Arduino SoftwareSerial and MicroVGA-TEXT


we've got some e-mails from Arduino users who bought our (basically module with VGA+TV output and PS/2 keyboard input, communicating with host board using UART).

People are using SoftwareSerial library which works up to 9600, which is ... terribly slow for creating a real user interface (you can see how the screen is redrawing). This means that people cannot use all power of this board.

Unfortunately UART is hardwired to the FTDI, which makes impossible to use it for anything else. Our board has capability of secondary uart, which means you can connect it:

Arduino-> MicroVGA -> FTDI

and then using CS# pin select which one is active.

If it makes sense to Arduino developers, I would recommend adding two hacks,

  1. first in Firmata library, adding some pin which would identify that you want to talk to the FTDI (or RS-232)

  2. second would be hardware hack, to provide two jumpers that would be normally connected (or not even assembled, but short-circuited with possibility break the circuit to add them later) - so as you can connect the MicroVGA-TEXT directly to the ATmega and secondary UART to the FTDI on Arduino. In connection with hack 1) this allows to use both devices (I am not sure how you deal with flow control).

Have a look at some images: Micro VGA Images and GNU licensed conio-style library at MicroVGA conio Text User Interface Library . A small application using coio&microvga with few menus, dialogs, etc occupies only few kB of code. I think this could be useful for people hacking arduino.

Furthermore, there is a plenty of other devices that require high speed serial communication and could be possibly used with Arduino.

Please think about this.

They already did, it's called the ArduinoBoardMega which has 4 hardware UARTs.

We're aware of Arduino-mega, however my feeling is that none of people who contacted us have it (they had Seeduino or Duemilanove).

Adding feature that would allow hand-assembly of "uart-bypass" to Duemilanove/etc does not cost anything, so please consider it with next release.