Today’s hack is something that I’ve been planning to try out for a while: Using the Raspberry Pi as a (relatively inexpensive) “HDMI shield” for the Arduino microcontroller. While the Pi can easily do most things that the Arduino can and usually much more, one might have an otherwise complete project (for example, something related to home theater automation) that would benefit from HDMI output.
Arduino display shields are not the least expensive, so why not use a RaspPi instead? There have been hacks for using RaspPi as network shield, too, and this project is very much like it (actually, you could change the Pi-side code just a bit and have some network-related commands available for your Arduino in no time).
The basic hardware premise for this hack is very straightforward – wire the Pi and Arduino together using the serial interface available on both. Because Pi is 3.3V and Arduino 5V, a level converter is needed – I used one from Adafruit this time, as it’s dead simple to use and doesn’t pose the dangers of overloading Pi like my simple resistor option does (you might, however, check that link out as it contains the pinouts for RaspPi serial pins in the GPIO header).
4-channel I2C-safe Bi-directional Logic Level Converter – BSS138: Because the Arduino (and Basic Stamp) are 5V devices, and most modern sensors, displays, flash cards and modes are 3.3V-only, many makers find that they need to perform level shifting/conversion to protect the 3.3V device from 5V. We do have some other handy level shifters in the shop, from the DIP 74LVC245 to the fancy bi-directional TXB0108. However, neither of these are happy to work with I2C, which uses a funky pull-up system to transfer data back and forth. This level shifter board combines the ease-of-use of the bi-directional TXB0108 with an I2C-compatible FET design following NXP’s app note. (read more)
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