RC2014 Raspberry Pi Pico VGA Terminal Self-Build

The RC2014 is a DIY Z80 based computer that talks to the outside world using serial comms. This means you need a serial interface to another computer in order to control it.

Recently I came across the Pi Pico VGA Terminal board that does away with all that faff. Now, I could buy it, but in the DIY self-build theme of the device I thought I’d have a go at making my own.

The schematics for the board are available, but some of the markings on it are a bit hard to read. Fortunately the design follows Raspberry Pi’s own example of doing bit-banged VGA on a Pi Pico, so it was easy to figure out what to do.

Although I don’t have the correct resistors, so things look a bit blue. Whatever, you could buy paper white CRTs and amber ones. Well now I’m going to have off-blue. Get that blue light in your eyes at night so you stay awake better while coding. Yes.

I’ve so far prototyped the circuit on a breadboard and nothing got hot or exploded, and I even got a video signal. The next step will be to put all of the components onto a piece of perfboard to make a “proper” expansion board to slot into the RC2014’s backplane.

A future project might be to make some kind of all-in-one case for the RC2014, a keyboard and one of those tiny 10 inch LCDs that are all over Amazon and eBay.