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NES HDMI Upgrade Redux


Tanooki
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No fighting this time kids, seriously. No reason to get that topic shut down, you know who you are.

 

I was enjoying that thread I set up with the debate over if it's better to get the HDMI update, some halfarsed up box, or chop shopping of sorts a top loader to throw some HDMI love towards it. I though not sub on youtube a member here because he's doing amazing work documenting the Neo Geo MVS library 001 to end, a slow but rewarding process. As it is burn out I think can happen so stuff gets back and forward between other ideas, and that's why this thread is is getting the can kicked back to life. A very interesting video was made on youtube by him called the Ultimate NES Mod which I did find pretty interesting. Maybe you would too, or maybe the idea of the UltraHDMI, or whatever works, but the idea of the NESRGB+BLW+FC audio as a combo is an interesting route. While I think I'd still rather do something with that nice top loader I've stored away for now, adding that FC audio would be big to me as I do have a few FC games plus an everdrive n8 too.

 

Here's the video, enjoy:

 

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I've been wondering about this too. I have two questions, for anyone who can answer them:

 

1) does the HDMI mod REMOVE (not lessen, I mean terminate with extreme prejudice) the jailbars on a top loader, and

 

2) how does the experience compare with that of an AVS?

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Hey, thanks for the link. I hope people like bad soldering.

 

If the expansion audio mod is what you're interested in, you should know it's really trivial to do. Just connect some stuff that was left unconnected and you're done. I was watching one of Voultar's live streams recently where he pointed out exactly that.

 

Anyway, my main point was that the choice between HDMI and RGB comes down to what you need it for.

 

I also thought of a different solution to the difference in volume between flash carts and real carts -- put the resistor for flash carts in the console, then add the extra needed resistance to the converter.

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I think I know the answers to the two questions. From what I've seen and read, since you're taking the RF out of the equation, yes going with that gametech kit for HDMI on the NES it does remove the bars, but there is a chance it could not. Basically I think I read you need to snip the pin or otherwise remove the RF jack itself because I guess it can get still some power feedback remaining enabled to potentially cause bars. The HDMI mod has its own sub board and 2 ribbon cables that get attached to the main board after doing a socketing job much like in the video DJ Clae did there for the RGB style mod. You pop off the original CPU/PPU, socket it, run that part of the HDMI kit up there, solder where needed for the 2 ribbons, then pop your chips back in the right sockets. The sub board can be mounted (top loader) in the lower centered base of the clamshell safely there (needs a little more work in a normal NES) and that's really about it other than a little carving to get an hdmi sized hole for the plug from the outside.

 

Compared to the AVS it should basically be 1:1, the difference I guess would be if there are any existing quirks in the setup it uses since it's simulating the original guts of the NES/Famicom. If all the problems to the last cart were worked out then I guess it would work all the same so it would come down to you wanting to use original bypassed NES hardware or a modern system on a chip FPGA.

 

While that RGB video is solid and very informative, as he said, it's about alternatives for needs and showing it off. For me I'm trying to abandon as many old school cables as possible for HDMI which is why I'm wanting that Super NT device as I just don't see people taking an interest in doing a HDMI SNES mod which is just bizarre given the NES got one, the SNES got skipped, and the love/hate N64 got one too. N64 though is the largest benefit since that system is pretty loathesome about display problems on LCDs by far. Some developers used how a CRT behaved to cheat little tricks to display visuals and with it out of the picture, your picture ends up having problems like overdone blur (Hudson I think abused it worse from experience) to shadows/lighting being broken reverting to a blacked out state making some games entirely or partly unplayable or damn near it.

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At this late point in the game, I'd rather buy the AVS or Super NT than go with mods. UltraHDMI mod for N64 is really the last Nintendo console that needs internal mods to play games through an actual cartridge interface (as the developers intended) on an HDTV.

 

NES and SNES have FPGA clones. Game Cube have the digital HDMI adapter. Wii upscales fine on a Wii-U. Switch is HDMI native. Also with the Super NT + Super Game Boy, or the Game Cube's digital output with the GAme Boy Player, you get three generations of Game Boy games over HDMI as well.

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I just did another Hi-Def NES with Blinking Light Win a few days ago. :)

 

Some considerations:

No expansion audio mod needed for Hi-Def NES. Hi-Def NES does not digitize analog audio and, instead, replicates the system audio to generate digital audio itself. It’s really doing the same thing to the PPU to get digital graphics since the PPU is composite-only. To get expansion audio from the cartridge, it just replicates that on the FPGA too. The only drawback is that you will have to enable special audio in the “Enables” menu to hear it with HDMI.

 

No expansion audio modification required for HDMI. It also means that FDS and expansion audio will sound better than they otherwise would from an Everdrive. It ALSO means that you can get expansion audio without the actual hardware inside the game, which means you could make a repro on a board with the right mapper and let the Hi-Def NES become your VRC7 or Sunsoft 5b or whatever (stop killing Return of the Joker for Mr. Gimmick!). No need to chose a resistor value that works properly with Everdrive or Famicom games at the other’s expense.

 

It’s even better for the top loader, since it drastically needs a video improvement and doesn’t have the standard expansion audio pins in the first place. No need to modify the Everdrive or pin adapter to use an alternate pin for expansion audio.

 

I actually removed over 20% of the pins on the BLW to loosen it up for my client. The CIC pins aren’t connected, the expansion/auxiliary/audio pins aren’t connected unless you performed the expansion audio mod, and the CPU clock pin is literally only used by CopyNES (not connected in the top loader). It’s still very tight even after removing those 15 pins but I’ve used it side-by-side with an unmodified BLW and it is a definite improvement. If the goal of BLW was to replicate the feel and reliability of a top loader, they should’ve done this already!

 

The pins come out of the bottom of the connector and I have a desoldering iron but I didn’t need it. The connector is elevated from the PCB so I use flush-cutters on the top side of the PCB bending the pins out one at a time, grabbing each pin with pliers and “rolling” them out the bottom of the connector (pull down, out, and around).

 

I’ll desolder the next so that I have spare pins to restore expansion audio if a client ever changes his/her mind.

 

The N64 has anti-aliasing built-in which can't normally be disabled. HDMI and RGB mods now have the option to disable it.

Well, UltraHDMI and the digital RGB mods can undo the VI blur with “VI Deblur,” which is a perfect mathematical reversal of the digital algorithm that added the blur in the first place.

 

VI blur is a per-line horizontal blur and not really anti-aliasing. The N64 also has real anti-aliasing, which remains enabled. It’s software controlled, so you can disable the anti-aliasing with GameShark/Action Replay cheats but the consensus is that you probably don’t want to:

AA is definitely good for 3D stuff at 240p. Texture filtering too. The “blurry textures” complaint should really be “low resolution textures due to lack of storage space being somewhat masked under texture smoothening/filtering.” Removing the filtering will make the low-res textures look worse, just like it would on an old PC game with higher res textures that lets you disable it for a performance boost.

 

I did another UltraHDMI Sunday night and have another scheduled tonight. :)

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I'm loving that post, where did you find the kit?! I have been wanting to get one for over a month and they're out of stock. Ended up picking up this excellent condition top loader at the start of the year and I've cleaned it inside and out and stuffed it on a box next to the desk here waiting to get that damned kit.

 

The fact it can crank out due to the FPGA all the yummy audio and other stuff on its own, not even technically needing those expansion chips either is just fantastic and I had no idea. I really need to get that kit. Ugh.

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I'm loving that post, where did you find the kit?! I have been wanting to get one for over a month and they're out of stock. Ended up picking up this excellent condition top loader at the start of the year and I've cleaned it inside and out and stuffed it on a box next to the desk here waiting to get that damned kit.

 

The fact it can crank out due to the FPGA all the yummy audio and other stuff on its own, not even technically needing those expansion chips either is just fantastic and I had no idea. I really need to get that kit. Ugh.

I had one kit from the first wave DIY sales July 3rd, 2016 and another that was literally the very last one sold by GameTechUS last year. A friend’s need convinced me to sell him my original and install the other into my unused top loader (original doesn’t fit toploaders as well but fits frontloaders fine). I move it from my system with new interposers.

 

OK, so the toploader isn’t actually “unused.” The system was remanufactured by Nintendo with a new shell and THEN never used but, cosmetically, it is unused. [emoji4] Had it nearly 20 years. Hadn’t installed it because I wanted to do some other special stuff, so I moved the back panel and multi-out from an AV Famicom in preparation.

Edited by CZroe
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That figures and makes sense. I really wish they'd resupply the thing as I do with the other group and their Super NT device as well. It's quite maddening given you have no idea what size the next run will be and when as people will surely try and scoop what they can potentially for resale or their own needs.

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That figures and makes sense. I really wish they'd resupply the thing as I do with the other group and their Super NT device as well. It's quite maddening given you have no idea what size the next run will be and when as people will surely try and scoop what they can potentially for resale or their own needs.

Well, word was that Kevtris has a batch nearly ready. Jason (GameTechUS) said he was waiting on word from Kevin for him to go pick them up. Kevin was busy flashing/testing them.

 

SOON!

Edited by CZroe
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