Olimex Makes It Easier to Get Old and Retro Systems Talking to Modern Displays with the VGA2HDMI

Configuration-free, this open hardware board takes a VGA input and spits out a digital signal compatible with HDMI monitors and TVs.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoRetro Tech / Displays / HW101

Bulgarian open hardware specialist Olimex has announced a display adapter designed to get older VGA-based devices talking nicely to modern HDMI monitors and TVs — and, as is always the case, it's being made available to buy as a pre-assembled board and released under an open license.

"VGA2HDMI is small open source hardware board with VGA input and HDMI output," Olimex founder Tsvetan Usunov explains of his latest hardware design. "So if you have [an] AgonLight2, AgonOrigins or CERBERUS 2100 and want to use them with your home TV or modern monitors now you can do this with VGA2HDMI, all three are tested and works."

The devices name-dropped by Usunov in support of the new accessory are all retro-themed single-board microcomputers based on designs by Bernardo Kastrup, the latter of which boasts an unusual design that puts a MOS Technology 6502 and a Zilog Z80 — for much of the 1980s the subjects of many a playground fight over whose home computer was better — on a single board, along with an AVR microcontroller and multiple complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs.)

All three devices offer a video output, but using an analog VGA signal — something many modern displays have ditched in favor of a combination of HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity. The VGA2HDMI, as its name implies, takes the analog VGA signal in at one end and spits out an uncertified-but-compatible HDMI signal at the other via a ChipsVi CV8986 chip. A USB Type-C connector provides power, and everything configures itself automatically — including adapting to different input resolutions beyond plain VGA.

The board, which should be compatible with any device with a VGA output and any display with an HDMI input, is available to order on the Olimex store now at €15 or €17 (around $16 and $18.50 respectively) with an optional plastic case; design files and schematics have been published to GitHub under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles