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 Post subject: My Analog A/V Setup - 240p Goodness
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:22 am 



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 239
(This first post is all new as of 2/19/13. The original first and second post have been bumped down one spot.)

Image

Here is my home theater and gaming setup as it stands right now. I finally have everything connected and easily switchable, without ever having to move around or even see any wires.

I mostly play anything up to Gamecube on the Sony Trinitron KV-27FS120 CRT TV in the center. Every single console outputs RGB video over custom cables. This runs through my custom switching setup and through an RGB to component transcoder to get the best possible video quality. This is about as good as it gets for real 240p, and higher-res stuff looks decent in 480i.

For the PS3, I can change between RGB and HDMI output in the video settings menu. I can set the LG 32LD450 that's sitting up above on that little table in front of the CRT for modern 720p/480p stuff; you can see the power cable and HDMI cable sitting to the left and right of the CRT, ready to be plugged in. The box above the PS3 is a home theater PC, for movies and music and games and such, which also outputs HDMI in 1080p. I have a larger LG LED TV that I use sometimes, but it's only for movies, as it has some input lag (the 32" is only about one frame). What would really be nice would be one large low-lag flat screen on a sliding mount, so that it could slide up to reveal the CRT behind it.

Image

Here is a close-up of the "business end" of the setup. All of the consoles run through the bank of three chained switch boxes on the top left. This provides switching for up to ten consoles. Simply turn the knobs to the positions indicated on the labels, and you have picture and sound from the console selected. As you can see, there are two slots still available, in case I get around to buying a Wii or Japanese 360, or I pull my Saturn or XBox or N64 out of the closet.

Each console has separate individual adjustments on the front of the switchboxes for red, green, and blue color levels. There are adjustment pots inside the three holes to the right of every knob position, which can be adjusted with a "tweaker" (small flat head screwdriver). The switchbox at the end of the chain also has a sync separator circuit. Basically you can feed the switchboxes any kind of RGB (RGBs, RGB with composite as sync, RGBHV, etc.) and it will output RGBHV (also known as VGA). You can also feed in composite, s-video, or component, and it will pass it through a seperate output. (EDIT: This kind of flexibility can be useful when connecting so many different systems with different requirements, but now that I have every single one of my consoles set up for RGB these other outputs aren't used anymore). See the next post for details on the switch box and the cables used.

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The RGBHV coming out of the 3 switchboxes then runs through other switchbox to the right. This allows you to select whether to pass the signal through the Extron Super Emotia on the bottom left, or bypass it. There are certain games which are meant to run in 240p, but are only available out of a console in 480i or 480p, such as Third Strike Online, Mega Man 9/10, certain shmups on 360, and Game Boy games played with the Gamecube Game Boy Player. An Emotia allows these games to be forced back into 240p (without ANY input lag too) to regain real scanlines and that "classic" look. The Super Emotia includes horizontal size and position and vertical position controls, and this switchbox adds red, green, and blue color level adjustment for it as well.

More info on Extron Emotia's here:

http://scanlines.hazard-city.de/

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After coming out of that switchbox, the RGBHV signal then runs through the Crescendo Systems TC1600 RGB to component transcoder in the center. The CRT I'm using doesn't accept RGB, so it needs to be "translated" to component. These are basically equivalent video formats, so this can be done without any loss in quality. The TC1600 is a proper transcoder that will transcode colorspace only, with no change to resolution or any added lag. This is about the best transcoder of this type that you can buy, and it's made by an enthusiast who will give you personal technical support that you couldn't get with anything else. Many thanks to Kim Beumer, creator of the TC1600.

Anyhow, you can see that I've modified it with a big knob on the front. This allows for horizontal position adjustment of the picture on screen. This is useful because different consoles and even different games can be skewed to the left or right a different amount when using RGB with a real CRT, and this can be quickly fixed after starting up a game by turning the knob left or right. The difference is much more noticeable when you've calibrated your display for proper geometry and minimal overscan.

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The switchboxes also pass audio through the equalizer shown before it reaches the receiver. This can make a noticeable difference in getting full and balanced sound from some consoles.

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Finally both the audio and video enter the Yamaha receiver on the right. On the receiver, the input selected just determines whether to use signals from the switchboxes or from the HDMI inputs from the PS3 or PC. Any HDMI video selected is passed to the HDMI cable for the 1080p TV's, and any analog video is passed to the CRT. Audio is amplified to a matched Yamaha 5.1 speaker system. For stereo sources, I just use Dolby Pro Logic II Music decoding, which sends most of the sound to the left and right speakers and subwoofer, just using the center and surrounds lightly to fill out the room.


Image

I've spent a lot of time working with the service menu on the Trinitron to get the geometry, brightness, contrast, color, etc. all dialed in (with the TV off, press Display, 5, Vol +, Power on the remote to enter a Sony service menu). This is as good as I've gotten the geometry so far. The size is set so that most 240p games average just about a pixel or less of overscan to just fill out the screen without cutting anything off. It has the typical problems in the corners, and I'm going to see if anything can be done at the neck about the straightness of the horizontal lines and the blue convergence at the far right. It's not noticeable in games unless you're looking for it, but it's not perfect.

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Finally, here's some screenshots. I'm having trouble with my camera trying to get a good representation of the color quality. In the pictures it always looks a little washed out, whereas it looks much better in person. I guess you'll have to take my word for it, but here are the best shots I could manage:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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The last picture is of Metroid Zero Mission in real 240p on the Gamecube Game Boy Player through the Super Emotia. It looks really nice with the scanlines, very similar to a Super Nintendo game.
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My Analog A/V setup: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43992

Ultimate Shmup Stick! JLF mod: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41451


Last edited by rCadeGaming on Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:00 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:28 am 



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 239
(This is the original first post of this thread from 1/3/2013. The original first and second post were bumped down to fit a new first post 2/19/2013.)

A discrete RGB signal yields the best possible picture you can get in terms of analog video (component is about equivalent). Luckily most consoles will put out RGB without modification, but there are a few different forms of it. The Genesis, SNES, and Saturn can output RGB with composite sync (RGBS), while the Playstation 1/2/3 can only output or RGB with composite video as sync (I'll call this RGBC), or RGB with sync on green (RGsB). The Dreamcast is great because it can output RGBS, RGBC, or RGB with separate horizontal and vertical sync (RGBHV, also called VGA). I think the XBox 360 is the same way, I know it can at least do RGBS and RGBHV. The Wii is a little different in different territories. I haven't messed with it yet, but I will eventually.

I had to mod my NES, PC Engine, and N64 for RGBS (see next post). The Gamecube can output RGBHV, but I had to find a console with a digital video port and modify an expensive cable (more below).

-

As you can see, the problem with hooking up and switching a lot of consoles is handling all the different types of signals. What I do is use custom cables for all my consoles. They are wired a to DB15HD (VGA) connector in the following pinout:

1 Red
2 Green
3 Blue
4 (unused, reserved for future use)
5 Ground
6 Red Difference (Pr)
7 [Luminance (Y)]/Composite Video
8 [Blue Difference (Pb)]/[Chrominance (Cr)]
9 +5 volts
10 Composite Video for Sync
11 Left Audio
12 Right Audio
13 Horizontal Sync
14 Vertical Sync
15 Composite Sync

By connecting only the appropriate pins for the desired signal type, these cables can carry composite video, S-video, component, RGBS, RGBC, or RGBHV, as well as analog audio all in the same cable.

Here's an example for one of my favorite consoles, the Super Nintendo:

Image

I bought an RGB SCART cable for the SNES on eBay, removed the SCART connector at the end, and soldered the appropriate wires to a d-sub connector. In this case: red, green, blue, c sync, +5v, audio left, right, and ground. Then I secured the connector in a d-sub hood for protection and strain relief, and snapped it shut.

Image

This is typical for several consoles, and can be wired easily, given these pinouts:

http://members.optusnet.com.au/eviltim/ ... escart.htm

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These cables are then connected to a custom switch box that is wired to my pinout:

Image

Image

This is a 4-way switch I made with color adjustment and sync processing. Four custom cables coming from the consoles are connected to the four inputs, A, B, C, and D, and one is selected with the switch on the front.

The audio from the selected console is outputted to the two RCA jacks at the top, which go to the equalizer and then to the receiver. If the cable is carrying composite video, S-video, or component, it is outputted to the three RCA jacks at the bottom (composite comes out on the green jack; S-video comes out on the green and black jacks and requires a small adapter; they didn't have blue RCA jacks in stock at Digikey, so I got a black). These other video connections are there in case the need arises, but I'm mostly concerned with RGB.

The switch box has a simple circuit inside that will convert composite sync or composite video to horizontal and vertical sync. This means that regardless of whether the selected input cable is carrying RGBS, RGBC, or RGBHV, it will be outputted as RGBHV in the standard VGA pinout to the d-sub connector in the center. This can then be connected with a standard VGA cable to my transcoder. The TC1600 can actually work with c sync on the h sync pin, but there are a couple of reasons for me to use separate sync at all times.

Before reaching the switch, the red, green, and blue color lines of each input all run through 100-ohm tweaker potentiometers. This allows the red, green, and blue color levels to be adjusted individually for each input. After the switch, the red, green, and blue lines run through 220uf capacitors.

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This is what the switch looks like inside. It looks like an impossible rat's nest at first, but it's not really that bad once you start working on it. When you buy these, the d-sub's and the switch are already wired. All of the guts can be unbolted and removed as a single piece to drill all the extra holes for my added parts and put them in. Then I just needed to reroute a few of the lines going to the output, and the red, green, and blue lines coming from the inputs. About three quarters of the wiring didn't have to be adjusted.

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That blue thing in the center is the heart of the switch. It's just a simple rotary switch that all the connections run through.

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This is the sync circuit. It uses an EL4583 chip to seperate sync, and two CPC1002N optical relay chips to pass the horizontal and vertical sync created to the appropriate output lines. The circuit is activated and powered by +5v coming from the selected input (luckily all the consoles that output RGBS or RGBC output +5v). So when pin 9 of the selected cable is not powered, the optical relays disconnect the circuit from the output, and native RGBHV sources can pass their sync straight through to the output. This also means that the switchbox requires no external power supply.

Image

EL4583 and CPC1002N's can be bought from Digikey.com. The datasheets are available here:

http://www.intersil.com/content/dam/Int ... el4583.pdf

http://www.clare.com/home/pdfs.nsf/www/ ... C1002N.pdf

The only other thing going on inside electrically is the potentiometers on the input color lines and the capacitors on the output color lines.

-

Here are some more examples of cables I use:

Image

Here's one for the Playstation 1/2/3, and one for the Genesis. The Playstation cable I used had that A/V breakout halfway through. It's not really in the way of anything, and could be used to pass composite to a Guncon or something.

Image

This one is for Dreamcast is a little different. It has some DIP switches on it to activate the mode select lines on the console's video out. These allow for selection between two 15kHz RGB modes, or 31kHz RGB (VGA). More info here:

http://www.gamesx.com/wiki/doku.php?id=av:dreamcastav

Image

This one is for a Gamecube. In order to get RGBHV out of one, you have to hack an official component or d-terminal cable, and modify the connections to a chip found inside the cable. I could only find a component cable and it was pretty expensive. I removed the original output cable, and wired it up as a small adapter dongle with a female d-sub in my pinout. I also integrated the standard connector to add audio. A standard VGA cable can be used to connect between this and my switch box. More info here:

http://gamesx.com/wiki/doku.php?id=av:gamecube_rgb

Image

Since I had the other halves of the cables I used for this sitting around, I figured I'd make something out of them. This can be connected to my Gamecube dongle for component video. You need to set the DIP switches on the dongle for RGBHV or component.

This cable can also be connected to my Playstation cable with a gender changer for component video. This works because of the shared pinout. You just need to switch back to component in the display settings.

-

Anyway, this is what can be done with d-sub connectors and switch boxes and such. The connectors are a lot smaller and easier to work with than SCART connectors, and the switch boxes are also very cheap ($12-15 USD) and versatile. They're small (about 6x2x4 inches), non-directional, and don't require a power supply.

The main limitation of the switcher is of course the limited number of inputs, but you can chain them together. Three 4-ways chained will give you ten inputs. They don't add any more resistance in the lines than a short length of wire, and I can't see any reduction in brightness when compared to a straight connection. Of course, only the one at the end of the line needs a sync circuit, filter capacitors, audio breakout, etc.

It doesn't have to be as complicated as mine either. The color adjustment pots are not totally necessary, and depending on your sources and your monitor/transcoder/scaler/video processor/whatever, you may not need a sync circuit. You could easily use a d-sub switch without any modification this way, and you might be able to use a DB-9 instead of a DB-15. An audio breakout, SCART connection, etc., can be provided with a custom cable connected to the output.

-

My multi-console arcade cabinet will have various systems connected this same way, but I'm working on a circuit that will do the switching with relay chips instead of a physical switch. This will allow for some fancy tricks.
_________________
My Analog A/V setup: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43992

Ultimate Shmup Stick! JLF mod: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41451


Last edited by rCadeGaming on Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:21 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:28 am 



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 239
After a long wait, I'm finally getting RGB out of my NES. I wasn't interested in the Playchoice 10 PPU RGB mod because of the palette issues, not to mention not wanting to kill a PC10. Fortunately, Tim Worthington ("viletim") recently came out with an ingenious little circuit board called the NESRGB that solves all of these problems. It is installed in between the stock PPU and the NES main board, and can output high quality RGB with a selection of color palletes (one of them being the normal color palette we're accustomed to from the composite output).

More info here:

http://etim.net.au/nesrgb/index.htm

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=47617

Here's the NESRGB installed in my front-loader.

Image

I removed the RF output and channel select switch (won't be missing those), and installed a DB-15HD connector to output RGBS + audio using my pinout. This way it can be connected to my switch boxes using a standard VGA cable.

Image

Here it is all back together.

Image

-

After watching eBay for at least 6 months, I finally got myself a PC Engine Duo R around Christmas of 2012. I'd been looking for a while since I'd already had a mint copy of Rondo of Blood for about a year :D

Anyhow, as soon as I got it, I kind of halfway region modded it so I could play my US copy of Blazing Lazers. When I say halfway, I mean I just cut some of the pins on the HuCard connector and quickly rewired them so I could play US cards, but then Japanese cards were unplayable. Eventually I got around to installing a proper switch to change between regions easily, and I also did an RGB mod while I was at it.

For the region mod I referenced this site:

http://www.multimods.com/SlotMod1.html

and for the RGB mod I referenced this site:

http://www.gamesx.com/rgbadd/rgbturbo.htm

I decided to put everything for both mods on one small board that's about 2 x 2 inches. This turned out to be a pretty tight fit, but it worked out. Here's what I came up with; the "bottom" of the board:

Image

On the far left of the board are the four transistors for amplifying the RGB signal, one each for red, green, blue, and composite sync. On the right are four CD4066 chips. I'm basically using each one as a 4PST switch. There are 8 pins on the card connector which must be switched one of two ways, so I combined the four 4066's to make an 8PDT switch. I could have done it with fewer chips, but 4066's are dirt cheap, and I had a ton of them lying around.

On the top are some little "L" brackets and nuts and bolts for d-subs that were convenient for mounting the board to a piece of shielding that sticks up at the back of the system. This also provides the whole circuit with a connection to shield ground.

Here is the board mounted in the system; you can see the "top" of it, where all the connection points are:

Image

On the left are all the connections among the various pins of the 4066's, and on the right are all the resistors for the RGB amp circuit. I basically used the exact circuit from the page I linked to, but I skipped the 220uF capacitors on the outputs because they're included in my switchbox.

The stray red and black wires to the right of the board are for the +5v and ground that will run the whole thing, tapped from the original video output. The bunches of wires at the bottom left are coming from the card connector.

I desoldered the original DIN-5 A/V output connector, and replaced it with a DIN-8:

Image

You can see that four of the pins are soldered into the original mounting points; these will carry the +5v, ground, and left and right audio that was always there. The other four pins are bent up so I can solder my RGB and sync outputs to them.

You can also see a better view of how the board is mounted to that shielding to the left.

Here's the new DIN-8 from the outside; looks pretty original:

Image

Here's what connects to the new output. It's a little dongle I can plug a standard VGA cable into to carry RGBS video and audio to my switchbox:

Image

Here's everything wired up:

Image

You can see the appropriate connections from the card connector running through the 4066's to be switched, with a toggle switch ready to be routed to the outside of the system; and the RGB and sync signals, tapped from the graphics chip, running through the amplification circuit and out the DIN-8 connector. The toggle switch just provides 5v on one wire or the other to activate a set of 4066's and select a region.

Finally, here's the switch mounted under the card door. Drilling the hole for this switch was really the only irreversible modification to the system:

Image

You just put in a card and set the switch one way or the other to pick a region. For disc games it doesn't matter which way you set it.

Well, everything's working pretty well so far. HuCard games from either region load right up, and Rondo of Blood never looked so good with the RGB output!

-

Also, here's a picture of the N64 after RGB modding.

Image
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My Analog A/V setup: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43992

Ultimate Shmup Stick! JLF mod: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41451


Last edited by rCadeGaming on Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:26 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:47 am 


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Joined: 26 Mar 2005
Posts: 1252
Location: Vancouver, BC
wow, what a setup. I've imagined doing something similar but not as refined. My experiences with some vga switchboxes have shown that they can introduce some analog ghosting (seeing double) effects. Have you noticed this at all when running the Dreamcast to a vga monitor?
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:10 am 



Joined: 15 May 2012
Posts: 179
rCadeGaming wrote:
The NES can be RGB modded, but I'm not interested because of the parts required and the color problems. I'm using a FOR-A DEC 100 NTSC Decoder to translate the NES's composite output to RGB.



Very interesting stuff, indeed. Thanks for this post.

Question regarding the above. How is the NES' video quality when this approach is taken?

-Jim


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:04 am 



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 239
Kingbuzzo wrote:
wow, what a setup. I've imagined doing something similar but not as refined. My experiences with some vga switchboxes have shown that they can introduce some analog ghosting (seeing double) effects. Have you noticed this at all when running the Dreamcast to a vga monitor?


Sorry for the delay in replying, I was wrapped up with my PC-Engine project (posted in above) for a while. Anyhow, I wanted to do some testing to check this out before responding.

I set my Dreamcast for 31kHz (VGA output) and connected it to my CRT computer monitor. Looked fine. Then I ran it through my custom switchbox. Still fine. Then I chained it through a second switchbox before reaching mine. Still fine. Then I added a third switchbox, and the problems started. So I was able to run it through 2 switchboxes before seeing any noticeable difference or problems with the picture.

Once added the third switchbox, I was getting some intermittent black horizontal lines in the picture that would randomly flash at different different heights. I think it's basically a momentary lack of picture on a line. I've seen this before when playing with sync seperators, and I think it happens when the sync is getting weaker than the monitor likes.

I never got any ghosting at any point though. I looked at the system menu, as it has a lot of sharp color transitions, as well as some games. I think a big part of that is that my custom Dreamcast cable is shielded, the shielding is well grounded at both ends, and all of my VGA cables are well shielded as well.

I guess another thing is that some switchboxes could have a cheap manual switch or poorly designed circuit inside that allows some of the lines to bleed together, instead of keeping them 100% isolated. The ones I use have great rotary switches. The resistance from input to output is negligible (comparable to a length of wire), and there doesn't seem to be any crosstalk between lines or inputs, etc. Unfortunately they don't seem to have any brand name, but they're pretty recognizable. They just say "Data Transfer Switch" on the front, and they're available at lots of places, like Monoprice.com, and also on eBay.

The last thing is that you should keep your cable length as short as you can. I use one foot VGA cables that I got from Monoprice to chain switchboxes.

I also did some testing with my CRT TV. When I'm running 15kHz (240p/480i), the signal seems to be a lot less sensitive, since it only needs about half the bandwidth. Luckily, this is what I really use this stuff for. Anyhow, I was able to chain the Dreamcast through four switchboxes, including my custom one at the end of the line, with no problems. No, I'm not kidding:

Image

There was no discernable change in picture, from a straight connection all the way up to four switchboxes, even with your face a foot from the screen and looking hard. The screen looks a little weird in the picture, but that's just the camera. I would have tried more switchboxes, but I that's all the VGA ones I've got.

-

jdubs wrote:
rCadeGaming wrote:
I'm using a FOR-A DEC 100 NTSC Decoder to translate the NES's composite output to RGB.


Question regarding the above. How is the NES' video quality when this approach is taken?


EDIT: My NES is RGB modded now, see third post. No more composite ANYWHERE!

Since the signal is RGB when it reaches the TV (well, it's been transcoded to component to be compatible with my TV first, but that's irrelevant here) it's about as sharp and vibrant as any console putting out native RGB; with nice bold scanlines, etc. It's not perfect though. Since the signal was encoded to composite in the NES, it's not really possible to decode it back out to discrete RGB in a pixel perfect fashion; there has been some loss. With the DEC 100, this generally results in some artifacts on the trailing edge of very sharp color transitions; basically some miscolored pixels that shouldn't be there. It's probably no worse than the decoder found in the TV, but because the external decoding makes everything so much sharper, it's more noticeable. It's not too bad though, and tweaking the decoder can minimize it.

The main advantages for me are that, one: running everything in RGB keeps switching simple, and two: the DEC-100 has some very nice picture adjustments. Even though the increased sharpness reveals some flaws, these controls make it a much better overall picture to me. There are individual adjustments to the red, green, and blue color signals, as well as brightness, contrast, "Chroma Phase" (basically hue), and "Setup" (basically sync level). When these are dialed in just right, I think it really makes the color stand out better than you can get with the TV's decoding.

I can post some pictures of this later if you'd like. My setup is kind of torn up right now while I'm working on things, but I should have everything back together and calibrated soon.

EDIT: My NES is RGB modded now, see third post. No more composite ANYWHERE!
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My Analog A/V setup: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43992

Ultimate Shmup Stick! JLF mod: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41451


Last edited by rCadeGaming on Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:14 am 


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Location: Vienna
Hi! Great setup! I pick those data transfer switches up whenever possible. I got some printer-port-scwitches too.

I think the FOR-A DEC 100 NTSC Decoder is too big, just like the Emotia.

I feed Composite Video directly from the NES and adjust Hue on the TV frontside controls. Saves big on cables.

Can you compare those reference shots?


Image


Image


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:50 am 



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 239
ninn wrote:
Hi! Great setup! I pick those data transfer switches up whenever possible. I got some printer-port-scwitches too.


Yeah, I love all the uses for these things. One of those huge DB-37 ones could be wired as a Jamma switcher. I might be doing that at some point.

ninn wrote:
I think the FOR-A DEC 100 NTSC Decoder is too big, just like the Emotia.


Yeah, the DEC 100 is pretty large, full rack mount width. I've got the space for it though, it's pretty easy to cram something that's only an inch tall on a shelf somewhere. The Emotia's not quite as big, and it's indispensable for certain things.

ninn wrote:
I feed Composite Video directly from the NES and adjust Hue on the TV frontside controls. Saves big on cables.


Most TV's won't give you control of the red, green, and blue levels without opening it up or going into the service menu though; and changing things at the TV affects all your sources, which have different needs. Maybe not such a huge deal, but keeping everything RGB just keeps switching simple with my setup.

ninn wrote:
Can you compare those reference shots?


Sure, which Megaman and which level is that?
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:06 pm 



Joined: 04 Sep 2010
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Mega Man 2, first shot Wood Man level and second Heat Man.


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:32 pm 



Joined: 15 May 2012
Posts: 179
rCadeGaming wrote:
Since the signal is RGB when it reaches the TV (well, it's been transcoded to component to be compatible with my TV first, but that's irrelevant here) it's about as sharp and vibrant as any console putting out native RGB; with nice bold scanlines, etc. It's not perfect though. Since the signal was encoded to composite in the NES, it's not really possible to decode it back out to discrete RGB in a pixel perfect fashion; there has been some loss. With the DEC 100, this generally results in some artifacts on the trailing edge of very sharp color transitions; basically some miscolored pixels that shouldn't be there. It's probably no worse than the decoder found in the TV, but because the external decoding makes everything so much sharper, it's more noticeable. It's not too bad though, and tweaking the decoder can minimize it.

The main advantages for me are that, one: running everything in RGB keeps switching simple, and two: the DEC-100 has some very nice picture adjustments. Even though the increased sharpness reveals some flaws, these controls make it a much better overall picture to me. There are individual adjustments to the red, green, and blue color signals, as well as brightness, contrast, "Chroma Phase" (basically hue), and "Setup" (basically sync level). When these are dialed in just right, I think it really makes the color stand out better than you can get with the TV's decoding.

I can post some pictures of this later if you'd like. My setup is kind of torn up right now while I'm working on things, but I should have everything back together and calibrated soon.


Yes, if you could post some pics, that would be great. I've got an RGB-modded NES and it looks pretty terrific but the (sometimes) skrewy colors introduced by the Playchoice PPU bug me.

Thank again,
Jim


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:22 pm 



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EDIT: My NES is RGB modded now, see third post. No more composite ANYWHERE!

Ok, well I have some updates on the NES, but unfortunately it's probably not what you guys are looking for. I finally got some more time to work on things over the weekend, and I've basically decided to drop the FOR-A DEC 100 for now.

After I finished recalibrating the TV, and I started adjusting the DEC 100 again, and I wasn't getting quite back to where I wanted. In order to really get a good picture and eliminate artifacts, unwanted garbage, etc. as much as possible, you need to get inside and adjust some of the pots on the board as well. There are about 40 of them, and it gets tedious. Combined with some of the comments above, I was persuaded to give the TV's decoding another shot.

Here's a before picture using the TV's decoding:

Image

You can clearly see all the trailing garbage coming of off the right side of sharp transitions, especially on Mario. This is similar to the effect I described with the DEC 100 (which can be mostly tweaked out, but easier said than done). The color levels are a little harder to judge from a camera picture, but in person they're way over-saturated.

In the TV's service menu, I found that turning off the setting "2DFX" (setting it to 0, variable 4 in the Y service group) eliminated a lot of the trailing. The service manual's description for this is "C BPF Fix (C SIGNAL GENERATE from H/V BPF only)," so I think it has to do with how and where it's pulling sync from out of the luminance signal; "H/V BPF" referring horizontal and vertical front or back porch, maybe. In any case, this makes a big difference; and luckily, this doesn't seem to have any effect either way on component signals (in my case those coming from the TC1600).

Turning down the color to a reasonable level further reduced the trailing effect. As I said before, this would be a problem in that this change conflicts with what is best for my RGB to component sources. However, I found a service menu setting that will boost color levels for only the component input: "UVG - U/V GAIN" (setting it to 1, variable 19 in the RGB service group). This boosts the component input color levels back to about where they were before reducing them for the NES, then final tweaking can be made with the pots at the switch boxes.

Here's the after picture with the TV's decoding:

Image

As you can see, things aren't perfect, but they're cleaned up a good bit. Again, it can't really be judged from the way it came out on the camera, but the color levels are much better (and yes, the oddness at the top is just an effect of the camera). I think things are looking pretty good.

The signal is still coming in through my switch box, to keep things consistent and the audio going to the same place, but I just added an RCA cable between the switch box's luma output RCA jack and the TV. So the NES just needs the one added step of switching the TV to the composite input.

Here's the Mega Man pictures:

Image
Image

I'll try screwing more with the DEC-100 if get time. I'll post some pics using that if I get it re-calibrated to match or beat the pics above.

EDIT: My NES is RGB modded now, see third post. No more composite ANYWHERE!
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Last edited by rCadeGaming on Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:19 pm 



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Major update: the first post is now all new as of 2/19/2013. Includes pictures and a more complete description of the whole setup and some screenshots.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:29 pm 


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This is incredible and inspiring! I've been brainstorming better ways to do my own A/V setup, and I think this is definitely giving me ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:08 am 



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Just RGB modded the N64. I hadn't planned on playing it, but I picked up some cheap games at the thrift store. I put up a picture at the end of my third post.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:48 am 



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Finally got around to RGB modding my NES. Pictures and description added to the third post.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:44 am 


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High five on the KV-27FS120. We gotta start a club or something.


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:52 am 



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Haha, nice. I've tried out over a dozen tube tv's and it's still my favorite for 240p.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:19 am 


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Yeah, I noticed that Adventure of Little Ralph looked astonishing on it (via component).

I'm still getting a real RGB monitor for arcade boards, though. The lack of 480p is also a bother (but the RGB monitor should take care of that too - I'm just not sure that the improvement over 480i will be enough to sway me, but we'll see; it might do away with interlacing-related headaches and so that might be enough).


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:25 am 



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Hi, I've been following this thread as well as VileTim's NESRG thread for some time now, and was only recently looking at the possibility of getting RGB VGA signals out of some of my consoles. Your thread has been very insightful and I'm hoping to test what you have done on a smaller scale before I commit to doing something on such a large scale.

I understand most of what you've done, although I am new to this sort of work, and I am very excited to try and modify my setup. But I have am having a bit of trouble finding out how to recreate the work you've done with the EL4583 chip and the two CPC1002N relay chips. Is it possible that you could post or link to a wiring diagram for how you made your sync circuit? Any insight would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for all the work you've posted here, your gaming setup looks amazing!


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:00 am 


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Hey Tim have you noticed any shielding issues using the VGA cables?

I'm contemplating the same type of RGB* switching but was planning individually shielded BNCs for video, separate shielded audio etc. I was hoping to find an Extron which took BNC for both input and output but not having much luck.


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:34 pm 



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Please allow me to make a suggestion of modification in your VGA switchbox setup. There is no reason to chain 3 switchboxes for your system selectors.

Image

(Sorry, phpBB doesn't seem to support resizing an image like UBB...)

The only negative (other than having to do work to change it) is that you only get 2, not 3, systems that are only one switchbox away from the output.

niall,

VGA to 5BNC cables are cheap and readily available. Monoprice has them, for one. I don't think it will be an issue at these resolutions, though. I'd say you can use higher quality SVGA cables, but you won't want to use such cables for really tight bends if you were using multiple VGA switchers like OP.

Personally I'm on the hunt for an Extron SW6 6xHD15 switch (or an Aten VS0801 but I have yet to see one at a price I'd be willing to pay), and one of the VGA inputs will be a Component-to-VGA transcoder which will be fed by my Key Digital Flash4 switch. I'm planning to put RCA jacks or HD15s on the consoles that are getting RGB-modded and will use mostly this cable for the RCAs. However I will say these cheap manual units are on my radar after hearing that they aren't necessarily junk. Especially in mounting the signal trimmer pots like that. Wouldn't be as easy to wire it up in the switches I want and it would be a waste to rip out the guts and build my own circuit.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - Major Update!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:17 pm 



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Tom, sorry for the delay in responding to this. I've added a diagram if you're still interested. Scroll up to the second post. Let me know if you have any questions.

Niall, not sure who you're referring to as Tim, but anyhow, no I haven't had any issues with the cables. If you turn up the stereo really loud, past comfortable volume levels, AND the game is silent for a moment, AND the screen is bright white, you can hear the interference caused by carrying the video in the same cable with the audio. That's the only way to notice it though, so I can't justify adding more/bulkier cabling.

Holograph, as you say, there would only be two inputs remaining that are only one switchbox away from the output. I need three for the PS3, Gamecube, and PS2 because all three of those might need to output 31kHz.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - 240p Goodness
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:00 am 


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Cheers mate, impressive gear!


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - 240p Goodness
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:23 pm 


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Kudos man, for all intents and purposes, this is the perfect setup. Everything is hooked up with the best quality, and easy to switch between.

Did you mess with the service menu on your TV at all? I've found that lots of Sony consumer sets have overbearing color push, and I have dial down the intensity, especially with red.


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - 240p Goodness
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:07 pm 



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Thanks!

And yes, red push is exactly right. Everything in the service menu relating to color, brightness, contrast, and especially geometry had to be adjusted. If you look at the grid test pattern screen I posted, you can also see the typical bowing in the lower half of the screen due to the flat-face tube. This can't be fixed in the service menu. I had some success fixing this by physically adjusting the position of the deflection yoke on another TV I was playing with. I need to do that with this one at some point.
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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - 240p Goodness
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:45 am 


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Awesome, do you know which color-related values you changed? I just changed the RCUT and RGAIN values (and the corresponding G and B entries), and I still had a quite a bit of color push on my set. It's one of the cheaper models though.


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 Post subject: Re: My Analog A/V Setup - 240p Goodness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:08 pm 



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Sorry, I missed this. I'm guessing by "gain" you mean the drive values, i.e. RDRV (semantics)? Keep working with those, as well as the color level and contrast settings.
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