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kl99

using a US Console in Europe

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Hi!

 

My beige TI-99, US Model, NTSC, arrived today. *yeah*

 

PAL versus NTSC is not a problem as good European television are capable of both.

 

But in the US they use 110V while the standard in Europe is 220V.

 

What is needed to get the TI to work in a 220V environment?

 

br, kl99

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You need a step down transformer. When I was stationed in Spain, transformers were available everywhere. Maybe that was because of the influence of the base? The ones I had were 500W to 5000W and cost about $1 USD per 100W, so not too expensive IMO.

 

The TI power supply is rated at 4 Amps @ 5VDC, so about 20W or so. Even the smallest "travel" transformers are at least 50W to 100W, so that should work for you just fine.

 

Edit:

Of course you still need an NTSC monitor to use with it...

 

Matthew

Edited by matthew180

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Hmm, now that I think about it, the input to the 99/4A is from an external transformer already, hence the big black block (BBB) of a thing you have to plug in. The output of that transformer is probably consistent, meaning the US and European versions probably put out the same voltage to go into the 99/4A. That means you might be able to use the same power supply that you use with your PAL console. HOWEVER, you should use a multimeter to test the output of each external TI transformer before doing that!!!! I'm only speculating here.

 

I do know that the 99/4A power supply does NOT have a transformer internal to the console, so the incoming A/C voltage must have been stepped down to about 15VAC to 20VAC externally.

 

Matthew

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Thanks for your replies.

 

Would it be possible to simply use the internal power board from a (defect) PAL console?

Or would it output something else to the mainboard than the US version?

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Maybe, you will have to open it and check things out to make sure. The main board is probably the same as far as power goes (5V, -5V, -12V, GND). But without having a PAL console I can't tell you for sure. I also suspect the input to the power board has been normalized by the external transformer that is the "brick" you plug in to your house socket. Something like this:

 

NTSC:
   [120VAC] --> [TI Power Brick: 18VAC and 8.5VAC] --> [99/4A Internal PS: +5, -5, -12, GND] --> [Main board]

PAL:
   [220VAC] --> [TI Power Brick: 18VAC and 8.5VAC] --> [99/4A Internal PS: +5, -5, -12, GND] --> [Main board]

Note the only difference is the input VAC voltage. After the "brick", it is *probably* all the same. You you have to check though, I'm only guessing since I don't have a PAL/European console. But it would make sense that the external brick would take in the various different voltages and convert them to the same 18VAC and 8.5VAC that the 99/4A power supply needs. That way TI could use the same PS inside the console and simply distribute a different "brick" depending on the country. That's why I originally said, in post #5, that you can probably just plug you 220VAC brick in to your NTSC console.

 

Flip your external TI brick over and look at the bottom. It will specify the input and output voltages. The US brick I have shows:

 

Input: 110/120 VAC

Output 1: 18 VAC

Output 2: 8.5VAC

 

If your brick has the same "OUTPUTS", then you can probably use it for either console. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, then ask a friend who is familiar with electronics to check it out.

 

Matthew

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i think it's much easier to just order a downstep converter for 10-15 euros ... you'll be able to use that one for any other US computer as well :)

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Hi!

 

My beige TI-99, US Model, NTSC, arrived today. *yeah*

 

PAL versus NTSC is not a problem as good European television are capable of both.

 

But in the US they use 110V while the standard in Europe is 220V.

 

What is needed to get the TI to work in a 220V environment?

 

br, kl99

 

 

use the european power supply is a same of us just the voltage change 110 for us 220 for eur.

 

jean louis

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I have compared the output of the US Power Cable with that of the European Power Cable.

 

US:

Output1: 18 VAC / 1,35 AMPS

Output2: 8,5 VAC / 0,15 A

 

Europe:

Output1: 16 V~ / 1,6 A

Output2: 8 V~ / 0,15 A

 

To me as an electronic newbie that doesn't look like the same output.

 

I have bought an 80 Watt step down transformator for 23 euro.

I have tried it one hour ago, the console is fully operational with this transformator.

 

The composite output of a ntsc console is really better in terms of colors than any PAL console antenna output I have seen.

It's sharp, full of colors and the picture is correctly placed on the 704x480 (720x480) NTSC screen, no borders at all!

I am used to borders and a bad positioned picture, washed out colors, at least with the PAL video modulators I have here.

 

On NTSC there is however the usual composite artifacts when compared with YUV/RGB.

 

Now I get exciting about how good a PAL picture can be when the YUV output is used.

And I am excited if the PAL video modulator causes this bad positioning and borders of the picture or this is caused by the 9929A.

 

From first impressions the games run a bit faster on NTSC than on a PAL console.

 

THANKS for helping me get this machine running.

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I have compared the output of the US Power Cable with that of the European Power Cable.

 

US:

Output1: 18 VAC / 1,35 AMPS

Output2: 8,5 VAC / 0,15 A

 

Europe:

Output1: 16 V~ / 1,6 A

Output2: 8 V~ / 0,15 A

 

To me as an electronic newbie that doesn't look like the same output.

 

The output on the EU transformer is less, so you won't blow anything up. And it is close enough. The 8.5 vs 8 makes no difference, and neither does the 16 vs 18. The 16/18VAC is used to make the -12VDC and -5VDC, and the 8VAC makes the +5VDC. When you go from AC to DC, your AC needs to be higher than the DC you want to get out (at least in this type of power supply.)

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Played around with my new ntsc unit.

It's fascinating how different games look, sound and feel in ntsc versus pal.

 

The screen is squeezed in pal all the time, because again 720x480 are used, but shown on a 720x576 pixel screen.

Sprites look different on ntsc, they gain more height than on pal.

Colors are more vivid on ntsc composite output than on pal video modulator out.

 

Burger Time has all the lifes shown on the screen in ntsc. On pal the first life (face of the cook) is not fully shown, only the right half of it is visible. The music and gameplay is very notable of higher speed in ntsc.

 

Car Wars giving me a little bit of shock the first time I tried it in ntsc, because the motor sound, where it asks you to press a key to start the race, is completely different in ntsc versus pal. In pal it is a continues, never-ending homogen sound (no pause) versus a repeated bummering sound with a pause in ntsc. I thought I connected the audio cable somehow wrong. My brother felt the same.

 

Parsec gave me an extraordinary experience as I have seen for the first time that the colors on the ground weren't yellow afer all. Vertical 1px thick lines were clearly output as blue, green, and 2 other colors. And those lines switched colors within the object. This gave the object another dimension of realism. Although I have read that this is only a compositing artefact I don't want to believe this yet. It looks more like a feature to me. I will take pictures and put it on my blog.

 

The faster timing in ntsc was doing a lot of games justice as the game did play better, at least it felt that way.

 

The title screen of TI looks a lot better in ntsc. The colors in the color bar don't interfere each other the way they do in the pal video modulator output. The pal screen is squeezed. Comparing those titlescreen I know feel, that TI could have done a better job with the pal output! Damn we need that F18A matthew!

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Haha! Yeah, yeah, it (the F18A) is coming... You're starting to sound like Marc. ;)

 

I hate to burst your bubble, but the vertical 1px lines in Parsec are all yellow... It is NTSC artifact making them look different.

 

With the F18A, the timing has nothing to do with the output video, so you will probably (I say probably because I have not implemented it yet) be able to select 50Hz or 60Hz vsync timing.

 

The sounds are different in the games because the VDP drives the GROMCLK which drives the sound chip. Hmm, I wonder if GROM access is slower on a PAL machine? Tursi...

 

It also sounds like most games were written poorly and always assumed the vsync would be 60Hz. That sucks. But hey, you get to relive all those games now! :)

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I hate to burst your bubble, but the vertical 1px lines in Parsec are all yellow... It is NTSC artifact making them look different.

 

Yep... this "cool effect" (which many other people have mentioned to me!) is actually a weakness in the NTSC color encoding. PAL uses a different form of color encoding which doesn't suffer the same losses and position-dependent aliasing as NTSC. (In other words, PAL was correct ;) ).

 

The sounds are different in the games because the VDP drives the GROMCLK which drives the sound chip. Hmm, I wonder if GROM access is slower on a PAL machine? Tursi...

 

Don't know! I do have a PAL machine but it's supposedly dead and I've never had time to boot it. I was going to include in it in a pack of other dead consoles for your repair program ;) That would be pretty weak.

 

It also sounds like most games were written poorly and always assumed the vsync would be 60Hz. That sucks.

 

This is actually normal across every platform - most games are not properly timed to work in 50hz and usually no effort is even made to adapt them. So music runs slower in PAL and faster in NTSC, likewise for sprites and often even gameplay, if it's tied to the vertical sync.

 

There's actually a really easy and somewhat hacky way around this if anyone is ever interested in writing software that works correctly in both. When running in NTSC, simply count your frames, and skip every 6th one. In PAL, run every frame. I learned this trick from an Amiga MOD Player and it works a lot better than it sounds like it does. With this skip, the game will always run 50hz (not 60hz).

 

Offhand, though, I don't know how to detect NTSC versus PAL machine on the TI... I guess lacking a software difference you could use a software loop (or 9901 timer) to time how long it is between vertical blanks.

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There's actually a really easy and somewhat hacky way around this if anyone is ever interested in writing software that works correctly in both. When running in NTSC, simply count your frames, and skip every 6th one. In PAL, run every frame. I learned this trick from an Amiga MOD Player and it works a lot better than it sounds like it does. With this skip, the game will always run 50hz (not 60hz).

 

That's cool, I might include something like that in my library.

 

Offhand, though, I don't know how to detect NTSC versus PAL machine on the TI... I guess lacking a software difference you could use a software loop (or 9901 timer) to time how long it is between vertical blanks.

 

Here's a little code snippet I wrote for my spectra2 library.

In this example we assume CONFIG is cleared (Bit 2=0).

 

CONFIG  EQU   R12                   ; SPECTRA configuration register
VDPS    EQU   >8802                 ; VDP status register
PALON   EQU   >2000                 ; bit 2=1   (VDP9918 PAL version)
WBIT0   DATA  >8000                 ; Binary 1000000000000000
....
*--------------------------------------------------------------
* Determine if VDP is PAL or NTSC 
*--------------------------------------------------------------         
RUNLI4  CLR   R1                    ; Reset counter
       LI    R2,10                 ; We test 10 times
RUNLI5  MOV   @VDPS,R3
       COC   @WBIT0,R3             ; Interupt flag set ?
       JEQ   RUNLI6
       INC   R1                    ; Increase counter
       JMP   RUNLI5
RUNLI6  DEC   R2                    ; Next test
       JNE   RUNLI5
       CI    R1,>1250              ; Max for NTSC reached ?
       JLE   RUNLI7                ; No, so it must be NTSC
       ORI   CONFIG,PALON          ; Yes, it must be PAL, set flag
*--------------------------------------------------------------
* Rest of  program
*--------------------------------------------------------------         
RUNLI7  ...

 

Actually for this to work 100% the code should be running from scratch-pad memory.

I didn't do that so it might be giving a false result on a modded TI-99/4A

(e.g. the one with the 32K on the 16-bit bus).

But I don't care because my target platform is the plain TI-99/4A without modifications.

Edited by retroclouds

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The sounds are different in the games because the VDP drives the GROMCLK which drives the sound chip. Hmm, I wonder if GROM access is slower on a PAL machine? Tursi...

 

Don't know! I do have a PAL machine but it's supposedly dead and I've never had time to boot it. I was going to include in it in a pack of other dead consoles for your repair program ;) That would be pretty weak.

 

Heh, I'm a dumb ass. The sounds are probably different in their *rate* not their *frequency*. I believe most games probably drive their sounds in the ISR, or use the console routine, which would be running at 50Hz vs 60Hz. Thus the sounds would be slowed down, not the GROMCLK per se (at lease not noticeable to a human.)

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Will the F18A feature 60hz and 50hz?

 

Neither, both. The output is standard VGA, which thankfully *is* standard world wide. Currently I'm running the output at [email protected], but it could be 72Hz, 75Hz, 85Hz, and the resolution could be 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, etc.

 

The interrupt output might not always be in time with the actual VGA vsync if the monitor refresh ends up running higher than 60Hz. Thus, I will probably end up with a dedicated clock that just puts out the interrupt, and it will probably be programmable via a new register to be either 50Hz or 60Hz.

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