PiMod Zero: Raspberry Pi Zero RF Video Modulator

We excited to see this Raspberry Pi Zero RF Video Modulator on Crowd Supply:

PiMod Zero

Dust Off That Old TV

PiMod Zero brings old tech back to life by allowing a Raspberry Pi Zero to display color or B&W video – and play audio – on vintage televisions. It provides a super-compact way to watch old movies, play retro games, present digital art, or navigate your operating system using any television that receives standard NTSC broadcasts on VHF channels 2 and 3 (55.25 MHz and 61.25 MHz).

In the past, you would have needed a cumbersome RF modulator box to adapt the HDMI signal from a Pi Zero. Now, with this convenient HAT snapped on top of your Pi Zero, no additional dongles are required. In fact, once the Pi is powered up, the only other cable you need is a piece of coax to connect PiMod Zero to your TV.

Configuring the Raspberry Pi to output composite video and stereo audio to PiMod Zero is extremely simple. Handy scripts and thorough documentation will be available in our GitHub repo.

PiMod Zero: Raspberry Pi Zero RF Video Modulator

Switch Your SID Up!

The SID Chip is one of the most hallowed components of electronic equipment, housed inside the original Commodore 64 and responsible for some of the most iconic chiptunes ever made. The Commodore 64 & 128 GOLD SID Sound Interface Device is a direct replacement for the original SID chip which will ensure the rare and valuable chip is safe, while accurately replicating its output and performance.

The chip installation will include desoldering the original chip, which will require some advanced soldering skills – but there are many tutorials online which will help you with this and it can be done however scary it may seem! The SID chip in the Commodore 64 came in two versions – the MOS 6581 and the 8580, both of which can be replaced by this neat board.

Read more on the Tindie blog…

Switch Your SID Up!

Retro CPC Dongle

A followup post about the Retro CPC dongle on the Intelligent Toasters blog:

Retro CPC Dongle – Part 47

The programming daughter-board for the CPC2 is on its way, most likely making its slow way through the USPS. Rather than wait a few more weeks for the board to arrive, I thought I’d share the 3D render for the board.

Building this board was an exciting new development in the project as the board was designed using KiCad. Transitioning to KiCad from DesignSpark was not a decision undertaken lightly. The proprietary nature of DesignSpark, coupled with the forced upgrades and continual re-registration process convinced me to give KiCad a go. After a few hours of learning the new work-flow and learning the huge number of short-cut keys, and I was building boards like a pro.

The models for the components I used were either available from the Mouser web site, or were created at my request by the wonderful folks at SamacSys. While I did trial the process of creating new components and footprints, this was unnecessary as everything I needed was provided for me.

Retro CPC Dongle

Handheld Apple IIe emulator powered by Teensy

Jorj Bauer has created a handheld Apple IIe emulator with a Teensy:

Aiie! – an embedded Apple //e emulator

Teensy 4.1 (600 MHz arm Cortex M7) running a full-speed Apple //e emulator. Because everyone needs one of these, right?

The OSH Park boards arrived, and I spent some time Monday assembling! Here’s a time lapse of the build, which took me shy of 3 hours (mostly because I hadn’t organized any of the parts and had to hunt for several).

Handheld Apple IIe emulator powered by Teensy

RC2014 backplane constructed with flex PCB

We were exited to see this use of a flex PCB to create a backplane for the RC2014:

RC2014 is a simple 8 bit Z80 based modular computer originally built to run Microsoft BASIC. It is inspired by the home built computers of the late 70s and computer revolution of the early 80s. It is not a clone of anything specific, but there are suggestions of the ZX81, UK101, S100, Superboard II and Apple I in here. It nominally has 8K ROM, 32K RAM, runs at 7.3728MHz and communicates over serial at 115,200 baud.

RC2014 backplane constructed with flex PCB

PS/2 Floppy Drive

Eric Schlaepfer created this nifty board for retro computer users:


PS/2 Floppy Adapter

This PS/2 floppy adapter is designed to allow standard PC floppy drives to be used in IBM PS/2 systems that have 40-pin edge connectors for their floppy drive interfaces. Compatible models include

  • IBM PS/2 Model 50 and 50Z
  • IBM PS/2 Model 60
  • IBM PS/2 Model 70
  • IBM PS/2 Model 80

And others as well.

The design files are here.


Fab Files

The bill of materials is as follows:

Designator Quantity Description
J2 1 34-pin 0.1″ breakaway header
R1-R5 5 1K ohm resistors, 0603

PS/2 Floppy Drive

Scott Shawcroft Is Programming Game Boys With CircuitPython

Some people like to do things the hard way. Maybe they drive a manual transmission, or they bust out the wire wrap tool instead of a soldering iron, or they code in assembly to stay close to the machine. Doing things the hard way certainly has its merits, and we are not here to argue about that. Scott Shawcroft — project lead for CircuitPython — on the other hand, makes a great case for doing things the easy way in his talk at the 2019 Hackaday Superconference.

In fact, he proved how easy it is right off the bat. There he stood at the podium, presenting in front of a room full of people, poised at an unfamiliar laptop with only the stock text editor. Yet with a single keystroke and a file save operation, Scott was able make the LEDs on his Adafruit Edge Badge — one of the other pieces of hackable hardware in the Supercon swag bag — go from off to battery-draining bright.

via Scott Shawcroft Is Programming Game Boys With CircuitPython — Hackaday