Is it a good idea? Build my own digital picture frame.


Active Member
I am a photographer and want to have my pictures to display on a relatively large digital picture frame. I had one from a few years back and it was dim and small and it costed quite a bit then. With the price coming down through the years, I thought that a 24 inch LCD frame should be around $350 to $400. I was surprised to find out that they are charging over $900 for that size.

I checked out the price on 24" LCD screens (around $160 to $200). I was debating if I should do the "brain" piecemeal. That is, buying the motherboard, power supply, HDD (or SSD, or ECCM). By the time it is said and done, it would cost too much and too complicated. I recently bought a Asus x250TA for $200. It has everything I needed and more for a "brain" for the frame. All I need is to get a good wooden picture frame (probably at a yard sale) and mount the monitor, and gerry rack some device to attach the computer in the back (probaly some velco). The Asus has very good resolution and a relatively powerful CPU. It has 2gb ram and 32 gb ECCM, That's more than enough to hold 5,000 pictures.

The whole setup would be around $400, less than half of buying one, and a lot more flexible (I can also play videos too.)

I am wondering what else I need to be concerned about that I may have missed?


Well-Known Member
It sounds doable, the Asus x250TA is probably way overkill for what you want to do, a $35 Raspberry Pi would also have worked.

If you are going to enclose everything then you will need to worry about having sufficient airflow for cooling but if you just plan to hang the computer on the back then you probably don't need to worry about it.


Active Member
That's what I want to hear. I know the Asus would work but it is a bit of an overkill. The Raspberry Pi you recommended seems a more logical component, if it has what I am looking for.

I logged on a couple of sites trying to read up on it. But it seems to be very much geared to geeks (sorry the term). I want to read a spec of the unit but there is none clear enough to answer my questions. All it talked about is how exciting it is.

My basic questions are:

1. What is the power source? I mentioned that it has USB power source. But in my application, how do I turn a 120v regular power socket into a USB plug? Do I need something like this?

1a. The above link is for an output of 5V 1000ma. Would this power the unit? Would it fry the unit?

2. What is the resolution of the Video output? I need something like 1366x768.

3. Is the HDI port for display connector? My monitor is a bit old and has only VGA connection. Do I need another adapter?

4. How do I load the slideshow program so it would run?

I would appreciate hearing more, and learning more about this exciting product you recommended.
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Well-Known Member
1. Pretty much any 5V supply would work. I use a USB charger from an old cell phone.
1a. As long as it is 5V you will be OK. Higher ma rating would be better but 1000ma would work for your application.
2.The default resolution is 1366x768 but can be set higher.
3.The HDMI is for connecting to a display.
4.You could use Raspbmc which is a version of XBMC multimedia program for the Raspberry Pi. You would need to put Raspbmc on an SD card (instructions on the Raspberry Pi website).

I did mention that the RP would work but I'm not sure it would be right for you. It is Linux based and would require you to learn some new things in order to get it to work. As you said, geared for geeks (it was actually designed to be a cheap computer for school kids to learn programming). If you are up for the challenge then you could go the RP route. The less challenging route would be to stick with your original plan of using the Asus you bought.

Here's a link to the "official" website:

Here's a link to an "Instructables" project of using the RP to make a digital picture frame:
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Active Member
Thank you for the quick reply and the great source of info. No doubt the Asus is the easier way, but the difference is $200+ vs $50, plus the challenge (I love to prove to myself that I can handle tasks like this).

I will read up on it and if and when I feel comfortable, i will purchase one and experiment with it. I can always test it before I assemble the frame. I believe, if I buy it from, I can always return it if it doesn't work.

Thanks again.


Active Member
Sure. Good luck, post back when you get it done so we can see what you did.

I must admit, after reading your link, I realized it is too complicated where I have to acquire different components, probably from different vendors to gerry rack it together. Other than the complicity, the cost also shoot up quite a bit from the $35 raspberry pi.

I searched for "DIY digital picture frame kit" but no luck.

I think I would just bite the bullet and cough up $300 for a 19" picture frame with 1440 resolution.

Thanks for the education anyway.