

Secondly, BeagleBones have on-board eMMC. This means, no more power-outage induced SSD-card corruption after power outages. My system runs on an UPS, but even the largest UPS would eventually fail upon a longer power outage.

I then added to it a capacitive touch-screen display, available from 4D Systems. Exact product name is “Gen4-4DCAPE-70T”.

This is what I considered for my own configuration. But if you consider building your own wall-mounted tablet, any sigle-board computer available for you will do, with the corresponding display added, and in a set-up allowing you to neatly mount it on your wall. If the resulting system is able to boot Debian Linux - or any other distro of your choice - in a X11 graphical session, then you’ll be able to use it for this purpose.

Now, once you Googled for these parts, then let me show you how I’ve mounted my BeagleBone on the wall.

Next up: How is it mounted on the wall?

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