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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:20 pm 


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Joined: 07 May 2018
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Just a quick update from my end. I replaced the output wires, from FU-RGB to av out, with shielded 75 ohm coax. Only the RGB lines. No improvement.

I will try doing the inputs, from expansion port lifted pins to FU-RGB and report back.


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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:51 pm 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
Posts: 50
So the last SSDS3 I was sent seems to be exhibiting the same conditions as yours NoAffinity. What is interesting is both yours and this owner's have a different color solder mask than mine and the other units I have tested. This is making me question if there is a difference other than just the color of the solder mask.

In this picture my personal SSDS3 is on the left and the one on the right is behaving like yours.

Image
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:16 pm 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
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I screwed up on the captures for this device which was my mistake. I had mistakenly done the original captures at 480p but the FU-RGB captures at 720p. If I get a chance I will go back and recapture the FU-RGB ones. These were all captured from the OSSC with LPF set to Auto, direct into my Datapath E1S, and a previously untested CoreGrafx with the jailbar fix. All other cables and power supplies are the same as previous captures. This is from the SSDS3 that has a different color solder mask than all prior units I tested. The noise on the OSSC actually looks the same as the noise I see on the Framemeister with my own SSDS3 board.

I also tested this same board with all of the other PCE/TG16 consoles I have here and verified that the output was unchanged. Likewise, using my SSDS3 with this CoreGrafx yielded the same results I had seen with my SSDS3 previously. I am inclined to believe that TO changed fab houses and/or made additional changes to the board that we have yet to find.

Original SSDS3 output (480p, sorry)
Image
Image
Image
Image


FU-RGB output (720p)
Image
Image
Image
Image
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:23 pm 


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Mine also has a different color solder mask than the V1's I have seen (I'm assuming mine is a V2 based on the date I bought it).

At any rate, there's still some trace noise in some of those pics I noticed. I myself decided I was 'chasing the impossible' and went back to the internal mod with the SSDS3's video pins removed. Since all I ever intend to use is the Super Grafx when it comes to the NEC family of consoles, it doesn't make sense for me to worry about SSDS3 video quality when my internal mod delivers absolutely flawless video output on its own.

That said I'm still going to tackle the audio mod beast I had been working on for the SSDS3. My objective is to eventually have nothing but digital audio data coming from the SSDS3, while the entire analog audio, DAC, and mixing circuit are on an isolated board. The only minor problem I'm running into is on the transmitter chip for the optical TOSLINK jack. It has a pin for /RST (reset), which the original DAC the SSDS3 uses does not require. Now there is a reset pin on the video side of the expansion port, and I'm wondering if I can simply tap that, or if I need to leave /RST on the transmission chip pulled to a permanent state.

-FBX
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:30 pm 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
Posts: 50
FBX wrote:
Mine also has a different color solder mask than the V1's I have seen (I'm assuming mine is a V2 based on the date I bought it).


That picture of the different solder mask are both V2 boards. My point was that there is still more visible noise in the second board from V2 than in my board. Since the coloring changed it is making me question what else could have changed. NoAffinity has the same color solder mask as the board that continues to have noise after modding.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:35 pm 


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Mobiusstriptech wrote:
FBX wrote:
Mine also has a different color solder mask than the V1's I have seen (I'm assuming mine is a V2 based on the date I bought it).


That picture of the different solder mask are both V2 boards. My point was that there is still more visible noise in the second board from V2 than in my board. Since the coloring changed it is making me question what else could have changed. NoAffinity has the same color solder mask as the board that continues to have noise after modding.


Ah I see. Well mine looks closer in color to yours. One thing I will note is that all of the ones You've shown pics have have yellow tantalum caps, whereas mine uses black ones. Probably doesn't mean anything, but I thought that was interesting.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:10 pm 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
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Yeah I have seen a few with the black caps as well. It's very interesting that there are this many differences in such a short time.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:56 am 


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Good observation, mobius. I'm sure you're on to something.

So, I didn't tackle the RGB input lines yet, but did run new audio lines to the multi out connector, using the shielded coax cable. Theorizing possibly some noise is coming off the audio lines which are now running diagonally across the PCB, from right side of PCB (parts side) to left side where the av out is. I was thinking possibly when lifting the av out, I had traded bad for bad with those audio lines now running exposed "above ground". No improvement now either. I'm sure my description is doing nobody any good but I'm also hesistant to post pics because it is complete butchery frankenstien affair at this point. But despite all my meddling, it's still working at least equal to how it did when it came out of the box. I do believe the FU-RGB improved color clarity significantly, so I'm happy with that improvement. I will continue picking away at it, but admittedly my excitement for continuing to invest effort is dwindling. :(


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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:17 am 


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I experimented some more on the sound side of the SSDS3. It seems you cannot uproot the analog ground pin and bypass the ground plane on that side in order to isolate the audio circuitry, because you end up with random crashes during gameplay (graphics will suddenly become garbled and a frozen). This is likely due to that ARM chip making use of that analog ground plane in addition to the digital ground. So with this being the case, there's no need for me to isolate the mixing circuitry, nor create separate RCA outputs. So really I'm back down to just using my Genesis Line Amp board to improve on the original op-amp in the SSDS3. I could still add in the digital audio transmitter for the CD tracks, but I'm not sure there's much interest in that.

This month has NOT been very kind to me I must say. I've been sick for most of it, alienated friends and peers, and couldn't get any of my audio projects to pan out. I'm praying August turns out to be a better month. I could use a turn around!
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:33 am 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
Posts: 50
That sucks about your projects. Just keep your chin up. I am not in the least bit surprised that the ARM is tied into that ground as well.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:34 am 


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Okay so I reverted back all the mods I had done to the SSDS3 and I'm still getting random game crashes. I started testing this out with Ghouls 'n Ghosts and I noticed something about the crashes: If I leave the game in attract mode, it never crashes. I've had it running now for 20 mins without a crash. Yet if I start playing the game, it will crash randomly within 3 to 5 minutes. So is this a controller issue or something about the expansion bus I have screwed up that crashes the game when you use the controller?

It wasn't doing this before I installed the FU-RGB board, but I know that wasn't what caused the problem as I've since removed the board and reverted back to my original setup. Maybe I just overworked the expansion pins desoldering and resoldering the SSDS3's expansion port connector one too many times? Very curious to figure this one out...

Edit: After letting Ghouls 'n Ghosts run in attract mode for 30 mins, I started a game and it crashed 5 minutes into gameplay. WTF?

Edit 2: I think I've sussed it out: New firmware bug. I went into the menu of the SSDS3 and disabled in-game menu trigger and the crashes completely stopped. So what I need to do now in order to confirm is revert back to the original firmware (hopefully I can still do that, but I'll ask on the TO forums to find out).
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:14 am 


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Regarding the random crashing, I confirmed over on the TO forums it's a bug in the new firmware, and the fix is just as I discovered: Disabled in-game triggering.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:08 pm 



Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 160
Here is my remaining issue with the fu-rgb bypass on my ssds3 v2. Certain large areas of solid colors (few) have this wide diagonal moving bars interference.

https://imgur.com/gallery/M0sJ7dQ

This is splash lake. This problem only shows up on certain colors such as the grey here.


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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:32 am 


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BTW did anyone save a copy of the original firmware to the SSDS3? I need to do some testing on in-game triggers.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:36 am 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
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FBX wrote:
BTW did anyone save a copy of the original firmware to the SSDS3? I need to do some testing on in-game triggers.


They are tied to the board serial, so it wouldn't do any good if someone had it anyways. Aside from that, the in game trigger was basically 100% broken in the first firmware.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:32 pm 


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Mobiusstriptech wrote:
Aside from that, the in game trigger was basically 100% broken in the first firmware.


Except that it worked perfectly fine on my end. I used in-game trigger in everything I played and never once did the system crash. I only started getting these crashes with 1.02.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:15 pm 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
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FBX wrote:
Mobiusstriptech wrote:
Aside from that, the in game trigger was basically 100% broken in the first firmware.


Except that it worked perfectly fine on my end. I used in-game trigger in everything I played and never once did the system crash. I only started getting these crashes with 1.02.



That's interesting. I know TO was adamant that people not use it because it had so many problems with the original firmware. I know when I had it enabled before they said not to, I had constant problems. As was the experience of many others. My guess is that only TO can get you a new firmware for the previous version.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:11 am 


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Could be just a fluke, but yeah, never crashed in spite of having in-game trigger active the entire time before I upgraded to 1.02. I used that in-game trigger quite a lot too, so I miss it now ><
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 am 


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Probably giving up at this point but I moved my internal RGB mod to under the ribbon cable and the picture looks much better.
It still has faint jail bars but my major concern is the interference onscreen which looks like static on an LCD and causes major banding issues on my crts.
I used 240p checkerboard test for these images.
https://imgur.com/a/hYVII8o


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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:13 am 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
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Syntax wrote:
Probably giving up at this point but I moved my internal RGB mod to under the ribbon cable and the picture looks much better.
It still has faint jail bars but my major concern is the interference onscreen which looks like static on an LCD and causes major banding issues on my crts.
I used 240p checkerboard test for these images.
https://imgur.com/a/hYVII8o


Wow. That is very unfortunate.

I am currently testing the latest revision of the FU-RGB board. I'm also testing out a few more potential changes in the hope to clean up as much noise as possible for revision 2 and 3 boards. With any luck we are getting close to the end.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:30 am 


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Mobiusstriptech wrote:

Wow. That is very unfortunate.

I am currently testing the latest revision of the FU-RGB board. I'm also testing out a few more potential changes in the hope to clean up as much noise as possible for revision 2 and 3 boards. With any luck we are getting close to the end.


What you and Zach should do is simply remake the SSDS3. :-P
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:26 pm 


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FBX wrote:
Mobiusstriptech wrote:

Wow. That is very unfortunate.

I am currently testing the latest revision of the FU-RGB board. I'm also testing out a few more potential changes in the hope to clean up as much noise as possible for revision 2 and 3 boards. With any luck we are getting close to the end.


What you and Zach should do is simply remake the SSDS3. :-P
I second that. Would it be possible to simply replace the game card interface (thinking along the lines of the the gd-emu, rhea, etc) and avoid an add on unit altogether? An internal mod wouldnt necessarily be needed, but would probably also be desirable alongside this interface replacement. All very high-level thoughts. I'm sure there are significant challenges to actually doing it, or it would have already been done.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:54 pm 



Joined: 23 Dec 2016
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So the main complexity in designing an ODE generally falls along a few lines. One, access to the requisite signals, in this case the expansion connector gives us that. Two, a hardware design that is programmed to mimic the optical drive.

Using these devices as an example, the signal part is easy because everything is accessible from the connector. However, designing the code that will read and then write the CD images as the original hardware did is where it gets tricky. Obviously it's not impossible and at the end of the day it is just data we are talking about. It does require that you have a firm understanding of how the drive reads and then transmits data. How the system deals with errors and hiccups.
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 Post subject: Re: SSDS3 Video Fix
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:33 pm 


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So, I finally circled back to this. I have now added shielded coax to the RGB inputs of the FU-RGB, with still no improvement. To re-summarize everything I've done, with the only improvement being improved color clarity as a result of the FU-RGB:

1) Removed all video circuitry from SSDS3
2) Lifted av out connector, rotated it so it is not directly contacting the board
3) Lifted all pins at interface connector so they are not directly contacting the board
4) 75ohm hielded coax from FU-RGB RGBS outputs to av out connector
5) 75ohm shielded coax from interface connector to FU-RGB RGB inputs
6) 75ohm shielded coax on last leg of audio circuit - from right side of board (as you face the interface connector) to the av out connector
7) .1uf caps between 5v and ground, at fu-rgb input and at av out connector

Frankly, I'm amazed this thing still works and I didn't bugger something up along the way. I'll give it an 'A' for resilience. :D

And with all that, drum roll please.....

Spoiler: show
Image


Unless there is something really compelling to try that provides a high level of confidence that it will fix the snow, I'm tapping out on this one. Happy to play with it as is, for now, although a little disappointed at the price point on the SSDS3, and all the effort which resulted in little gain to improving the subpar video output.

Hoping the bigger brains will come up with a fix eventually.


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