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 Viletim's NESRGB

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Drakon
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PostSubject: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:25 am

Viletim's next great product is tested and working fully.  The NESRGB














Early development picture by Tiido that's been in my image account for probably over half a year now:



Above videos are taken from my av famicom with a slightly altered audio circuit.

This is actually a project I've known about for quite some time.  The first such working device was posted on nesdev in 2012 by kalle / thefox:

http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9561

Viletim made a consumer version and Tiido Priimagi did testing (and debugging?)

I got my hands on a slightly early release (first batch) to help with measurements to get adapters made for it to fit in certain models of the nes / famicom.

Anyway what this thing is: Basically, you install it, use your regular composite nes ppu chip, and this device captures the graphic information digitally and outputs interference free rgb, s-video and composite video.  This device uses the regular composite nes ppu graphic chip meaning there's zero glitching, zero compatibility issues, and the picture is in the original composite ppu pallette.

There is no emulation or clone hardware!  This device uses nothing but the real original hardware so the experience is 100% authentic and issue free.

Additional features:

An audio circuit which I haven't tested since I've come up with my own nes / famicom audio solutions.  This audio circuit will probably be most useful in the nes 2 since the nes 2 contains the audio amp in the rf box.

The ability to select between 3 different pallettes.  Thanks to the image coming from a cpld tim added the feature to select between the original composite pallette (nintendulator), some improved emulator pallette, and even the rgb ppu pallette.  Personally, I think the original composite pallette looks best.

S-video encoding, and even composite which is selectable from either the original ppu composite out pin or the encoded version.

This device is a dream come true and I'm glad to help viletim get measurements to build adapters for this to fit under the case of the nes 2 / av famicom.  As you can see in the above pictures I managed to get it going and fitting nicely in my sharp twin famicom but it was a bit tricky.

This product is nothing but top quality.  Tim was nice enough to include with my first batch purchases online jumper setting and wiring instructions, s-video, rgb and 3.5 mm stereo jacks with small pcbs to solder the ports into, a separate 7805 regulator pcb, and even a 4 way switch for the pallette selection (I just jumped mine since I only want the original composite pallette).

The included 7805 regulator pcb is just to make sure your console won't suffer from the extra power draw.

Probably coming soon: A small adapter pcb that relocates the kit so it fits inside the case of the nes 2 + av famicom.

Once the adapter pcbs get made these kits will come with every bit and piece you'd possibly need to install the device in virtually any model of nes / famicom home (and arcade?  Arcade yet to be tested) hardware.

How to get this device in your home:

1: Buy it from viletim's website, 2: pay a modder to install it for you or install it yourself.  I'll be offering installation service on my forum for around 100$ plus shipping.

A huge thanks to the nesdev community for reworking the nes ppu enough to make this happen.  Of course a huge thanks to Viletim for making the ideal consumer version and for being such a pleasant person to deal with and work with.  It's great to see cpld / fpga being used for all these great upgrades.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:32 am

When using this kit + the famicom n8 I was experiencing glitching in certain games at certain points.  Tiido had a suggestion that fixed the issue completely:



See if you can spot what I did (should be pretty obvious).
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:01 am

Drakon wrote:
When using this kit + the famicom n8 I was experiencing glitching in certain games at certain points.  Tiido had a suggestion that fixed the issue completely:



See if you can spot what I did (should be pretty obvious).
is it the resistor soldered on that chip on the nesrgb?

btw - does viletim have the website up yet?
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:34 pm

Nope the resistors are just to adjust the chroma / luma lines of s-video, it's a bigger part.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:33 pm

This is good to know. Did the problem persist on your other consoles? I'm guessing that a smaller capacitance would still do the trick.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:53 pm

i didnt see it at first because it blends with the tape. is it that capacitor?
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:55 pm

mvsfan wrote:
i didnt see it at first because it blends with the tape. is it that capacitor?
Haha yes that's why I asked if you could spot it because you have to look a little closely.  It fixed a lot of glitching but I still found that final fantasy 3 would glitch.  Luckily there IS a fix.  Most likely this is because of the clock circuit on the twin famicom.  The twin famicom is a really old version of the nes clock circuit.  I tested the nesrgb kit with my nes 2 / av famicom and both of these consoles played final fantasy 3 glitch free with the kit relocated a good distance from the original ppu location.  Viletim theorized my issues are clock circuit related too.  I just found the nes 2 clock circuit schematic thanks to the author of the nes super 8 (rebuilt nes pcb that you can buy that uses the real parts).  I'll be building the nes 2 clock circuit and see if that fixes this.  Whatever the fix is it's somewhere on the nes 2 pcb so eventually it'll be found.

When mucking around with final fantasy 3 I actually came across a legitimate glitch with the nesrgb kit that both tiido and viletim seem to have missed and it has nothing to do with the clock circuit or the distance between the kit and the console:



See if you can spot what's wrong with the nesrgb capture.  30 fps doesn't show the effect fully but you still get the "half of it".  Sorry my anatomy and physiology book I've been reading through has a lot of silly learning puns in it so now I'm starting to make my own.

Grambo wrote:
This is good to know. Did the problem persist on your other consoles? I'm guessing that a smaller capacitance would still do the trick.
Didn't happen at all on my other consoles so far only the twin.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:00 pm

[quote="Drakon"]
mvsfan wrote:
i didnt see it at first because it blends with the tape. is it that capacitor?
Haha yes that's why I asked if you could spot it because you have to look a little closely.  It fixed a lot of glitching but I still found that final fantasy 3 would glitch.  Luckily there IS a fix.  Most likely this is because of the clock circuit on the twin famicom.  The twin famicom is a really old version of the nes clock circuit.  I tested the nesrgb kit with my nes 2 / av famicom and both of these consoles played final fantasy 3 glitch free with the kit relocated a good distance from the original ppu location.  Viletim theorized my issues are clock circuit related too.  I just found the nes 2 clock circuit schematic thanks to the author of the nes super 8 (rebuilt nes pcb that you can buy that uses the real parts).  I'll be building the nes 2 clock circuit and see if that fixes this.  Whatever the fix is it's somewhere on the nes 2 pcb so eventually it'll be found.

When mucking around with final fantasy 3 I actually came across a legitimate glitch with the nesrgb kit that both tiido and viletim seem to have missed and it has nothing to do with the clock circuit or the distance between the kit and the console:



See if you can spot what's wrong with the nesrgb capture.  30 fps doesn't show the effect fully but you still get the "half of it".  Sorry my anatomy and physiology book I've been reading through has a lot of silly learning puns in it so now I'm starting to make my own.

it looks like its having a scrolling problem.

Any glitches that are found shouldnt require V.2. of the pcb it should all be updatable.

if something like this was found after release would you have to send the kit back to viletim for an update?

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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:05 pm

mvsfan wrote:
it looks like its having a scrolling problem.
I think Drakon is referring to the "random encounter pre-battle" effect. It's hard to tell because I don't think the capture device is replicating what the TV would be displaying accurately.
From what I can tell, my guess is that the composite PPU is displaying every second frame (i.e. http://junkerhq.net/xrgb/index.php/240p_test_suite#Drop_Shadow_Test) while the RGB Kit is constantly outputting a picture.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:38 am

Grambo wrote:
mvsfan wrote:
it looks like its having a scrolling problem.
I think Drakon is referring to the "random encounter pre-battle" effect. It's hard to tell because I don't think the capture device is replicating what the TV would be displaying accurately.
From what I can tell, my guess is that the composite PPU is displaying every second frame (i.e. http://junkerhq.net/xrgb/index.php/240p_test_suite#Drop_Shadow_Test) while the RGB Kit is constantly outputting a picture.
Correct again.  My capture device actually can capture at 60 fps but youtube is only 30 fps.  Just before the battle starts the screen is supposed to flicker but with the nesrgb kit there's no flickering.  I've played through almost my entire library of favourite nes / famicom games aside from grayscale mode not working this is the only issue I've encountered.

As for updating this thing there's no easy way to do it so you'd have to send it back to viletim.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:50 am

this project has already killed the high prices on original ppus.

for the heck of it i put my ppu in my nes up for sale and ive had people offering me $80 for it.

Theres one guy on ebay that has 7 of them listed and is probably going to be stuck with them. wonder what he paid.

I guess i just get to keep my system working and replace this awful rp2c04 in it.
when i get the kit ill have two working systems.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:58 pm

After talking to viletim and showing the video he thinks it may just be grayscale mode.  Someone will have to get to that part in an emulator and set to frame-by-frame mode to tell for sure.  It would be great if it's just grayscale mode, the less bugs the merrier.  I've been mucking around with my twin famicom I cleaned up a bunch of modded stuff and I've been inspecting the clock circuit to find out how to make it run better with the nesrgb.

I cleaned up the mod-work in my twin a little:



I'm comparing the clock circuit of my twin to the nes clock circuit to find how to make the kit run smoothly with the twin, currently ff3 glitches a little with this kit but ff3 runs perfectly in my nes 2 / av famicom.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:49 pm

I fixed the kit glitching in my twin famicom. It had nothing to do with the capacitor idea. Turns out it was just a weak connection on the ppu socket somewhere. If the console glitches I pick it up and shake it a little and the glitching goes away haha. The glitching stays gone until I take it apart again upsetting how the kit is seated.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:35 am

Drakon wrote:
I fixed the kit glitching in my twin famicom. It had nothing to do with the capacitor idea. Turns out it was just a weak connection on the ppu socket somewhere. If the console glitches I pick it up and shake it a little and the glitching goes away haha. The glitching stays gone until I take it apart again upsetting how the kit is seated.
Cool. so its not the kit.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:48 pm

mvsfan wrote:
Drakon wrote:
I fixed the kit glitching in my twin famicom.  It had nothing to do with the capacitor idea.  Turns out it was just a weak connection on the ppu socket somewhere.  If the console glitches I pick it up and shake it a little and the glitching goes away haha.  The glitching stays gone until I take it apart again upsetting how the kit is seated.
Cool. so its not the kit.
Well the glitching I experienced at first was because of extreme length of wires between the pcb and the kit. But the other glitching I experienced later that wasn't the kit. So the kit still can't have too much distance from the console but finally the twin is running it fine. Once I get a version where grayscale mode works I'm hard soldering it in.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:20 pm

Drakon wrote:
mvsfan wrote:
Drakon wrote:
I fixed the kit glitching in my twin famicom.  It had nothing to do with the capacitor idea.  Turns out it was just a weak connection on the ppu socket somewhere.  If the console glitches I pick it up and shake it a little and the glitching goes away haha.  The glitching stays gone until I take it apart again upsetting how the kit is seated.
Cool. so its not the kit.
Well the glitching I experienced at first was because of extreme length of wires between the pcb and the kit. But the other glitching I experienced later that wasn't the kit. So the kit still can't have too much distance from the console but finally the twin is running it fine. Once I get a version where grayscale mode works I'm hard soldering it in.
Have you ever used actual female pin headers instead of a socket to hold these boards?

headers really have a good grip on them.

btw now i have more than enough money to order one of these i am just waiting for an order method to be announced.


Are the toploader adapters being made yet?
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:00 pm

He said the adapters are being made.

Also it's confirmed the flashing bug in ff3 is black and white mode which is great news.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:10 pm

good. is he still going to make the Oct 19 release date?

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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:50 pm

mvsfan wrote:
good. is he still going to make the Oct 19 release date?

Beats me.  But the feedback I've been giving is certainly going to improve the product by release time.  I've been putting my kits through their paces to be sure that they run as smoothly as possible.  Also having the installation be as easy of a process as possible is highly important which is why these adapters are vital.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:23 am

Drakon wrote:
mvsfan wrote:
good. is he still going to make the Oct 19 release date?

Beats me.  But the feedback I've been giving is certainly going to improve the product by release time.  I've been putting my kits through their paces to be sure that they run as smoothly as possible.  Also having the installation be as easy of a process as possible is highly important which is why these adapters are vital.
yeah. the reason i was asking about adapters - i just bought a toploader for 55.00 shipped. even comes with controllers and a bunch of games.

its good that your testing these out because it would suck to get a whole bunch sold and then find something wrong.

are there any tricks to installing it? most of it just plugs into the socket right? and then it has some wires for the palette switch, svideo out and rgb out and 5v and ground.

what about other wires?

now that this is coming out are there any plans for an nes to jamma board? i see viletim builds some arcade interfaces too.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:07 pm

I've already built a nes to jamma setup via commission before the nesrgb existed:





Installing the nesrgb requires setting up some solder jumpers, installing a socket, and using an adapter for the nes 2 / av famicom. For the pallette selection the switch is huge I recommend just jumping the pins on the kit pcb to whatever pallette you like and leaving it like that. The rest is just wiring up the video outputs to whatever connector you want.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:27 pm


I would only use two palettes - rgb and composite. i dont care about the 3rd one i should just be able to use a mini double pole toggle.

are those all your cabinets? sweet. Nice setup.

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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:37 am

mvsfan wrote:

I would only use two palettes - rgb and composite. i dont care about the 3rd one i should just be able to use a mini double pole toggle.

are those all your cabinets? sweet. Nice setup.

Those aren't my cabs I tested the unit as I was building it on my home built arcade supergun.  Those belong to the customer who paid me to build that thing.  For sure if you only want to select between two pallettes that's way easier and much more doable.

Take from my post from the assemblergames forum, some very important information about this kit:

I'm taking requests for testing if people have any
. I've tested the kit on the nes 2, av famicom, sharp twin famicom and gpm-02 original famicom (top loaders ftw). I have tested it with both a famicom n8 and a nes powerpak, I've tried games with four screen mirroring, homebrews, romhacks, conversions (mmc5), fds games and lots of retail games. Some of the games I tried were requests. If people want me to test a certain game that runs on either the famicom n8 or the nes powerpak I will test it as long as I don't have to play through hours of a terrible game to get to a certain spot that people want me to test (unless you can provide me the savegame file to load on your favourite flash device).

Another exciting use for this kit is the idea of dropping it into a playchoice 10. Since you can select the rgb pallette with this kit you can get the perfect playchoice experience with it. Due to the nature of how the nesrgb works it will NOT work with a rgb ppu chip and I highly recommend that you don't attempt to try running a rgb chip in the nesrgb kit. The nesrgb gets most of the digital signals from the ext pins of the composite ppu chip when you set a hardware mode of the composite ppu. On the composite ppu chip the ext pins are grounded (tied low) by default because they're normally unused. On the rgb ppu chip the ext pins output rgb by default, I really doubt the rgb chip includes the mode that outputs digital video signals. Potentially using a rgb ppu in the nesrgb kit won't break the rare rgb chip but just for the sake of safety I don't think it's smart to try doing that.
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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:51 pm

Well, i noticed that you tested felix the cat with this kit.

what about the screen turning blue in the first stage in bram stokers dracula?

and - how did they figure out that the ext pins that are normally just tied to ground were capable of doing something else?

whats nessecary to drop this into a playchoice? i still have one thats missing its ppu.

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PostSubject: Re: Viletim's NESRGB   Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:37 am

mvsfan wrote:
Well, i noticed that you tested felix the cat with this kit.

what about the screen turning blue in the first stage in bram stokers dracula?

and - how did they figure out that the ext pins that are normally just tied to ground were capable of doing something else?  

whats nessecary to drop this into a playchoice? i still have one thats missing its ppu.

The original information came from the brilliant nes people over on nesdev.  My overclocked superfx carts use the same sort of concept I reprogrammed the games to set certain hardware modes of the superfx chip that allow it to overclock faster.  With the nesrgb kit it's setting an unused hardware mode of the composite ppu and taking full advantage of it.  Where the nesrgb is superior is the use of a cpld to convert the information into standard digital video that can be converted with a dac.  I'm not a fan of programming and therefore I really don't take much interest in learning vhdl.  I don't know where the original information came from but viletim posted quotes from the original nes ppu patent so I'm guessing that's probably where.  There's a number of people on nesdev who took researching how the nes ppu works to a very in depth degree.

It does make sense if you look at the nes composite ppu pinout.  There's four pins in a row labelled as "ext0, ext1, ext2, ext3" and they're all tied to ground (low) by default on the nes/famicom pcb.  Even before this information was discovered I used to look at those pins wondering what their purpose was.  I had no clue you could set a hardware mode of the nes ppu to output digital signals on those pins but I figured they were meant to serve some sort of purpose.  Usuaully when you find a chip with pins tied to ground that aren't labelled as "ground" or "gnd" on the pinout charts that means the pins actually do something but it's just not being used.  For example when I found a sunsoft 5b chip in a gremlins 2 famicom cart one of the audio output pins was connected to ground because gremlins 2 doesn't use the audio capabilities of the 5b.

To drop this into a playchoice I would remove the standard ppu socket and solder in a precision (machine) socket because the playchoice will be holding the whole kit in that socket.  Personally I would follow the rgb traces from the edge connector back to the first component (a cap or a resistor or whatever it hits first) and then just desolder the legs of the components connecting to the edge connector isolating the traces from the on board circuit.  Then you just run wires from the rgb outputs of the nesrgb kit and solder them into the rgb traces where you disconnected the legs of the components connecting the on board circuit.  This way you won't need to cut any traces and you can still leave the other legs of the components soldered in so nothing gets tossed.

Regarding bram stoker, I'll need a screenshot or video clip of what I'm looking for.  I fired it on my nesrgb twin famicom it ran fine.

*edit*

Open for orders:

http://etim.net.au/nesrgb/
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