Tuesday, December 5, 2023

7" LCD (ESP32) with C64 Text Emulator


7" is giant compared to this much smaller screen

So this ESP32-8048S070 showed up from AliExpress today.  It is a 7" IPS with touchscreen with ESP32-S3-WROOM-1 module, 16MB flash, 8MB PSRAM, microSD card, USB-C serial (CH3400 serial), Speaker connector, and other IO connectors.   The large LCD is 800x480 resolution.

The ordering page had a ZIP download of the examples, so I made sure I could build their Arduino Hello World TFT sample (I downgraded to Arduino_GFX library 1.3.1), and then ported my c-simple-emu6502-cbm project including upscaling from one to four pixels to cover the screen with C64 goodness.  Without upscaling, the C64 was using less than a quarter of the screen.   I skipped the SD support, and went straight to creating a FATFS partition and uploading a D64 image.  Saves me from pulling an SD, but moving files up and down will be a bit more cumbersome.  Included in the project already was custom wireless BLE keyboard support, so I was typing away and running my programs right away.

The largest IPS I had on hand was 3.5" 480x320, so this is a definite upgrade.  

The only downsides to this board that I can tell are the lack of an enclosure (ships in a nice plastic storage box though - I hear there is a 3D printable one on github somewhere though), and the lack of direct connection to the native ESP32-S3 USB port.  Then again, a permanent serial connection is more convenient for flashing Arduino sketches otherwise you have to keep selecting the COM port on other solutions.

Even though I've worked with it only a few hours, I highly recommend this board!

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