chipKIT® Development Platform

Inspired by Arduino™

Announcing: Project Gamma. The most powerful TFT screen around.

Posted 2019-07-10 05:16:13 by Majenko


Yes, that's right. A powerful TFT screen. A 3.5" TFT screen with a PIC32MZ on it.

That's quite a combination, it has to be said.  200MHz of raw power plus a 320x480 TFT screen.

And that's not all. There's also a 16-bit stereo DAC for rich audio!

And an SD card slot.

And two USB interfaces.

And... and... and...

The list goes on.  It has to be said, this is quite an impressive bit of kit. If you are looking to build a user interface that is second to none then this is the development board for you.

Here's a quick list of everything it has:

  • 200MHz PIC32MX2048EFG100 Microcontroller
  • 512kB RAM
  • 2MB Flash
  • 320x480 3.5" TFT Screen
  • Resistive Touch Panel
  • 16-bit Stereo DAC at up to 192kHz sample rate
  • 1.29W Class D Power Amplifier
  • Micro SD Card Slot
  • Native USB Interface
  • Combined UART and Programming USB Interface
  • Arduino Uno compatible shield headers
  • 3A High-Efficiency Power Supplies

And it all comes wrapped in a 3D printed mounting bracket to keep it all safe and make it really easy to build into a project.

To give you an idea of how all that fits together here's a little video tour:

The PIC32MZ chip really shines when connected with this size of display. It has enough memory built in to hold an entire "framebuffer" copy of the display data. That means you can rapidly manipulate what is being shown on the screen in the background without affecting the display itself - and then display the results in one operation, making for really smooth, flicker free display updates.

And getting that information to the screen itself is fast as well. The screen is connected to the PIC32MZ's External Bus Interface. So the screen appears as a simple pair of memory addresses to the CPU making for really really fast and simple access. DMA can rapidly copy the display data to the screen in the background leaving the CPU free to pursue other goals. 

For example, here is a 3D spinning cube with lighting, all rendered realtime on the PIC32MZ.

Impressive, yes?

When it comes to the audio the PIC32MZ is powerful enough to even decode MP3 files on the fly from the SD card. The 1.29W built in amplifier is perfectly adequate for driving some small embedded speakers within your project, but the combined headphone and line out jack (3.5mm) is perfect for connecting to a more powerful amplifier should the need arise.

So if you'd like to get your teeth into one of these brilliant boards head over to Majenko Technologies and grab one.