Konrad Beckmann's Raspberry Pi Pico


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Aug 21, 2023

Konrad Beckmann's Raspberry Pi Pico

Maker and vintage gaming enthusiast Konrad Beckmann has designed a device for

Maker and vintage gaming enthusiast Konrad Beckmann has designed a device for getting a high-quality video signal out of a Nintendo 64 and into your HDMI-capable monitor or TV — using a Raspberry Pi Pico.

"I built [an] N64 Digital HDMI converter with a Raspberry Pi Pico," Beckmann explains of his latest project. "[It's] still an early prototype, but it seems to work! There is lots of optimization that can be done — I literally just got it to work."

Released in 1996 and formerly known under the codename Project Reality, the Nintendo 64 was home to some classics of gaming — but by modern standards its audio-visual connectivity leaves a little to be desired. Using the cables provided with a stock console, the best you can get is a blurry composite signal — and while an upgraded cable provides S-Video support, there's no sign of a modern digital signal as you'd find with current-generation consoles.

Beckmann's accessory changes that. Tapping into the console's raw digital video signal, the Raspberry Pi Pico acts as a converter to output a DVI-D signal over an HDMI port — providing high-quality digital video compatible with modern display devices, without ever having to touch the analog domain.

"It uses 320×240@RGB565 internally and outputs a 640×480@60Hz signal," Beckmann explains, "but this shows that the Pico is capable of doing _at least_ this. This [prototype] uses wires and an external Pico [but] a proper kit might show up later, no details about that are known yet. Aiming for a good 'no cut' solution."

This isn't the first time Beckmann's used a Raspberry Pi Pico to expand a Nintendo 64. In June last year he unveiled the PicoCart64, a device targeting the home-brew gaming circuit which emulates a Nintendo 64 game cartridge using either a Raspberry Pi Pico or Solder Party's compact RP2040 Stamp.

More information on the project is available on Beckmann's Twitter thread, with source code — forked from Luke Wren's PicoDVI project — published to GitHub under the permissive BSD three-clause license.