Luke Wren's Surface-Mount Pico DVI Sock Brings Video Output Capabilities to the Raspberry Pi Pico

Compact surface-mount add-on offers a fully-functional DVI video output without sacrificing breadboard compatibility.

Engineer Luke Wren has released design files for a handy Raspberry Pi Pico upgrade, giving the low-cost microcontroller a DVI video output with a minimal increase in footprint: the Pico DVI Sock.

"[I] called it a Sock because it's like a HAT [Hardware Attached on Top, a standard for add-ons which fit on the Raspberry Pi single-board computer family's 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header] but small and on the bottom," Wren explains of the board, which adds little more than the size of an HDMI socket to the end of the host Raspberry Pi Pico.

Launched late last month, the Raspberry Pi Pico marks the first microcontroller from a company better known for single-board computers. As such, it's the first device released which does not include any form of on-board video output — something Wren overcame in the development of the PicoStation 3D, which turns the RP2040 microcontroller at the heart of the Raspberry Pi Pico into a highly-capable games console.

The Pico DVI Sock, though, is considerably smaller. Designed to take advantage of the castellated pins on the Pico, the Sock attaches as a surface-mount device to the underside of the board — taking up 10 pins and providing an extension onto which an HDMI socket, used to carry a DVI video signal, is attached.

"The remaining Pico pins can still have headers inserted" Wren notes, "so that the board can be inserted into a breadboard."

KiCad files and Gerbers for the board have been published to Wren's GitHub repository under the permissive CC0-1.0 license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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