This website was originally written in Ruby and hosted on the Raspberry Pi. It's now archived at GitHub for posterity!

VGA Output On The Pi?

Update: If you want real VGA out on the Pi, you can try the Pi-View from Element14. It's the official HDMI to VGA adaptor for the Pi's HDMI output and doesn't require a separate power supply. Check it out at ModMyPi: Pi-View supports real output at resolutions up to 1080p

For all those who have complained about the Pi lacking VGA ouput, this isn't what you're looking for, but it's damned near close.

Hobbytronics have produced a Serial VGA Monitor Driver board which couples a female VGA connector with a Propellor P8X32A to drive it. The Propellor is an interesting little chip, and the VGA Driver board can be reprogrammed via serial (using an FTDI breakout board) like any other dev board. Although most of the P8X32A's IO is either tied up by the VGA output or simply denied any headers or easy way of being connected.

Still, when coupled with an ATMega and some tweaks to fire up its return TX line ot get the two talking a potent combination could be made, and directly connecting this board to the Raspberry Pi, which should be capable of powering it too, would give a pretty useful basic VGA output for monitoring, terminal interaction and even simple games.

A very straightforward protocol is used over serial, using only the TX line of the host to send commands. It has basic "window" creation features supporting up to 9 windows to which text can be written individually. The total real-estate is 100 x 50 characters, enough for a whole host of information.

At £24, it's not entirely unreasonable for such a niche breakout, specially considering its highly hackable nature. It looks like a handy way to add an auxiliary status monitor display to the Pi, leaving the primary display ( if you even have one connected! ) free for your X desktop.

« Back to index Posted on 2012-06-22 by