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low_budget

"NES Super 8" project

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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.

480p means the output is being scaled in some fashion and cannot be displayed on most CRTs. This is bound to affect image quality and bring about some amount of display lag. As long as my stash of 240p capable CRTs last, I'll choose direct analog output to them. But that's just me, and my priorities.

 

I got to play some RGB NES and Genesis over the weekend, scaled by a XRGB Mini and displayed on a very nice plasma. The owner of the scaler couldn't get the display lag down to where I wouldn't notice it no matter what settings he tried. It looked fantastic, and eventually was quite playable, but when I got back to my CRT the instantaneous visual feedback from my input was unmistakable.

 

Although I am curious what the color palette of that hdmi thing is like compared to a stock NES. Some colors in some NES games change drastically when run on the RGB PPU.

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480p means the output is being scaled in some fashion and cannot be displayed on most CRTs. This is bound to affect image quality and bring about some amount of display lag. As long as my stash of 240p capable CRTs last, I'll choose direct analog output to them. But that's just me, and my priorities.

 

I got to play some RGB NES and Genesis over the weekend, scaled by a XRGB Mini and displayed on a very nice plasma. The owner of the scaler couldn't get the display lag down to where I wouldn't notice it no matter what settings he tried. It looked fantastic, and eventually was quite playable, but when I got back to my CRT the instantaneous visual feedback from my input was unmistakable.

 

Although I am curious what the color palette of that hdmi thing is like compared to a stock NES. Some colors in some NES games change drastically when run on the RGB PPU.

 

This XRGB Mini sounds like a real winner. Noticeable lag for just under $500!

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Some TV will have lag with HDMI. :( That is why modern console had options to adjust for lag so it'd "feel" like you're not having any lag. NES does not offer this as it was designed many years before HDMI became popular. So you'd need to find TV with HDMI input that doesn't have lag or a very short lag.

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The version 1.1 pcb has many things fixed including the on board 5v regulator footprint. I wouldn't have thought the ebay regulator was causing the problems though. I guess I won't be using those any more.

The PTH08080 regulator works great but it costs about $10. I'm sure a 7805 would work fine too.

 

v1.1 has a 10uF ceramic capacitor to ground in the 5v supply for the video circuit. I think this helps the overall picture.

 

As for grounding, I did a lot of testing with different setups and didn't see much difference between them. I improved the grounding on v1.1 of the NS8.

 

I may try tweaking the audio amp and see if I can get better sound. It's quite good now, but I want to see what effect changing the values of some of the caps will do.

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This project is awesome can't wait to see the final product! As for a composite video amp for crt, have you done the nesp video amp just 2 resistors (one 33 ohm and the 220 ohm) and a 2n4401 transistor. I used this circuit to replace the rf modulator in my toaster after it burnt up from a short and it a tad bright but it works beautifully on all my tv's

 

here's the circuit if interested:

 

nesp_amplifier.gif

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also, forgot to mention, have you ever thought of adding a 60-pin cart connector so that if one owns famicom carts or a disk system could they just have a toggle switch so when you play nes you flip a switch to read the 72 - pin and flip it again to play famicom from the 60 pin? because the adapters to play famicom games on a nes are expensive

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A dual slot system exists but unless someone plays with a lot of NES and Famicom carts a single slot plus an adapter is probably enough. Also if you get a PowerPak or Everdrive, it'll play almost every games without needing an adapter.

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I did start modifying the NES Super 8 PCB design but there are some things I need to consider:

 

#1 If I want to change the wiring of the two 74HC368 chips for the controller input.

 

On v1.0 and v1.1 it is the same as the front loader NES. It requires a 74HCU04 inverter between cart pins 65 and 58. This setup could be made with tap points for wiring all the expansion port pins of the NES, and Famicom as well.

 

I could change to the top loader NES input wiring. The U9 inverter could be removed and cart pins 65-58 wired to one of the 74HC368s instead. The downside would be not all NES expansion port pins would be available.

 

I could use Famicom wiring and have a microphone input! Nevermind, not that useful.

 

#2 Changing the clock circuit to a simpler one transistor version based on the top loader NES. I'm not sure if the two transistor version has a better signal.

 

If I do complete and manufacture a new PCB, I will also make sure there's additional room behind the cartridge for A/V and power jacks.

 

Adding a Famicom cart slot would make the PCB larger, and would no longer fit in the AG-85 case. I am trying to make the NS8 as small as possible so I did not include one.

 

That video amp actually will not work by itself, it needs the part built into the NES motherboard as well. I use an amp based on the 3906 transistor.

 

I have several v1.1 NS8 systems to sell. This will help fund my efforts to make the design better. Feedback from the systems I sold was very positive!

Complete RGB NES Super 8 in blue AG-85 case with PPU, CPU, power supply $450.

RGB NES Super 8 PCB $129

Composite NES Super 8 PCB $89.

 

I will no longer be listing my systems on eBay.

Edited by low_budget

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Great project! I would like to purchase a rgb version.

Great choice of case. I used the same for the Synthboy+ project.

I could custom cut some cases for you, if you are interested.

Vid link of me cutting that case with my cnc router.

http://youtu.be/sm3NdRe5Olc

 

003.jpg

More info on my site:

www.Ninstrument.com

 

 

Nice work. Great jig for the CNC router.

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Thanks grips03,

 

I have a few more samples coming from Polycase. I plan to cnc cut and screenprint them with Super8 graphics.

I will post when I have something to show.

Edited by dsc

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Thanks grips03,

 

I have a few more samples coming from Polycase. I plan to cnc cut and screenprint them with Super8 graphics.

I will post when I have something to show.

 

That's really cool. Can't wait to see!

 

Some progress on a new NES Super 8 PCB design I've been working on:

 

I think I may be able to add 1/2" clearance to the back of the NS8 PCB for A/V and power jacks without making the board bigger. This will move the cartridge slot about 1/4" forward in the case. I may need to relocate the controller ports forward and to the right as well. It will be a challenge to make room for a right angle PCB mount 8p DIN connector for RGB, but I'll try.

 

This will require a major redesign of the PCB, since I will have to make the same circuitry fit in a smaller space.

 

v1.0 and v1.1 had cart slot pin 37 connected to the 21.477... clock, same as in the NES. I don't believe this is necessary so I may remove it. The Famicom and NES top loader do not have this pin connected. Does anybody know if any NES cart needs this clock pin?

 

Also thank you everyone that tried out a NS8 system. It was very helpful in financing this project.

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I'm really impressed with the case! Original power switch too.

How did you do the cart slot cover?

 

Is there a reset button?

 

Did polycase do the cutting/screen printing?

Edited by low_budget

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Thank guys.

For the slot cover I used .060 aluminum. I attached a couple of custom hinges with springs from old 3.5 floppy drives. I cut the aluminum and polished it by hand.

At first I was going to CNC cut the case and the aluminum, but since I was only making one AND I was not totally sure it would turn out I decided to make the cuts by hand. Of course I also screen printed the top shell and the back panel insert with Nazdar 9700 screen ink. I have decades of experience with custom fabricated chassis' and I have

a complete fab shop (including screen-printing and making) in house to perform the custom work.

If you are interested in something specific, please visit my main site here:

www.AbsolutExtremes.com

 

The only recommendation I could offer for future PCB designs would be to choose through hole components (switches and fixtures) and plan them to be installed into the actual PCB and then into the AG-85 shell. It took the better part of three days deciding what components would fit and function in the AG-85 case from Polycase. Other than that I think you have a great idea that functions well, but I am biased using the AG-85 shell.

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Thank guys.

For the slot cover I used .060 aluminum. I attached a couple of custom hinges with springs from old 3.5 floppy drives. I cut the aluminum and polished it by hand.

At first I was going to CNC cut the case and the aluminum, but since I was only making one AND I was not totally sure it would turn out I decided to make the cuts by hand. Of course I also screen printed the top shell and the back panel insert with Nazdar 9700 screen ink. I have decades of experience with custom fabricated chassis' and I have

a complete fab shop (including screen-printing and making) in house to perform the custom work.

If you are interested in something specific, please visit my main site here:

www.AbsolutExtremes.com

 

The only recommendation I could offer for future PCB designs would be to choose through hole components (switches and fixtures) and plan them to be installed into the actual PCB and then into the AG-85 shell. It took the better part of three days deciding what components would fit and function in the AG-85 case from Polycase. Other than that I think you have a great idea that functions well, but I am biased using the AG-85 shell.

 

dsc your amazing!

 

Do you do any one off stuff for others?

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Thanks grips03,

 

There was time invested in it, and if low_budget makes it easier to route holes for specific switches and connectors in the next revision, then we could standardize

cut time and shipping etc. We could also standardize graphics. I just drew these up based on what I have seen and what was printed on the board.

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I will work on specific custom work and ideas. Please contact me through my 'contact' page.

I hope more of you support low_budget and purchase these ;-)

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low_budget with the redesign are you able to get 100% of the US games working with composite?

 

"low_budget does not comment on rumors or speculation"

Just joking, but working on this project made me understand why Microsoft and Sony always say that.

 

Right now I will say I am working on as many improvements as I can, including the video when using the composite PPU with Super Mario 3. I will not know how well the system will perform until I have a prototype for testing.

 

So far I have to re-route about 90% of the PCB traces. It is turning out to be a major redesign. It's hard to predict how the changes will effect everything.

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low_budget will the RP2C03B PPU work in the super 8? I'm having a rough time finding any more RC2C03B chips.

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low_budget will the RP2C03B PPU work in the super 8? I'm having a rough time finding any more RC2C03B chips.

I don't think there is any discernible difference in the two, but I used a RP in the 1.0, no problem.

There has been some chatter that the ??2c03'C' chip has less glitches, but even the glitches that the 'B's have is nothing to get too excited about, like in smb2 at game start falling down there is a little blue line on far right that jumps around. It's considered a glitch of the rgb chip, but really doesn't affect gameplay.

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