After getting a new fridge, I wasn’t allowed to drill into it, so I redid my fridge-mounted display. I used a $200 Surface Pro 3 from Ebay (the cheapest model I could find). Here’s what it looks like:
The SP3 works great as a fridge display. The screen is bright and high resolution, and the power cable is small and easy to attach. It’s smaller than my earlier tablet, so I abandoned my approach of using MagicMirror as the desktop. Instead, I start the following Chromium windows and use the windows hardware key on the right side of the tablet to switch between them:
- Slideshow with family photos (points to ZenPhoto running on another server)
- Generic google screen
All but the last of these, I run in fullscreen mode. The base operating system is Ubuntu 18.10. The latest Ubuntu works quite well on the SP3. I haven’t found anything that doesn’t work. It has an on-screen keyboard for typing. I use separate Chromium windows for everything. I already had MagicMirror installed on another server, so I just pointed a browser window at that.
To attach the tablet, I used four of these magnets. I attached them with Gorilla Glue and brushed on two coats of Plasti Dip. The Plasti Dip decreases the magnetic force some, and it protects the fridge from scratches. Don’t use too much Gorilla Glue. I made that mistake on the first couple, and it makes a mess. You can wipe it off, but some of the excess sticks around. Because of the magnets inside the SP3, the external magnets try to move around as you are gluing them. For the magnets on the kickstand, it helped to fold it out and place magnets on the back side of the kickstand to hold those on the other side. For those on the top of the SP3, I tried to find places they wouldn’t move and set a book on top as they dried. Here is a picture of the back:
The tablet still works well when detached, and it’s easy to take it on and off the fridge. Overall, this is an easy project. I spent a bit of time tweaking Ubuntu, but it wasn’t bad. If you’re happy with Windows, you could even go with that. I really wanted to put ChromiumOS on here, but both the ArnoldTheBat and CloudReady distributions have older kernels and don’t work as well as the latest Ubuntu on the Surface Pro.
One remaining item I’d like to try is motion detection to turn the screen on and off.