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Yurkie

Atari 2600 RGB mod

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It's YouTube; you were probably viewing in 480p30. My pop-up notice says to view in 720p60 mode, so that you can see the interleaved graphics.

 

Once you view in 720p60, the Harmony's menu looks incredibly legible via RGB, unlike viewing in RF where I have to strain my eyes to see what the heck is going on.

That option is not available to me. I switched to 720 HD (that's the best they offer) and the text still looks broken like before.

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That option is not available to me. I switched to 720 HD (that's the best they offer) and the text still looks broken like before.

That's bizarre. I wonder if that has something to do with YouTube in Germany (I see that your location is Germany)?

 

Either way, I can assure you that the menus on the Harmony Encore cartridge are 100% compatible with the 2600RGB. The menus actually look pretty amazing.

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Can someone post pics of pre RGB mod and post RGB mod for various games?

 

It would be great if the before was Atari 2600 with s-video.

 

I'm just wondering if the colors look the same with RGB or if they are a bit off.

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That option is not available to me. I switched to 720 HD (that's the best they offer) and the text still looks broken like before.

 

Only Google Chrome allows the 720p60 option, no other browser supports it as far as I'm aware.

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I've never soldered anything in my life, but this mod is getting me excited and I might give it try.

 

If doing this sort of install sounds fun I'm sure you can learn to solder and do it yourself. I'd recommend starting with some hobby kits or something a little less challenging to get your bearings. I would consider this an intermediate project. Soldering the sockets and pin headers isn't too bad with a good iron. A few things need to be desoldered which is easy with a proper desoldering iron, but can be a challenge with hand pumps or solder wicks. Two items need to be laid down on their sides which involves desoldering then re-soldering with little pieces of wire for leg extensions to put things in the right place. This doesn't have the benefit of being held in place by a through-hole and I think might challenging for a beginner. Alternately if you just want this mod in your Atari there are installers you can pay to do it. I think the thread originator is an installer. Also it's probably more cost effective to pay an installer than buy a good iron if you are unlikely to ever solder again.

Edited by collinp
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Alright, I soldered up a SCART cable so I could connect the Atari up to my Sony BVM via SCART->BNC cable. I can say with certainty that the brightness/dim difference that is apparent on the XRGB-mini is NOT present on the BVM, so it is definitely just the way that the XRGB-mini is processing different types of sources.

 

Here's some pictures:

 

Pitfall on Sony BVM

 

pitfall-bvm.jpg

 

 

Pitfall in RGB vs. Pitfall in Composite on Sony BVM

 

 

pitfall-bvm-rgb.jpg

pitfall-bvm-cvbs.jpg

 

 

 

Close up detail comparison

 

 

pitfall-bvm-rgb-close.jpg

pitfall-bvm-cvbs-close.jpg

 

 

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Alright, I soldered up a SCART cable so I could connect the Atari up to my Sony BVM via SCART->BNC cable. I can say with certainty that the brightness/dim difference that is apparent on the XRGB-mini is NOT present on the BVM, so it is definitely just the way that the XRGB-mini is processing different types of sources.

 

Here's some pictures:

 

Pitfall on Sony BVM

 

pitfall-bvm.jpg

 

 

Pitfall in RGB vs. Pitfall in Composite on Sony BVM

 

 

pitfall-bvm-rgb.jpg

pitfall-bvm-cvbs.jpg

 

 

 

Close up detail comparison

 

 

pitfall-bvm-rgb-close.jpg

pitfall-bvm-cvbs-close.jpg

 

 

 

The Framemeister has to be set individually for each source. Default setting are not always perfect.

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The Framemeister has to be set individually for each source. Default setting are not always perfect.

I understand that default settings are not going to be perfect; I've had it for years and use it as a video processor for many different consoles. Given that the point of this kit is to get RGB from the 2600 it's obviously worth comparing RGB to S-Video and Composite, and I chose not to tweak the settings to make any input look better lest we defeat the entire point of doing the comparison to begin with (i.e. if the kit really did have dimmer RGB output then tweaking the settings would have just covered it up). Hence why I also used another display to compare as well, to eliminate the processor or display as a factor.

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I understand that default settings are not going to be perfect; I've had it for years and use it as a video processor for many different consoles. Given that the point of this kit is to get RGB from the 2600 it's obviously worth comparing RGB to S-Video and Composite, and I chose not to tweak the settings to make any input look better lest we defeat the entire point of doing the comparison to begin with (i.e. if the kit really did have dimmer RGB output then tweaking the settings would have just covered it up). Hence why I also used another display to compare as well, to eliminate the processor or display as a factor.

 

While I understand the rationale, the way the Framemeister handles AV vs RGB is so different, that you might as well be comparing Processor A to Processor B.

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While I understand the rationale, the way the Framemeister handles AV vs RGB is so different, that you might as well be comparing Processor A to Processor B.

Hence why I also used another display to compare as well, to eliminate the processor or display as a factor.

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Has anyone tried Warlords?

 

I'm having some trouble with Warlords via RGB to an XRGB-mini. I can sometimes see a stable image but then the screen goes black after a few seconds and stays that way. This is using either a Harmony or the original cart. It works fine via composite or s-video from the 2600RGB so this may be an XRGB-mini issue. Hopefully this is a setting I can tweak on the XRGB, but so far I haven't found anything that works.

 

All other games I've tried work great and look absolutely fabulous though.

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Has anyone tried Warlords?

 

I'm having some trouble with Warlords via RGB to an XRGB-mini. I can sometimes see a stable image but then the screen goes black after a few seconds and stays that way. This is using either a Harmony or the original cart. It works fine via composite or s-video from the 2600RGB so this may be an XRGB-mini issue. Hopefully this is a setting I can tweak on the XRGB, but so far I haven't found anything that works.

 

All other games I've tried work great and look absolutely fabulous though.

Can you adjust the sync level?

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Has anyone tried Warlords?

 

I'm having some trouble with Warlords via RGB to an XRGB-mini. I can sometimes see a stable image but then the screen goes black after a few seconds and stays that way. This is using either a Harmony or the original cart. It works fine via composite or s-video from the 2600RGB so this may be an XRGB-mini issue. Hopefully this is a setting I can tweak on the XRGB, but so far I haven't found anything that works.

 

All other games I've tried work great and look absolutely fabulous though.

You should throw Medieval Mayhem on your Harmony.

 

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Can you adjust the sync level?

 

I tried a higher sync level and lower sync level relative to the default, but I have not tried sweeping over the whole sync range yet. I will try the whole range, maybe this evening. I have to stop the game to get the xrgb menus back so it's a bit of a slow process.

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Has anyone tried Warlords?

 

I'm having some trouble with Warlords via RGB to an XRGB-mini. I can sometimes see a stable image but then the screen goes black after a few seconds and stays that way. This is using either a Harmony or the original cart. It works fine via composite or s-video from the 2600RGB so this may be an XRGB-mini issue. Hopefully this is a setting I can tweak on the XRGB, but so far I haven't found anything that works.

 

All other games I've tried work great and look absolutely fabulous though.

Warlords drops sync on my Framemeister as well, but I didn't have the time to mess with the sync settings. It works fine on my BVM monitor though.

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Looks like VSYNC is set at the wrong time:

post-3056-0-94089800-1440121332_thumb.png


The VSYNC should be done just after the WSYNC like this:

  STA WSYNC
  STA VSYNC

I did a quick hack of the ROM using Stella to fix the order.

warlords_sync_test.a26

 

Do note that the hack messes up the position of the left side kings:

post-3056-0-12092500-1440121434_thumb.png


If that hack fixes your sync problem I'll look into correcting the king position in the hack.

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Looks like VSYNC is set at the wrong time:

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2015-08-20 at 8.34.15 PM.png


The VSYNC should be done just after the WSYNC like this:

  STA WSYNC
  STA VSYNC

I did a quick hack of the ROM using Stella to fix the order.

attachicon.gifwarlords_sync_test.a26

 

Do note that the hack messes up the position of the left side kings:

attachicon.gifwarlords_test.png


If that hack fixes your sync problem I'll look into correcting the king position in the hack.

 

 

Oh nice. That appears to fix it. Thanks. I guess the XRGB-mini isn't quite as tolerant to incorrect timing as a CRT. If you manage to fix the king position I for one would be happy.

 

I wonder how many other Atari titles will be discovered with other video timing errors that the XRGB-mini doesn't like on RGB.

 

Thanks again.

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I am pretty sure there are more ROMs which will face the same problem. Instead of hacking them all, wouldn't it be a better idea (if possible) to make the XRGB-mini a bit more tolerant (like CRTs are)?

 

I had a brief look at the Warlords code. It seems that it produces the VSYNC signal for ~3.2 scan lines (starting with the 0.2 or ~14 cycle scan line). AFAIK at least 3 scan lines are required. I don't know about a requirement that partial scan lines are forbidden. So Warlord seems to met the specs.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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