How-To Geek

Turn a Kindle into a Weather Display Station

The e-ink display, network connectivity, and low-power consumption of Kindle ebook readers make them a perfect candidate for an infrequently refreshed high-visibility display–like a weather display. Read on to see how to hack a Kindle to serve up the local weather.

Tinker and hardware hacker Matt Petroff hacked his Kindle to accept input from a web server and then, graciously and in the spirit of geeky projects everywhere, shared his source code. He explains the heart of the project:

The server side of the system uses shell and Python scripts to convert weather forecast data into an image for the Kindle. The scripts first download and parse forecast data from NOAA via the National Digital Forecast Database XML/SOAP Service. After parsing the data, the data then needs to be converted into an image. This is accomplished by preprocessing a specially crafted SVG file to insert temperatures, forecast symbols, and days of the week. This SVG is then rendered as a PNG using rsvg-convert and converted to a grayscale, no transparency color space as required by the Kindle using pngcrush. Finally, it is copied to a public location on the web server.

The Kindle is set to refresh twice a day (you could easily tweak the scripts for a more frequent refresh) and displays the forecast as seen in the photo above–with crisp and easy to read text and icons.

Hit up the link below for more information and the project’s source code.

Kindle Weather Display [via Hack A Day]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/17/12

Comments (18)

  1. r

    oh, I’ve more or less given up on weather forecasts. Meteorology forecasting is the only field where you can be wrong most of the time & still have a job the next day.

  2. lesle

    There are scads and scads of private weather stations in the U.S. and worldwide, maybe even one in your block. Here’s a map of just the WeatherLink stations:

    Hey, Geek! Try this one:

  3. spike

    @r: wrong most of the time? according to who?

  4. spike

    @r: …plus, “Today” isn’t much of a forecast – that’s half the screen.

  5. r

    …relax Spike, it’s my opinion over the course of some forty-years of listening to bad weather reports from local meteorologists –don’t get overly excited over this. It’s not worth it….take some time off and have your meds re-evaluated by your physician.

  6. spike

    @r: I’m not ‘excited’, I’m just correcting an ignorant statement. I could point out that it appears you aren’t relaxed, and may need to be on a lot of meds, etc., but what good does it really do? I’m a lot more healthy than you mentally and physically :-) (That statement is just as valid as your comments.)

  7. spike

    @r: Oh, I get it. After 40 years of your current incorrect meds from your physician, you can no longer answer a simple question… you can probably sue your physician for that :-)
    Any true ‘tech’ person would know that forecasting technology has changed over the course of 40 years…

  8. r

    …sorry spike, was called away for the evening

    ….uhhh? ya !!….well, after reading everything here once again, the way I look at it is that both of us are rather good at talking about “nothing in particular” :P

  9. r

    …& nothing wrong with my meds either :)

  10. Thomas


    I’m siding with “r” on this one. I live in deep East Texas. We have a saying around here; “If you don’t like the weather, just wait around for 5 minutes”. Accurate meteorology in our area is at least very challenging and accurate, long term predictions are outright sorcery.

  11. spike

    good, same here :)

  12. spike

    oh, that was in reply to “r”, not Thomas

  13. spike

    I do agree that forecasters are sometimes off, but short-term (3-4 days), they are generally quite accurate.

  14. r

    Oh, so you’ve changed your story spike…LoL….good to see you now see thing my way :P

  15. spike

    yah- i wasn’t too civil at first.. There are a lot of businesses that rely on forecasts, however, and do so because they are accurate- I know a lot of people in this kind of business and have come to respect forecasts because of this.(in construction, etc. where they cannot be productive in rain / snow, deciding whether or not to send a crew 2-3 hours away, or schedule them for the next 2-3 days) So, there is still a need for them.

  16. r

    …agreed,…but i’m still not doing that to my Kindle

  17. Qrazydutch

    Anyone hack a kindle yet to run Linux? Or apple lion?

  18. SLOweather

    Well, it’s still a good idea… Except, you could change the scripts to pull data from an on-line current conditions server, and do it faster, say every few minutes. The you can see the current weather in near-real time.

    I might use this idea on my WeatherElement server.

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