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Possible to convert a PAL 7800 to NTSC?


Jouster
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I have 3 PAL 7800's, well 2 really as one does not work properly.

 

I have always wanted Robotron 2084, but it's a NTSC only game. So I wondered, since I have 2 working PAL systems, can one of these be converted to NTSC?

I also heard that some games play better on the NTSC console since that is what most were designed for...

 

Has anyone tried this?

Edited by Jouster
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Not easily, You would need to replace both the TIA and Maria chips and change some of the timing circuits. It would probably be easier to get a composite modded NTSC 7800 imported.

 

Mitch

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This has been muled over here more than once:

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/65424-ntsc-games-that-work-on-pal-machines/

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/199617-visual-differences-between-pal-and-ntsc/

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/29591-7800-palntsc-compatibility/

Also for ntsc to pal bios:

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/7800.htm

 

Atari age is the first thing that comes up in google and these were the first three.

I don't want to be the "use the search guy", But ..... this should answer most questions.icon_thumbsup.gif

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Yes I did Google and seen the first two of your links, didn't see the third however. Thanks!

This is one that is interesting and gives me more hope this can be achieved.

 

NTSC Consoles are expensive on Ebay, plus postage and import duties. No I'm not paying these prices.

 

So I need a new Maria chip and change a few jumpers. (not bothered about TIA as I have a 2600).

Doesn't sound too difficult. I'll have to investigate which jumpers to change on the board, can anyone assist with this?

 

I might just have a go....

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Not easily, You would need to replace both the TIA and Maria chips and change some of the timing circuits. It would probably be easier to get a composite modded NTSC 7800 imported.

 

Mitch

I guess it can't be that easy Mitch, or someone else would have done it already.

Also not easy getting hold of an NTSC Maria chip.

 

I'll have to wait until some clever soul converts Robotron 2084 to PAL. Maybe by the time I retire... :-D

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I believe that PAL 7800 games are speed adjusted (I think it's to do with having different tables holding movement data but I could be wrong). They don't run as smooth obviously. They run with borders too.

This may not be the case with all home-brew games though - depends on the author obviously!

Edited by davyK
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I guess it can't be that easy Mitch, or someone else would have done it already.

Also not easy getting hold of an NTSC Maria chip.

 

I'll have to wait until some clever soul converts Robotron 2084 to PAL. Maybe by the time I retire... icon_biggrin.gif

 

Does your TV support NTSC ?

I think your cheapest/easiest option might be just swapping to a US board.

I you ask the market place, someone is bound to have one. The shipping would be a whole lot less too.

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If anyone with a US board for sale could PM me, that would be a solution for sure!

Would it fit in a UK case OK?

 

Thanks for the suggestion! ;)

 

Best Electronics shows NTSC motherboard(s) for sale as of June 21, 2017:

 

"7800 NTSC U.S. Mother Board populated CO25233 Now $69.95"

 

Via Phone: 408-278-1070 (1:30 - 5 PM, PST, M - F)

Via E-Mail: bestelec _at_ concentric.net
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If anyone with a US board for sale could PM me, that would be a solution for sure!

Would it fit in a UK case OK?

 

Thanks for the suggestion! icon_wink.gif

Is should just be a couple of chip(s)/resistors that are the only differences.

 

 

 

Best Electronics shows NTSC motherboard(s) for sale as of June 21, 2017:

 

"7800 NTSC U.S. Mother Board populated CO25233 Now $69.95"

 

Via Phone: 408-278-1070 (1:30 - 5 PM, PST, M - F)

Via E-Mail: bestelec _at_ concentric.net

 

 

For that price, I'll sell Jouster a board WITH a longhorne s-video mod installed.

He would have to install and solder the jacks himself.

For another $5, I'll throw in a robotron 2084 cart.SmallWavingHappy.gif

Edited by H454
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Hi H454,

 

really appreciate the offer. However, I've just purchased a complete system for $61. Comes with Pole Position 2 (not Robotron unfortunately).

 

That mod would have been nice though, the standard 7800 output is pretty crappy!

 

I might just get a UAV, are these just as good?

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Hi H454,

 

really appreciate the offer. However, I've just purchased a complete system for $61. Comes with Pole Position 2 (not Robotron unfortunately).

 

That mod would have been nice though, the standard 7800 output is pretty crappy!

 

I might just get a UAV, are these just as good?

 

I got the UAV ( was swayed by crossbow's review)

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/266065-uav-ultimate-atari-video-atari-7800/?hl=%20uav

 

I still have to install The Uav - the instructions are not very good for the 7800.

Missed the instructions crossbow made:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uv5hhtks3myxr4r/UAV_Installation_A7800.pdf?dl=0

 

The colors (or colours for my PAL pals out there) on the longhorn a little washed out and might show up different on a lcd.

Most installs need switch on the TIA 9 pin to shut off interference in one of the mode (7800 or 2600, I can't remember).

 

It's like 25 + shipping for the UAV -

Contact Bryan

He may still have some from his current run.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@H454

 

Thanks for this!

 

Bryan is going to send me one with an audio board once they are ready icon_smile.gif

 

Good to hear, once you've had s video or better, it's had to go back.

I have four 7800s, they all have terrible RF.

Still have to get around to installing my UAV into one my 7800s.icon_ponder.gif

 

Also, do you call them 78 hundreds? or a Seven thousand, Eight hundred(s)?icon_winking.gif

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I've never quite got the s-video/RGB thing vs composite. It is sometimes sharper than composite, but it always looks like you've gone from 256 colors to 24. I have heard the same thing from photographers about analog/digital (standard vs HD film, film vs CCD cameras)

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I've never quite got the s-video/RGB thing vs composite. It is sometimes sharper than composite, but it always looks like you've gone from 256 colors to 24. I have heard the same thing from photographers about analog/digital (standard vs HD film, film vs CCD cameras)

French Scart consoles do lower the color pallet. Otherwise s video and more so RGB will always be sharper They have less "information" that causes bleed / blurriness. But can look bad if the monitor is worn / out of phase.

Or the wrong color pallet is programed in the mod.

But if a person haven't seen like RGB directly compared to composite ( two different TVs/monitors), then Some might not be able to tell the difference.

After Getting a Sony PVM, it was night and day.

 

 

As for cameras, "sharpness" is focus, depth of field, then ISO speed. People still use 120 film because the "resolution" is higher than most of the highest mega pixel digital cameras.

 

RGB and a PVM/ BVM

Vs

comp. and regular TV

 

is like a high end DSLR Vs a Cellphone camera - you can get good pic out of booth, but the DSLR with let you do more.

 

If a console puts out good RF and your tv tuner is good, It can look BETTER than composite on another TV.

I just go with what I think looks good.

Edited by H454
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I received the NTSC console today,

 

Not in great shape but acceptable.

 

 

Anyway, plugged it in and tuned in the TV. Console works great with 2600 games (via my Harmony).

However, it does not work with the 7800 Pole Position II cartridge :?

 

It gives the Atari Logo for a few seconds, then a blank screen.

I don't have any other 7800 NTSC carts, so can't try another.

 

The Pole Position II cart works fine in my PAL console (albeit with some garbage graphics at the bottom of the screen).

 

I don't have much luck :_(

 

Any ideas?

 

Update:

The cart boots if the console is started cold, it will not boot after about 30 seconds of use.

However, once the cart had successfully booted it will play fine until power off.

 

From what I have read, it seems that it is having problems getting passed the encryption phase of bootup....

Edited by Jouster
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Now the 7800 Pole Position II cart will not boot at all on the NTSC console.

Same symptoms as noted above (ATARI splash screen followed by blank screen)

 

However, it still boots on the PAL console.

 

Does this sound like a problem with the cartridge, or the NTSC console? :?

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Now the 7800 Pole Position II cart will not boot at all on the NTSC console.

Same symptoms as noted above (ATARI splash screen followed by blank screen)

 

However, it still boots on the PAL console.

 

Does this sound like a problem with the cartridge, or the NTSC console? icon_confused.gif

Try deep cleaning the the two small holes on each side.

And make sure their is no debris in the slot- I've heard of cotton swab strands causing problems.

A gift card and some strong cotton fabric work good for cleaning the cart port.

But it Sounds like a problem I had with cart port. Had the same problems too. I think pole position ii carts are thinner(after years of use?)

I have a 7800 board (case broke in shipping) that I bought PP II to test if it worked. It was my first 7800 and PP II is the cheapest cart.

Cleaned the cart connector three times with detoxit and used a pick to slightly bend the contacts out. Got PP II to work once out of five times.

All my 2600 games worked fine. I ended up with three more 7800 and all those read PP II fine.

So, I got a NIB (slightly damaged) galaxian cart from best electronics and that worked ever time on the first one.

I guess worn out cart and worn out cartridge port are bad combo.

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Is the Pole Position cart Pal or NTSC?

 

It is the NTSC version that shipped with the console (in the US).

 

It still works with the PAL machine but has garbage graphics at the bottom of the screen.

 

The cart works every time in the PAL unit. I tried it in the NTSC one this morning and it booted on 1st try, but no longer boots (blank screen every time).

 

Does the fact that I get a splash screen mean that the NTSC console is fine?

I only wanted it for a multi cart solution anyway, but didn't want to spend more money only to find it didn't work...

 

@H454

I have tried cleaning the port as best I can (looked pretty clean anyway).

Hasn't made any difference unfortunately :(

 

Here is what happens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnhpzXKjkKc

Edited by Jouster
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Just a quick update to let you know the console is working fine :)

 

I opened up the PP2 cartridge and converted it to take EPROM's.

 

Every game I burn works first time, every time.

 

It must have been a dodgy chip in the PP2 cart.

 

Next, install the UAV when it comes :grin:

Edited by Jouster
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