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Falonn

TMS-RGB: An RGB Mod for 2020 and Beyond

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TMS-RGB is an RGB mod for Colecovision (or anything else that uses TMS992xA graphics).  It's completely analog, introduces zero latency, works in NTSC and PAL systems, doesn't require any tuning, and can be installed easily.  It's Open Source Hardware and can be built (and sold!) by anyone.  We've been working on it over in the other thread since February and it's finally ready to officially launch!

 

Ruggers Customs was kind enough to test a few of the v2 boards against dozens of combinations of Colecovision motherboard revision and RGB cable/receiver.  Everything came back with a clean bill of health (with the exception of an HD Retrovision YPbPr adapter which behaved poorly compared to every other test).  This mod solves the known issues---including the dreaded "too much blue" problem---of all known RGB mods.

 

Full Information Website: https://tms-rgb.com

 

tms-rgb-board.thumb.png.5d5bc0cf59c4f3152277a5ba6590caae.png

 

The website contains a lot of stuff including a list of installers, a list of people selling pre-assembled boards, DIY installation instructions, and from-scratch board assembly instructions.

 

Highlights include: watching my shaky hands with tweezers, watching my shaky hands with a soldering iron, some diagrams showing a couple of the possible output jack connections, a little tool to automatically build a full Digi-Key shopping cart with all components (for however many boards you want to build) in one click, and a video on the front page that I had too much fun recording and editing.  The development story page may also be of particular interest to the community here, as you are featured in it! :D

 

Let's call this the official support thread for anyone building or installing one.  Feedback I'd love to hear about: anything that is unclear or missing in any of the guides.

 

A special thanks, again, to ChildOfCv, MrPix, and Ruggers Customs.

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Great work! I’m so excited to get one of these in my hands 😁 As an amateur modder, I found the self install to be very self explanatory and the videos to make it much easier. From first viewing of the bypassing the L9 Video, the jump cut made it less obvious you were installing a jumper wire on the chip side. Might could be clearer installing it on the side facing the camera. Otherwise, they all make perfect sense to me and I again can’t wait to install my own!

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Where do we get the pre-made kits from? And is the optional s-video portion nearly completion to work with this as well?

 

Once I've gotten a hold of one of these kits to test on one of my own CVs, I'd like to be added to the list of potential installers if others are okay and onboard with that idea?

 

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This is so cool. I could not find the link to order the boards from on the website, are they ready for ordering yet? Thanks for all the great work!

 

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I'm working hard on getting the parts together to assemble a run of 250 boards. A lot of the parts are here already. Some parts are coming a long way, and from multiple sources. When they arrive, I need to test them to make sure they're genuine and function correctly, then mass assembly will take place. If I end up waiting on just one part holding everything up, I'll buy enough to fulfill orders from digikey and wait for those other parts to come in.

I'll keep you all posted here.

I'm at the hands of the postal services who are at the mercy of the pandemic. 

Excellent and informative site, Falonn!

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5 hours ago, MrPix said:

I'm working hard on getting the parts together to assemble a run of 250 boards. A lot of the parts are here already. Some parts are coming a long way, and from multiple sources. When they arrive, I need to test them to make sure they're genuine and function correctly, then mass assembly will take place. If I end up waiting on just one part holding everything up, I'll buy enough to fulfill orders from digikey and wait for those other parts to come in.

I'll keep you all posted here.

I'm at the hands of the postal services who are at the mercy of the pandemic. 

Excellent and informative site, Falonn!

Also just let me know as I'm in for at least one to test out on one of my CVs to check it out.

 

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16 hours ago, pumpy_heart said:

From first viewing of the bypassing the L9 Video, the jump cut made it less obvious you were installing a jumper wire...

You're right, that part is a little hard to follow.  I used that angle because I thought the desoldering was more interesting than the wire itself (and because I already had the shot set up from the previous step 🤣 ), but you make a good point.  Without another un-modded Colecovision to shoot more video, I just went back and added three more seconds of footage to that section and added a little text overlay to try and smooth it out.  (You may need to force-refresh the page to get the new video to show up.  Old video is 55s.  New video is 58s.)

 

16 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

And is the optional s-video portion nearly completion to work with this as well?

I'm just the RGB guy. :D  Last I heard (from MrPix), the follow-on S-video board was being adapted from an existing product, so I can't imagine there'll be as much work involved.  I don't remember ever hearing a time estimate about it though.  My dream solution is still an RF board replacement that passes along the composite video from Expansion #1, provides a great no-cut mounting point for the output jack, and adds S-video all in one fell swoop.  That's a larger project, so I don't know that anyone is working on it at the moment.

 

16 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

... I'd like to be added to the list of potential installers if others are okay and onboard with that idea?

Absolutely!  The idea behind making the project open-source from day 1 is that everyone should have access to this stuff.  The more people out there building and/or installing them, the better access everyone has.  So you've got my vote. :D  Just let me know (via PM, email, etc.) when you'd like to be added there (and the URL I should point people toward, if any) and I'll post it right away.

 

Same goes for the list of assembled board sellers.  I'll let you guys duke it out on price or whatever.  I'm just here to shout from the rooftops that this mod exists and to try and help facilitate getting it into the hands of as many people that want it as I can. :P

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Hi there!

On 7/10/2020 at 8:43 AM, -^CrossBow^- said:

Is the optional s-video portion nearly completion to work with this as well?

My current S-Video and clean composite card doesn't fit the TMS-RGB or the CV well, so it's getting a redesign. I also designed it for NTSC only, so I am redesigning it to be selectable as NTSC or PAL, which is configured at build time. I estimate this work, plus testing, will take 2-3 weeks. Luckily, that matches perfectly the 2-3 week wait on a part from TI's location in Singapore.

On 7/10/2020 at 8:43 AM, -^CrossBow^- said:

Once I've gotten a hold of one of these kits to test on one of my own CVs, I'd like to be added to the list of potential installers if others are okay and onboard with that idea?

PM me and I'll send you the details.

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You could go the completely-from-scratch route and just order all the things mentioned on this page. ;)  That's how I built mine.

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1 hour ago, Falonn said:

You could go the completely-from-scratch route and just order all the things mentioned on this page. ;)  That's how I built mine.

Okay, or maybe I would wait until the assembled version comes out.

I think it will also work on TI-99/4A because it uses the same chip as the ColecoVision's.

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We just had a conversation about the TI-99/4A over here.  It sounded like the NTSC version uses a TMS9918A, which isn't compatible with this board.  It should work with the PAL version of the TI-99/4A though.  (I suppose there's even a chance you might be able to swap VDPs to the '9928A in the NTSC version, too.)

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Yeah, you can, I've tested a 9928 in an NTSC TI before. :) If you can get one!

 

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7 hours ago, Tursi said:

Yeah, you can, I've tested a 9928 in an NTSC TI before. :) If you can get one!

 

So, it is possible to use the 9928 chip on the TI, so unlike the Coleco, the TI’s chip is socketed rather than soldered on.

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7 hours ago, Tursi said:

Yeah, you can, I've tested a 9928 in an NTSC TI before. :) If you can get one!

 

There should be plenty available on ebay, it was an off the shelf part.  That's always where I got them from when I needed them, along with 9918s as well.  I probably still have tubes of each, plus all of the other ColecoVision ICs laying around in a box somewhere.  

 

19 minutes ago, Retro_Game_Lover96 said:

So, it is possible to use the 9928 chip on the TI, so unlike the Coleco, the TI’s chip is socketed rather than soldered on.

Even if's it's soldered in place, cut and/or de-solder the old one, install a socket and then your new chip.  

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4 minutes ago, doubledown said:

There should be plenty available on ebay, it was an off the shelf part.

At one point during my TMS-RGB testing, I was sure I had fried my Colecovision's VDP after I accidentally bridged some live pins.  I was also able to readily find domestic, used replacements on eBay for $10.  (Of course, while the replacement was still in the mail I discovered that my VDP was somehow just fine.) 😅

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23 minutes ago, Falonn said:

At one point during my TMS-RGB testing, I was sure I had fried my Colecovision's VDP after I accidentally bridged some live pins.  I was also able to readily find domestic, used replacements on eBay for $10.  (Of course, while the replacement was still in the mail I discovered that my VDP was somehow just fine.) 😅

Believe it or not, those 9928s are pretty hardy.  I've only had to replace a few in my career so far.  Generally that's just from the heatsinks coming off and people running the chips hot for days/weeks on end.

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Great project! i'd like a couple of this boards if someone will make a batch!

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3 hours ago, aotta said:

Great project! i'd like a couple of this boards if someone will make a batch!

There's quite a few people making boards to sell for self installation, however I won't be selling boards individually.  A friend of mine in particular (outside of AA) has a rather large batch coming from China in the next few weeks.  His prices per board will be hard for anyone else to beat.  He's been well known and well respected in the retro gaming community for years.  I'll post a thread when he has his shipment if you can wait a few more weeks. :)

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9 minutes ago, Ruggers Customs said:

There's quite a few people making boards to sell for self installation, however I won't be selling boards individually.  A friend of mine in particular (outside of AA) has a rather large batch coming from China in the next few weeks.  His prices per board will be hard for anyone else to beat.  He's been well known and well respected in the retro gaming community for years.  I'll post a thread when he has his shipment if you can wait a few more weeks. :)

Thank you Jimmy, i'm interested and have no hurry!

I've a TI/99, a Colecovision, some Sega SC-3000 and some MSX machines that i'd like to upgrade to rgb, so i was thinking about ordering a small batch (5 pieces is usually the minimum) from one of the chinese pcb builder, but price is usually high for theese quantities... waiting for news from you and your friends!

 

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19 hours ago, Ruggers Customs said:

....a rather large batch coming from China in the next few weeks.  His prices per board will be hard for anyone else to beat.  He's been well known and well respected in the retro gaming community for years.  I'll post a thread when he has his shipment if you can wait a few more weeks. :)

This is good news. The more and the cheaper, the better.
 

My delayed ICs just finished passing through customs and should be here soooooon :)

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