PICASO VGA/SVGA Graphics Controller

Replacement: None. There is not currently a replacement for this product. We are waiting on a new revision from 4D Systems. This page is for reference only.

The uVGA-PICASO-MD1 is a compact & cost effective drop in embedded graphics engine that will deliver stand-alone functionality to your project. The simple to use embedded commands not only control background color but can produce text in a variety of sizes as well as draw shapes in 256 colors while freeing up the host processor from processor hungry screen control functions. This means a simple micro-controller with a standard serial interface can drive the module with ease.


  • Intelligent and fully integrated VGA/SVGA Display Graphics Controller
  • Tiny 28 pin module, powered by the 4D LABS PICASO chip - a powerful DSP/Controller based multi purpose graphics engine
  • Low Power design: 3.0-3.6V supply @90mA
  • 256 colors with standard resolution modes for QVGA (320x240), VGA (640x480) and SVGA
  • The uVGA-PICASO-MD1 supports multiple resolutions within the same module. Resolutions are selectable during run time under host control. Resizeable viewing window allows partial/full screen control.
  • The digital video signals facilitate using a simple Resistor-DAC to drive any standard VGA monitor
  • 512K bytes of onboard SRAM for video memory allows 8 pages for QVGA, 2 pages for VGA and 1 page for SVGA resolutions
  • RX and TX signals (TTL levels) provide a simple serial host interface. The serial interface allow the μVGA-PICASO-MD1 graphics module to be connected to any host controller such as a PIC, AVR, STAMP, ARM, Propeller as well as a PC. The host controls the module by sending simple serial commands.
  • Auto baud rate detection from 2400 baud to 1Mbit/sec.
  • Powerful, easy to use and understand built in graphics functions allow drawing of lines, rectangles, circles, ellipses, text, images, icons, user defined bitmaps and much more
  • SPI signals (SDI, SDO, SCK) allow the module to be connected to a number of SD and MMC memory cards (from 64Mb up to 2Gb) that can store images, icons, and other graphics objects.
  • Future upgrades and enhancements are easily achieved by uploading PmmC (Personality module micro Code) files. PmmC files allow the PICASO chip to be uploaded with the latest micro-Code firmware.
  • System designers can incorporate the uVGA-PICASO-MD1 module directly into their application, saving space and cost. Reference designs enable the user to create a platform to incorporate the uVGA-PICASO easily.

Documents and Software: * uVGA-PICASO-MD1


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Rob27 / about 14 years ago / 1

    I bought one a few months ago, and it works fine at 115200 baud.
    I made all my own commands to control it. As long as you wait for status responses it works great.
    I tried briefly to get a higher resolution than 320x240, but gave up and didnt try later after I had all the other commeads working.
    I recently bought another for another project, and will buy a few more soon.

  • Is there anywhere, anywhere at all where you can get a $20 or less graphics controller. I need 10 of them for my project and this price is outrageous! No offence to SFE.

  • JohnB / about 14 years ago / 1

    I wish I'd looked at these comments before purchasing.
    I've tried and failed to get this to work.
    I'll go and look for something else.

  • vs / about 14 years ago / 1

    Don't waste your money on this product. It does not work reliably and tech support is non-existent. You are better off to buy a propeller (www.parallax.com) and program it to a serial RS232 to VGA converter.

  • vs / about 14 years ago / 1

    I have one of these and have not managed to make it work properly. Flaky response to commands. Has anybody got it to work properly ? Would be curious to hear other experiences. Are there any alternatives ? I need to display text on a VGA monitor from a PLC controller (RS232 9600baud 8N1).

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