Simple VGA interface for tiny FPGA boards


[devb] has been playing around with XESS FPGA boards for ages, and as long as he can remember, they have had built-in VGA interfaces. His newest acquisition, a XuLA FPGA board, doesn’t have any external parts or ports aside from a USB connector. He needed to get video output from the board, so he decided to build a VGA interface himself.

He prototyped a 512-color VGA interface board which worked just fine, but he thought it would be way too cumbersome to use for each and every project. To keep life simple, he designed a small PCB that integrates a VGA connector and all of the resistors he needed to get the signal from the FPGA. His boards plug directly into a breadboard, so only a handful of wires is needed to connect the FPGA to a monitor.

As you can see on his site, the adapter works quite well, allowing the FPGA to put out a crisp 800×600 image with little fuss. [devb] has also posted all of his design files on his site in Eagle format for anyone interested in replicating his work.


  1. THeOReos says:

    why do all those build ups on breadbords look so nice here. mine are more like 5 diffrent cable colours and totally cluttered! :D

  2. DanJ says:

    LOL! Me too THeOReos.

    Now just to come up with a cool idea that needs a FPGA. These boards look pretty neat.

  3. hpux735 says:

    That does look really cool. $70 is pretty steep though…

  4. Fili says:

    It’s always better to have 5 different colors for the wires. It’s easier to track them down.

  5. DanJ says:

    Perhaps it’s all relative but $70 for a 200k gate FPGA and 8 MBytes SDRAM (plus supporting circuitry) doesn’t seem too pricey to me. You could probably fit a few soft arduinos in there. He has a cheaper version for $40.

  6. nah! says:

    It looks good because its a “beauty wire” for showing off

  7. makomk says:

    Wait… rather than just buying a VGA connector, he sawed off the end of a $200 high-end FPGA board that had one on?! Wow.

  8. Squonk says:

    Even the wires match the VGA connector color!

    Compared to it, my protos really look like a kind of “Technicolor-Spaghetti-Mess”…

  9. Chuckt says:

    Nice project. Just a couple of questions.

    Where is the zip file for the project? I looked and I don’t see it.

    The message board for the other project won’t let me post because the editor doesn’t open up on my screen.

    What is VGA connector part and where can I order it?

  10. electrocoder says:

    beatiful. thank you.

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