VAULT DWELLERS SERVED

Friday, January 23, 2015

$1 Hard Display Option With Arduino



Some very clever guys have figured out to make the Arduino output to analog television with very little work. Impressive stuff. Source code here.

Add a cheap shifter and you could output simple terminal graphics to a display over a serial port that would last a long time and be replaced easily over many years.

Whenever I think of buying tons of mini VGA displays as backup parts you have to consider the expense. I already have at least 4 B&W portable televisions and a green mono 12 volt display. They are much cheaper, sometimes free. Unfortunately it takes a $40 dollar bridge unit to go from the VGA to television. I was hoping for a better way.

This is actually so cool it warrants a unique VOS demon written explicitly for it to drive a display monitor. Trying now whenever time permits to consolidate a display language as a simple set of text instructions. It is hard to improve on GTK syntax for driving a display from anything.

I don't know if you are interested in this direction but I have often dreamed of some simple output format for something roughly approximating ATARI 2600 level resolution for Vault-OS that would last for years and years. This solution seems to be it.

One thing taking shape in my mind is as soon as Vault-OS is up in open source, there needs to be a port of the ANSI C source to Arduino. It is the number one target outside of X86 architectures. I was hoping somebody else could do it who knows more about the Arduino once I release the source.

What about an Arduino box glued to the back of one of these televisions as a standalone VOS server with an ethernet jack for connecting it to any number of remote terminals? That would be pretty cool. It would be pretty cheap, too, even compared to boards like the Raspberry PI.

9 comments:

ucabulator said...

You might want to check the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi (RasPi) boards before you spend money on the Arduino boards. In your article you mentioned ethernet, and getting ethernet on an Arduino can be expensive. There are relatively inexpensive RasPi versions that provide ethernet, compared to an Arduino + ethernet shield.

Specifically, the RasPi B or RasPi B+ provides HDMI (relatively expensive) or composite (cheap TVs) video output, and includes both USB and ethernet, a much faster cpu, and a lot more on-board memory as well as SD card socket.

Here are some prices from Adafruit, more for consistent comparison purposes than a firm vendor recommendation (although I admit I regularly buy from them). All prices USA Dollars. You can almost certainly do better price-wise for the ethernet shield, but it's in the ballpark.

---

$24.95
Arduino Uno R3 (Atmega328 - assembled)
http://www.adafruit.com/products/50
USB, no ether

$45.00
Arduino Ethernet shield R3 with micro SD connector - Assembled
http://www.adafruit.com/products/201

$65.00
Arduino Uno Ethernet
http://www.adafruit.com/products/418

Arduino shields
http://www.adafruit.com/categories/21

Arduino, general
http://www.adafruit.com/category/17

Alternatively, if you like the Arduino level of capabilities, there are alternatives such as the Teensy 3.1 that might work better for your requirements. The Teensy is not nearly the only Arduino clone or near-clone.
http://www.adafruit.com/product/1625

---

The RasPi, comes in two main configurations, A and B. There are newer A+ and B+ versions that are somewhat different, including lower power requirements. The A or A+ does not provide on-board ethernet. All RasPi boards require an SD card to hold the Linux operating system (free downloads or buy preloaded), so add a couple bucks for that.

$24.95 - yep, same price as an Arduino
Raspberry Pi Model A+ 256MB RAM (no ether)
http://www.adafruit.com/products/2266

$39.95
Raspberry Pi Model B+ 512MB RAM (ether)
http://www.adafruit.com/products/1914

Choose the newer B+ version for lower power consumption unless you have a specific reason for selecting the older B version. One important difference: B 26 GPIO pins exposed, B+ 40 GPIO pins exposed.

Introducing the Raspberry Pi Model B+
https://learn.adafruit.com/introducing-the-raspberry-pi-model-b-plus-plus-differences-vs-model-b?view=all

RasPi, general
http://www.adafruit.com/categories/176

The RasPi lacks an ADC that you might want for sensors, but they're relatively cheap such as the MCP3800 chip:
$3.75
MCP3008 - 8-Channel 10-Bit ADC With SPI Interface
http://www.adafruit.com/product/856

---

There are an increasing number of display options out there, including smaller 2.8" or 3.5" touchscreen.

Display, general
http://www.adafruit.com/category/63

Adafruit composite video & RasPi tutorial:

Using a Mini PAL/NTSC Display with a Raspberry Pi
https://learn.adafruit.com/using-a-mini-pal-ntsc-display-with-a-raspberry-pi?view=all

https://learn.adafruit.com/

---

Of course nothing says you couldn't run a mixture of Arduino and RasPi boards, using each for their relative strengths. Talking serial should work fine between them.

As for the shifter, I don't know if you'd need one. I seem to recall people do serial bit-banging quite a bit.

Jim

ucabulator said...

You might want to check the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi (RasPi) boards before you spend money on the Arduino boards. In your article you mentioned ethernet, and getting ethernet on an Arduino can be expensive. There are relatively inexpensive RasPi versions that provide ethernet, compared to an Arduino + ethernet shield.

Specifically, the RasPi B or RasPi B+ provides HDMI (relatively expensive) or composite (cheap TVs) video output, and includes both USB and ethernet, a much faster cpu, and a lot more on-board memory as well as SD card socket.

Here are some prices from Adafruit, more for consistent comparison purposes than a firm vendor recommendation (although I admit I regularly buy from them). All prices USA Dollars. You can almost certainly do better price-wise for the ethernet shield, but it's in the ballpark.

---

$24.95
Arduino Uno R3 (Atmega328 - assembled)
http://www.adafruit.com/products/50
USB, no ether

$45.00
Arduino Ethernet shield R3 with micro SD connector - Assembled
http://www.adafruit.com/products/201

$65.00
Arduino Uno Ethernet
http://www.adafruit.com/products/418

Arduino shields
http://www.adafruit.com/categories/21

Arduino, general
http://www.adafruit.com/category/17

Alternatively, if you like the Arduino level of capabilities, there are alternatives such as the Teensy 3.1 that might work better for your requirements. The Teensy is not nearly the only Arduino clone or near-clone.
http://www.adafruit.com/product/1625

---

The RasPi, comes in two main configurations, A and B. There are newer A+ and B+ versions that are somewhat different, including lower power requirements. The A or A+ does not provide on-board ethernet. All RasPi boards require an SD card to hold the Linux operating system (free downloads or buy preloaded), so add a couple bucks for that.

$24.95 - yep, same price as an Arduino
Raspberry Pi Model A+ 256MB RAM (no ether)
http://www.adafruit.com/products/2266

$39.95
Raspberry Pi Model B+ 512MB RAM (ether)
http://www.adafruit.com/products/1914

Choose the newer B+ version for lower power consumption unless you have a specific reason for selecting the older B version. One important difference: B 26 GPIO pins exposed, B+ 40 GPIO pins exposed.

Introducing the Raspberry Pi Model B+
https://learn.adafruit.com/introducing-the-raspberry-pi-model-b-plus-plus-differences-vs-model-b?view=all

RasPi, general
http://www.adafruit.com/categories/176

The RasPi lacks an ADC that you might want for sensors, but they're relatively cheap such as the MCP3800 chip:
$3.75
MCP3008 - 8-Channel 10-Bit ADC With SPI Interface
http://www.adafruit.com/product/856

---

There are an increasing number of display options out there, including smaller 2.8" or 3.5" touchscreen.

Display, general
http://www.adafruit.com/category/63

Adafruit composite video & RasPi tutorial:

Using a Mini PAL/NTSC Display with a Raspberry Pi
https://learn.adafruit.com/using-a-mini-pal-ntsc-display-with-a-raspberry-pi?view=all

https://learn.adafruit.com/

---

Of course nothing says you couldn't run a mixture of Arduino and RasPi boards, using each for their relative strengths. Talking serial should work fine between them.

As for the shifter, I don't know if you'd need one. I seem to recall people do serial bit-banging quite a bit.

Sitara said...

Atlantis real?

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/unknown-metal-find-hints-that-atlantis-might-be-real-142647993.html#l38UNXh

Tex, what are your thoughts about Atlantis? Could it have existed you think, or was it just a metaphor by Plato that ended up becoming myth?

Luke said...

Tex, are you interested in the Arduino over the Raspberry Pi for MTBF reasons? The Pi seems to deliver more bang for the buck than the Arduino, but a device with a full Linux OS will definitely be less stable than a device merely running a barebones program. I'm guessing you're ruling out the Pi for this reason. If not, you might want to consider the Pi...

bicebicebice said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2930003/The-town-encased-ice-Russian-streets-turned-huge-frozen-block-water-pipes-burst-storm-sub-zero-temperatures.html "itz" ?

Luke said...

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/28/ancient-skull-found-israel-sheds-light-human-migration-sex-neanderthals

Texas Arcane said...

@Luke

That's it. I liked the Arduino because it didn't have an OS but it looked like it could support Berkeley Sockets API and a few other ANSI C standards. The exception on there would be PThreads but I recently saw a co-thread library for Arduino with PThread-style calls. I thought it might run forever without any OS and just do what it needed to do.

Texas Arcane said...

@Luke

I still figure the stablest possible X86 you could run would be either DesqView or DR.DOS (OpenCaldera) in Causeway PM-32 (supports DLLs) with some truly generic display device.

… but maybe if you went to Arduino you would have gone as close to the metal as you could possibly go and with no OS to fail because it didn't exist.

Matthew Richter said...

I'm just a novice with micro-controller type boards, they are mighty impressive, the specs I mean for a 'credit card' size board. Anyway the point, I was just reading the specs on the Banana Pi and thought of this thread. You can almost smell the banana when you look at the site, it has a very strong yellow.

http://www.bananapi.org/2014/05/is-banana-pi-clone-of-raspberry-pi.html

www.000webhost.com