Amazing value gadget that can work as an ASCII terminal.

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Martin
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Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 14:11
Location: Warwickshire

Amazing value gadget that can work as an ASCII terminal.

Post by Martin »

Of course it can do much more than just be a VGA terminal - but it costs less than £8 and is very neat. Mine arrived today. I don't know how they can sell them this cheap - if you just wanted to build a bare board with the VGA and two PS2 connectors, you'd already have spent the full budget.



Programmable with Arduino IDE. It can run CPM emulating an Altair8800, it can be an ANSI terminal, and can also emulate a Commodore Vic 20 with colour graphics and sound. Has built in WiFi. It has an SD card slot, but you don't need an SD card to run normal sketches - you can run normal games, VIC 20 emulation and such without an SD card.
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Wayne_H
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Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by Wayne_H »

An impressive gizmo Martin, thanks for the heads up 👌

So what are you planning to do with it?
Cheers,

Wayne
Once a Retrobate, always a Retrobate............ ;)
Martin
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Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 14:11
Location: Warwickshire

Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by Martin »

Nothing specific Wayne - just to play with. I've been experimenting with Arduino composite and VGA video output, and this seemed too good to ignore. I'm still working on my Atmel AVR-based graphics things though - those chips are nowhere near as powerful as the ESP32 but more comfortable (for me) to program.

I'm only doing it for the challenge anyhow - if you want a cheap powerful board with even better graphics capabilities, there's the Raspberry Pi Zero for only £5, or the Zero-W with WiFi for £10. Raspberry Pis seem like cheating though - the Raspberry Pi is a real computer!

Phil, the one I got was the LILIGO TTGO VGA32 V1.4. I don't know if that's the best one to get - I didn't do much research - but the one I have seems to work great. Currently £7.19, but with an extra £4.63 shipping. Shipping costs seem to have risen lately :( They're still very reasonable but were unbelievably low before - I don't know if this is due to Brexit or the pandemic, or if they've just stopped being subsidized by the Chinese government.
Martin
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Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 14:11
Location: Warwickshire

Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by Martin »

Phil_G wrote: 06 Jan 2021, 15:54 Thanks Martin, I've ordered this one:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001229 ... 4c4dnAJMj6
They dont mention an SD slot though. Hope it has one as I'd like to try the Altair 8800 clone with cp/m!
Yes that's the one I've got. You need a micro SD card, and it does poke out rather a long way. Shame they didn't have it going the other way, over the top of the low-profile board components.

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FBMinis
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Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by FBMinis »

Martin, have you played with an ESP-32Cam yet? i have a couple of Ai-Thinker ones and it seems they didnt leave any ADC pins available/usable.
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Martin
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Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 14:11
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Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by Martin »

Not yet. I thought about getting one - they're amazingly cheap - but I don't really have a use for one, right now. I thought about having one as a hidden surveillance camera near the front door - but I've already got some Raspberry Pis with cameras sitting around unused if I really want to do that.

If you need to make a gadget with an ESP-cam, but it doesn't leave enough IO pins free, they're cheap enough to put a second ESP32 in the same case (providing you have enough room and power available, of course).

If you want a monitoring station that runs on battery or solar power and only want to log some readings, or maybe take a photo, every ten minutes say, the ESP32s are quite good at going to sleep and waking themselves up periodically - that way they can run for months on a fairly small battery such as an 18650. The Raspberry Pi, can't do that, so you normally have to run some sort of power supply to it.
bluejets
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Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by bluejets »

FBMinis wrote: 18 Jan 2021, 18:35 Martin, have you played with an ESP-32Cam yet? i have a couple of Ai-Thinker ones and it seems they didnt leave any ADC pins available/usable.
https://github.com/esphome/issues/issues/1301
FBMinis
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Re: Amazing value gadget that can work as a terminal.

Post by FBMinis »

Thank you Martin and Bluejets.

Regarding the ADC thing, I removed LED1 and have been using GPIO33 as input for the LDR (take a photo and send it to a Telegram group every 15min, unless it's dark). There is another solution:

https://github.com/espressif/arduino-es ... -763427468

The ESP32-Cam arrived to my door for less than 3.80 euro, which is incredible.

Another really cool chip is this version of the ESP8266:

https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/4000065053219.html

Not only it allows for an external antenna, it already has the necessary GPIOs pulled up or down, that is, once it's programmed you just need to connect the battery. It consumes 20 microamps in deepsleep, I have one sending a blip to Thingspeak every 15 min for almost a month using an 18650. Thingspeak sends an alert if there is no blip within 15 min, telling me there might have been a power failure (Im away from the house due to lockdown and there were some power outages mid december, none since then according to this little chip).

Cheaper than an Arduino Pro Mini:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1PCS-NEW-min ... 4022349406
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