The Espressif ESP32 microcontroller packs a lot of power, and as such it is capable of some pretty impressive feats. One of its coolest tricks is the ability to output color video through analog VGA. You can accomplish that on a breadboard with just a few resistors and a D-sub connector. But that’s hardly a polished technique if you want to use it in an actual project. That’s why Bitluni has designed a VGA shield for the new TinyPICO ESP32 development board.
Bitluni himself is responsible for a huge amount of work in making the ESP32 capable of outputting VGA video, and we featured a DIY kit he designed to do that a few months ago. Now he’s back with a new YouTube video showcasing a more compact VGA shield built with SMT components, and it’s made to fit the brand new TinyPICO development board. TinyPICO recently launched as a crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply, and it’s the smallest full-featured ESP32 development board on the market. Bitluni managed to get his hands on a pre-production sample, and has already built a high-quality VGA shield for it.
In his YouTube video, Bitluni describes how he designed this VGA shield, had the PCBs fabricated, how it was assembled, and how it works. The finished shield — with the TinyPICO attached — is roughly the size of the D-sub connector itself. It’s capable of outputting 6-bit color VGA video, and even line-out stereo. Bitluni has also updated his ESP32 VGA library to make it even easier to use. He is selling these VGA shields on his Tindie store (as a kit or fully-assembled), so you can buy one to use with your TinyPICO when it arrives.