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The PC Engine SD - PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 with SCART & SD cards

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Ola Retronians,

 

It's been a while since my last build, about a year to be exact, with the STARFORCE NEO. Since then I've been still hard at work with the STARFORCE PI, but in parallel I've been working on my own side project. One major system I built is almost done, the Sega Omega Drive, but in the meanwhile I made a fun little side project with a PC Engine I got for Xmas last year. My latest creation: the PC Engine SD:

 

pcenginesd_console1.png?w=1024&h=682

Built inside a converted 1990 Amstrad GX4000 case, the system features an original first-model PC Engine motherboard which means the games aren’t emulated, the best RGB analog audio/video signal through component, composite or SCART output, full compatibility with PC Engine peripherals such as controllers and multitaps, and an SD-to-HuCard reader using the Turbo Everdrive V2.5 supporting all PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 games. The SD card simply slots in the front, together with the controller (or controllers via a multitap), and the system is ready to be used. No load times – Plug’n’Play!

 

pcenginesd_boxart_hd_side4.png?w=700

 

Relative to my other builds, like the STARFORCE NEO or the upcoming Sega Omega Drive, this was a relatively fast and straightforward build. It took 2 months in total to finish, and cost about €225 to build, including controllers, SCART cable, adapter, and multitap. I would’ve liked to collect for this system, but I noticed prices for PC engine games were just becoming ridiculous, and because I don’t have a childhood connection to the system, I had no problem simply switching to SD cards.
It turned out rather nice! Very simple, still quite compact and attractive, and with a really 1990s edge to the look.
pcenginesd_boxart.png?w=700
PC Engine SD SPECS:
  • Authentic NEC PC Engine Model 1 Hardware
  • PC Engine & TurboGrafx-16 Compatible
  • 1x PC Engine Controller Input (Compatible with 5 Player Multitap)
  • Composite/Component/SCART RGB Audio/Video Output
  • SD-to-HuCard Conversion via Turbo EverDrive 2.5
  • Standard SD Card Compatible (Up to 32GB)
  • Vintage 1990 Amstrad GX4000 Converted Case
  • Dimensions: 25 x 4.4 x 18.4 cm, Weight: 0.9kg (2lbs)
pcenginesd_boxart_hd_side3.png?w=700
I'll try and get some more pictures uploaded, and make a video of it working. I still have a few things to do on the Sega Omega Drive build I'm finishing.
Edited by StarForcePilot
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I mean...I think it is absolutely beautiful. The only thing which would make it just a bit cooler would be the ability to play real hueys (and CD games!), but it's completely understandable it does not, and it still kicks all sort of ass. Love it.

 

What do you do with this stuff StarForce? I get the idea of tinkering just to tinker but the way you work up art/spec sheets etc...do you plan to sell these? You go ALL out.

 

(Ok, one last thing....I kind of wish the case was white and the logo was red to make it more PC-Enginey.)

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That's neat! But what about the reliability of 30yo hardware? I read so much about busted capacitors, I'd hate to have an expensive custom thing fail.

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I mean...I think it is absolutely beautiful. The only thing which would make it just a bit cooler would be the ability to play real hueys (and CD games!), but it's completely understandable it does not, and it still kicks all sort of ass. Love it.

 

What do you do with this stuff StarForce? I get the idea of tinkering just to tinker but the way you work up art/spec sheets etc...do you plan to sell these? You go ALL out.

 

(Ok, one last thing....I kind of wish the case was white and the logo was red to make it more PC-Enginey.)

 

I got a PC Engine for Xmas, and the thing didn't have AV, just RF. So I bought a booster PCB for it that supported SCART, and then I played the R-Type port on it and I was hooked. Then I looked at the prices of hucards and thought, yeah I'm never going to get more than a few games, I'll stick with buying mega drive games. So, one Everdrive card later I had my PC Engine setup and it was ugly, full of bare PCBs. This is why I put it in a GX4000 case, it was slightly bigger and much cooler looking. I definately coulda done white, but this was just sort of a quick little side venture to my main Sega build. Besides, black is more forgiving, and it fit better with the controller (I had a white controller, but it was very yellowed). It's trivial, but I like the entire look of the thing to gel, even going so far as to make boxart for it!

 

box1.png?w=1051&h=&crop&ssl=1&zoom=2

 

I don't plan to sell these individual builds, I mean not directly, maybe when I leave my current contract and I just do a fire-sale of everything, but I like building up systems to a point that they look store-bought. The STARFORCE PI is the system that I'm trying to get off the ground, but that's a bit more complicated than a single system. Thanks for the comment!

 

That's neat! But what about the reliability of 30yo hardware? I read so much about busted capacitors, I'd hate to have an expensive custom thing fail.

 

Cheers! It's a good point, and to be honest, I blew out the first board I used. But I got the second one straight outta japan, seemed pretty legit and I've seperated the boards inside. Also, I make all my systems accessible for later tweaking, I don't always get it right the first go, so I invariably have to go back in. Hot glue is only for last resort or trivial fixins

 

Any particular reason as to why the GX4000 case is backward (I mean the front is used as the back of your build and viceversa)?

 

A very particular reason, I was going to have it in the original way, but then I thought that makes little sense: I want the output ports and DC adapter covered up more, and the power button/controller port/sd card reader visible and easily accessible. Especially because the PC Engine has that round 8 pin connecter that has to go in just right, this would be under the GX 'wing' as it were. I'd have to lift up the front, peek under the wing, align the controller plug right, nah. Or I would have to have the controller at the side, but with the PC Engine having only 1 controller port, the symmetry was more pleasing to have it in the middle, and the power button and sd card reader flanking it. SO... to cut a long story short, it was esthetics more than anything.

Edited by StarForcePilot
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Wow! Great work! Seems real released product!

 

 

Maybe will better do 3D printing to not destroy a Amstrad GX4000 and for it's preservation :)

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Wow! Great work! Seems real released product!

 

 

Maybe will better do 3D printing to not destroy a Amstrad GX4000 and for it's preservation :)

 

 

If it went into production, certainly, but it's just a one-off build, and I bought an empty case for 10 pound on eBay. I'm always looking for empty cases online, they're cheap and full of potential.

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I'm subscribed now at your newsl :)

 

 

Cheers Gulps! I'm just finishing my big Sega build so stay tuned for that.

 

 

I'm so curious about the genesis faders you added.

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I'm subscribed now at your newsl :)

 

 

 

 

I'm so curious about the genesis faders you added.

 

 

Awesome! Just in time, I'll send out a newsletter by the end of next week with more information on the build and SFP development. I'm really close, I have to finish the stickers and add a small cover at the back and then it's done. I'll probably do a photoshoot of it this weekend, but the video will take some time to make and edit. But it will feature the PC Engine SD, as well as the Sega Omega Drive :)

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Lets play some PC Engine games! Check the original blog here.

1.png?w=350&h=526&crop&ssl=1

Firs let's hooking up the PC Engine SD via SCART to the Sega Omega Drive

2.png?w=342&h=261&crop&ssl=14.png?w=342&h=261&crop&ssl=1

Then: PLAY! One of the best versions of R-Type, the grimey Alien Crush and the excellent Bonk!

51.png?w=346&h=210&crop&ssl=16.png?w=346&h=210&crop&ssl=1

The video output does not go through the SLG-in-a-box, but rather a scanline generator to SCART/HD converter. This allows both the Genesis board and external console to play in parallel, with a secondary monitor.

7.png?w=346&h=252&crop&ssl=18.png?w=346&h=252&crop&ssl=1

Good Times.

Edited by StarForcePilot

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These are soooo cool. Better than the best new retro gaming products made today. Wish these were available to purchase in stores! :)

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These are soooo cool. Better than the best new retro gaming products made today. Wish these were available to purchase in stores! :)

 

Cheers! I'm still working on a Raspberry Pi system that should bring a very solid approximation to arcade gaming, in a somewhat portable factor, and affordable: the STARFORCE PI. But I'm still prototyping. Currently I'm testing link-cable possibilities, it looks promising!

Edited by StarForcePilot

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Absolutely incredible job. I love every aspect of it. I expecially love the box. I like the use of the GX-4000 too. Its reminiscent of all the different iterations there were of the Engine.

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