Alternative Screen and CPU Arrangements

I’d like to use the color screen in the micro arcades with an rp2040 but I’m a nub and can’t figure out how to make a prototype with that chip.


The RP2040 is a superpowered uC that eat a lot of power.

If you want to switch to a color display a good uC will be a STM32F103, cheap, native USB integrated, lots of memory ( both Flash and RAM ) and a power consumption pretty much comparable but more performance, and most important is that ST have a very very good support for them, you can integrate RTOS as well.


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ST are the ones that are out of stock for 2 years right?

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After a search, pretty much all uC’s are out of stock or very low on stock today, two months ago a STM32F103C8T6 was 2.5 USD on LCSC, selected to use it for a hardware wallet, we will never see those good prices again :sob:.

They will be in stock soon, maybe :unamused:.

Update: all uC’s that are not in stock today or will soon be out of stock they have a delivery time of 52 weeks…, no mater the manufacture company, so, nobody knows when they will be in stock, mouser that allow preorder have the uC’s at ~ 2x the normal price, today LCSC sell last pieces of STM32F103C8T6 at 10 to 18 USD/PCS depending of quantity :rofl: so, good times ahead.

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There are a dozen of boards that the SCH can be used as a reference :

You buy an evaluation board and build on top, when you are ready, draw the SCH and put it on a prototype production :yum:

The price of the uC is veeeeery atractive, BUT, the stock of the uC is 0 with a more decent waiting time of only 16 weeks :unamused:.

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while this isnt a new thread as far as i can tell ever competing form on the market ran into memory allotment problems. a arduboy with a 128 x 96 screen should have been done with fx but wasnt. if you look around gamebuino meta , lge and pokitto all have smaller than 160 x 120 screens. why? it gobbles up ram and microcontrollers dont consolidate ram into single slabs . that makes aloting ram to single large buffers a chore. a 2 bit screen at 128 x 96 is do able but they have to upgrade the hardware to support it

my arduboy advance does it with a esp32 sparkfun thing plus (no magical psram) i got the idea from a website that doesnt seem to exist anymore davidespace which he made a single game without a game engine that used sprites with masking and a buffer and a 16bit pallet using a adafruit hazah (also no psram). maybe his server got washed away in a flood idk but it went down within the last 2 weeks. he did lots of stuff it was a fun site

pic related is me porting catacombs of the damned to it since the author made a bunch of anchors and used fancy math. its lodes raycaster carried out to before applying textures basically

point is a better screen means more ram and more processing power to keep up with the pixels. i dont think there is a good cost effective atmel chip that can do the job

There’s a very good reason for why it wasn’t.

The FX chips became the next evolution of the Arduboy because they’re a change that can be applied retroactively to old Arduboy units, and half the objective of introducing the FX was to help shift the excess stock of already existing Arduboy units.

I.e. no new Arduboy units were created to fill FX unit orders, all the units sold as ‘FX’ Arduboys were in fact old Arduboys that had been upgraded with the FX chip.

Even if it were possible to retroactively replace the 128x64 screens with new 128x96 screens that were the exact same dimensions, that would mean all the old screens would potentially go to waste, and that would be a sizeable chunk out of any potential profits.

The FX upgrade on the other hand was an addition, not a replacement.

The Pokitto’s screen is actually 220x176.

There isn’t enough RAM to have a 220x176 buffer at anything more than 4 bits per pixel (i.e. 16 colour mode), but there are other graphics modes that can take advantage of the full resolution.

Ummm … not sure that’s the case. I have one of each here - one that was upgraded from an original Arduboy and one that was manufactured as an FX. The original has a mod which is really only visible if you take the back off. The new has a visible chip from the front.

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If that’s the case then I’ve been given the wrong impression somewhere along the line.

Perhaps @bateske can clarify what’s correct?

Here is a picture of a ‘bit modded’ FX … note the visible chip in the centre of the machine.

I’ve never seen something like this.

However, I know that every Arduboy can become a Arduboy FX by soldering up a small piece of PCB at the back
that add-on PCB is actually a award from Arduboy(Inc) for the “crazy popcorn time” on the DIY Arduboy Contest
However from the look of Arduboy – FX it seem like they indeed make new PCBs for it. Maybe there are enough orders to produce a batch of Arduboy FX PCBs, and maybe after the FX production had began (and ceased) there weren’t enough orders to roll another batch of FX PCB (which is why they are sold out)

It’s also because a program written for the original Arduboy will work on the FX, while a different screen size may need changes.

I chose “color screen” and now I totally regret it. Resolution is more important.

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That was supposed to say ‘not modded’ - fat fingers.

That’s a fair point too. Even if a 128x96 screen followed the exact same protocol, any game code would still need to be recompiled to account for the 32 extra rows of pixels.

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I think recompile is going to be needed for anything that is worth producing at this point. The 32u4 is too expensive.

Thinking a lot about the samd21, and going vertical screen.


Honestly would love to see it, samd21 seems like a great option for an Arduboy 2: Electric Boogaloo


A different screen format would be nice for creativity – having enough resolution to support easily porting 128x64 games, but allowing taller programs would be neat, and the vertical orientation tends towards some neat arcade tropes.

SAMD is reasonable, but I’m not sure a vertical screen is a good idea.
It’s fine for Tetris and maybe 1942/1943, but it’s probably going to be awkward for a lot of other things. Especially platformers.
RPGs could possibly manage by using the vertical space for a HUD.


I’ve got to agree, and it would be awkward to play recompiled arduboy games. Maybe a better option would be to go for a screen with double the resolution of the arduboy? from what I’ve seen, SAMD21 is pretty good with screens that have a larger framebuffer, and if it was a multiple of the 128x64 resolution, recompile would be pretty easy to port 32u4 arduboy games over to the new system in a way that’s not too unfamiliar (as with the vertical screens)

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Did someone mention 1943?


It’s $4.93 on digikey.

Samd21 is a lot more powerful. ARM32 too.
If you want the highest spec (ATSAMD21J18A, 256KB PROGMEM, 32K “data memory”, 64 pin), it will cost you …
$4.28. Or $3.97. Around $4.1.
If you want comparable spec (ATSAMD21G15A, 32KB PROGMEM, 4K “data memory”, 48 pin), it will cost you …
I can’t get a listing.
But if you go with ATSAMD21G15B, it will only cost you $2.1.
It’s unknown why the 15A is unavailable. The stats are identical.

You know, I’ll be in the SAMD21 boat. But I’ll be asking questions about bootloader (unless we are using the ATSAMD21G18, which is on the Arduino Zero).
And also, remember that those chips typically don’t have EEPROM. And also, we need to toss in a 3v3 converter (which, indirectly means that we will have no way of knowing the current battery voltage via software)

But it have massive storage and massive ram.

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