Hacking the Esquire E-Ink Cover: A How-To

Bend an electronic magazine cover to your will

PICkit+ J1

As we mentioned in our earlier post on the Esquire E-Ink cover, we have uncovered some additional details regarding the operation of this interesting E-Ink evaluation board set. There are two eight-stage shift-and-store bus registers (HEF4094BT) that drive each of the two E-Ink panels. The PIC12F629 controls the state of the HEF4094BT outputs: positive voltage, negative voltage, high impedance off, and shift register stage.

Please download these datasheets for more information about these two ICs:

You can also examine the content of the hex file that is programmed on the PIC12F629. You will need these products for reading the hex file:

PICkit+ J1


1. Solder the 6-pin header to jumper J1 on the E-Ink PCB. There are only five holes on the PCB for this header. Therefore, leave the extra sixth pin unsoldered off to the side of the PCB.

2. Attach the male and female jumpers together.

3. Insert five male jumpers into the ICSP connector on the PICkit 2 programmer. Route the female jumpers to the 6-pin J1 header on the E-Ink PCB. Use this chart for connecting the jumpers:

J1 Pin Signal ICSP Pin
1 VDD 2
2 GND 3
3 Vpp 1
4 PGC 5
5 PGD 4
nc Aux 6

4. Connect the PICkit 2 to the USB port of a PC and start the PICkit software.

5. Click the “Read Device + Export Hex File” button. Save the Hex file and exit the PICkit 2 app.

6. Start the Microchip MPLAB IDE and import the hex file that you saved in step 5.

7. In the View menu, click on Program Memory. Your hex file will be disassembled and can be saved as a text file.

If you come up with any additional information regarding the Esquire E-Ink cover, please post your findings in the Comments section.

PICkit+ J1