Video Experimenter Shield

People always want to do more with less and the Video Experimenter Shield is no exception. Consisting of an LM1881 video sync separator, a handful of passive components, and a stylish PCB in the standard Arduino shield footprint.

The board features simple but useful controls and features, a removable jumper allows you to select a sync source, either from incoming video or the Arduino, a potentiometer to adjust the analog threshold, and there is a convenient signal breakout header.

Software is an enhanced version of the popular TV out library and allows you to start off with video graphics overlay, closed caption decoding, a simple gun game, and basic, but still effective frame capture, and computer vision. Of course, there are all sorts of other fun and amusing experiments that start to pop in mind once you check out a quick demo video after the break.



Comments

  1. OOOH I want one! Can the overlay by any color other than white?

  2. Nigel says:

    I wonder if this is NTSC only, or if it supports PAL as well ?

  3. Nigel says:

    Looks like the chip can support NTSC, PAL or SECAM :)

    http://www.national.com/mpf/LM/LM1881.html#Overview

  4. nootropic says:

    some answers:
    – output is white pixels only. The Arduino is bit-banging the composite signal out, so it’s limited.
    – yes, PAL and SECAM are supported. I tested PAL with a CMOS camera I have that can output PAL.

  5. fartface says:

    Ahh cool, I can add info to the video stream of my drone now… Thank you comrades!

  6. skinner says:

    Decent price too. Might pick one up.

  7. OiD says:

    Very elegant. Looks like a great way to try computer vision.

  8. shazzner says:

    Excellent, picked one up. Can anyone recommend a small ntsc video camera? Basically this but in-stock: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8739

  9. Amos says:

    See? There’s still a reason to keep NTSC backward compatibility in modern TVs. ;)

    I’m thinking an actual light-gun would be something cool to try with this (if only I had an Arduino to plug it into…)

    @Kevin: A sentence fragment in the first paragraph. In fact, the whole article needs a good seeing to.

  10. lurker says:

    GAH!!! The LM1881 is an obsolete piece of shit and should NOT have been used for this project!!!

    …The LM1881 is capable of separating sync signals from CSYNC signals – However, that is ALL that it should be used for. My fear is that someone will buy this in the hopes of separating SOG – in which case, they’ll get HSYNC and VSYNC+G – A much better choice would have been the EL1883, which, IIRC, is both pin and electrically compatible and will provide stripped sync signals.

    …I say this out of experience – A few years ago, I was working on a cheap alternative to the VDIGI – I wanted ONE box that would allow me to connect my xbox, ps2, and any other YPbPr output to a flatscreen monitor – In essence, allowing me to use ONE monitor for my TV, as a gaming screen, and as an auxiliary monitor – I came up with two results;

    1 – The LM1881, although VERY cheap and easily obtainable, is stupidly obsolete – it will ONLY properly handle the csync signal from S/Composite video – It is absolutely useless for anything else unless you get lucky.

    2 – The EL1883, from Intersil (yes, you can get a sample) is everything the LM1881 wants to be. It is designed to give PURE and SEPARATE sync signals – You’ll need this if your display can’t filter out the extra noise on the VSYNC line.

    …And for the kicker, a tandem effort between the EL1883 and LMH1251 is theoretically capable, withe the help of a fistful of switches, of transforming virtually ANY video signal into something acceptable by ANY modern display – I was never able to test my design (not about to buy a new laser printer and similar devices are already patented), but if you’re seriously intested in video conversion you should check out both chips…

  11. skot says:

    Wow, that’s a pretty reasonable price! I remember seeing some cool projects for a while back where people would mute the volume on the TV if they detected certain annoying news topics..

  12. arthur says:

    Could this be used with an ethernet shield to make a cheap-ass version of the ybox? (http://www.ladyada.net/make/ybox2/)

  13. Johannes says:

    @lurker i have used the LM1881 with my xbox to get VGA output via SoG and it works great. Are you sure you used the correct firmware + changed the xbox type to NTSC?

    I was just wondering if this overlay is possible with VGA somehow. If anyone knows how this is possible please write :)

  14. ben says:

    So does this just work like a video-dac?

    How does the board create the vsync/hsync timing based on the input (ttl voltages?) from the arduino?

  15. firebelcher says:

    @fartface – For a person who complains about Arduino every time a post happens.. you sure were fast wanting to pick up one for your Arduino. Are you a closet Arduino lover?

    On a side note, this looks sweet.. another great shield from the hackvision creators.

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