I'm planning on creating a "Magic Mirror" for my bathroom. I have already got the UI running to my likings and my Pi-zero is on its way.

As I was looking to overcome wake-time speed and lower power consumption, a commenter pointed me to USB powered monitors. This could work but I doubt the Pi Zero can power a device like this.

I wanted to wire in the monitor's power button to another set of pins but was also thinking of HDMI-CEC should the monitor I will be using support this.

I'm open to suggestion on what type of display device would best suit my needs. And if the Pi Zero would be powerful enough to power a USB monitor, and if there is driver support for this kind of stuff.

my related question: minimal delay on waking monitor via GPIO/HDMI-CEC

1 Answer 1


I'd be worried about a magic smoke release if you tried using a Zero (or any Pi, really) to power a decent sized USB monitor. The ones I've used in the past (e.g. AOC E2251FWU) have required a USB Y-cable to pull amperage from two ports simultaneously, and were extremely unhappy about being underpowered. I would look into using a decent power supply and splitting its output between the Pi and the monitor, and opting for an HDMI fed display which should work happily with the Pi's standard HDMI output without requiring drivers. Many USB screens use DisplayPort over USB, which uses the host CPU for hard sums and isn't ideal for the Pi.

One model which caught my eye in passing is the Gechic 2501C. It checks all of the boxes:

  • 5V/2A
  • HDMI input
  • 15.6"
  • 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Genchic seems to be the only relevant brand indeed. But a full size monitor might be a bit hard or heavy to build into a mirror.
    – Havnar
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:08
  • Another thing that comes to mind is the bezels, does this mean my display will be partially visible through the mirror if it's smaller than the full surface?
    – Havnar
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:17
  • The last time I did anything with one of those panels I used a 3M gasket tape to stick the de-bezelled panel to a delrin frame. The tape was, to the best of my ability to test it, immortal. That said, if you're after something smaller I'm pretty sure gechic make smaller displays, or there are lots of options in 7" and 10" screens at adafruit, the pi hut, etc etc.
    – goobering
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:19
  • I'm worrying now that the white bezels of that display will shine through, and come to think of bigger PC monitors, of the contours bleeding through and ruining the "magic"
    – Havnar
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:24
  • You don't keep the bezel. You'll never get the display close enough to the glass otherwise. 5 minutes with a good spudger and you can unsnap and remove the bezel, leaving you with the bare panel. The frame on that panel is usually fairly thin and, more importantly for getting a good flush fit, it's flat.
    – goobering
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.