View Full Version : Generating text on a VGA monitor with PICAXE...

04-04-2011, 08:49
Hi there. :)

I am looking for a module, which will take standard ASCII serial from the PICAXE, and convert it to a VGA or composite video signal, so I can display text on a screen in a large format.

Has anyone ever come across anything like that?

04-04-2011, 08:53
Hi there
There are a few items like that out there.

One I am using is the Propeller backpack for about $50 or so. It can do composite NTSC and can even work in overlay mode so if you have a vid camera you can have the video feed and your terminal on top of it.

You chat to it using RS232 at 9600.

Hope this helps

04-04-2011, 08:57
4D systems also do a serial to VGA solution:


04-04-2011, 09:00
Cool :)

@ Marcwolf - do you have a link?

EDIT: I am now looking at this thing:

It has the controller and a screen all in one.

Not as big as a VGA screen, so still interested in all links to VGA converters, but this has raised my eyebrows...

04-04-2011, 13:22
Depending on what your requirements are, you could just use a laptop !.

Serial in to a terminal emulator, such as Hyperterm, then plug as big a screen as you want into the laptop.

( There are plenty terminal emulators better than Hyperterm, just seach the web. )

04-04-2011, 16:38
If you plan on using the new 28X2 base board then the telly mate is a good simple option, although only in black and white.

04-04-2011, 17:04
If you plan on using the new 28X2 base board then the telly mate is a good simple option, although only in black and white.

I'm sure you meant to add a link,
didn't you? ;-)



04-04-2011, 21:13
Their TellyMate kit is ~10 (+ 2 p&p) -it may especially appeal for educational class demos etc.

05-04-2011, 00:38
Telemate sounds ideal. :)

I can't really use terminal software on a laptop or PC, as I need the text to be RELATIVELY large(read: bigger then standard terminal fonts), for easy reading.

Telemate is just too nicely priced NOT to try it out - I think I will get one.

MANUKA - you don't have any of these in stock in NZ do you?

Otherwise I will just order direct from them.

Also still looking for the link to Propeller Backpack mentioned by marcwolf...

05-04-2011, 01:36
Cool :)

@ Marcwolf - do you have a link?

Here is the link. http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResults/tabid/768/txtSearch/backpack/List/0/SortField/4/ProductID/602/Default.aspx

It's a 3 wire connection V+, Gnd, and SerIn. Although for complex operations (never had to do that) you can recieve a 'wait' from it bit I have never needed to do that.
You have bolds, colors and it's pretty powerful.

Plus the option later of using as an overlay module.

Take Care

05-04-2011, 02:16
Cheers, mate.

I am reading it's PDF now...

Several options to choose from so far - excellent. :) :) :)

@ Marcwolf - is there a local supplier, or do you have to buy in from USA? Where did you get your one from? Direct from Parallax?

05-04-2011, 02:34
Grogster: I'll perhaps look to order a TeleMate & share it with you?
Extra-how did you get on with that omnidirectional UHF antenna?

05-04-2011, 02:44
We could get one each and share the freight, if you want - PM me.

Generally speaking, I was only looking for B/W video anyway, so this thing is perfect.

However, I am also warming up to the Propeller Backpack just linked to.
Just about any flat-screen TV these days is multi-standard, so should work with the NTSC output despite our PAL standard... :p (older TV sets would not like the taste of the signal)

Re: aerial - ran a couple of tests over the weekend, but have not yet done my long-range tests. The weather is not TOO bad here today, so might see if I can do some of that - I will let you know, and will update that thread to let you all know what happens. :)

05-04-2011, 11:30
Grogster: Have been in touch with them OK-sales by PayPal. Please confirm your needs. Stan.

05-04-2011, 11:36
As they are so cheap, I was thinking three kits.
I would use one right away, and I would have a couple spare for later projects.

PM me, and I can arrange to pay you if you are going to bulk-order etc...

05-04-2011, 12:12
If you need this many then maybe YOU can do the ordering! At this stage I'm only after one - even a loaned one- for evaluation (& a possible article). They mention delivery may take ~10 days. THOUGHT- any other Kiwi buyers ?

05-04-2011, 12:36
Hokey pokey - I will get some in, and let you know when they are here then I can flick one in your general direction. ;)

I will wait and see if any other Kiwis want one too.

I will be doing the order tomorrow night(NZ time).

06-04-2011, 01:42
I've ordered a uCPU and crystal etc, and will build my own one here(or attempt to!) first, as the circuit is very simple and I can get the MCU here for $10, and the source-code is free, so I will make one up and let you know how I get on. I just have to whip up a simple programmer thing which I am doing now...

06-04-2011, 02:03
Hi Grogster

There is a local distributer in Oz - http://www.nollet.com.au/contact-us/
Best to drop him a line - he's pretty quick on ansering as his web page is not up to date.

Alternatively you can get it from several places US inc Parallex themselves.

Take Care

17-09-2011, 11:48
Just catching up with this thread.

I can see you are going the Telemate route. I's a great piece of kit, but needs a TV. For a zero-part zero-configuration solution a terminal emulator is still going to be the quickest, most portable, most flexible solution.

The font size, even on Hyperterm, can be as big as you want. A 72pt font puts about 8 lines of 25 chars on any size PC screen, 120pt gives about 3 lines.
A better terminal emulator will give you control over colour and effects.

It also means you can concentrate your efforts on your application programming, with no distractions trying to get hardware working.

Just my thoughts.