PiMod Zero for Raspberry Pi Zero SBC broadcasts video to your older NTSC TV (Crowdfunding)

Playing retro games or watching older movies on your Raspberry Pi Zero board over a modern digital video interface like HDMI clearly ruins the experience! 😉 While it should be possible to use to 2-pin reserved for video composite on the Raspberry Pi Zero to connect to an old TV, PiMod Zero HAT allows you to get back that retro feeling even with TVs lacking RCA composite and audio inputs by broadcasting video over VHF to older NTSC compatible televisions.

PiMod Zero Raspberry Pi Zero NTSC HAT

PiMod Zero specifications:

  • Operating frequency – VHF channels 2 and 3 (55.25 MHz and 61.25 MHz)
  • Broadcast format – NTSC
  • RF output power – 0.005 mW
  • Impedance – 75 Ω
  • Supply voltage – 5 V
  • Power draw – 100 mW
  • Dimensions – pHAT form factor

The expansion board supports both color and B&W video, as well as audio. There were already solutions to achieve the same results, but Isotope Engineering says existing Composite or HDMI RF modulators, and PiMod Zero is more compact, does not require an external power supply, and the design is open-source hardware with KiCad hardware design files available on Github.

You’ll have some assembly and soldering to do, as the PiMod Zero ships with hex standoffs and screws for mounting, a 2-pin header to solder to the composite pins of Raspberry Pi Zero, and a stick. You’ll also need to have a coaxial cable, and possibly a matching transformer if your old TV comes with two screw lugs instead of an F-type connector. I suppose it should be also possible to as using NTSC with ESP8266 using a simple antenna was demonstrated in the past, but this option is not discussed by the developer.

Pimod Zero has just launched on Crowd Supply with a $1 funding target. A $62 pledge is asked for the HAT and accessories. Shipping is free to the US, $15 to the rest of the world, and deliveries scheduled to start at the end of August.

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P.P.A.
P.P.A.
16 days ago

Component video out was recently added to LibreElec for Allwinner SoCs (mainly H3) running mainline kernel, and the patch is probably easily ported to Armbian and other distributions. Given how much more capable than the Rpi Zero even an Orange Pi Zero + HAT or an Orange Pi PC are, and how they cost at most a third of this little HAT…

dgp
dgp
16 days ago

That gives you composite right? You would still need an “rf modulator” like this to have something you can tune into.

P.P.A.
P.P.A.
16 days ago

Oh, my bad; I didn’t realise this was for even older TVs without even composite input.

dgp
dgp
16 days ago

Some people apparently liked getting headaches from using a computer on a cheapy hand me down TV. I still remember how amazing it was to go from using an Amiga with RF to going to a better TV with RGB over SCART.

P.P.A.
P.P.A.
16 days ago

I had similar experiences. Upgrading my SEGA Mega Drive from RF to RGB was wonderful—suddenly the colours were so vibrant and everything was so sharp.

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
16 days ago

SCART ≠ NTSC
Wrong end of the planet 😛

LOL recently found my mega drive but have no RGB SCART capable TV… Maybe have to try UHF ch 36?

William Barath
16 days ago

Yay! Now Millennials can get the full retro experience, along with the thrilling cancer risk from getting baked with ionizing radiation!!!!

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