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Can You Use A PAL ECS Unit on a NTSC Intellivision?

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I have a European ECS (keyboard) unit for my Intellivision that I'd like to use since it's brown and matches the color scheme better than the gray US ECS unit. I have a US power supply as well, but I was curious if the PAL ECS unit is compatible with the NTSC Intellivision. I don't know if the ECS unit has any video or timing circuitry in it that might not work right on an NTSC unit.

 

Tempest

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I have a European ECS (keyboard) unit for my Intellivision that I'd like to use since it's brown and matches the color scheme better than the gray US ECS unit. I have a US power supply as well, but I was curious if the PAL ECS unit is compatible with the NTSC Intellivision. I don't know if the ECS unit has any video or timing circuitry in it that might not work right on an NTSC unit.

 

Tempest

 

My understanding is that they're identical save for the color of the plastic. They're identical and cheap to the point that ECS cassette tapes recorded on a PAL setup won't work on an NTSC setup, not because the ECSes are different, but because it gets its clock from the color burst in the main unit, and doesn't bother to change the divisor to match. Had each been tailored to its respective market, the PAL version would use different divisors than the NTSC version, or they would have sprung for a dedicated oscillator.

 

All the ECS has is a second PSG chip, a 12K x 10 paged ROM, 2K x 8 of RAM and a UART with simple modem functionality to allow it to save on cassettes. There's nothing in there to change for PAL.

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I have a European ECS (keyboard) unit for my Intellivision that I'd like to use since it's brown and matches the color scheme better than the gray US ECS unit. I have a US power supply as well, but I was curious if the PAL ECS unit is compatible with the NTSC Intellivision. I don't know if the ECS unit has any video or timing circuitry in it that might not work right on an NTSC unit.

 

Tempest

 

My understanding is that they're identical save for the color of the plastic. They're identical and cheap to the point that ECS cassette tapes recorded on a PAL setup won't work on an NTSC setup, not because the ECSes are different, but because it gets its clock from the color burst in the main unit, and doesn't bother to change the divisor to match. Had each been tailored to its respective market, the PAL version would use different divisors than the NTSC version, or they would have sprung for a dedicated oscillator.

 

All the ECS has is a second PSG chip, a 12K x 10 paged ROM, 2K x 8 of RAM and a UART with simple modem functionality to allow it to save on cassettes. There's nothing in there to change for PAL.

 

What about the power requirements? I have the power supply from a US unit, but I don't want to fry my PAL ECS if it is expecting a different voltage/current.

 

Tempest

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I have a European ECS (keyboard) unit for my Intellivision that I'd like to use since it's brown and matches the color scheme better than the gray US ECS unit. I have a US power supply as well, but I was curious if the PAL ECS unit is compatible with the NTSC Intellivision. I don't know if the ECS unit has any video or timing circuitry in it that might not work right on an NTSC unit.

 

Tempest

 

My understanding is that they're identical save for the color of the plastic. They're identical and cheap to the point that ECS cassette tapes recorded on a PAL setup won't work on an NTSC setup, not because the ECSes are different, but because it gets its clock from the color burst in the main unit, and doesn't bother to change the divisor to match. Had each been tailored to its respective market, the PAL version would use different divisors than the NTSC version, or they would have sprung for a dedicated oscillator.

 

All the ECS has is a second PSG chip, a 12K x 10 paged ROM, 2K x 8 of RAM and a UART with simple modem functionality to allow it to save on cassettes. There's nothing in there to change for PAL.

 

What about the power requirements? I have the power supply from a US unit, but I don't want to fry my PAL ECS if it is expecting a different voltage/current.

 

Tempest

 

They should take around the same input voltage. The ECS units have their own power rectifier and regulator, and therefore only need an approximate voltage in order to function. As long as you have a ~10V AC power supply you should be in good shape. You *don't* want to use the European transformer that's meant for 240V, since it'll only feed the unit ~5V when driven from US's 120V feeds, and that's not enough to drive the voltage regulators.

 

Anyway, just in case, I've emailed three different people that I'm pretty sure have European ECS units to ask them what the output voltage is on their European power packs. Presumably it's around 10V, but it wouldn't hurt to have them check. I'd be surprised if it's something different. Everything I've read, including the BSR's site, indicates that the brown ECS /only/ differs in the color of the plastic and the default transformer it's shipped with.

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They should take around the same input voltage. The ECS units have their own power rectifier and regulator, and therefore only need an approximate voltage in order to function. As long as you have a ~10V AC power supply you should be in good shape. You *don't* want to use the European transformer that's meant for 240V, since it'll only feed the unit ~5V when driven from US's 120V feeds, and that's not enough to drive the voltage regulators.

 

Anyway, just in case, I've emailed three different people that I'm pretty sure have European ECS units to ask them what the output voltage is on their European power packs. Presumably it's around 10V, but it wouldn't hurt to have them check. I'd be surprised if it's something different. Everything I've read, including the BSR's site, indicates that the brown ECS /only/ differs in the color of the plastic and the default transformer it's shipped with.

 

Just a quick update: One of the people I wrote to with a European ECS wrote back to say he uses his with a universal power adaptor set to 12V. He doesn't have the original power pack, but he's going to ask some friends that do to check theirs.

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I have a European ECS (keyboard) unit for my Intellivision that I'd like to use since it's brown and matches the color scheme better than the gray US ECS unit. I have a US power supply as well, but I was curious if the PAL ECS unit is compatible with the NTSC Intellivision. I don't know if the ECS unit has any video or timing circuitry in it that might not work right on an NTSC unit.

 

Tempest

 

My understanding is that they're identical save for the color of the plastic. They're identical and cheap to the point that ECS cassette tapes recorded on a PAL setup won't work on an NTSC setup, not because the ECSes are different, but because it gets its clock from the color burst in the main unit, and doesn't bother to change the divisor to match. Had each been tailored to its respective market, the PAL version would use different divisors than the NTSC version, or they would have sprung for a dedicated oscillator.

 

All the ECS has is a second PSG chip, a 12K x 10 paged ROM, 2K x 8 of RAM and a UART with simple modem functionality to allow it to save on cassettes. There's nothing in there to change for PAL.

 

What about the power requirements? I have the power supply from a US unit, but I don't want to fry my PAL ECS if it is expecting a different voltage/current.

 

Tempest

 

Ok, I just got the following message from a friend with access to the European ECS's power pack:

 

Joe,

 

on ECS power supply there is written:

 

"9,3 vac 1 camp ac"

 

So, it appears it's a similar voltage spec. In this case, 9.3V vs 10V. I don't believe the 0.7V makes a difference, since you're likely to see a much wider swing just based on whether your home's voltage is 110V or 120V. These are simple AC to AC transformers, not regulated power supplies.

 

I leave that decision in your hands though, since it's your unit.

 

The 8-bit NES uses a 9V AC adaptor, so if its connectors match and you feel safer with the lower voltage, you might consider giving that a whirl. (I think the connectors do match, because I seem to recall using my ECS transformer with the NES, since I can't find the NES's transformer. How ironic!)

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It seems to work just fine with the US power supply. I suppose if I burn it out then i'll just use my US ECS unit.

 

Tempest

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