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low_budget

"NES Super 8" project

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http://hackaday.com/

 

Consider submitting your NES project there? Look for submitt a tip link near the top

 

A year ago I picked up a couple iCades from local Khol's for only $14 each. I think one could be hacked into standard looking Nintendo arcade with your NES board, a PowerPak cart, and controller port should I need to use different controller.

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Huh, I didn't think akaviolence would end up with one of the v1.0 prototypes (the only one I sold.) I liked the video. It's cool to see a third party review.

 

The v1.0 PCB was my first attempt at laying out a circuit this complex so there were some issues. It works well, but the design wasn't very refined. Pretty good for a first try I guess.

It's kinda why I sold it for $40, about the cost of the components.

 

The voltage regulator was supposed to be a PTH08080W, but I messed up the component footprint and it doesn't fit. Hence the external adjustable regulator. I like to set the voltage under load to about 5.3v.

 

The video sync signal (PPU pin 21) should have a short path to the LM1881 sync cleaner. v1.0 does not.

 

The black grounding jumper was added due to a flaw in the ground plane.

 

Some traces on v1.0 just weren't laid out very well.

 

 

The diode arrays can be removed from a NES, but I never installed them in my systems and never had a problem. The controller port pin 330pf caps to ground present in the NES can also be installed but I never used them either and haven't had a problem.

 

The NES controller port wires need to be soldered to .1" pitch 7 pin male header. I ran out of original NES controller ports and have been using the reproductions from Parallax.

 

TC1 is used to fine tune the PPU's clock signal. Adjustment is only needed when using the composite PPU. When using a RGB PPU, adjusting it has no effect (the arcade systems that use this PPU do not have this component at all.)

 

The pots are for adjusting the sound channels separately. 1 and 2 are from the CPU's built in sound while 3 (near the cart slot) is axillary input from cart pin 54.

 

If the power LED is too bright, the value of the resistor next to it can be increased to about 240 ohms.

 

Can't wait to see the next video!

 

 

Thank you Uzumaki for posting the NS8 on hackaday.

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I only ended up with it because one of my customers sent it to me to finish. Desoldering DIP 40s is not easy unless you've done a bunch of them and I guess he was not comfortable with it or didn't have the right tools to do it.

 

So did you supply that little adjustable power supply board? I need to know how to adjust it, it's putting out over 8 volts and luckily I didn't power the board with it for too long. It's why I noticed the ppu and cpu were so hot near the end of the vid...

 

Thanks for the info on the other items too!

 

The case should be coming in this week or early next so more vids will be posted soon.

 

Also the customer is thinking about putting a component video converter in it, i'll prolly use a universal version of the board I put in top loaders.

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The RGB video converters I tried would not fit in the AG-85.

The potentiometer on the regulator adjusts the voltage.

 

So my eBay listing for the assembled NES Super 8 PCB got removed because of copyright infringement BS. I've given up on trying to understand how eBay determines what video game products are copyright infringement. I guess I will only be selling the PCBs direct at $99 for composite and $139 for RGB.

 

I made a video of the composite video NES Super 8 games that have graphics glitches.

 

I've sold 2 assembled NES Super 8 systems in the AG-85 case and have another ready.

 

I got a ZN-45 case and decided not to use it. It would require more work and have no benefit.

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I got more parts in so I did some more work, like cutting up the case and adding video ouput.

2nd vid -

 

I'm having some major issues though. The component video output is crap, diagonal wavy moving interference, very hard to capture on camera but it's bad! As seen in the vid i'm using my own rgb to component encoder board so rgb ppu pin 21 sync and cleaning is not the issue. I also do not connect rgb ppu pin 17 to anything. Not had this issue on any of the nes-001 or nes-101 consoles i've used the board on.

The cart is way too close to the back of the case. You've basically rendered %70 of the rear panel useless for mounting jacks etc since it's too close to the cart, there's only like 9mm between the back of the cart and the rear panel. It's really only possible to use the little bit of area towards the outsides. I'm sure you noticed this, but it really sucks and you should see about moving the connector inward.

While you're at it, add a multi out footprint to the back. That can carry rgb, sync, svideo, composite, and stereo. And cords are still plentifull and ppl prefer them. They can get a multiout/scart cord and have an external video encoder, i.e. component, if they want or just feed rgb to a monitor with another scart to ??? conversion cord.

If you have the room for the multi out there will be room for other stuff like a pcb mounted power input jack, another almost essential item.

Moving the cart connector forward would help with dust flap mounting for the cart slot as well, you'll see what I mean in the vid. Still not sure i'll be able to pull it off...

Another idea was to have the front loader's power/reset/led assembly mounted to the front of the pcb so you could notch the front of the case to fit them. I didn't investigate this too much though.

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Akaviolence - your cuts with the dremel seem about right. Only way I have done them better than that was with a milling machine, but likely the center piece would have not made it. Also I think your points about leaving space in the rear for power and AV are spot on. Hopefully low_budget keeps improving on the Super 8 as this is a very cool project.

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akaviolence, what is that PCB you used in the PPU socket? I haven't seen that before, it looks different than the Japanese RGB mod board for the AV Famicom.

 

Also, why didn't you connect the video ground (PPU pin 17?) I have been connecting it directly to the ground of the RGB converter's input (nothing else.) I believe connecting this would help the wavy lines issue.

 

I have tried the following RGB converters: GBS 8220 (VGA), Weiya CV-04 (s-video/composite), and the Jrok (component, s-video, composite.) The Jrok has some issues using component with some TVs, but otherwise I had no issues with any of these. They don't fit internally, so I've been using a Genesis pinout DIN connector for RGB output and a custom wiring harness to connect them.

 

It looks like the standard DIN connector is slightly different than the original Genesis connector (pins laid out like a C rather than a U (like original Genny.) It seems plugs designed for the Genesis work fine, so this doesn't seem to be a problem. I couldn't find a connector like the Genesis has.

Is there a better video out connector I could use that's readily available?

 

I do plan on putting the DC input jack on-board in the future, and maybe video out jacks.

 

I also had the same issues running Punch Out using the Powerpak and RGB. The NS8 with composite PPU running the game on Powerpak didn't have the glitches. Good to know the original game works with RGB though!

 

I have been cutting my cases using drills, hacksaw blades, and an assortment of files. It looks good but is labor intense and I am looking at getting the cases CNC cut, either by polycase or if somebody else can do for cheaper I'm interested! Polycase wants $7.12 to cut each case (if I order 25.)

 

The cartridge flaps would be nice, but I couldn't figure out a practical way to do this. I just leave a game in or use a dust cover when it's not being used. The Atari Jaguar also doesn't have flaps.

 

I know there isn't much room behind the cartridge for ports, I mounted the DIN connector and power input jacks on the sides OK, with the audio RCA jacks on the side.

Making more room available for output jacks.... it would require a board redesign. There is some room at the front, but I would have to cut the angles in the front deeper and enlarge the overall PCB size. The components are squished together pretty tight on v1.1 already, so I don't know.

 

I'm in the early stages of a major redesign of the PCB. I'm practically starting over, and I won't know if this will result in improved picture for some time. I think shortening the main data lines may resolve some of the issues. It may be 6 months before I have a new board for testing, if it's even completed.

 

Since I don't have plastic injection molds or the tooling to make plastic cases (very expensive) I had to design the board to fit in a pre-made case, and compromises had to be made.

 

I am always open to suggestions to improve the project. However, for a variety of reasons sometimes they are not practical.

 

I enclosed pics of the case cutouts, the measurements, and my assembled NS8 internals.

I've also been adding vent holes on the bottom of the case.

post-31751-0-11867000-1361300929_thumb.jpg

post-31751-0-91979900-1361300941_thumb.jpg

post-31751-0-00165800-1361300990_thumb.jpg

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I would recommend that you call or email around and ask some companies about laser cutting this. I'm no expert in this, but I had a simple rectangle laser cut into some of my cases (only 25 of them), and the experience was pretty simple. I don't know about cost, but I'd expect that it'd be cheaper than the CNC.

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That board is my design based on the circuit posted by Ace on other forums for use of the BA6592F component encoder chip.

I did some trials with pin 17 during the prototype phase of making that component board, grounding it, leaving it floating, neither made a difference to my eyes, but I will go back and retest with the NS8 and see if it helps.

The only difference is I used the ths7314 rgb amp from the NS8 instead of the ncs2553 I normally use.

BTW the 2553 is cheaper and seems to have the same specs.

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I think I might be interested in getting one of these...

 

 

PLEASE - someone do this for the Atari 7800 and Intellivision!!!! :sad:

 

Bob

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I think I might be interested in getting one of these...

 

I know I am. I think I'll wait and see what the next revision might bring.

 

PLEASE - someone do this for the Atari 7800 and Intellivision!!!! :sad:

 

Bob

 

7800 maybe but Intellivision? Nearly every chip in most Intellivision aren't in production anymore so you'd have to desolder and remove every part. I checked the schematic and I can see only 4 or 5 chips that can still be bought today but Intellivision has an odd design with address and data lines. It is possible that not getting the exact version (ie getting 74HC4xxx series) could throw the system out of whack. Then there's 11 chips that are not in production and would have to be pulled out of Inty console. Here's a nice link: http://console5.com/wiki/Intellivision#Schematics

 

7800 is not as complex as Intellivision but still has quite a few chips to work with. Plus 7800 could benefit from a redesign as the stock 7800 motherboard is fairly large and impractical to hack into portable 7800 system.

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Placed my order today! I support all hardware projects like this. More working knowledge of hardware is never a bad thing :)

I'm excited to receive it.

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Making clones of the Intellivision and Atari 7800 would be a challenge. A Colecovision might be easier. But no, I'm not interested in cloning any other systems. I've seen attempts at cloning the Atari 2600 (using original chips) and they had limited success.

 

 

I came up with a new RGB video pinout for the 8 pin DIN connector. It allows RGB video converters using 5v to be powered by the NS8 through the video cable. Using the video ground (PPU pin 17) for a 5v load (like a video converter) may blow the PPU. That's why this pinout has a separate video ground and ground for 5v power. It may not be compatible with some Genesis RGB cables though.

 

I've also been asked about outputting mono sound (so the audio could also go through the RGB video cable.) There are a couple different ways to change the sound output to mono, before or after the amplifier. Probably the best way is to connect points A1 and A2 together with a jumper wire and only use one of the outputs. A switch could be used to select between mono and stereo output. The sound could also be mixed after the amplifier with resistors.

post-31751-0-44150500-1361486500_thumb.jpg

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Hey hey,

 

I bought the white Super 8 about a week and a half ago. I figure this will be a better place to discuss the system with you outside of ebay's restrictive character limit.

 

I tried linking the audio channels with two 10ohm resistors in series, and then ran one wire to the AV port and then bridged it again between the left and right audio pins under the SCART hood. This didn't work out very well at all, low audio that was very buzzy, however I bridged the channels by linking the phono jacks with resistors; maybe that is unoptimal.

 

So I undid all that and went back to how I was running it for the first week, which is as follows: It just so happened that the model 1 genesis SCART cable that I had free linked the mono channel across the left and right in the SCART hood. It then paralleled that split channel into a stereo phono jack breakout cable. So what was intended to be used as a Genesis audio output, I was using as a NES audio input, with the bonus that it mixed the channels together, which is what I wanted.

 

I was only trying to get the audio out of the Super 8's AV port because my SCART's audio breakout cord was too short; so i just put a longer one in it and all is well.

 

Something I have noticed is that unless the two phono jacks are hooked up the video brightness is significantly reduced. I love how bright the output is on my CRT, so much brighter than my other RGB NES.

 

But why the picture is only that bright with the audio hooked up does concern me. I am primarily concerned about a difference in power being fed to the PPU with the audio jacks hooked up then not. I am a layman so I can't begin to dechiper or second guess your PCB, and I have no evidence that there is anything to worry about at all, but given the age and rarity of these PPU's I'm sure you will forgive the inquiry.

 

 

The Super 8 has been fantastic so far. Sharp output, very bright, and loud audio. I have seen no glitches of any kind in the games i have tried on it, including a non-Mike Tyson Punchout.

 

The only place that I feel the Super 8 doesn't beat my other RGB NES is in sound quality. The other unit used a particular audio amp of some kind and while the audio is separated, it is quite punchy. The Super 8's audio is nice and loud, but sounds a bit tinny in comparison. But it is still loud and clear, much better than a stock NES, and with my current cable configuration it has much less audio buzz than is average for my old RGB systems.

 

 

Regarding your proposed alternate AV pinout. No Genesis SCART cable that I have purchased has ever carried the top right pin, and if it did, then I don't know where it would terminate in the SCART hood because pin 21 would already be taken by composite video. I know of a seller who does sell genesis SCART cables that carry the top right pin, but they would terminate that pin on 21 again for sync.

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I think I might try a different power supply setup, maybe something more like what the NES uses.

I touch the pot used to adjust output and the interference changes direction and speed...

Messing with pin 17 helped the interference a bit, but really messed up the colors, green seemed to be more dominate.

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Sad to hear your not interested in any other systems would still love better video out put for the Intellivision. Even if it meant DE soldering chips off an old board and then onto yours.

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Low_Budget, I'd like to offer you a proposal: Team up with BunnyBoy on NA! He's currently working on an HDMI piggyback addon board for the NES composite PPU. It reads the digital signal lines on the PPU and outputs 100% digital 480p video. It would be the perfect complement to your "Super 8" progject and would eliminate the need to sacrifice RBG PPUs to get cleaner video output. It would just be a shame if your super 8 wasn't compatible with it due to physical restraints.

 

I don't know much about the NES, but does the NES itself offer 100% compatiblity?

Yes, the NES is 100% compatible with the NES, just like the Atari 2600 is 100% compatible with the Atari 2600, and most any other game console is 100% compatible with itself. PCs not so much due to thousands of different hardware/software combinations. Edited by stardust4ever

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