Basic Engine is a New Low-Cost Open Source SBC For Your Video Game Console

By on August 10, 2018
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The BASIC Engine is a very low-cost single-board home computer with advanced 2D color graphics and sound capabilities, roughly comparable to late-1980s or early-1990s computers and video game consoles. It can be built at home without special skills or tools and using readily available components for under 10 Euros in parts, or mass-produced for even less.

The Basic Engine is a limited computer platform designed to be like a late-1980s game console or home computer, but with some useful modern benefits.

This firmware contains a basic operating system and BASIC interpreter (“Engine BASIC”) that allows the BASIC Engine to be used as a stand-alone computer programmable in the BASIC language. It provides easy access to the hardware’s capabilities as well as numerous other features. If you have never programmed a computer in BASIC or any other programming language, you may want to start with an Introduction to BASIC Programming.

Hardware features are listed below:

  • ESP12-E/F module with ESP8266 SoC and 4 MB flash memory
  • VS23S010 video controller with 128k VRAM and composite video output in PAL or NTSC
  • 5-bit PCM sound from I2S controller
  • MicroSD card slot
  • PS/2 and PS/2-compatible USB keyboard interface
  • PlayStation controller port
  • PCF8575 I/O extender with 16 GPIO pins
  • I2C and SPI busses on I/O expansion connector
  • power supplied via Micro-USB socket or pin header
  • RCA connectors for video and audio

Firmware, schematics and PCB layout are maintained on Github.

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