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New $14 esp32 VGA/mouse/keyboard/VT100 computer capable of running micropython
58 points by andrewstuart on May 17, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments
The machine has 8MB PSRAM so it can run micropython: https://docs.micropython.org/en/latest/esp32/tutorial/intro.html

Videos of it in action:

Network terminal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5c27-y5tm4&t=154s

Collision detection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3OPSq4HhDE

Double buffering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRQcIiWQCJw

Space Invaders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL8J7tjxeXA

Video modes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urp0rPukjzE&t=7s

Github repo: https://github.com/fdivitto/FabGL

Link to buy the machine: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/TTGO-VGA32-V1-1-Controller-PS-2-Mouse-And-Keyboard-Controller-Graphics-Library-Game-Engine-And/33014937190.html

Specs of the esp32 from wikipedia:

CPU: Xtensa dual-core (or single-core) 32-bit LX6 microprocessor, operating at 160 or 240 MHz and performing at up to 600 DMIPS

Ultra low power (ULP) co-processor

Memory: 520 KiB SRAM

Wireless connectivity:

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth: v4.2 BR/EDR and BLE

Peripheral interfaces:

12-bit SAR ADC up to 18 channels

2 × 8-bit DACs

10 × touch sensors (capacitive sensing GPIOs)

4 × SPI

2 × I²S interfaces

2 × I²C interfaces

3 × UART

SD/SDIO/CE-ATA/MMC/eMMC host controller

SDIO/SPI slave controller

Ethernet MAC interface with dedicated DMA and IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol support

CAN bus 2.0

Infrared remote controller (TX/RX, up to 8 channels)

Motor PWM

LED PWM (up to 16 channels)

Hall effect sensor

Ultra low power analog pre-amplifier


IEEE 802.11 standard security features all supported, including WFA, WPA/WPA2 and WAPI

Secure boot

Flash encryption 1024-bit OTP, up to 768-bit for customers

Cryptographic hardware acceleration: AES, SHA-2, RSA, elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), random number generator (RNG)

Power management:

Internal low-dropout regulator

Individual power domain for RTC

5μA deep sleep current

Wake up from GPIO interrupt, timer, ADC measurements, capacitive touch sensor interrupt

Aren't OrangePi Zero devboards more bang for the buck?

Edit: why are you downvoting a honest question?

Totally different use-case.

Of course, while 8MB of PSRAM is really nice, it's not necessary for MicroPython which can operate without any PSRAM - the onboard 520KB RAM on the ESP32 is fine.

Why wouldn't you save a few bucks and get a full ARM board that can run mainline Linux? https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32603308880.html

Get both and have fun!

It's a fun hobbyist computer, not a technical shootout.

There's a community of esp32 users who like making small devices do cool things.

Where's the community? Interested to see what they're building.

Search YouTube for esp32 - many videos and makers working with it.


Search Twitter for esp32


There's lots going on.

> It's a fun hobbyist computer, not a technical shootout.

It is obviously a technical shootout. Time and money are a finite commodity and having to spend more on a less capable device that takes more work to get up and running is not a good way to invest our resources.

No, having fun is not about on-paper specs. These are entirely different classes of devices, and one isn't totally better than the other - e.g. the ESP32s are a lot more low-level accessible than a complicated ARM SoC. Want to run Linux: sure, get a <something>PI. Want to build something on bare-metal, maybe pick something more accessible on that level.

> No, having fun is not about on-paper specs.

Actually, it is. Specs dictate the potential uses of a device, and a more expensive but less capable option simply means users have to pay more to be able to achieve less.

In this case one option appears to be outclassed im every criteria. If these technical aspects weren't relevant then the specs wouldn't have been presented as the device's selling point.

And I'm saying the higher-class devices make it harder to achieve some things, so if those are interesting to you you are not paying more to be able to achieve less. They're good at different things (same reason someone would buy an Orange Pi instead of coding on their Laptop they already have for free, despite that having "better specs", but being unable to do or being bad at some things an SBC can do)

Because, no VGA, no PS/2, and too much RAM?

The VGA and PS/2 are bitbanged in software so it'd work just as well

VGA and especially PS/2 are getting rarer by the day, if anything having extra ram can be handy for fully utilizing all the I/O a board has to offer...

I don’t see vga leaving server hardware anytime soon.

VGA seems to be leaving monitors en masse

Desktop monitors, sure. Rack mount KVMs, not so much.

Nonetheless you have a point, I think, but I hope it’s considered. HDMI would be awful for something like this. It’s liable to fall off in use where vga can be screwed down. Displayport seems like overkill. Etc.

maybe power efficiency, and for the pure challenge of building something awesome with a minimum amount of resources? :D

This is perfect, there is little fun in having to deal with HDMI and, especially, USB. Impressive, too!

Perfect! Now what about 3G/LTE?

Who cares about 3G, the real question is... can it run Doom?

Of course it runs Doom.[1] I don't think there are any esp32 boards that come with support for cellular networks, but there are esp32 boards that come with support for LoRa, which does low power, long range (miles), slow speed radio communication.

[1] https://youtube.com/results?search_query=doom+esp32

> Doom

Did you mean Crysis?

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