Driving a PSP screen with an FPGA

Here’s [FlorianH's] setup for driving a PlayStation Portable screen with an FPGA. He’s using the DE0-Nano board to do this, and the first order of business was to establish a way to connect the two. He did a great job of etching his own breakout board, which has some traces that are less than 10 mils thick. Soldering the connectors for the screen was a bit of a challenge, and he shared several pictures of the process for your enjoyment.

With everything hooked up he fired it up with just a couple of lines of code to draw a test pattern. From there it was on to building a more intensive driver. [FlorianH] mentioned to us that he’s just starting to learn about FPGAs after having worked extensively with 8-bit microcontrollers. He’s been documenting his work on his site, and finds himself frequently referencing his own material so remember how he did things. Our vicarious enjoyment is an unintended (but welcomed) consequence of that habit.

Up your FPGA game by learning from this LCD control prototype

[Cesar] recently got a PSP display up and running with his FPGA development board. That’s a nice project, but what we really like is that he set aside a lot of time to show how it’s done every step of the way. This isn’t just a tutorial on that particular screen, but an overview of the skill set needed to get any piece of hardware working.

The screen itself is a Sharp LQ043T3DX02; a 480×272 TFT display with 16 million colors. Not bad for your project but when you start looking into the control scheme this isn’t going to be like using a Nokia screen with an Arduino. It takes twenty pins to control it; Red, green, and blue take sixteen pins, four pins are used for control, the rest are CK, DISP, Hsync, Vsync.

Wisely, [Cesar] designs his own interface board which includes the connector for the ribbon cable. It also has drivers for the screen’s backlight and supplies power to the device. With hardware setup complete he digs into the datasheets. We just love it that he details how to get the information you’re looking for out of this document, and shows his method of turning that first into a flow chart and then into code for the FPGA.

Reverse engineering the PSP

The original PSP may be old news but there is an interesting relic of a website (translated) dedicated to the reverse engineering of a PSP (and exploring Saturn?). To determine the true capabilities of the PSP they desoldered most of the ball grid array chips and then hand soldered 157 jumper wires to allow for direct memory access. In later pictures it shows the PSP hooked up to external hardware for on the fly memory modification. Unfortunately the details are sparse and it doesn’t appear as if they will be updated anytime soon because the website has been “deleted and freezed because of spam. may ineffaceable curse prevail on the spammers.” Still this doesn’t detract too much some very impressive soldering.

PSP homebrew using the Half-Byte Loader

[Rich] tipped us off about the Half-Byte Loader which lets you run homebrew on late-model Sony PlayStation Portables. Above you can see a PSP Go running Doom (a screenshot from the video after the break), which is a prerequisite for any cracked device. HBL uses an exploit in the game demo of Patapon 2, which is free for download. A crafted game save loaded onto a Memory Stick gets you to the loader when selected from the continue menu of the game. Right now this method works on all know firmware version 5.0 and higher. Who knows when Sony will take action to kill an exploit like this one.

[Read more...]

Playstation 2 controller to PSP adapter

[TokyoDrift] built an adapter that allows you to connect a PlayStation 2 controller to a PlayStation Portable. It’s a bit different from similar hacks as this adapter doesn’t require any hardware alteration to the PSP or the controller. To do so, a plug-in is used on the PSP firmware side of things. The adapter then makes use of video out and PS2 controller extension cables, along with an ATmega8 microcontroller to handle the signals between the two devices. We posted a picture of the guts because we like that king of thing but the finished project is nicely housed inside of a project box. See for yourself in the video after the break.

If you liked this hack, check out [TokyoDrift's] method of using a mouse with a PSP. [Read more...]

A VU meter for your PSP

[Christian Doran] wanted some blinky goodness to go along with the tunes on his PSP. He built a VU meter circuit around a couple of LM324 op-amp chips and fit it into the UMD space on the back of the PSP. Using surface mount LEDs and some fine wire he lined up a string of indicator lights round the circle on the clear UMD cover. As you can see in the video after the break, the back of the case now pulses along with the music.

[Christian] notes that building the VU circuit around an LM3915 would have been much easier but he’s working with what he has on hand. Looks like he achieve the effect he was after. If you want to learn a bit more about how the op-amps work, take a look at the tutorial from our links post.

[Read more...]

FPGA driver for PSP screen

Friends are constantly giving us their old electronics. We love it because our junk box is a never-ending pile of possibilities. We’re really starting to amass a collection of LCD screens that are not easily interfaced and this project gives us some hope for the future. [Philip] has been posting about using an FPGA as a driver for a replacement PSP LCD screen.

Many projects source cell phone LCD screens that have their own driver chip that can be addressed over SPI for use with a simple microcontroller. More complicated screens need a more involved control scheme and this is where the Field Programmable Gate Array takes over. [Philip] lays out the steps he’s using to implement his controller, from setting up the correct voltage levels, to planning for coordinate addressing, and even some of his follies with reverse current. We think this would be a great way to introduce yourself to FPGA projects.

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