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Dracosavarian

Amstrad GX4000 on an NTSC TV - Need Help

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So, a bit new here. Long time lurker, first time poster.

 

I need a bit of assistance, if some folks are willing, on getting this particular setup working.

 

I am interested in purchasing an Amstrad GX4000 console. I collect old gaming consoles and have a deep love and appreciation for all things gaming. Thing is, this is a PAL system. And will be my first one ever, once I manage to get my hands on one.

 

There are two issues I need to deal with. And if folks have direct links to what I can get to resolve these issues, I would deeply and immensely appreciate the help.

 

First is the power.

 

Since this is a PAL system, the plug will obviously not be able to work here in the US without a step up/step down power conversion device. Personally, I'd rather avoid this step, and find a normal plug that would plug into the system and be able to power it, without frying it. From what I have read of other forums, the type of power source I would need would be something along these lines: 9V 750mA/1A with a 5.5mm/2.1mm connector, positive on centre.

 

Would there potentially be some kind of plug, or is there anyone who is aware of what kind of plug that could work to power the system, that I could buy here in the us? One that is guaranteed to not fry or cause damage to the system?

 

 

The second issue is the PAL Signal. What exactly would I need to make this work?

 

I have both an OSSC, and a Frame Meister (XRGB Mini). I have a Euro Scart Adapter for the Frame Meister that works, that I got directly from Solaris Japan when I ordered this.

 

The HDTV I have is the LG42LD520, which supports refresh rates up to 120 hz and has a PC mode support. But, since it's a US television set, I'm not sure if it will work.

 

I also have a Scart to Scart cable that I will link below. The intention was to use that cable for the gscartsw to feed into the OSSC or Framemeister, but, I am curious if it would work for the GX4000? Or would I need a different cable?

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DYEN1NQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Would the Frame Meister work in place of a PAL to NTSC Signal Conversion? Or would I still need to purchase a PAL to NTSC Signal Converter?

 

 

If so, which power cord and converter would be recommended? If anyone has links they can provide to those devices if I do need them, that would be awesome.

 

The end goal is to get everything hooked up, and connected, with as minimal input lag as possible. Ideally, this would use the OSSC, but since the OSSC will be feed a PAL signal and Output a PAL signal, and my tv may not support it, I may have to rely on the frame meister instead.

 

Thanks everyone. I hope this post is not too much noise. This seemed like the best place to post this. I am hopeful that someone can assist me.

Edited by Dracosavarian

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If you have a power adaptor with switchable polarity, likely it will be able to deliver 9VDC at 1A or better. Unfortunately I've learned that the majority of consoles using this size plug, have center negative polarity which is the opposite of the GX-4000 and thus likely would damage it. Besides the GX-4000, something like an Oric-1 power supply would likely match but it is even more obscure and also never was available in the US anyway.

 

I found a resource that is far from complete, but lists systems in a very condensed format. It confirms with my statement, that far fewer systems are known to have center positive polarity than one might think.

http://www.aussiearcade.com/showthread.php/50763-Console-Power-Supplies

 

I can't really comment on the XRGB Mini, but from what I see it has settings for 50/60 Hz so it might work? Remember RGB doesn't have PAL or NTSC encoding of the colours, it is just the sync frequency that should differ.

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The stock GX4000 AC Adapter is garbage. It blows at the first sign of trouble. The good news is that it's easy enough to get a US phone power supply that meets all the specs. That's what I (and many others, actually) use on mine.

 

As for the Framemeister, yes, it's brilliant and does all necessary format conversions (I have tons of systems from all over the world). If you can afford it, I recommend it above all other products. Keep in mind, however, that even the Framemeister can't clean up composite signals much. It really does best with S-VIDEO or better. Amstrad systems look great over RGB via the Framemeister.

 

As for the GX4000 itself, I hope you know what you're getting into. Amstrad games really do leave a lot to be desired for the most part. The good news is that with the right multi-cart, a lot of regular Amstrad computer games will work on the GX4000. I pretty much don't use mine though, instead preferring a more versatile Amstrad CPC6128plus computer.

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I second that. For cheaper than a GX4000, you can get a CPC 6128+. Get a C4PC flash cart, one Amstrad gamepad (the GX4000 pads works on the CPCplus and vice/versa) and you'll have the same experience. Even better, you'll have access to all of the Amstrad CPC software if you bother replacing the 3" drive with a floppy emulator and find standard CPC games converted to floppy format. At it got a keyboard, all the games you can think of will be compatible.

amstrad-cpc-6128-plus-1.jpg

 

Unlike the GX4000 however, you'll need a non-standard RGB cable, but they are easily found online if you don't want to make one yourself, for example here :

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMSTRAD-464-6128-PLUS-RGB-STEREO-SCART-CABLE-2-METRES-/320957979178?hash=item4aba961a2a:g:JdgAAOxyUylTUSTw

 

I believe that the CPC computer doesn't output PAL video at all, but since you have an OSCC and a xRGB you're better working with the RGB signal anyway.

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Carlsson, that is a phenomenal resource you provided me. Thank you. I will definitely make use of that.

 

Thanks CatPix. Sadly the CPC 6128 is out of my price range. Some of the ranges I am seeing for price is around 200 dollars plus. Ironically, I've seen GX4000's a bit cheaper than that. I did think of picking up a CPC Flash cart down the road, in which case a power supply other than the standard Amstrad GX4000 is an absolute must as I don't want to fry the system. I managed to thankfully get an Amstrad GX4000 recently at less than that. Just waiting for it to arrive right now and I want to make sure it works, etc.

 

Out of Curiousity though CatPix, would that 8 pin Din to Scart cable you linked work on the Amstrad GX4000's Monitor port?

 

 

Bill Loguidice, will I need to do anything specific with the framemeister settings? I own one, so, that portion isn't a problem. I just want to make sure that my Framemeister can display on my hdtv the signal that the GX4000 is feeding it without any kind of sync issues, etc. I have heard some say that you don't have to worry about the Pal signal so much if you use the Scart port on the back of the machine. Is that actually the case? I have a 10 foot shielded High Def Scart to Scart (Male to Male) cable that may foot the bill if that is the case. It's the cable I linked in my first post. And aye, I know full well what I am getting into on getting the system. I know there's not much out there that is truly enjoyable, say, in comparison to the NES etc. But, it's still a piece of console gaming history I want to own and actually play on.

 

Also Bill, do you have any links to a phone charger that might work? Sadly, my local Radio Shack closed recently, so...no going to them anymore for the odd and ends and bits and bobs of electrical needs like I used to be able to.

Edited by Dracosavarian

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Yes, the GX4000 is actually a lot cheaper to acquire, even new in box. I got two without much issue via eBay. With that said, I really do recommend you try and hold out/save up for a CPC6128plus (and get a modern PSU/SCART combo, which eliminates the need for the monitor; you'll still need the EuroSCART adapter mentioned below). It's much more versatile and both work with the existing flash cart/multi-cart (which is pretty much a must anyway with the GX4000 - honestly, there's no point in getting one if you don't also get the flash cart/multi-cart).

 

I'd have to check the specs on the AC adapter I have for the GX4000. I'll try to do that tonight. It's actually a requirement if you use a flash cart because the original AC adapter is so poor.

 

The Framemeister is setup for the Japanese version of SCART (RGB) by default (that's the cable that it comes with and it's different from the European version), but there are a variety of EuroSCART adapters. I believe this is the one I use: https://www.retrogamingcables.co.uk/micomsoft-xrgb/european-scart-to-framemeister-xrgb-mini-converter-with-csync-lm1881-for-sale I have the version that is powered by the XRGB-mini's USB port. Obviously, you'd still need an appropriate cable from the Amstrad to the EuroSCART adapter (in the GX4000's case, that's a standard SCART cable).

 

And just to clarify, the Framemeister doesn't care what the signal is. It can handle almost anything. What matters is that you interface to it with the right cable. I've used systems from every region on it without issue.

Edited by Bill Loguidice

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Well I guess it's because I live in France. GX4000 in boxes I see here at in the average of 75/100€, whereas a loose CPC 6128Plus is more in the 40/60€ range.

Of course relying only on eBay offer is a guarantee to find only the most expensive items, especially for such rarities.

Edited by CatPix

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From what I understand, the GX-4000 consumes 400 mA + 50 mA if it has a RF modulator. The C4CPC cartridge adds another 80 mA.

 

The original power supply is rated 11VDC @ 500 mA = 5.5W. On the inside of the console there is a voltage regulator that brings down the voltage to 5V plus a certain amount of heat.

 

The recommendation is to use a 9VDC supply at 750 mA or better, of course with the right barrel connector and center positive polarity. It will likely make the system run cooler, as regulating 9V to 5V is a smaller step than 11V to 5V. You can likely use a 12V as well, but it will generate a bit more heat and wear on the voltage regulator.

 

I believe most of the ones you can find on eBay are safe and good enough to meet the criteria, but perhaps you'd prefer to buy in a store or order online from a known merchant. I don't know the US market enough to tell which stores to look in, but 9V is so common that it should be rather easy to find a match.

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Thanks everyone. Sorry again, work has been beyond brutal.

 

 

Bill, were you able to determine what brand of third party AC adapter you are currently using for your GX4000? Ideally, I'd like to get the one that you use, as you have verified that it works. Everyone is talking about the CPC, which I assume is basically like an Everdrive. But, given the rarity of Amstrad games, it would make sense to get one. But if I do, I would definitely need to use a reliable power supply. Since yours work, I'd rather take the confirmed route so I can be sure I don't damage the system with the CPC in it.

 

Also, how would I go about ordering a CPC? Anyone have a link or anything?

 

And yeah Carlsson, a lot of the issue is just finding one that works. That is why I am hoping Bill can give me the info on his, and I can just google and order that exact ac adapter. Would save me a lot of hassle. I've already spent way more money than I want to on a fruitless battle trying to update the firmware on my OSSC due to it not liking anything other than a 2 gig plain old (and damned hard to find in stores, if not impossible) Micro SD Card. Since my Firmware Revision on my OSSC is .73, and not .74 when they have taken care of that issue apparently, let's just say it's been a frustrating experience.

 

So, if anyone can help me by just linking a known working third party ac adapter, which I am hoping Bill can, or at least provide the model number etc, it would save me time, money, and yet more frustration and potential headaches down the road.

 

 

Thanks again everyone for the replies. I really appreciate it.

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I suppose you mean the C4CPC cartridge. I think you need to sign up to this forum and either post in the general thread or send a PM to Gerald who manufactures them. I don't know if there is a waiting list or if he produces cartridges as required.

 

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/cpc-plus-cartridge-replacement-one-more/

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Bill, were you able to determine what brand of third party AC adapter you are currently using for your GX4000? Ideally, I'd like to get the one that you use, as you have verified that it works. Everyone is talking about the CPC, which I assume is basically like an Everdrive. But, given the rarity of Amstrad games, it would make sense to get one. But if I do, I would definitely need to use a reliable power supply. Since yours work, I'd rather take the confirmed route so I can be sure I don't damage the system with the CPC in it.

 

 

 

tumblr_oqo2cvOjZ91rben3uo1_540.jpg

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Well, got the Amstrad GX4000 in. Thing is absolutely brand spanking new. Blemish free and was still in the plastic. Very happy with that.

Had a huge hassle with Amazon getting me the correct adapter, and in the end even though it isn't labelled like yours Bill, I pulled out my Multimeter and tested it and it seemed to be valid, and it powers the console without little issue it seems.

 

Problem is, I cannot get the Amstrad GX4000 to display on my HDTV through the Framemeister.

 

The console only came with the RF output. Not exactly ideal, since it won't fit into anything I can use with the Framemeister.

 

I've been using this cable, a Male to Male Scart connector, and have that going into a Euro Scart adapter that I got directly from Solaris Japan when I bought my Framemeister from them. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DYEN1NQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

That cable goes into the Scart port on the back of the console, and into the Framemeister EuroScart RGB input adapter.

 

Now, the issue. I get sound...but nothing else. I've tried setting many of the options to make it work. 1080p 50 and set video to both standard and external. The fact that I get sound makes me happy, but, I'd like to confirm this console is working fully somehow.

 

Right now...I'm hoping it's just a setting. If anyone can help me in determining what settings I need to place on the Framemeister to get this console to display on an NTSC TV I'd be very appreciative.

 

If the profiles don't work, then that means it's a cable issue most likely...barring a bum console. Which I don't think this is, it's brand new and never been used. If it is the cable, can anyone recommend me a good Euro Scart cable to purchase that will be guaranteed to work with this?

 

From what I understand the Din to Scart connection is also possible, but, that was for the monitor. Plus I'd have to power that signal output through the monitor power as well yes? So, it may be best to go with a Euro Scart cable that will work for this if any profile settings fail.

 

 

If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears. Thanks again for all of the assists.

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Which firmware does your Framemeister run? Is the Euro SCART adapter a passive one (relaying required signals) or with built in sync separator?

 

I read on the below page that in order to use a passive adapter with cables that sync over composite video, you need at least version 1.08 of the firmware:

https://www.retrogamingcables.co.uk/european-scart-to-framemeister-xrgb-mini-passive-converter-for-sale

 

Here is a comparison of the Japanese SCART and the Euro SCART by the way, but since you repeatedly say you've got an Euro SCART adapter (though from Japan) I suppose yours really is wired for Euro:

http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/xrgb-mini-framemeister-euro-scart-conversion/

 

Some more info about sync signals:

https://www.retrogamingcables.co.uk/composite-video-vs-composite-sync

 

In the GX-4000 manual, it says on page 8 (12 in the PDF) that the SCART connector has composite video, only on French sold units it has composite sync:

http://cpctech.cpc-live.com/docs/manual/gx4000.pdf

 

As far as I can tell, that might be your problem: that the SCART outputs a combined sync + composite video signal, your Euro SCART adaptor is passive and if your Framemeister firmware is not new enough, it might not be able to separate the two interleaved signals, resulting in no usable sync signal at all.

 

Here are some pointers on making a DIN to SCART cable. I don't know what you'd need additional power for, as those signals seem to be within the 0.7 Vpp already. Maybe if you're making a cable for a TV and want it to automatically switch to RGB mode, but then again the Framemeister through its Euro SCART adapter should already be set up to expect RGB on the input. What you'd benefit from making your own cable is to ensure you get a clean sync signal, if that indeed is the case.

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/TV_SCART_cable

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I'm currently running 2.03a on the Framemeister. I am wondering if that is an alpha firmware?

 

Maybe I could try downgrading to 2.03 and see if that helps things? I have two Euro Scart 8 Din to Scart cables, for my Turbo Duo and PC Engine Shuttle respectively. Both work with the Framemeister without issue. I'm not sure what the pin out on those cables are, but would trying one in the Amstrad GX4000's 8 Din port work? Or would that potentially risk serious damage to the console? Given that Scart has voltage going through the connection?

 

 

So, what it sounds like what you are saying then, is that I need a cable that does composite video. The Male to Male Scart to Scart cable I listed I think is full RGB. So is the problem the cable? Or the adapter going into the Framemeister?

 

I could also try doing a continuity check on the scart to scart cable I have, see if the cable itself is showing up ok.

 

Unfortunately, I am unable to create my own cable. I don't have the tools or the space necessary to even consider doing that, living in a cramped apartment and all. What cables and adapters would you recommend I get? I could potentially buy the Packapunch Scart to Scart from Retro Gaming cables, but I am not sure if it is any different than my own.

 

It also looks like Retro Gaming Cables UK is out of stock of both of the Euro Scart adapters for the XRGB Mini. :(

 

 

Edit: Did the Continuity check on the Scart to Scart I have. This is likely due to inexperience, still learning electronics and am basically new to it. I know enough basics to do some basic wiring etc for minor electrical. But, Scart is out of my league. A bit of confusion though is occurring on my end, as I expected each pin to go through evenly. Example, pin 20 should have continuity to pin 20 on the other end of the cable. What I am finding is that pin 20 has continuity to pin 19. And others that seem out of place. But maybe it is correctly wired and I just don't know better. For example I check one of the top pins on side of the cable, and I don't find continuity in the same place. Rather, continuity beeps on one of the lower bottom pins on the other side.

 

So, is it the cable? Or is it wired correctly and I just don't understand scart wiring worth a wombat's snooze in the desert?

Edited by Dracosavarian

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That might be the cable. SCART is symmetrical. Pin 20 goes to pin 20, etc.

Jsut a fair warning, many plans show a "pin 21". Pin 21 is really the outer shell, not a pin that would be alongside the other.

It sounds odd that your cable would be poorly soldered tho.

And are all pins wired?

The best SCART cables have all 20 pins linked, slightly cheaper ones only wire the pins used for video, audio and sync (not wiring the pins for data and video/audio in (SCART is dueal way, but for many items you only need one function, not both). The cheaper one only have the composite and stereo cables.

You mgiht have one of those, and if your Framemeister look for RGB then you wo'nt have any picture.

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Hmmm, so what I thought was correct then. Pin 1 should go to pin 1, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, and so on yes?

 

Damn...well, would plugging this in have potentially damaged my Amstrad GX4000? Now I'm worried I may have damaged the console, since Scart carries electrical signals along it.

 

 

 

Would this cable from Retro Gaming Cables be guaranteed to display the Amstrad through the Framemeister? https://www.retrogamingcables.co.uk/packapunch-range/euroscart-male-to-euroscart-male-rgb-scart-cable-packapunch

 

Or should I give my two 8 din to Scart cables a shot? Would those work? Or do I risk damaging the system by trying to use them as well?

 

 

Brief edit: I did open the cable, on one end at least, and everything appears soldered. Again, not an electrical engineer, so I don't know what should go where color wise on the cables. The cables looked all soldered, but a few had more bare wire than I care for. (Note: I haven't soldered yet, but in my mind, I would want the plastic housing the wire almost flush against the solder joint. Some of the cables had more wire exposed than I care for. )

Edited by Dracosavarian

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I dont own a Framemeister, but Im interested in the GX4000. For video, could I use a SCART to composite adapter to convert the signal from PAL to NTSC?

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What does that adapter look like and do? Note that the SCART connector with its 21 pins carries multiple video signals, so the passive adapters just route composite video from RCA to the right pin of the SCART connector (or vice versa if the adapter is switchable).

 

If your SCART cable has RGB which I believe is the case of the GX-4000, you would obviously need more circuitry than a passive adapter to get a composite signal out from that, PAL or NTSC.

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Actually it appears that composite video is wired in the SCART connector on the GX-4000, at least if you stay away from French units. It means your SCART to composite adapter might produce a PAL composite signal. In order to convert it from PAL to NTSC, you probably need more circuitry. You didn't quite answer my question what your adapter looks like or which other equipment you've got that could help you out, except that you don't own a Framemeister.

 

http://cpctech.cpc-live.com/docs/manual/gx4000.pdf

 

The 6128 Plus only carries RGB, sync, ground and stereo sound so it would be a worse choice for you if you have no means to display or convert RGB signals.

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I use a Scart to HDMI converter for my foreign systems

Is it a Framemeister? I’ve heard that other SCART to HDMI converters are pretty bad, and will eventually break.

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Is it a Framemeister? Ive heard that other SCART to HDMI converters are pretty bad, and will eventually break.

No I use this one and have had no issues yet

 

I use it with my Videopac 7200, VG 5000 and CoCo3

post-39068-0-53004600-1530492854_thumb.png

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