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Got my 7800 modded - can’t say enough nice about Crossbow!


gorfcadet
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So Crossbow modded my 7800 and just wanted to thank him and recommend him to anyone needing a mod.

He recapped it, installed UAV (restored it after taking out the Longhorn mod), added pink LED, replaced my worn out power buttons, modded it to accept a SEGA Genesis power supply (runs cooler than the other side of the pillow), and even still works with original power supplies and the original rf out!

 

Just wanted to give him a shout out because there arent many modders out there and especially not that do work this good!

 

post-30305-0-08723500-1524788021_thumb.jpegpost-30305-0-27241300-1524788060_thumb.jpeg

Edited by gorfcadet
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I appreciate the praise! Thank you! It was a pleasure to get that ole smeary LHE video out of there for you and get Bryan's UAV in place. But I do want to clarify a few things:

 

- RF output does work, but only for video. I was out of UAC boards so I used my older method of getting audio, but that requires cutting the north side of the legs from R5 and R6. That will cut the audio from the RF output. But if he should get a UAC in the future it is very easy to undo what I did and put it back in place.

 

- You can't really tell from the pics, but I also mod systems with the idea of being able to service them. So, using Bryan's UAV and ensuring I have the green terminal block on it, allows one to easily undo the wiring going to the output jacks. Also, you will see that I've soldered on a header connector from the audio line out. That is the black part of the red wire in the lower right. Again, this allows for complete removal of the main board should it be needed.

 

- The pic of the mainboard is the one I took before getting it back together to send back home. I always put the RF shielding back on whenever possible. In fact, since this had the LHE mod on it before, I didn't have to cut or modify the shielding as that had already been done.

- Again, since this had the LHE in place and was not modded originally by me, the output jacks are along the lower right hand side of the case. This is not where I place them when I do the mods. I opt for the more difficult but much cleaner option of mounting them along the bottom back of the case where the molding was designed to help wrap the RF cord around the base if needed.

 

- You will notice his 7805 regulator heatsink has been removed. That is because in place of the 7805 now sits a DC-DC converter. These are very small switching regulators that are designed as drop in replacements for the old linear regulators that generate so much heat. These can be used in most of our classic consoles without any ill effects. The exception is the Sega Genesis and TG-16 as those had noise that was audible on the audio out. Additional caps can be put in place to try and filter it, but that is more work required and these DC-DC converters are more expensive than older regulators so it does add to the cost in parts.

 

Yes I do these mods for anyone that asks. However, Bryan has essentially halted sales of his UAV for the time being while he redesigns the next version of it. As such, I do NOT have any UAVs on hand and in fact, the UAV I installed in GofCadet's 7800 isn't the one I normally use and was my last one. That UAV was the more expensive fully populated version designed for installation with a 4050 chip in the mix like on the 8-bits and 5200. I had to remove the machine pin headers on the bottom of the UAV to allow it to fit and work within the 7800 you see here. I usually get the basic board and had Bryan add the green terminal block for me to install separately.

 

Shipping prices I make the responsiblity of the customer. However, I only charge for half of the estimate upfront to cover parts and as earnest so I know you have me do the work. I ask for the second half once I the work is complete, pics and video taken showing the work and the console shipped back on its way. This way the invoice sent after reflects the actual shipping it cost me to send it back. I take a risk sending it back with only half the payment applied, but I feel is the best way to be fair on both sides of the deal. Customer only gives up half the risk in sending it to me, and I risk half sending it back that I might not get paid the other half. If for some reason the customer doesn't send the other half, I simply will not do any more mods for them in the future.

Edited by -^Cro§Bow^-
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Great looking mod! I've just sucessfully modded my 7800 for AV, now looking for another challenge, so onto S-Vid! I notice you removed the cart sleeve. Is there any downside to that? DO you have to be careful when sliding cards in and out?

 

Thanks,

Rich

 

Actually I didn't remove the cart sleeve. It was removed when that pic was taken. What I did was hollow out the corners of the cart sleeve so that 3rd party carts would fit into the cartridge port properly. Well...all minus the tiger vision carts with the long posts on them anyway. When that pic was taken, I had it removed for that process.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I think the Commando coloring is very much affected by the 7800 warmup effect. It does change as the system warms up vs a cold start. Commando on any 7800 modded or not is typically a dark game which looks different on almost every tv Ive ever played it on.

 

I have 3 7800s and the UAV modded one from Crossbow is by far my best output.

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I think the Commando coloring is very much affected by the 7800 warmup effect. It does change as the system warms up vs a cold start. Commando on any 7800 modded or not is typically a dark game which looks different on almost every tv Ive ever played it on.

 

The "warmup effect" does not impact the majority of Commando. In this case, the majority of green which is supposed to be golden brown is from the $1x range of color values.

 

The $1x range on all Atari consoles is highly impacted by the tint/hue of the display. The intention and selection of the $1x color range, when mentioned and indicated in Atari related technical documentation and programming guides, is within a gold-golden spectrum, not green or chartreuse.

 

The "warmup effect" where the green(ish) color turns brown is when color choices are from the $Ex range. The enemy bird's in Joust, the ground in Choplifter!, and the fence in Scrapyard Dog are examples of the $Ex range being utilized.

 

For more details, see the Atari 7800 8BitDev.org's Color Documentation page.

 

From all the rave reviews this seems to be the best mod to date for the 7800. Kudos to Crossbow for the excellent install and of course Bryan for his wonderful UAV mod. Hopefully, future revisions may incorporate hard coded RGB values as an option, as done with the NESRGB and 2600RGB mods, providing more consistent color results across different display types.

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Yes, Trebor has this well known and is the resource regarding the color issues on modded 7800s. Basically on a CRT you should still get correct color unless the color pots have been messed with. I use the diag program to check the color before doing anything with a 7800 so I rarely...rarely ever adjust it from how it arrived to me. So it really is just an affect of how that color range looks on most LCDs. You can change the color and tint settings on your LCD to bring this back into the brown it should be, but then in my case, it hoses up the coloring for the rest of my consoles. So I just live with the green ground in commando in my case.

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On a different note, regarding just the title of the thread.

I honestly thought the Crossbow he mentions was the game not the person ... and I was like ... come again?

 

It would be nice to have a mod that compensates the tint mess that is an Atari 7800.

I can confirm that on a sample CRT (where sample means 1 crappy no name 13" I have lying around) Commando grass is brown on my modded 7800 while it is green on the LCD unless I adjust the tint.

My mod is of the Longhorn Engineer kind, has nothing to do with what -^Cro§Bow^- installs, just mentioning.

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My mod is of the Longhorn Engineer kind, has nothing to do with what -^Cro§Bow^- installs, just mentioning.

 

Have you had good results with it? I had the LHE in my 7800 sometime back and never had good luck with the image quality from it. On a CRT it looked great, but on an LCD it was a smeary mess. Magic Knights s-video only board was a good solution until the UAV came about.

 

Again, I tried lots of things with the LHE mod in my 7800 to get it looking good and never could. Similar with issues with the one mentioned in this thread that also had the LHE originally in it.

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Have you had good results with it? I had the LHE in my 7800 sometime back and never had good luck with the image quality from it. On a CRT it looked great, but on an LCD it was a smeary mess. Magic Knights s-video only board was a good solution until the UAV came about.

 

Again, I tried lots of things with the LHE mod in my 7800 to get it looking good and never could. Similar with issues with the one mentioned in this thread that also had the LHE originally in it.

The composite signal is not great on my LCD (but you should see what it does to the Genny composhit), the SVideo looks great instead but ... there's a but ... the slightly off time signal makes it loses sync every 10-15sec or so on a minority of games ... very annoying, if I plug that SVideo into an el-cheapo Svideo->HDMI converter I am back in business and also an XRGB mini works just fine.

I used Mission (Im)possible for my "testing" and on composite I couldn't tell the icons, on SVideo it was fine instead (desync notwithstanding that is).

Given my AES does the same thing (desync on SVideo) it didn't bother me too much .... other games did not show the same desync issues (for example I can play Tower Toppler just fine, until it drives me nuts and I get so mad at it that is ... but that's another story).

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My main issues with the LHE I've spoken on here many times before. But in summary the colors bled horribly especially on games with borders like Dark Chambers, and anything with the color blue or red looked ugly. Also the brightness was quite dim on it compared to other solutions since. And let us not forget that wonderful diagonal interference pattern from the TIA colorburst signal requiring another switch to be added somewhere to kill it. Yeah it was an ugly mess of a mod in my opinion and it also never would sit well in the socket forcing me to have to open the case and press it back down every now and then.

 

UAV solved all of that on both composite and s-video...for now until something better comes along I guess...

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I basically reached the last 5 chambers or so on Dark Chambers last difficulty level (started form easy) playing on it so in my case it wasn't as bad, maybe my 7800 likes the LHE a little better.

For the TIA interference I added a switch, it's not that my 7800 has a pristine case anyhow, I thought at the time (say 3Y+ ago) it was fair game for the price, obviously if there was something better on that price range ..... not that I care that much nowadays, the 7800 gets very little playtime, in the end I like FoodFight but can't play for too long, also Plutos was nice.

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I basically reached the last 5 chambers or so on Dark Chambers last difficulty level (started form easy) playing on it so in my case it wasn't as bad, maybe my 7800 likes the LHE a little better.

 

From my experience, the above is definitely a possible and very likely scenario. Three of my systems have the following mods, listed by serial from oldest to newest:

 

AT84 = LHE mod

A1 = Simple Composite via BEST

A3 = LHE mod

 

The results via a CRT:

 

-The LHE mod via composite on the AT84 is near identical to S-Video quality in clarity and colors are rich. It looks fantastic.

 

-The A1 mod is very good. Not near the sharpness of the AT84, but colors still very good, despite not as saturated as the aforementioned.

 

-Now the A3. The LHE mod is the same as the AT84, but the picture clarity and saturation of colors is not in the same league as the AT84. I would argue the simple composite mod for the A1 is just as good for colors and even better for clarity.

 

Here's a very good test case, the 'play instructions' for b*nQ. Pop that cart in and wait for the screen to appear:

 

post-18-0-39528700-1527212317.png

 

AT84 (LHE) = Read each word and letter crystal clear.

A1 (Simple) = Read each word easily for the most part.

A3 (LHE) = The struggle is real. It is not an easy read.

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The LHE on my AT84 unit looked great on a CRT for both composite and s-video. It was on the LCDs that it was a failure for me. Again, I've posted pics of it here in the past in other threads that demonstrate the results I was getting. In any event, the LHE was very much 7800 dependent and you didn't get consistent results. The UAV has been consistent for me on all variants I've installed it into thus far.

 

If the LHE works great for you then that is excellent. It didn't for me and it didn't for the owner of the 7800 in this thread so it was replaced out in favor of the UAV.

 

It is also interesting to note that pretty much everyone can confirm that all of these mods look good on CRTs with the right colors being represented and it is only on LCDs where the results vary as well as the color hues never appearing to be correct without adjustment on the LCD itself. Given that, how would you implement something for both? Different resistor values between CRT and LCDs and thus installing a small switch on such a mod to flip back and forth between?

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...how would you implement something for both? Different resistor values between CRT and LCDs and thus installing a small switch on such a mod to flip back and forth between?

 

As mentioned earlier, both the NESRGB and 2600RGB have hard coded RGB palettes that can be selected. Each of the mods have 3-4 different palettes to choose from. A 7800 mod should offer similar to ensure better color consistency.

 

Regarding the the 2600RGB mod, a user can upload their favorite palette to it. NESRGB has the ability to just pass the signal through (What UAV currently does now).

 

It would be fantastic if a (7800) mod can include all the above by offering the following options:

 

1. Store multiple RGB palettes.

2. Allow user to upload palette.

3. Just pass thru the signal.

 

If I had my druthers, three RGB palettes to pick from...

 

25.7 - "Factory" - Cool --> 26.7 - "Ideal" - Warm --> 27.7 - "Common" - Hot:

 

post-18-0-09972400-1527303263.pngpost-18-0-65830800-1527303267.pngpost-18-0-80526700-1527303273.png

 

...then perhaps one more 'personal choice' palette as an option.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

As mentioned earlier, both the NESRGB and 2600RGB have hard coded RGB palettes that can be selected. Each of the mods have 3-4 different palettes to choose from. A 7800 mod should offer similar to ensure better color consistency.

 

Regarding the the 2600RGB mod, a user can upload their favorite palette to it. NESRGB has the ability to just pass the signal through (What UAV currently does now).

 

It would be fantastic if a (7800) mod can include all the above by offering the following options:

 

1. Store multiple RGB palettes.

2. Allow user to upload palette.

3. Just pass thru the signal.

 

If I had my druthers, three RGB palettes to pick from...

 

25.7 - "Factory" - Cool --> 26.7 - "Ideal" - Warm --> 27.7 - "Common" - Hot:

 

attachicon.gif257_Factory_SM.pngattachicon.gif267_Ideal_SM.pngattachicon.gif277_Common_SM.png

 

...then perhaps one more 'personal choice' palette as an option.

 

You know on my LCD computer monitor... those screenshots look exactly the same... hmmm

 

But I understand what you are saying. So far the only mods for the 7800 are mostly replacement video encoding so essentially passthru?

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You know on my LCD computer monitor... those screenshots look exactly the same... hmmm

 

Note: Rows = Hues

 

Rows 0 & 1, there is no change with system warm-up.

 

Rows 2 thru 9 the subtle changes are hard to notice in the context of the pictures.

 

Row A there is a distinct difference in the lower/darker luminescences; shifting from bluer to greener.

Row B there is a distinct difference in the higher/lighter luminescences; shifting from bluer to greener.

 

Row C the cool green hue becomes warmer over time, but the subtly is similar to Rows 2 thru 9.

Row D the starting warmer green hue becomes near chartreuse in the higher/lighter luminescence range.

 

Row E is the most noticeable difference of all hue ranges. It goes from a chartreuse to golden-brown.

 

Row F changes from the golden-brown/yellow range of Row 1 to the the auburn-brown/orange range of Row 2.

 

;)

 

There is a beautifully created gif that demonstrates the changes mentioned above, from the 7800 8BitDev.org site's section on Atari 7800 Color Documentation. It animates the changes as the console hues shift from 25.7 degrees to 27.7 degrees of separation.

 

So far the only mods for the 7800 are mostly replacement video encoding so essentially passthru?

 

Correct. :)

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Again on my monitor (4k btw) all the color spectrum shots look exactly the same to me...

 

Not sure what to tell you about not seeing the differences on your (4k) monitor. Row E should especially stand out. Don't take my word for it, save the color spectrum pictures and open under MS Paint or some other app that will enable grabbing the RGB values of the swatches.

 

...Including the two from the link above...

The two from the link above (The charts under the Atari 7800 Color Documentation page), demonstrates an NTSC palette on the left and a PAL palette on the right (Both "factory set" phase shifts of 25.7 degrees). While there are many subtle differences between the two charts, hues $1x and $Fx stand out. They should look very different from each other between the NTSC and PAL charts. Same advice as just mentioned, download the pictures and look up the RGB values of the swatches.

 

...BTW the gif link takes me a page not found type error?

 

I'll attach the gif below; can you see it now?

 

post-18-0-19660600-1528543081.gif

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