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13 minutes ago, Steven Pendleton said:

Yeah, I didn't get a chance to check it yet. Should be able to do that today, I think, once I get a little free time later tonight. Might as well actually play it for a while, too, since it's a great game.

It's really hard though... it's 3 lives then game over... no continues. Farthest I have gotten is stage 3.

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16 minutes ago, DragonGrafx-16 said:

It's really hard though... it's 3 lives then game over... no continues. Farthest I have gotten is stage 3.

Yeah, it is definitely a hard game. I think I made it about halfway through stage 2, but I haven't really played it much and in general I only play shooters until I die for the first time and then turn it off, most likely a leftover habit from R-Type that I need to break. I really like the music in this game, though, so I really don't mind playing the first few levels over and over again!

 

I think it might be a good general recommendation for the system given its relatively low price at least here in Japan, but its difficulty might result in some frustration for some.

 

Speaking of difficult games, I still haven't been able to beat 1941 Counter Attack. I can make it to the last level with no problem usually, but the last level is really hard compared to the rest of the game.

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I played TG16 Dragon Spirit a ton at the height of my gaming prowess, and never finished it.

 

Only now 30 years later using the TurboGrafx 16 mini and save states was I able to beat it “without getting hit once”.  Even using save states it was tough.. I would venture to say the game is near impossible to complete normally, at least for me 😂

 

I think one of the primary difficulties in the later stages is the dragon sprite is very large and you get to points where your maneuverability is very limited with spikes on the wall, etc.

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Finally got me a Duo...
14bcc5c6d420e457ac3ebd1257501609.jpg
$95 shipped. :) Lightning-fast DHL shipment from Japan too!

Took a peek inside and it seems no one has ever serviced it so I placed an order from Console5. I could've sworn I had preemptively bought another Duo cap kit back in May but I guess not. Looks like I did buy one for a Super CD-ROM² but, well, I still don't have one of those. :(

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55 minutes ago, CZroe said:

Finally got me a Duo...
14bcc5c6d420e457ac3ebd1257501609.jpg
$95 shipped. :) Lightning-fast DHL shipment from Japan too!

Took a peek inside and it seems no one has ever serviced it so I placed an order from Console5. I could've sworn I had preemptively bought another Duo cap kit back in May but I guess not. Looks like I did buy one for a Super CD-ROM² but, well, I still don't have one of those. :(

The headphone jack system. Everyone knows that I love headphone jacks, and at one point I was seriously considering the DUO instead of the recommended DUO-R or DUO-RX just so I could have a PC Engine with a headphone jack.

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The headphone jack system. Everyone knows that I love headphone jacks, and at one point I was seriously considering the DUO instead of the recommended DUO-R or DUO-RX just so I could have a PC Engine with a headphone jack.

Yep. I did notice the terminal closest to the front on the headphone volume potentiometer was blackened from a nearby leaked capacitor so it looks like I might need to repair or replace it. That was actually the worst damage I could see so, overall, it looked pretty good. About a million times better than the Turbo Duo I did a couple years ago where someone attempted to recap it before I did and pads were flaking off left and right. It literally had some of the owner's radial leaded caps rolling around inside when I unpacked it with the pads still attached. That's one good reason not to replace SMD caps with leaded caps! On that one I also had trouble with a lot of corroded vias and, well, I see black in several of these too so I'll be examining those very closely and patching if needed.

 

I already have the right tips to rig up a power adapter but I haven't tested it yet. The seller says it plays HuCards fine so at least we know it's mostly functional already. atariage_icon_smile.gif

 

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I forgot to mention this last week but I also got another Turbo-CD drive for $125. It just needed a replacement gear so I gave it an original clear one salvaged from a PC Engine CD-ROM². It seems the clear ones do not degrade over time like the white ones that turn yellow.

The same day I saw a bundle with two NEC CDR-35D drives for $52. I hesitated too long and someone else bought them. D: Well, at least I know it's still possible to find them cheap!4effae2a99511cea3a3722df21148bf3.jpg

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18 minutes ago, CZroe said:

Yep. I did notice the terminal closest to the front on the headphone volume potentiometer was blackened from a nearby leaked capacitor so it looks like I might need to repair or replace it. That was actually the worst damage I could see so, overall, it looked pretty good. About a million times better than the Turbo Duo I did a couple years ago where someone attempted to recap it before I did and pads were flaking off left and right. It literally had some of the owner's radial leaded caps rolling around inside when I unpacked it with the pads still attached. That's one good reason not to replace SMD caps with leaded caps! On that one I also had trouble with a lot of corroded vias and, well, I see black in several of these too so I'll be examining those very closely and patching if needed.

 

I already have the right tips to rig up a power adapter but I haven't tested it yet. The seller says it plays HuCards fine so at least we know it's mostly functional already. atariage_icon_smile.gif

 

Good that it doesn't seem so bad! Every game system should have a headphone jack. Thankfully, basically all of my favourite consoles (Genesis/MD, Neo Geo AES, and DUO in the case of the PC Engine, although the GT does have one as well) have headphone jacks. If only the SuperGrafx had one...

 

The last time I inspected a DUO, I noticed that its volume knob was completely missing, sadly. The original DUO is a very nice design aesthetically. It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be and overall a very pleasant design. Too bad they have terrible caps.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Good that it doesn't seem so bad! Every game system should have a headphone jack. Thankfully, basically all of my favourite consoles (Genesis/MD, Neo Geo AES, and DUO in the case of the PC Engine, although the GT does have one as well) have headphone jacks. If only the SuperGrafx had one...   The last time I inspected a DUO, I noticed that its volume knob was completely missing, sadly. The original DUO is a very nice design aesthetically. It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be and overal a very pleasant design. Too bad they have terrible caps.

 

 

 Yeah. I must've said to my twin brother 10 times in the last 24 hours that it is a lot smaller than I remember/expected. atariage_icon_smile.gif

 

 

Anyway, the GBA losing the built-in headphone jack with the GBA SP must've really struck a nerve for you! Somewhere around here I have that really rare Nintendo-branded headphone jack adapter you could only order direct from Nintendo.

 

 

I think Nintendo avoided selling it in stores so it would not appear that they took the headphone jack out just to make money by selling adapters because there was obviously a market for it. Every electronics store had unofficial/3rd party adapters.

 

 

Regarding Duo volume dials, I recall the dial coming off on the one I repaired for someone but I was able to solder it back on. The corroded solder joints were really that bad!

 

 

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1 minute ago, CZroe said:

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah. I must've said to my twin brother 10 times in the last 24 hours that it is a lot smaller than I remember/expected. atariage_icon_smile.gif

 

 

Anyway, the GBA losing the built-in headphone jack with the GBA SP must've really struck a nerve for you! Somewhere around here I have that really rare Nintendo-branded headphone jack adapter you could only order direct from Nintendo.

 

 

I think Nintendo avoided selling it in stores so it would not appear that they took the headphone jack out just to make money by selling adapters because there was obviously a market for it. Every electronics store had unofficial/3rd party adapters.

 

My god I hated the GBA SP's missing headphone jack! I do have the third party one that lets you charge it and use headphones at the same time, though! Unfortunately, I don't have that here with me. I do have the Nintendo-branded headphone jack adaptor right here in my desk, though.

 

But yeah, the original DUO is a beautiful game system. It's way smaller than you'd think, and it's also relatively light and portable, most likely so you can use it with that crazy rare and expensive PC Engine DUO Monitor that I have yet to see in person. I guess there is also like some sort of battery pack or something for it, too, so you can take it camping and play it in the middle of the woods with the monitor or something:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Battery-Pack-for-PC-Engine-Duo-NEC-Japan-NEW-C/231482061121

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I hated it as well so I got that piece, and I still have one around here I think in my gb caddy on a cabinet or in the desk here as I don't want to lose it.  GBA audio on headphones typically is just fantastic, so it sucks having to use that garbage, and worse lacking a pass through so you can't even use and charge at the same time.  I get space was a premium but it just still seems like a stupid oversight.

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Bah, on another note it looks like all the TG16/PCE/Coregfx Minis have gone the route of the NES Mini. i.e. zero stock anywhere and only scalpers. (even amazon.co.jp). And who the heck knows if and when they're coming back. Pity as I was wanting to buy one as a birthday gift

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15 minutes ago, NE146 said:

Bah, on another note it looks like all the TG16/PCE/Coregfx Minis have gone the route of the NES Mini. i.e. zero stock anywhere and only scalpers. (even amazon.co.jp). And who the heck knows if and when they're coming back. Pity as I was wanting to buy one as a birthday gift

Yeah, I was just checking the CoreGrafx mini stock yesterday and noticed this. Not much I can do now but wait to see if it gets restocked.

 

Amazon Japan still has the PC Engine mini, though, if you want it:

 

https://www.amazon.co.jp/コナミデジタルエンタテインメント-PCエンジン-mini/dp/B07QHNRVYV/ref=sr_1_2?__mk_ja_JP=カタカナ&dchild=1&keywords=pc%2Bengine%2Bmini&qid=1598449396&sr=8-2&th=1

 

The other 2 types are 3rd party ripoffs only, unfortunately.

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3 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

Yeah, I was just checking the CoreGrafx mini stock yesterday and noticed this. Not much I can do now but wait to see if it gets restocked.

 

Amazon Japan still has the PC Engine mini, though, if you want it:

 

https://www.amazon.co.jp/コナミデジタルエンタテインメント-PCエンジン-mini/dp/B07QHNRVYV/ref=sr_1_2?__mk_ja_JP=カタカナ&dchild=1&keywords=pc%2Bengine%2Bmini&qid=1598449396&sr=8-2&th=1

 

The other 2 types are 3rd party ripoffs only, unfortunately.

Yeah I saw that.. I guess it's fully possible I could "rebox" my TG16 mini which is essentially new (he wouldn't mind the saved games), and send that to him. And then I'd get the PCE for myself. The game selection differences aren't that huge a deal.. I'd basically lose Salamander and Splatterhouse (both games I've been done with for decades) but it just sucks because I of course prefer to have a pad with turbo switches :lol: Yes I know you can buy it separately but man what a hassle, especially for a just a reproduction USB controller. 😛 

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10 hours ago, NE146 said:

Yeah I saw that.. I guess it's fully possible I could "rebox" my TG16 mini which is essentially new (he wouldn't mind the saved games), and send that to him. And then I'd get the PCE for myself. The game selection differences aren't that huge a deal.. I'd basically lose Salamander and Splatterhouse (both games I've been done with for decades) but it just sucks because I of course prefer to have a pad with turbo switches :lol: Yes I know you can buy it separately but man what a hassle, especially for a just a reproduction USB controller. 😛 

If you want to do that, there's an option to factory reset the system so it can be "new" again. There aren't too many games on here where you might miss the turbo, but it's still something to consider in case you want to play Super Darius, Fantasy Zone, Space Harrier, Dragon Spirit, and Aldynes to some extent since you have to disable the turbo so you can hold II to use your little shield thingy. I think most of the rest should be fine without it.

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10 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

If you want to do that, there's an option to factory reset the system so it can be "new" again. There aren't too many games on here where you might miss the turbo, but it's still something to consider in case you want to play Super Darius, Fantasy Zone, Space Harrier, Dragon Spirit, and Aldynes to some extent since you have to disable the turbo so you can hold II to use your little shield thingy. I think most of the rest should be fine without it.

Yeah turbo switches it's just what I'm fully used to with the Turbografx seeing how it's what came with the console 30 years ago. 

 

For example I can't imagine playing Bonk's Adventure without it. Nearly floating in the air by spinning nonstop with turbo is half my strategy throughout the entire game! :lol: 

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2 minutes ago, NE146 said:

Yeah turbo switches it's just what I'm fully used to with the Turbografx seeing how it's what came with the console 30 years ago. 

 

For example I can't imagine playing Bonk's Adventure without it. Nearly floating in the air by spinning nonstop with turbo is half my strategy throughout the entire game! :lol: 

lol to be honest, there really isn't much to that game other than floating over to the boss room with the turbo switch on...

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On 8/26/2020 at 9:27 AM, NE146 said:

Bah, on another note it looks like all the TG16/PCE/Coregfx Minis have gone the route of the NES Mini. i.e. zero stock anywhere and only scalpers. (even amazon.co.jp). And who the heck knows if and when they're coming back. Pity as I was wanting to buy one as a birthday gift

UGH.  I was coming in here to say I wanted to finally get around to looking for a EURO version.  THe PCE in japan has the good game list, but the no turbo buttons minimal control and the US system it's just crap to me.  This doesn't make me feel comfortable if Konami has already felt a reason to call it cashed in which I hope isn't the case.  I'm with you I want it to feel right with the switches.  I've never had a base TG16 thought it looked dumb and didn't care for it.  I started on a US Duo with switches, then the CG2 with that, and Duo(JP) again with that.

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Yeah I caved in earlier today and ordered the PCE Mini from Amazon.jp. I'll be fine with it and I guess I can (hopefully) buy the coregrafx/tg16 mini pad if I ever felt the need. 

 

I'm boxing my TG16 Mini and sending it to my brother for his birthday 😛

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I picked up an UperGrafx version 02. I know the main selling point is digital video to HDMI, but I honestly bought it for the accurate CD emulation. The SSD3 or whatever is pretty trash when it comes to CD emulation accuracy. It's a little clunky to setup at first, but it's really that big of a deal once you learn your way around the software. I still have a Turbo EverDrive, so it doesn't really bother me that it can only emulate hucards cards up to 512k rom. It can emulate the System card 3.0 with the extra ram, which is nice if you plan to use the Arcade Card Duo with it. And I can still use the TeD with the hacked syscard 3.0 image that gives you 512k of ram (nice for translations, hacking, or just making new homebrew stuff). You CAN use it to rip your own hucards, which I think adds a personal touch to roms (i.e. coming from your collection). You have two banks of 'BRAM' you can select, or 'MMC' where it just writes to the card. Like with the connection to the PC to rip hucards, you can also transfer the BRAM bank data to your PC.

 

It doesn't rip CDs though. He has a link to "CD manipulator", which is free, and is basically just Clone CD in disguise. The .CDM files are just CCD text files with just a slightly different string for the header. Apparently there wasn't enough room to add a FAT system reader, so instead you need to use his custom software to load the CD images onto the SD card (it stores them as hard offsets on the card, with a table to the offsets). A little annoying at first, but not deal after doing it a few times. Just a bit of warning; if you want to convert your existing rips, you can just mount them in a virtual driver and use CD manipulator to rip from that drive - but you'll need to have the more advance SCSI/IDE drivers for the virtual drive (they're free, and daemon tools has an option to install if you choose that setup.. but it does not automatically do this for you until you choose any option other than 'VT').

 

There's a fast mode that you can enable for CD reading, for games that are not sensitive to transfer rate. I saw a video with a patched 'fast read' for the sys card that you can also use in combination with this (it's really fast for Arcade Card games). There's a 3.5mm jack on the unit for analog sound. The CD sound levels seem pretty decent, with what appears to be CD audio being louder than chipsound compared to the real CD units. This is a plus for me, because a lot of CD games used really basic SFX for chipsound (unclear why when they had ALL six channels to make some nice sounds with), and lowering that chipsound volume is preferred.

 

There are two modes of HDMI output; 1080p and 720p. There's a scanline option for both, but 720p has a slightly more pronounced and even scanline look. It's not a very strong scanline gap effect, but it's a welcome option (I'm not a fan of straight solid pixels). Unfortunately, there is no option for any sort of screen/line filtering. And, unfortunately, you can only have one configuration on the device at a time; so you can't just choose between on the fly. For the aspect ratio, you definitely want 'adjusted' over 'fixed', I'm not sure what 'fixed' is supposed to be (evenly divisible?), but it's wider than the pixel aspect ratio of the system's video. 1080p doesn't appear to have noticeable horizontal shimmering regardless of game's resolution, but 'adjusted' aspect ratio has vertical shimmering in this mode. 720p is just the opposite. It's note really the fault of the device, because the only way to solve this is through a filtered stretch, or output something like 4k. Most PCE games run in 256px mode, so 720p was the best option for me. If you're actually planning on playing a session of a game for like 30mins to a couple of hours, just reconfigure the device for the mode that looks the best. There is a required calibration step when you first get the unit: you need to have the system warmed up for about 20mins, and then run the calibration option in the his software. This will help sync the encoder to your specific system. This eliminates frame rate conversion issues. The PCE has two frame rates of 60.4hz and 58.9hz (it's whatever the game sets the VCE to ). The upergrafx gives you three options to choose from (60hz, original, and 58hz). Choosing 'original' allows it to use whatever the game chooses (which the game can change on the fly). My HD set had no problem with 'original' setting, and I saw no dropped frames using 240p test suite, after calibration.

 

 Apparently you can capture screen shots while in game. Not sure I really care about that, but it might be useful for debugging for development. Dunno.

 

 Through his custom software, you can set a 'per game' settings that overrides most or all of the main profile settings (including which BRAM option to use). I used it with my SuperGrafx, so I'm glad that the device stand vertical. I don't want the SGX to be any longer than it already is. While the support for HDMI is nice, I still mainly use the composite output. I plan to build a 'real' s-video output with SamIam's design - not that crap out there that does s-video from RGB, or the ones that attempt to make s-video by doing a poor man's CVBS separation but leave Luma in the C signal (why???!!!!). The PCE/SGX/TG16 has a custom set of Y/U/V colors in a rom inside the VCE. It's a digital conversion with emphasis on skintones and certain other color ranges. I can't stand the RGB mods out there because it makes the colors look worse for some games. And there's no RGB mod that converts it using a table right now, so it's definitely not an option for me. S-video looks pretty damn sharp already, so I'm fine with that. Why am I mentioning all of this? Because the UperGrafx HDMI encoder can take YUV values, and since we've recently dumped the 512 YUV table from the VCE's rom, the author is in the process of making that palette as an option. That will make HDMI output a more attractive option.

 

 Overall, I bought it for the accuracy of CD emulation. Anything is just bonus. Sure, it's $420 after shipping, but a SuperCD addon, recapped, is going to run you pretty close to that (and doesn't have all these other features). The fact that I'm doing some dev work for the CD units as well, makes this attractive in that I don't have to burn CDRs and I don't have to worry about crap CD emulation (SSD3).

 

 There is one catch though if you have an SGX; apparently the dumbasses who design the SGX took the VDC 1 pixel bus pins to the expansion bus rather than taking them from the video priority controller. So without a mod, you can't see the 2nd VDC in HDMI output. Not the upergafx's fault, but I will be doing the 9 wire mod sometime soon on my SGX.

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18 minutes ago, Steven Pendleton said:

What's wrong with the SSDS3's CD games? I forgot.

It doesn't have accurate access times and timing for the CD interface, which a lot of games rely on (either out of sync audio in cinemas, so other issues). And they weren't interested improving accuracy to fix it. Dave Shadoff tried working with them, but they didn't care, so he reached out to the UperGrafx author and together they really refined the emulation through all the tests they did. 

Edited by turboxray
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5 minutes ago, turboxray said:

It doesn't have accurate access times and timing for the CD interface, which a lot of games rely on (either out of sync audio in cinemas, so other issues). And they weren't interested improving accuracy to fix it. Dave Shadoff tried working with them, but they didn't care, so he reached out to the UperGrafx author and together they really refined the emulation through all the tests they did. 

Okay, yeah, that might explain the slight desync in the cutscenes in Rondo. It's been a while since I played it on my CD-ROM2 and I don't really plan on using it again since it doesn't really work all that well...

 

Unfortunately, its previous owner opened it at one point and stripped one of the screws when doing so, and that screw freely falls out of the bottom of the CD-ROM2 of its own accord.

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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3 hours ago, turboxray said:

<snip>

While the support for HDMI is nice, I still mainly use the composite output.

<snip>

Very interesting, thanks for posting your impressions on this device.  I have a Super SD System 3 but am getting annoyed at the disc speed inaccuracies and of course the messed up audio, and am seriously considering an UperGraxf.

 

I didn't realize you could just use the console's composite output and treat the UperGrafx as just an ODE (I would rather just run the original composite video to a CRT or through an upscaler).  Does everything function 100% through the composite output (menu, CD audio, etc.)?

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11 minutes ago, newtmonkey said:

Very interesting, thanks for posting your impressions on this device.  I have a Super SD System 3 but am getting annoyed at the disc speed inaccuracies and of course the messed up audio, and am seriously considering an UperGraxf.

 

I didn't realize you could just use the console's composite output and treat the UperGrafx as just an ODE (I would rather just run the original composite video to a CRT or through an upscaler).  Does everything function 100% through the composite output (menu, CD audio, etc.)?

Yes the menu shows through composite, surprisingly. He doesn't route CDDA and ADPCM to the mono in-line on the back of the expansion port (like how the SuperCD addon does with coregrafx and supergrafx), but you wouldn't really want that anyway because it's mono. So there's a 3.5mm stereo audio jack on the device, and it has everything - chip sound, CDDA, ADPCM. 

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