Gameduino 3X Dazzler

by Excamera Labs

An Arduino shield with a GPU, FPGA, HDMI, and Python support for gaming and audiovisuals

View all updates Sep 24, 2020

Conversation with my dog

by James B

Dog: Hey how’s it going?

Me: Fine, getting the Dazzler ready. It’s looking pretty good.

Dog: That’s the HDMI output thing, right?

Me: Yes, it seems to be working fine. I took a public Verilog HDMI encoder, loaded it on the FPGA, and my monitors all sync to it.

Dog: So you make sure it’s legal HDMI by trying it with a selection of monitors and TVs?

Me: Yes, that’s what I did for the Gameduino 1’s VGA output, back in 2011.

Dog: How did that work out?

Me: Quite well. Some people had sync trouble, but that’s to be expected. I can’t very well try it with every single monitor in the world. That was the idea when I worked at Microsoft - they had this huge compatibility barn that had everyth—

Dog: So you’ll know there’s a problem with your HDMI if customers start reporting trouble?

Me: Yes. That’s the idea.

Dog: [sniffs]

Me: You think that’s rather cynical. But with HDMI all I can do is output it and see if the receiver accepts it.

Dog: You’re powerless to do better. That’s unfortunate. What kind of arrangements would a powerful person make instead?

Me: Well… they would capture the HDMI output in the simulator, then play it back into a "mock television" — just a software model that can decode the HDMI protocol. Hacking it up in Python shouldn’t take more than a few hours. That would be a way of confirming it.

Dog: That would certainly confirm that the design matches your understanding of HDMI.

Me: Oh I see what you’re saying. What if I’ve misunderstood something? Well, I could confirm the mock TV against other HDMI implementations. That would anchor it in reality.

Dog: Sounds good. Having a strong regression test suite is the first line of defense. If only there were some Oracle that you could ask if your signal is legal HDMI.

Me: There is! Those official HDMI compliance testing boxes that Agilent has been selling for tens of thousands of dollars.

Dog: Yes, since 2009.

Me: You are hinting that old ones might be available. [Checks eBay] Oh, they’re not very expensive at all, and I can always re-sell it after I’m done. OK!

Dog: You’re welcome.

About the Author

James B

 Pescadero, CA

$22,064 raised

of $10,000 goal

220% Funded! Order Below

Product Choices


Dazzler Arduino Shield

A single Dazzler, ready to work with your Arduino or Arduino-like.


Dazzler Python Game Pack

A Dazzler Arduino Shield, an Adafruit Metro M4, a 16 GB microSD card, and two Wii Classic-compatible controllers.


Dazzler Core Pack

Three Dazzler Core modules, and a 0.1" adapter board for easier prototyping.


Excamera Labs

I'm dedicated to building useful hardware and software, particularly where embedded systems meet graphics and imaging. Probably my best known public projects are the Gameduino series of game accessory boards, and the J1 CPU. I have benefited immensely from Open Source hardware and software, so I try to open source as much as I can.

James Bowman

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