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JeremiahK

Running a PAL system in the US?

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Since I have begun dabbling in programming for the Atari 2600, I have become interested in running a PAL system for testing purposes. I have one wood-grain 4-switch NTSC VCS, and there are multiple PAL VCS's for sale on eBay at reasonable prices.

 

My main question is about displaying the signal. I obviously don't have a PAL CRT, and the only way to get one would be to pay a fortune to ship one from across the pond. Not to mention that I would need to power it with the proper voltage at 50Hz. I have heard that the Commodore 64 1080/1084 monitors will accept PAL signals, though (I think), but getting a PAL CRT is pretty much out of the question for now.

 

I was thinking of instead getting a signal converter so I could display the picture on a NTSC CRT, something like in this video. It seems too good to be true, but could something as inexpensive as this converter be all I need?

 

One other question. I noticed that my power supply converts from 110V 60Hz to 9v DC. If I plug a PAL system into a US wall outlet, will it work properly? Or will I need a different power supply? I would assume that both NTSC and PAL systems run at 9V, but I may be wrong.

 

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Commodore NTSC monitors can accept PAL timing; however, the PAL color data is encoded in a different way, which results in a black & white display. I sometimes run PAL games on my 2600, which has an S-Video mod and is connected to my C= 1084S, it just results in the wrong colors.

 

Likewise I frequently run PAL games on my NTSC Amiga CD32. Plugging in a mouse allows you to boot with PAL timing, but the color's still encoded in the NTSC format. The Amiga doesn't have a different color palette for NTSC vs PAL, so the games are colored correctly.

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your best option is to just buy a eu tv crt or lcd (lcd would be cheaper to ship)

the initial cost can be a bit high to import one but well worth it (native scart rgb alone is a great reason)

 

I have had bad luck with signal converters cheap ones just didn't work

mid range ones had horrible av delay (probably doable if your just programing)

and expensive ones are way to expensive

 

I got lucky and picked up a sony bravia 32 inch lcd for 50 cents(yes that's right 50 cents lol), at a local thrift store because they had no way to test it, and no one would buy it due to the "weird" power plug

 

snagged a 1000 watt 220v step up transformer from ebay for 50$ (ps make sure to buy one with waaayyyy higher watt rating than you need fried my first one in a day that was rated at 200 watts )

and now with scart I can play my supergun with my mv1c neo geo pcb in 32 inch glory lol

 

really nice thing about the one I picked up is it also does all the ntsc stuff as well so its a great tv for my workshop

 

 

added a few pics of my scart setup

 

 

 

I've been eyeballing some of the pal Atari stuff myself the xl/xe are super cheap on ebay compared to the ntsc ones

post-63035-0-92762200-1515726330_thumb.jpg

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post-63035-0-58300000-1515726369_thumb.jpg

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A good number of modern TVs can support a 50hz framerate and display a 625-line PAL frame; check their specs to confirm. However, the catch is that you'll need to send a composite signal to the TV.

 

As for powering the system, just swap the original wall wart for a 110V unit that outputs the correct voltage and amperage. The 220V/240V unit you'll receive with whatever you end up with should have the power requirements printed on it, so tracking down a suitable replacement shouldn't be an issue.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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A good number of modern TVs can support a 50hz framerate and display a 625-line PAL frame; check their specs to confirm. However, the catch is that you'll need to send a composite signal to the TV.

 

As for powering the system, just swap the original wall wart for a 110V unit that outputs the correct voltage and amperage. The 220V/240V unit you'll receive with whatever you end up with should have the power requirements printed on it, so tracking down a suitable replacement shouldn't be an issue.

its a bit hit n miss if they support 50hz

over composite (or component)

I bought 3 tvs over the past year

my 55 inch Toshiba 3d tv does not , my 40 inch element does not , but the cheap as hell tcl 55inch 4k tv does

 

the Toshiba just displays no signal

the element shows the systems but only black n white screen (sometimes 3 images as well depending on the console)

tcl works like a champ

 

 

+1 on the 110 wall wart

until you run into something with a hardwired power cord or something with an internal power supply (sega Saturn)

I had to buy a step down transformer to run some of the Japanese systems with internal power supplies

 

 

 

to get composite from an Atari without any internal mods, I guess you could buy a pal vhs player (probably super cheap) but then you would still need a step up transformer to power the vcr (never seen a vcr with wall wart lol)

 

EDIT

 

found this with a quick ebay search free shipping

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Toshiba-NEW-24-Multi-System-LED-TV-DVD-Combo-PAL-NTSC-110-220-Volt-110V-220V/122311550477?epid=1565353394&hash=item1c7a56260d:g:SPkAAOSwiylXCUH7

Edited by discgolfer72

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Thanks for the info! So a cheap converter is not the way to go, good to know. I'll probably put this on hold for a bit.

dug this one out of my scrap parts bin here at my store

 

its a cheap one and didn't even do anything lol , I bought it to try out on a pal famiclone and it displayed the same with or without the converter lol(we ll I take that back it got rid of 3 images but still only did black and white )

post-63035-0-81240700-1515792122_thumb.jpg

Edited by discgolfer72

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Yeah, that was the exact model I was looking at.

I have a HiSense LCD (yes, the company Sharp disowned) from Walmart - and it plays PAL and NTSC all in color for a PAL playstation2. That is the only PAL console I have. I also have a composite to HDMI adapter I read reviews on that said it could convert PAL to NTSC, but I never tried it since I could see the PAL without it. Although, for other console/TV combinations, there may be a change in picture size or a picture shift. When I first put a game into the PAL PS2 some screen came up with options to adjust the picture size and position. This is not something I can access from my normal TV menu, so I don't know if it was in a hidden menu item or what.

 

 

My other TVs are CRTs, so the HDMI converter is useless on them and PAL games are unwatchable unless I did a softmod/hardmod (which I doubt exists for Ataris).

 

BTW, the Sharp one he refers to is probably a HiSense. Sharp has just been renting out their brand name for the past couple decades.

 

As far as the power supply, I would get a modern replacement with the correct output that is 100-240V 50/60Hz compatible. These are pretty common place these days.

 

https://www.radioshack.com/products/enercell-9vdc-1500ma-international-ac-adapter

 

https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-adaptaplug-f

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One other possibility would be to do TV scan system conversion through a multiscan VCR.

These were more common in Europe than in the US, but have two advantages: one, they convert the TV system from <insert source here> to <insert target here>; two, they can generally take RF as an input and output some form of composite, which opens up the possibility of using a wider variety of displays.

 

Now for the caveats to that.

 

If you're tracking one of these down, make sure that it can take input from sources other than tape and convert them. A lot of these devices would only convert tape playback; anything sent through the inputs had to be the same as the output format.

 

Also, pretty much every TV scan system in use (which at the time meant PAL, NTSC, and SECAM) had a variety of subsystems with varying degrees of incompatibility. Make sure that the VCR can cope with a multitude of varieties of scan types; PAL had subdivisions of at least B, G, and I, NTSC had North American, Japanese, and other standards, and SECAM also had ME-SECAM. I'm probably forgetting some of the others; it's been a long time since I had to deal with this.

 

It's not really as complicated as it sounds, but you do need to know what it is that you're looking for. This also applies to modern displays - some will cope with only one variety of PAL, for example.

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