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View Full Version : Kits for Retro Canada's MDA/EGA/CGA to VGA Converter



Plasma
November 17th, 2017, 11:26 PM
I want some of these (https://sites.google.com/site/tandycocoloco/mda-cga-ega-to-vga), so I'm going to order parts unless somebody else already has.

I can put together unassembled kits for around $55 + shipping (~$10 USA, $25-35 others). Would include the FPGA board, blank PCB, and all components. May also include a byte blaster if the low-cost clones work ok. Regardless I will pre-program the FPGA.

Reply with quantity if you are interested.

ibmapc
November 18th, 2017, 12:22 AM
Put me down for two kits!! Thanks for taking this on. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Greg

kyeakel
November 18th, 2017, 05:53 AM
I'd like one of these and thanks much for doing this!

Kipp

KenEG
November 18th, 2017, 06:03 AM
I will buy one.

snuci
November 18th, 2017, 06:28 AM
I'm in Canada so I'll do my own but are you considering this too? https://sites.google.com/site/tandycocoloco/rgb2vga ?

Plasma
November 18th, 2017, 06:42 AM
No, sorry...I don't have a need for that one.

Formulator
November 18th, 2017, 11:09 AM
Yes, I am interested in (1) unit - thank you.

obaltus
November 18th, 2017, 11:13 AM
Hello,

Great. I am also interested in one kit.

lutiana
November 18th, 2017, 11:51 AM
I'd be interested in a kit too.

mikey99
November 18th, 2017, 05:31 PM
I'm definitely interested in one kit. Thanks for offering this !

ibmapc
November 19th, 2017, 10:35 AM
Now we need to figure out how to pay for these so that Plasma doesn't get stuck holding the bag! Hopefully, once he determines an accurate price, he'll post it, here and tell us how to pay him.

Greg

SpidersWeb
November 19th, 2017, 10:53 AM
I'd like one too please. Assuming payment is through PayPal or something similar.

I'm in New Zealand (but USPS has always been fine for sending here), however if that's an issue I have a US address that can be used and I'll just get it forwarded over here.

dJOS
November 19th, 2017, 12:30 PM
I want some of these (https://sites.google.com/site/tandycocoloco/mda-cga-ega-to-vga), so I'm going to order parts unless somebody else already has.

I can put together unassembled kits for around $55 + shipping (~$10). Would include the FPGA board, blank PCB, and all components except the USB Blaster II (I will pre-program the FPGA). US only. Reply with quantity if you are interested.

I'm in Australia but would love an unassembled kit please?

Ps USPS to Australia is very reliable, I use it all the time.

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 01:32 PM
I want some of these (https://sites.google.com/site/tandycocoloco/mda-cga-ega-to-vga), so I'm going to order parts unless somebody else already has.

I can put together unassembled kits for around $55 + shipping (~$10). Would include the FPGA board, blank PCB, and all components except the USB Blaster II (I will pre-program the FPGA). US only. Reply with quantity if you are interested.

hey, can you wait few more days ? I'm finishing a version 2.0 where I changed the voltage dividers by a level shifter 74LVC245. Some EGA boards have slow switching between low and high voltages what caused some black pixel fringes around yelow text over blue for example. This requires a new PCB board. I have one assembled and is working good with these slow EGA.

The new version solves this problems but I'd like to test it more. Also I adding 4 push buttons and making the output 4-bit instead of 3-bit what is better to emulate amber color. But you can order the Core4EPCE6 units already.

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 01:39 PM
Easier to assembly as I am using resistor arrays.

42026

42027

ibmapc
November 19th, 2017, 04:46 PM
Easier to assembly as I am using resistor arrays.

42026

42027

If you really want to make it easy, replace that SMD static ram chip on the back with a through hole equivalent. My old eyes and shaky hands have a hard time with SMD parts.

Greg

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 05:49 PM
If you really want to make it easy, replace that SMD static ram chip on the back with a through hole equivalent. My old eyes and shaky hands have a hard time with SMD parts.

Greg

I couldn't get any 16-bit 8ns Static RAM other than SMD.

No matter how good is your vision I will need a magnifier and flux. Also a chiseled solder tip.

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 05:50 PM
Also even If I could I would need level shifters because it would be probably 5V. This SMD one is perfect for the job.

dJOS
November 19th, 2017, 06:30 PM
I couldn't get any 16-bit 8ns Static RAM other than SMD.

No matter how good is your vision I will need a magnifier and flux. Also a chiseled solder tip.

Yeah pretty easy with a decent size 5x illuminated glass plus 2mm chisel tip.

Plasma
November 19th, 2017, 08:33 PM
hey, can you wait few more days ? I'm finishing a version 2.0 where I changed the voltage dividers by a level shifter 74LVC245. Some EGA boards have slow switching between low and high voltages what caused some black pixel fringes around yelow text over blue for example. This requires a new PCB board. I have one assembled and is working good with these slow EGA.

The new version solves this problems but I'd like to test it more. Also I adding 4 push buttons and making the output 4-bit instead of 3-bit what is better to emulate amber color. But you can order the Core4EPCE6 units already.

Sure I will wait. Let us know when it's to your satisfaction. Also I noticed some recent code commits for aspect ratio correction. Does this have to do with the image being "squashed" when using color borders?


I'm in Australia but would love an unassembled kit please?

Ps USPS to Australia is very reliable, I use it all the time.

Priority Mail International is $35 to Australia...if you are willing to pay that, plus whatever import duties, then I will ship to you. I won't fudge the value on the customs form.


Now we need to figure out how to pay for these so that Plasma doesn't get stuck holding the bag! Hopefully, once he determines an accurate price, he'll post it, here and tell us how to pay him.

Greg

Actually I would prefer to not accept any money until I've bought the parts and put one together to verify there are no problems. The cost will also be more accurate that way. I just needed a ballpark on quantity. When they are ready I will accept paypal.

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 08:45 PM
Sure I will wait. Let us know when it's to your satisfaction. Also I noticed some recent code commits for aspect ratio correction. Does this have to do with the image being "squashed" when using color borders?


Yes, right now I am using 800x600 all outputs so I do a linear interpolation on lines to get a better aspect ratio. Is not perfect because I need integer factors but it is close enough.

The reason for that is not only borders (that now are pretty visible) but overscan. Each vendor has a different back/front porch values also, the Hercules. The graphics mode is like 8 pixels offset from the text mode. So if you set to use 720x400 output you either lose one column right or 8 pixels left or you keep pressing the adjustment buttons what is annoying. So I made them all in 800x600 with a little stretching effect.

But you can change the values and clock back and easily put it in any resolution you want.

dJOS
November 19th, 2017, 09:03 PM
Priority Mail International is $35 to Australia...if you are willing to pay that, plus whatever import duties, then I will ship to you. I won't fudge the value on the customs form.

I'm happy to pay that and unlike the Euro's, we dont get stung import duties on electronic parts or unfinished products.

SpidersWeb
November 19th, 2017, 09:06 PM
Same for NZ for items under something like $500 value.
They rang me dry on my Rigol DS1054Z though.

dJOS
November 19th, 2017, 09:07 PM
When they are ready I will accept paypal.

If you want to control the process centrally and keep things nice and neat, I suggest you send folks paypal invoices to their email address. These give you the ability to spell everything out nice and neatly and also put notes alongside each invoice to track fulfillment etc.

This I how I manage folks buying my Tandy 1000 adapters.

Plasma
November 19th, 2017, 09:07 PM
Yes, right now I am using 800x600 all outputs so I do a linear interpolation on lines to get a better aspect ratio. Is not perfect because I need integer factors but it is close enough.

The reason for that is not only borders (that now are pretty visible) but overscan. Each vendor has a different back/front porch values also, the Hercules. The graphics mode is like 8 pixels offset from the text mode. So if you set to use 720x400 output you either lose one column right or 8 pixels left or you keep pressing the adjustment buttons what is annoying. So I made them all in 800x600 with a little stretching effect.

But you can change the values and clock back and easily put it in any resolution you want.

Hmm interesting. Do you have problems with artifacting from half-tone characters/dithering?

pbirkel@gmail.com
November 19th, 2017, 11:17 PM
Plasma: Please add me to the list for a kit. This is absolutely wonderful. I'm in no hurry at all :->!

Also, I would find it "most pleasing" if the kit came with any required SMD parts already soldered-down. Very most pleasing ...


I couldn't get any 16-bit 8ns Static RAM other than SMD.

No matter how good is your vision I will need a magnifier and flux. Also a chiseled solder tip.

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 11:26 PM
Hmm interesting. Do you have problems with artifacting from half-tone characters/dithering?

the results has been pretty good so far. The interpolation is dummy like double the lines 0 and 1 but not the 3rd. Then the 4th line will become half 3rd / half 4th. The 5th is the 4th line doubled.

Retro Canada
November 19th, 2017, 11:27 PM
the results has been pretty good so far. The interpolation is dummy like double the lines 0 and 1 but not the 3rd. Then the 4th line will become half 3rd / half 4th. The 5th is the 4th line doubled.

I got problem with ambar turning to yellow, so that's why I added an extra bit.

Plasma
November 19th, 2017, 11:36 PM
Plasma: Please add me to the list for a kit. This is absolutely wonderful. I'm in no hurry at all :->!

Also, I would find it "most pleasing" if the kit came with any required SMD parts already soldered-down. Very most pleasing ...

I can't make any guarantees on the SMD soldering...I'm also a novice in that area. But I'll see how mine turn out first I guess.


the results has been pretty good so far. The interpolation is dummy like double the lines 0 and 1 but not the 3rd. Then the 4th line will become half 3rd / half 4th. The 5th is the 4th line doubled.

I see. Another demo video would be cool if you have time.

eeguru
November 20th, 2017, 06:50 AM
I couldn't get any 16-bit 8ns Static RAM other than SMD.

No matter how good is your vision I will need a magnifier and flux. Also a chiseled solder tip.

There are plenty of 8-bit PTH parts that can be paired up.

Retro Canada
November 20th, 2017, 08:46 AM
There are plenty of 8-bit PTH parts that can be paired up.

a 16-bit 256K 8 nanoseconds access time Static RAM as though the hole DIP ? Show me one. That is easily available at digikey, mouser or jameco ?

The fastest DIP I found (still available) is on 55ns range. It must be lower than 10 nanoseconds. I need to read and write at 110Mhz. Not to mention a 16-bit dip would take a lot of real state and make the board bigger.

SpidersWeb
November 20th, 2017, 10:23 AM
What I do is flux the board and the pins. Place the chip and tack a corner, then fill my iron up with solder and just drag it down the pins.
If I end up with a bridge from too much solder, then I just run the tip + desoldering braid down each row. It's pretty quick, solder mask is magic.

Retro Canada
November 20th, 2017, 10:49 AM
But if someone is planning to solder these TSOP-II chips without testing the board I advocate to test each 2 consecutive pins with a multimeter because sometimes you end up with internal bridges hard to impossible to see. If you get them just use solder wick in these pins and repeat the process.

snuci
November 20th, 2017, 11:01 AM
hey, can you wait few more days ? I'm finishing a version 2.0 where I changed the voltage dividers by a level shifter 74LVC245. Some EGA boards have slow switching between low and high voltages what caused some black pixel fringes around yelow text over blue for example. This requires a new PCB board. I have one assembled and is working good with these slow EGA.

The new version solves this problems but I'd like to test it more. Also I adding 4 push buttons and making the output 4-bit instead of 3-bit what is better to emulate amber color. But you can order the Core4EPCE6 units already.

Please let us know when you are done and please update the materials list. I actually ordered three boards but was able to cancel so I can get the new design.

Thank you for your work. I am also going to make some RGB2VGA boards. Are there any updates to this board? I do plan to use one or two for RGBi.

eeguru
November 20th, 2017, 01:22 PM
a 16-bit 256K 8 nanoseconds access time Static RAM as though the hole DIP ? Show me one. That is easily available at digikey, mouser or jameco ?

The fastest DIP I found (still available) is on 55ns range. It must be lower than 10 nanoseconds. I need to read and write at 110Mhz. Not to mention a 16-bit dip would take a lot of real state and make the board bigger.

I didn't realize you were reading and writing that fast. But yes, 55ns is the fastest on most distributors. 16-bit is not a requirement. You can always pair two 8-bit parts in parallel to get 16-bit. Yes it costs more. But if it were not for your 8ns requirement, it would be easier to solder.

8008guy
November 20th, 2017, 07:21 PM
Are blank pcb's available?

Retro Canada
November 20th, 2017, 11:08 PM
Please let us know when you are done and please update the materials list. I actually ordered three boards but was able to cancel so I can get the new design.

Thank you for your work. I am also going to make some RGB2VGA boards. Are there any updates to this board? I do plan to use one or two for RGBi.

The page has been updated with the new gerber files and the new list of materials/schematics are there. I will post photos and videos later.

The repository has a new branch V2, use it in this new board.

You are free to order the PCBs and the parts. The new board is much better.

BTW: I use allpcb.com for all my project: 5 dollars (DHL freight included!) I don't know if they will keep the DHL for a long time, I got my new batch in a week :D :D

Trixter
November 21st, 2017, 10:11 AM
I just needed a ballpark on quantity. When they are ready I will accept paypal.

Put me down for one, assembled and tested.

Plasma
November 21st, 2017, 12:19 PM
I wasn't planning on offering any assembled. If that's something I end up doing it won't be cheap.

Trixter
November 21st, 2017, 12:55 PM
Then put me down for one kit, unassembled :-)

Plasma
November 21st, 2017, 04:30 PM
Ok :P

I'll probably wait another week to make sure I have everyone, and that there are no more changes/improvements. Then start ordering parts.

dlightman
November 21st, 2017, 07:29 PM
I'm in for one.

Retro Canada
November 22nd, 2017, 05:28 AM
The videos for the new board. Sorry for the raw undedited footage but am not an youtuber ;)

https://youtu.be/quG6bHHULPw

https://youtu.be/ZRgjXBVR4hQ

https://youtu.be/I_jjW5NOI74

ChrisCwmbran
November 22nd, 2017, 12:56 PM
I'll take one too please.

Plasma
November 23rd, 2017, 12:11 AM
The videos for the new board. Sorry for the raw undedited footage but am not an youtuber ;)

https://youtu.be/quG6bHHULPw

https://youtu.be/ZRgjXBVR4hQ

https://youtu.be/I_jjW5NOI74

Looks good :) Would it be possible to get a V2 native res branch for people with old CRTs (who don't mind adjusting)? Or can I just use an older commit?

Retro Canada
November 23rd, 2017, 05:52 AM
Hmm the problem is I don't make overscan as they don't work well on LCD monitors and I can't test what I cannot see :/ and I not planning in getting a bulky CRT monitor...

Plasma
November 23rd, 2017, 06:11 AM
I'm just talking about how it was initially before you added borders.

Retro Canada
November 23rd, 2017, 06:20 AM
I'm just talking about how it was initially before you added borders.

This is what you are not getting: you won't have borders in a CRT because they are cropped to fit the LCD screen. Also, the hercules you going to loose 8 or 9 pixels in text or graphics mode. Also any pixel out of the screen will be cropped in a CRT monitor.

Plasma
November 23rd, 2017, 06:25 AM
Personally I don't care about borders, although I know some here are passionate about them :P Isn't there manual adjustment for the hercules?

Reason I'm asking is some of my VGA CRTs can't do 800x600.

clh333
November 23rd, 2017, 06:54 AM
I want some of these (https://sites.google.com/site/tandycocoloco/mda-cga-ega-to-vga), so I'm going to order parts unless somebody else already has.

I can put together unassembled kits for around $55 + shipping (~$10 USA, $25-35 others). Would include the FPGA board, blank PCB, and all components. May also include a byte blaster if the low-cost clones work ok. Regardless I will pre-program the FPGA.

Reply with quantity if you are interested.

I would participate if still available. Put me down for a kit, and thanks for organizing this.

-CH-

clh333
November 23rd, 2017, 06:56 AM
I'm in Canada so I'll do my own but are you considering this too? https://sites.google.com/site/tandycocoloco/rgb2vga ?

I would participate in that. Is anyone else is interested?

-CH-

Plasma
November 23rd, 2017, 07:02 AM
Yes, there's still time. I will start ordering parts next week.

Retro Canada
November 23rd, 2017, 09:02 AM
Okay, I'll do it later, but first I want to finish all the features

Retro Canada
November 25th, 2017, 12:52 AM
hey Plasma,

I just commited a branch FullScreenV2. This is what you want: 640x400/640x350/720x350 for CGA/EGA/MDA

Also, I am generating overscan: 4 pixels each side so when you play Commander Keen you will se the border.

LCD monitors do accept border but they may get confuse where to self-adjust the image because it doesn't know.

What I did I manually centered the screen and changed the clock/phase on monitor. This makes the image smaller and you can see a bit of overscan.

This is needed especially for Hercules. I shrink the image like 8 pixels smaller and move it to the right. So when I start a graphics application I can still see it.

But BE PREPARED: You will have to adjust and center the image using the unit buttons because it's a nightmare: I change from EGA to CGA cards and even 2 EGA cards have completely different back/front porch. CGA from text to graphics 320x200 is 8 pixels to the left as well.

Plasma
November 25th, 2017, 02:15 AM
Great, thanks! :D

Retro Canada
November 26th, 2017, 11:29 AM
Plasma, plase hold your horses... I found an issue with v2.0. At least with 2 boards: TD3088a and GB-200. The sync pulses especially the HSYNC that goes to the level shifter is causing an issue. This doesn't happen in the V1.0. I will try to fix in FPGA but maybe a new board will be needed with both level shift and voltage dividers for the H and V sync.

Retro Canada
November 26th, 2017, 11:30 AM
I don't know if they are getting noise from these boards or is something different.

Retro Canada
November 26th, 2017, 01:51 PM
Ok, it was fixed by FPGA code. You can go ahead with the boards.

Plasma
November 30th, 2017, 04:58 AM
I have ordered all the parts and will update when I am ready to accept orders.

ibmapc
November 30th, 2017, 06:54 AM
I have ordered all the parts and will update when I am ready to accept orders.

Awsome,

Let me know if you would like some help assembling and testing prototypes. I've invested in a new solder station and an "SMD Flow Tip" which I am hoping will make soldering of the Static Ram chip easier. I might even be willing to offer assembly services for those who don't want to attempt the SMD work, if I can master the technique!!

Greg

Plasma
November 30th, 2017, 09:50 PM
Thanks, I will see how it goes.

Retro Canada
December 9th, 2017, 09:38 AM
Here is a video showing the basic operation of the board and the difference between the two versions. Also I deleted the old github repo and build a new one with the same name. There was too many non-necessary files and many branches impossible to merge. So now, the main trunk the the version 2.00 and there is a branch for version 1.00. The code for both are essentially the same except for few changes needed.


https://youtu.be/LYkjJDo1jMg

TMA-1
December 9th, 2017, 11:14 AM
I have ordered all the parts and will update when I am ready to accept orders.

Just discovered this thread--boy do I ever want one of these! Congratulations Retro Canada. Is there a mother thread to this? I'm in Canada too, but I missed the parts list--does it make more sense for me to try to source one myself, or queue up for Plasma's kit offering?

Ian

Plasma
December 9th, 2017, 05:06 PM
Here is a video showing the basic operation of the board and the difference between the two versions. Also I deleted the old github repo and build a new one with the same name. There was too many non-necessary files and many branches impossible to merge. So now, the main trunk the the version 2.00 and there is a branch for version 1.00. The code for both are essentially the same except for few changes needed.

So there's only one V2 branch now? Did you get rid of the 800x600 scaled version?


Just discovered this thread--boy do I ever want one of these! Congratulations Retro Canada. Is there a mother thread to this? I'm in Canada too, but I missed the parts list--does it make more sense for me to try to source one myself, or queue up for Plasma's kit offering?

Ian

The main thread is here (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?59896-DIY-FPGA-MDA-EGA-CGA-to-VGA-Converter-D). Shipping to Canada will be about $25 if you want a kit.

If you buy the parts yourself, the FPGA board is $25 and the components are $30 (USD). Then you also need a USB blaster, and unfortunately I have found the super cheap ones (~$5) don't support the SFL, so you can't flash the EPCS, only program the FPGA which is lost once you turn it off. The $25 Waveshare USB blaster does work. There are a couple others around $15 but I haven't tested them.

Retro Canada
December 9th, 2017, 05:41 PM
The $25 Waveshare USB blaster does work. There are a couple others around $15 but I haven't tested them.

I got one fake usb blaster that just plugging it into a win 64 machine caused a BSOD. It has a fake FTDI chip on it.

Retro Canada
December 9th, 2017, 05:44 PM
So there's only one V2 branch now? Did you get rid of the 800x600 scaled version?

Yes, I found out it looked weird and very small screen losing all your screen. Changing the clock/phase of your monitor is the best way and I am encouraging it. On CRT monitors just adjust the knobs (if it has one). The main branch is the V2.

Keeping too many codes I need to merge all changes and this would be a nightmare.

TMA-1
December 9th, 2017, 07:27 PM
Shipping to Canada will be about $25 if you want a kit.

If you buy the parts yourself, the FPGA board is $25 and the components are $30 (USD). Then you also need a USB blaster, and unfortunately I have found the super cheap ones (~$5) don't support the SFL, so you can't flash the EPCS, only program the FPGA which is lost once you turn it off. The $25 Waveshare USB blaster does work. There are a couple others around $15 but I haven't tested them.

I'm busy looking up all those new-to-me acronyms, but if I read that correctly it sounds like I'm much better off with the kit. Would that be roughly 25+30 for FPGA and parts, +25 postage (all USD)?

My apologies for polluting the thread as I play catch-up.

Plasma
December 9th, 2017, 08:36 PM
Yes, I found out it looked weird and very small screen losing all your screen. Changing the clock/phase of your monitor is the best way and I am encouraging it. On CRT monitors just adjust the knobs (if it has one). The main branch is the V2.

Keeping too many codes I need to merge all changes and this would be a nightmare.

Ok, easier for me too...I don't have to ask people which version they want.


I'm busy looking up all those new-to-me acronyms, but if I read that correctly it sounds like I'm much better off with the kit. Would that be roughly 25+30 for FPGA and parts, +25 postage (all USD)?

My apologies for polluting the thread as I play catch-up.

The kit will probably end up being slightly cheaper for you once you figure in the PCB and Digikey shipping. It is $55+shipping (25)=$80 and will include the FPGA board, bottom PCB (ENIG) and all components (unassembled).

The kits will also include a cheap USB blaster, but only because I rolled the dice and already bought a bunch for $3 each before I tested them. Like I said earlier, they don't really work because of how the FPGA board is setup. There is no active serial port to program the flash directly, so it has to program the flash through the FPGA, which doesn't work with the cheap blasters. So all you can do is program the FPGA and leave it powered on.

However, I will flash all the boards before they ship so you don't need anything else. But if there are future firmware improvements, you would need to get a better USB blaster (~$25) to permanently upgrade it.

dJOS
December 9th, 2017, 09:00 PM
Ok, easier for me too...I don't have to ask people which version they want.



The kit will probably end up being slightly cheaper for you once you figure in the PCB and Digikey shipping. It is $55+shipping (25)=$80 and will include the FPGA board, bottom PCB (ENIG) and all components (unassembled).

The kits will also include a cheap USB blaster, but only because I rolled the dice and already bought a bunch for $3 each before I tested them. Like I said earlier, they don't really work because of how the FPGA board is setup. There is no active serial port to program the flash directly, so it has to program the flash through the FPGA, which doesn't work with the cheap blasters. So all you can do is program the FPGA and leave it powered on.

However, I will flash all the boards before they ship so you don't need anything else. But if there are future firmware improvements, you would need to get a better USB blaster (~$25) to permanently upgrade it.

As long as it uses PIC, JTAG or SPI it should be pretty easy for most of us to re-program.

Plasma
December 15th, 2017, 08:56 PM
I have everything in stock and built up a test unit with no problems, so I am now accepting orders. PM me with what you want and include your name, email address, and shipping address. I will send you a paypal invoice.

The cost for unassembled kits is $55 US, plus shipping. Everything ships USPS priority mail. If you are in the US, shipping will be $8. Outside the US is $25-$35.

The kits include the Core FPGA board (pre-flashed), lower PCB (ENIG finish), all components for the PCB, DB9 cable to go from the converter to your PC, and 5V USB power cable.

I also have 2 extra PCBs that I can sell bare for $5 + shipping each. International shipping will be $5. I would like to try to save these for people outside the US since the shipping cost on the kits is expensive.

Now a couple of notes:

The bottom of the board has an SRAM which is surface mount. I am not super skilled, but I was able to do it with a fine tip and a magnifier (also helps to tape it in place). However I don't feel comfortable offering this as a service, as I can't test my work (aside from checking for shorts) without fully assembling the rest.
It took me about 3 hours to fully assemble and test the first one. Yes I work very slow. :p This is also why I am not offering it assembled, because the amount I would have to charge to make it worth my time would be extreme.
I recommend to solder the SRAM first, and the FPGA board connectors last. You will want to carefully plug the connectors into the FPGA board, then insert the whole assembly into the PCB and solder the pins. The reason for this is the alignment is tight, and if you solder the bare connectors then try to plug in the FPGA board afterwards, it may not line up properly.
Composite CGA colors have been removed from the current firmware because Luis wasn't satisfied with them. (Maybe he will add them back if enough people bug him? :mrgreen:)
I have enough cheap mini USB Blasters for most of the kits, so I will likely throw one in, but in my experience they do NOT work correctly. If you want to update the firmware in the future, the least expensive programmer I have found to work is the Waveshare USB Blaster (https://www.waveshare.com/usb-blaster-v2.htm), also available on ebay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/322760995755) or amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CAVG4JS). (But it only worked in Linux for me, and I had to change the port permissions.)
No warranty or returns! But if something is damaged in shipping, let me know and I will try to help.


424814248242483
424844248542486

dJOS
December 15th, 2017, 09:44 PM
Invoice #001 received and paid! :cool:

Thanks so much for organising this, it's hard work and very much appreciated.

Plasma
December 15th, 2017, 10:03 PM
It's been a bit of a hassle but the real thanks goes to Luis! Now I can throw out my POS Gonbes that never worked right :P

Here are a couple more Hercules screenshots from A-Train since Hard Drivin' doesn't do it justice.

4249242493

Retro Canada
December 16th, 2017, 01:05 PM
I pushed I new commit to the repo, my ega card was presenting some noise. I need to make a test screen to better catch these problems.

Plasma
December 16th, 2017, 01:39 PM
Ok. The first shipments go out on Monday so they will have the changes.

Plasma
December 18th, 2017, 02:40 PM
The first round of orders shipped today. I have some extra kits, so even if you didn't express interest earlier, you can still buy one now.

dJOS
December 18th, 2017, 04:27 PM
The first round of orders shipped today.

Awesome, I'm really looking forward to building this, thanks again for your efforts. :cool:

stynx
December 18th, 2017, 08:43 PM
The first round of orders shipped today. I have some extra kits, so even if you didn't express interest earlier, you can still buy one now.

Hi, i'm interested in one kit. Shipping would be to Germany.

-Jonas

Plasma
December 18th, 2017, 08:54 PM
Shipping to Germany is $33 US. PM me your email address and I will send you a paypal invoice.

ibmapc
December 23rd, 2017, 12:05 AM
I built both of my adapters tonight and I must say, these things work GREAT!! A BIG THAMKS to Retro Canada for the design and programing. Another BIG THANKS to Plasma for ordering the boards and parts and putting the kits together. He even managed to get two kits in one small flat rate box which saved me some shipping cost!

I only need one of these, but, since I built two and they both work perfectly, I would like to sell one assembled unit to a member here. So, if you would like to have a great video converter but don't want to do the fine soldering required, send me a PM.

Greg

Plasma
December 23rd, 2017, 11:40 PM
Good to hear :thumbsup:

Bernie250
December 24th, 2017, 01:15 AM
Wow awesome job!
I can't believe how creative some of you guys are.:wow:

dJOS
December 24th, 2017, 01:28 AM
Mines just arrived in my Aussie post parcel locker in Melbourne and I'm Sydney for Xmas with family, doh!

Plasma
December 27th, 2017, 01:37 AM
I tried out a couple more cheap USB blasters and both (https://www.ebay.com/itm/201004564539) of these (https://www.ebay.com/itm/182584560883) work ok (the boards are pre-flashed so only needed for updates).

ibmapc
December 27th, 2017, 08:03 AM
I tried out a couple more cheap USB blasters and both (https://www.ebay.com/itm/201004564539) of these (https://www.ebay.com/itm/182584560883) work ok (the boards are pre-flashed so only needed for updates).

Great!! Were you able to get them to work with Windows 7? On a previous post you mentioned only having success with Linux with another USB Blaster.

"...the least expensive programmer I have found to work is the Waveshare USB Blaster, also available on ebay or amazon. (But it only worked in Linux for me, and I had to change the port permissions."

Plasma
December 27th, 2017, 08:35 AM
No. Quartus recognizes them but it always locks up during programming. Not sure what the issue is.

ibmapc
December 27th, 2017, 09:42 AM
No. Quartus recognizes them but it always locks up during programming. Not sure what the issue is.

Are you using 64 bit windows?

Plasma
December 27th, 2017, 10:39 AM
yes, Windows 7 x64.

ibmapc
December 27th, 2017, 11:07 AM
That might be the problem there. I have a USB Eprom programmer that doesn't work with 64 bit Windows 7, but it works fine with 32 bit XP. Do you have anything with 32 bit windows to try it on? If not I might buy one anyway and try it on my XP machine. If it doesn't work there, I guess I'll have to install Linux. What flavor of Linux are you using?

Plasma
December 27th, 2017, 12:19 PM
Well it should work, there is a 64-bit driver and it installs ok. It might be something specific to my machine. I'm still using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Retro Canada
December 27th, 2017, 04:30 PM
No. Quartus recognizes them but it always locks up during programming. Not sure what the issue is.

When it locks up, disconect the usb blaster and when it fails reconnect and try again.

Plasma
December 27th, 2017, 05:20 PM
Hmm I tried that. It sometimes gets further but never 100%. At this point I'm not going to put any more effort into it because it works fine in Linux :P

ibmapc
December 28th, 2017, 10:19 PM
...I would like to sell one assembled unit to a member here. So, if you would like to have a great video converter but don't want to do the fine soldering required, send me a PM.

Greg

This one has been sold. I'm thinking about building more of these as long as Plasma still has kits available and I can find interested parties. If you would be like to buy an assembled unit please reply to THIS THREAD (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?61230-FS-MDA-EGA-CGA-to-VGA-Converter).

mikey99
December 29th, 2017, 10:51 AM
I built both of my adapters tonight and I must say, these things work GREAT!! ...................


ibmapc.....Any tips on soldering the SRAM chip ? I have a 10W Ungar iron with a small flat sided chisel tip which I plan to use.
Did you use the solder drag method or just solder each pin one at a time ? I found a few salvaged circuit boards which contain
similar chips which I plan to 'practice' on. :-)

dJOS
December 29th, 2017, 02:02 PM
ibmapc.....Any tips on soldering the SRAM chip ? I have a 10W Ungar iron with a small flat sided chisel tip which I plan to use.
Did you use the solder drag method or just solder each pin one at a time ? I found a few salvaged circuit boards which contain
similar chips which I plan to 'practice' on. :-)



They are easy, get a 2.4 mm chisel tip (or a J tip is even better), liquid flux (the light watery type, not gel type) and 60/40 rosin core solder. Apply flux to the pads, apply solder to 1 pad only, align the chip on to the pads ensuring correct orientation (hold in place with SMD tweezers). Then put your iron onto the pre-tinned pad and push it against the end of the leg. This should allow it to bind to the pad nicely.

Then switch to the opposite corner and a dab of fresh solder onto both sides of your tip. Then put your iron onto the pad and push it against the end of the leg, this should allow the flux to suck the solder up under the leg binding it to the pad. Repeat for the other two remaining corners and then for all remaining pins.

If you have a J tip, you can use the drag soldering method.... But if you have a J tip you likely don't need a tutorial from me. :D

Then

ibmapc
December 29th, 2017, 08:49 PM
ibmapc.....Any tips on soldering the SRAM chip ? ...

I followed This Tutorial (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Solder-SMD-ICs-the-easy-way/). I had good success but still needed to use some solder wick to remove excess solder. Flux is a MUST. Also good lighting and magnification are helpful.

dJOS
December 29th, 2017, 09:17 PM
I followed This Tutorial (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Solder-SMD-ICs-the-easy-way/). I had good success but still needed to use some solder wick to remove excess solder. Flux is a MUST. Also good lighting and magnification are helpful.

That's a good tutorial and that's a good method if you have the right tip on your iron.

If you only have a chisel tip, use the method I described and is covered in this video. Jump to the 5 minute mark.


https://youtu.be/hoLf8gvvXXU

Edit: nuts I linked the wrong video but still a good one.

Edit 2: it is the right video, jump to 10 minute mark to see using a chisel tip.

ibmapc
December 29th, 2017, 10:39 PM
That's a good tutorial and that's a good method if you have the right tip on your iron....

That's true. I bought one of THESE (https://www.circuitspecialists.com/60_Watt_Soldering_Station.html) and one of THESE (https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Plato/HS-0530/?qs=%2fha2pyFadujapzZJwcQL5IlX8voU13P9utgtXDh%252b m6M%3d). Works OK but I feel the tip could be smaller. It's a little tough to get just the right amount of solder. Hence the need for solder wick. The El-Cheapo Soldering Station works OK but I assume it won't hold up for very many years. You get what you pay for and all that but you never know. I figure if I get 2 years out of it I'll be happy.

dJOS
December 29th, 2017, 11:30 PM
That's true. I bought one of THESE (https://www.circuitspecialists.com/60_Watt_Soldering_Station.html) and one of THESE (https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Plato/HS-0530/?qs=%2fha2pyFadujapzZJwcQL5IlX8voU13P9utgtXDh%252b m6M%3d). Works OK but I feel the tip could be smaller. It's a little tough to get just the right amount of solder. Hence the need for solder wick. The El-Cheapo Soldering Station works OK but I assume it won't hold up for very many years. You get what you pay for and all that but you never know. I figure if I get 2 years out of it I'll be happy.

I've got several soldering stations, my latest is using a clone of the Hakko T12 system and I have literally 10 different tips. :D my other station is a combo vacuum desoldering and soldering station and I only have 5 tips for it as it's a pain to hot swap them. I have a hot air station too but prefer using soldering irons even for most SMD work (they are great for removing passive SMD devices tho).

mikey99
December 30th, 2017, 12:15 PM
Thanks for the info ! Hopefully I'll get to working on this over the next few days.

I really like the Ungar 'Princess' soldering iron...... don't think they make these anymore but they can be found on ebay occasionally.
I have three of these, with 10W,15W,18W screw in elements and an assortment of tips.

42743

dJOS
December 30th, 2017, 12:37 PM
Thanks for the info ! Hopefully I'll get to working on this over the next few days.

I really like the Ungar 'Princess' soldering iron...... don't think they make these anymore but they can be found on ebay occasionally.
I have three of these, with 10W,15W,18W screw in elements and an assortment of tips.

42743

Honestly I wouldn't waste my time with something like that when you can buy amazing Hakko T12 clones like the one below for Bugger all. These are so good many of the electronics engineers I know buy these in kit form (below is fully assembled) and save hundreds of dollars over genuine Hakko gear, you can even use genuine Hakko T12 tips in them.

Just make sure you get the slim blue soldering handle as the chunky one is rubbish.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/QUICKO-STC-T12-OLED-Digital-Soldering-Station-T12-9501-handle-soldering-tips-108W-big-power-lead/32837320948.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.60.Y3Pfy3&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_2_10152_10 065_5000015_10151_10344_10068_10130_10342_10547_10 343_51102_10340_10341_10548_5130015_10084_10083_10 307_10131_10132_10133_10312_10059_10313_10314_1053 4_5790011_100031_10604_10103_10605_10594_5060015_1 0142,searchweb201603_25,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=7ce6f909-2d79-4466-a5cf-21162db59494-8&algo_pvid=7ce6f909-2d79-4466-a5cf-21162db59494&rmStoreLevelAB=5

Robin4
January 1st, 2018, 11:03 AM
How much would it cost to ship one kit to the netherlands? The product looks really nice.. Do you also have a housing for the pcb?

Plasma
January 1st, 2018, 11:59 AM
Shipping to the Netherlands is $33. Sorry, no enclosure.

3pcedev
January 3rd, 2018, 09:19 PM
Just received and assembled mine today.

Works great with CGA and monochrome; however I run into two problems with EGA.

First problem is that I cant adjust the image (using the left/right buttons on the converter) enough to the right - it always clips off about the width of a character on the left (i.e. at dos prompt I get :\> instead of C:\>). I also tried adjusting a number of different parameters on the LCD screen itself however I'm sure that the converter is clipping that part of the screen.

Second one is that I get some vertical bands on the screen in EGA mode. Best way to describe it would be vertical bands of 'noise' which continuously change about a character wide. It is not enough to completely garble the character, however its kind of annoying. As above I tried a number of adjustments on the converter (closing switch 3 and pressing reset) as well as the LCD screen (especially the phase/clock) but this didn't fix it. Also tried a number of different DIP switch settings but that either got me weird colours or everything was worse.

EDIT:
Just did a bit more testing and it seems like this behaviour with EGA is limited to the DOS environment. When I run a game like Keen4e there is the correct amount of overscan/adjustment and everything looks fine...

Anyone else run into these problems?

Also just to confirm am I correct in assuming this is how the dip switches are configured:

Closest to DB9 (1) - MDA/Color - MDA=CLOSED,COLOR=OPEN
(2) Hercules Mode - HERCULES=CLOSED,STANDARD MDA=OPEN
(3) Green for MDA - GREEN=CLOSED,NORMAL=OPEN
(4) Scanlines - ENABLED=CLOSED,DISABLED=OPEN\

Adjust pixel clock - CLOSE (3) and press reset.

mikey99
January 4th, 2018, 04:45 AM
Just received and assembled mine today.
.....


What type of hardware are you running ? IBM EGA card ?

Retro Canada
January 4th, 2018, 06:55 AM
What type of hardware are you running ? IBM EGA card ?

You have to keep pressing RESET several times until you get a correct pixel clock. Not just once. Press several times, not just hold it once.

Do you have any other EGA card to test ? Which card is yours ? As I said many vendors use different settings for their board adustments.

You could change the FPGA code, recompile and try different settings.

Download the source code from github
Open Quartus-II
In Project navigator, selec files and open schematic.bdf
Find ega_genlock, double click in the floating box attached to it
Select parameter tab
change the porch value from 14 to something smaller, like 8

Recompile and test the .sof file. If it works, generate a new .jic file and reprogram your unit.

3pcedev
January 4th, 2018, 12:50 PM
What type of hardware are you running ? IBM EGA card ?

Its an onboard EGA/CGA/MDA combo on an IBM clone. When I set it to conventional EGA, using an EGA/CGA/MDA CRT monitor, it does use 'weird' settings compared to other modes. For example the horizontal position adjustment is quite different on the monitor between CGA and EGA. I think what it is doing is using a weird text mode which is a higher resolution than native EGA. In DOS, using the CRT, there are no visible scanlines at all. When you run KEEN4E, again using a CRT, the scanlines reappear and the horizontal position changes. I know it can support hi-res EGA as it has options for these modes in the BIOS, however none of these options sync with the converter which makes sense (as they are not strictly 'documented' EGA modes). It seems even though I select 'standard EGA' I am still getting a hybrid of EGA & EGA hires.


You have to keep pressing RESET several times until you get a correct pixel clock. Not just once. Press several times, not just hold it once.

Yes I did press it multiple times. I noticed a change on the screen each time, however this did not correct the noise.

Thanks for the info regarding the FPGA code - that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll give it a try; however I'm not sure my JTAG programmer will work with the unit so it might take me a while.....

Retro Canada
January 4th, 2018, 01:07 PM
It may have a different pixel clock aside from 16.257Mhz which is the standard EGA/MDA. If that is the case then this card is a no-go for this mode. Can't it be switched to CGA mode only ? I mean CGA text ?

Try the MDA settings (test with MDA and or Hercules).

3pcedev
January 4th, 2018, 01:14 PM
It may have a different pixel clock aside from 16.257Mhz which is the standard EGA/MDA. If that is the case then this card is a no-go for this mode. Can't it be switched to CGA mode only ? I mean CGA text ?

Try the MDA settings (test with MDA and or Hercules).

Yes it can do CGA (40 and 80 column) and MDA - both work fine with the converter. There is plenty of overscan and the image is perfectly stable on the screen. Hercules sort of works, but I think my computer doesn't emulate it properly. I have only tested with STUNTS which gave me a black screen, however I should try it with something like A-Train or another game that supports hercules.

I just want the EGA to work so I can play games with it. I can live with the noise at the dos prompt; however I really need to be able to read the whole screen. I'll try to modify some FPGA code and see what happens.

Retro Canada
January 4th, 2018, 01:22 PM
Can you take a picture of the screen ?

Can you change text mode using Check-It for example ?

Are you sure the text mode is 80x25 column ? 14x8 pixel ? Does it have any tool for setting special modes ?

Try running a game like SimCity in EGA mode, check for the borders.

Also, can you check the clock values on the board ?

3pcedev
January 4th, 2018, 09:18 PM
I've made a video of some of the tests I have performed.

It seems that the problem is limited to EGA text modes (i.e. in DOS)....

Video link is HERE (https://youtu.be/i9DAy0FAJgc)

Retro Canada
January 5th, 2018, 07:06 AM
I've made a video of some of the tests I have performed.

It seems that the problem is limited to EGA text modes (i.e. in DOS)....

Video link is HERE (https://youtu.be/i9DAy0FAJgc)

Nice, I never saw this kind of problem. Looks like the hsync is not constant. Put the Quartus - II and the blaster to work. There are few changes in code you can try.

mikey99
January 6th, 2018, 05:28 PM
I followed This Tutorial (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Solder-SMD-ICs-the-easy-way/). I had good success but still needed to use some solder wick to remove excess solder. Flux is a MUST. Also good lighting and magnification are helpful.

I completed assembly of my kit yesterday evening and tested it out today. Works great !
I've only tested it with an IBM EGA card, but will test CGA and MDA eventually.

Soldering the SMD was a challenge and my new flux pen and .020 solder helped a lot.
My old school Ungar iron with chisel tip worked fine. I could really use a better magnifier
but I was able to get by with the 3X one I have. I think a 5X would be ideal.....

SpidersWeb
January 7th, 2018, 10:41 AM
Mine arrived also and is built and working.

Kit was amazing, containing absolutely everything I could possibly need, thanks Plasma!
Thanks to RetroCanada for making this possible. I can now test machines on a single generic LCD panel, as well as capture the output through a VGA upscaler+Elgato crystal clear.

dJOS
January 7th, 2018, 02:35 PM
I've got mine too, I just haven't had time to build it yet ... however it's a great kit, extremely well put together, fantastic work Plasma!

modem7
January 7th, 2018, 10:51 PM
I received mine today from ibmapc, pre-built. I thank him for that service.

Upon testing it, I panicked right up until the point where I realised that there is an on/off switch.
Works beautifully.
This is another good tool for my toolbox. Thank you Retro Canada.

SpidersWeb
January 9th, 2018, 09:27 AM
...
Upon testing it, I panicked right up until the point where I realised that there is an on/off switch.
...


I did the same thing, but with SW1 because I didn't think to look up the switch information before powering it up :)

Feedback -
EGA seems to be a tricky beast, after reading 3pcedev's post regarding EGA hsync I tried out my AI PC16 286 laptop (Toshiba T3100 clone) - I did not get any issues specific to EGA text modes, but to get a nice picture I'd need to press reset about 10-20 times.
Even after what looked like a perfect reset, with sharp images and text, I'd get small moire effects in grey hatch areas like used in SimCity.

I suspect this fault is to do with the machine itself not being 100% accurate on the pixel clock (internal EGA Plasma displays fine) rather than the capture device and I'm not too fussed since I have very few EGA machines and most demos of that era I'd be doing I'd use VGA cards, but thought the feedback was worth mentioning. Perhaps a manually adjustable pixel clock or something similar could be added one day.

CGA is crystal clear perfection on my IBM 5155 and the Turbo XT clone I tested. I went to test MDA but the system I lifted to do so, didn't start, another job to do I guess.

mikey99
January 9th, 2018, 10:26 AM
I also noticed when using the IBM EGA card that I could improve the picture quality by pressing the reset button a few times.
This was most noticeable on the IBM Diagnostics diskette, when running the video tests showing the color bars in 640 x 350.
Each press of reset would move the fuzzy areas towards the right side of the screen, eventually resulting in a near perfect picture.

I'm wondering what the logic is behind the reset button, does each press bump the clock up/down by a certain amount ....and what
is the limit , how many different settings are there. Also, the other button marked nconfig seems to reset the picture back to some
defaults.

Retro Canada
January 9th, 2018, 03:38 PM
there are 32 settings. It adjusts the phase and the duration of the digital sampling.

it adds one each press, but if you flip the sw 4 it will subtract, so you can return to a previous value.

Retro Canada
January 9th, 2018, 03:46 PM
When I have time I will do a HUD for it to show the current value. Probably the bit pattern because displaying the actual numbers or a progress bar is a lot more work to do in FPGA.

May I will give up the reset button and make the up/down select an option: H ADJUST, V ADJUST, PHASE, DURATION and the left/right button change the values.

ibmapc
January 9th, 2018, 03:49 PM
there are 32 settings. It adjusts the phase and the duration of the digital sampling.

it adds one each press, but if you flip the sw 4 it will subtract, so you can return to a previous value.

I thougth sw4 was for scan lines in CGA mode?

Retro Canada
January 9th, 2018, 03:51 PM
ALSO. I had to reuse the buttons :)

ibmapc
January 27th, 2018, 10:15 PM
@Retro Canada,
As shown in the image below, I sometimes see vertical stripes on the display. This happens mostly in CGA when the screen is full of what appears to be alternating dots or a very fine checkerboard pattern. This image is the background of Norton System Information. I zoomed in as close as possible to exaggerate the affect. I've tried adjusting the phase and the samples on the converter and the clock and the phase on the monitor (Dell LCD Panel). It appears that the dots are different widths but they should be the same. Are there any changes that I can make to the firmware in Quartus that might improve this?
43318

Plasma
January 28th, 2018, 07:49 AM
What is the resolution of your LCD? Those look like scaling artifacts.

Retro Canada
January 28th, 2018, 08:30 AM
@Retro Canada,
As shown in the image below, I sometimes see vertical stripes on the display. This happens mostly in CGA when the screen is full of what appears to be alternating dots or a very fine checkerboard pattern. This image is the background of Norton System Information. I zoomed in as close as possible to exaggerate the affect. I've tried adjusting the phase and the samples on the converter and the clock and the phase on the monitor (Dell LCD Panel). It appears that the dots are different widths but they should be the same. Are there any changes that I can make to the firmware in Quartus that might improve this?
43318

This problem seems to be on your monitor. If you have adjusted the monitor to include the borders you are displaying more than 640 dots, but the LCD monitor wants a 640 resolution, thus it will interpolate the pixels to fit them.

Try to adjust the monitor to show only the active area 640x400 and you will see better results or use a CRT VGA monitor.

ibmapc
January 28th, 2018, 11:29 AM
This problem seems to be on your monitor. If you have adjusted the monitor to include the borders you are displaying more than 640 dots, but the LCD monitor wants a 640 resolution, thus it will interpolate the pixels to fit them.

Try to adjust the monitor to show only the active area 640x400 and you will see better results or use a CRT VGA monitor.

Well, this is the best monitor I have right now. It's a Dell E173FP. Specs are in the Code Window below. I'm using an ATI EGA Wonder as my video card. The picture in my post was taken with the Pixel Clock turned all the way down to zero. This is as narrow as it will make the Image. The "scaling artifacts" as Plasma called them don't get any better if I widen the image to the full width of the display. When in CGA mode if I press the menu button on the monitor, it claims to be in 720 x 400 resolution at 70hz. So, I guess what I'm asking is;

1. Are there any adjustments that can be made in the firmware to compensate?

2. Can it be forced to output 640 x 400 in cga mode?





Dell E173FP - LCD monitor - 17"

Part Number: 320-3882

6 Related Models
General

Display Type
LCD monitor / TFT active matrix
Native Resolution
1280 x 1024 at 75 Hz
Contrast Ratio
450:1
Color Support
16.2 million colors
Dimensions (WxDxH)
14.9 in x 5.6 in x 15.9 in
Horizontal Viewing Angle
140
Vertical Viewing Angle
120
Viewable Size
17"
Pixel Pitch
0.264 mm
Brightness
250 cd/m
Screen Coating
Anti-glare, hard coating
Horizontal Refresh Rate
80 kHz
Vertical Refresh Rate
76 Hz
Manufacturer
Dell, Inc.

Power Device

Nominal Voltage
AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required
50/60 Hz
Power Consumption Operational
40 Watt

Power

Power Supply
internal

Interface Provided

Qty
1
Connector Type
15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)

Display

Image Brightness
250 cd/m2
Image Contrast Ratio
450:1
Color Support
up to 16.2 million colors
Type
LCD monitor

Miscellaneous

Features
Security lock slot (cable lock sold separately), wall mountable
Color
midnight gray
Flat Panel Mount Interface
100 x 100 mm

Video

Video Output
none

Environmental Standards

ENERGY STAR Certified
Yes

Mechanical

Flat Panel Mount Interface
100 x 100 mm

Dimensions & Weight

Width
14.9 in
Depth
5.6 in
Height
15.9 in
Weight
11.68 lbs

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature
41 F
Max Operating Temperature
95 F
Humidity Range Operating
10 - 80%

Header

Brand
Dell
Product Line
Dell
Model
E173FP
Packaged Quantity
1
Compatibility
PC

Projector

Max V-Sync Rate
76 Hz
Max H-Sync Rate
80 Hz

TV Tuner

TV Tuner Presence
No

General

Manufacturer
Dell, Inc.

Retro Canada
January 28th, 2018, 12:04 PM
Well the CGA mode is output in 640x400 if you monitor is seeing it as 720x400 that's because it does not support it directly and is doing an implicit upscaling.

The best option then is to change the FPGA code to output in native 720x400. You need to change all the inputs for the module from VGA_25MHZ_CLK to VGA_28MHZ_CLK. There are many in different boxes, but only for the CGA boxes like cga_ram_out, cga_vga_video and cga_osd.

Then for the cga_vga_video parameters you need to change this settings (it must be on schematics.bdf - double click the param box!)


-- 720x400@70Hz
-- hor_active_video := 726
-- hor_front_porch := 15
-- hor_sync_pulse := 108
-- hor_back_porch := 51
-- vert_active_video := 404
-- vert_front_porch := 11
-- vert_sync_pulse := 2
-- vert_back_porch := 32
-- hsync_level := '0'
-- vsync_level := '1'

You will notice the image will be out of position you can change the ctrl_param left/top or you can play with the front/back/active but the total number of pixels or rows must be constant...

ibmapc
January 28th, 2018, 12:40 PM
what about the PLL box? In PLL2 the current setting is C1 VGA_25MHZ_CLK. Should I change this one also?

Retro Canada
January 28th, 2018, 12:49 PM
what about the PLL box? In PLL2 the current setting is C1 VGA_25MHZ_CLK. Should I change this one also?

No! this is the clock source. You only change inside the CGA rectangle, look the scheme there are 4: CGA, EGA, MDA and HGC

ibmapc
January 28th, 2018, 03:33 PM
OK, I tried those new settings but it got worse. The picture got very noisy. So I reverted to the original settings and took a trip down to the local goodwill. I bought a Hyundai L72S for 10 bucks. The results are much better. So it would seem that these LCD monitors are not all able to handle the 640 x 400 resolution very well. I guess you told me so! This one is still showing 720 x 400 but it handles the interpolation better.
43338

Retro Canada
January 28th, 2018, 04:23 PM
OK, I tried those new settings but it got worse. The picture got very noisy. So I reverted to the original settings and took a trip down to the local goodwill. I bought a Hyundai L72S for 10 bucks. The results are much better. So it would seem that these LCD monitors are not all able to handle the 640 x 400 resolution very well. I guess you told me so! This one is still showing 720 x 400 but it handles the interpolation better.
43338

to get very noise probably you forgot some clock line... but yes I told you it was your monitor interpolation

Retro Canada
January 28th, 2018, 05:25 PM
Also I just pushed changes to the repo, I got rid of the SAMPLES option. I don't need it anymore and it makes things hard to adjust. Now with PHASE only should be easier.

The images are pretty stable on:

MDA (IBM)
Hercules (GB102, GB112, Tamarak)
CGA (Hercules Color, IBM)
EGA (Graphmaster Plus)

ibmapc
January 28th, 2018, 05:28 PM
to get very noise probably you forgot some clock line... but yes I told you it was your monitor interpolation

I checked and double checked. I did get all of them in the CGA box. What I don't yet understand is the math to come up with the other settings;

-- 720x400@70Hz
-- hor_active_video := 726
-- hor_front_porch := 15
-- hor_sync_pulse := 108
-- hor_back_porch := 51
-- vert_active_video := 404
-- vert_front_porch := 11
-- vert_sync_pulse := 2
-- vert_back_porch := 32
-- hsync_level := '0'
-- vsync_level := '1'

hor_active_video := 726 is 6 more than 720 horizontal resolution. But in previous settings, hor_active_video = 660 is 20 more than 640 horizontal resolution.

Are there formulas used to come up with the numbers or a chart to refer to?

Retro Canada
January 28th, 2018, 08:42 PM
I checked and double checked. I did get all of them in the CGA box. What I don't yet understand is the math to come up with the other settings;

-- 720x400@70Hz
-- hor_active_video := 726
-- hor_front_porch := 15
-- hor_sync_pulse := 108
-- hor_back_porch := 51
-- vert_active_video := 404
-- vert_front_porch := 11
-- vert_sync_pulse := 2
-- vert_back_porch := 32
-- hsync_level := '0'
-- vsync_level := '1'

hor_active_video := 726 is 6 more than 720 horizontal resolution. But in previous settings, hor_active_video = 660 is 20 more than 640 horizontal resolution.

Are there formulas used to come up with the numbers or a chart to refer to?

Look the MDA / Hercules, They are 720x350 and pretty stable. As I said you can play with these number to center the image on screen as long you don't change pulse duration and the sum of all values still is the same: you take one pixel from front porch and add 1 to active. Simple as that.

Where are these numbers coming from ?

http://martin.hinner.info/vga/timing.html

Plasma
January 28th, 2018, 09:39 PM
Also I just pushed changes to the repo, I got rid of the SAMPLES option. I don't need it anymore and it makes things hard to adjust. Now with PHASE only should be easier.

The images are pretty stable on:

MDA (IBM)
Hercules (GB102, GB112, Tamarak)
CGA (Hercules Color, IBM)
EGA (Graphmaster Plus)

Did you change something with the EGA colors? I just tried the latest firmware and color 8 is black instead of dark gray, but only in graphics mode (Commander Keen 4). In text mode it's fine.

ibmapc
January 28th, 2018, 10:56 PM
Did you change something with the EGA colors? I just tried the latest firmware and color 8 is black instead of dark gray, but only in graphics mode (Commander Keen 4). In text mode it's fine.

Looks like he's got it fixed now. Try the latest commit. Color number 8 is back now.

Retro Canada
January 31st, 2018, 10:01 AM
I made a new push on repo. I am changing the CGA resolution from 640x400 to 640x480. For 2 reasons:

1) None of my monitors can display the 640x400 perfectly interpolated. I always get uneven columns some columns are tickier than others. I don't know why these happen but there was another user who had the same issue. Using 640x480 I get perfectly smooth interpolated pixels. Interestingly the 640x350 (EGA) is perfectly interpolated. There must be something with the numbers who knows.

2) This will support Tandy graphics (225 lines).

njroadfan
January 31st, 2018, 10:28 AM
Line doubled 15.75khz video such as CGA should be 640x480 (or 720x480 depending on the source) to begin with. The rest of the active scanlines should be border/overscan.

VGA's 320x200 mode uses different timings and runs at 70Hz refresh.

Trixter
January 31st, 2018, 05:35 PM
Seconded. If you want to output 480 lines, that's fine, but please center the 200-line CGA active display area (400 lines doubled) in the 480 lines you're outputting. If your new firmware is taking 200 lines and outputting 480 lines, there will be very obvious stretching artifacts...

Retro Canada
January 31st, 2018, 07:13 PM
Line doubled 15.75khz video such as CGA should be 640x480 (or 720x480 depending on the source) to begin with. The rest of the active scanlines should be border/overscan.

VGA's 320x200 mode uses different timings and runs at 70Hz refresh.

720x480 ? Never heard of this resolution, there is no VESA or any other standard for that.

Only 720x400 or 768x576.

Retro Canada
January 31st, 2018, 07:14 PM
Seconded. If you want to output 480 lines, that's fine, but please center the 200-line CGA active display area (400 lines doubled) in the 480 lines you're outputting. If your new firmware is taking 200 lines and outputting 480 lines, there will be very obvious stretching artifacts...

This is exactly what I am doing you get border overscan on top/bottom.

ibmapc
January 31st, 2018, 09:20 PM
I like this resolution (640x480). Looks very nice on my monitors. Even on the Dell which was giving me trouble with 640 x 400. It does use the ENTIRE width of the monitor though. But the aspect ratio is much better.

Retro Canada
January 31st, 2018, 10:21 PM
I like this resolution (640x480). Looks very nice on my monitors. Even on the Dell which was giving me trouble with 640 x 400. It does use the ENTIRE width of the monitor though. But the aspect ratio is much better.

Try the new push. Unfortunately CGA applications and even the BIOS seems to not cooperate. Have you ever noticed everytime you boot or run Prince of Persia, the left / right margin changes ??? You may not have noticed that in a CRT but in a LCD with no overscan this is really annoying.

I added extra overscan left/right. If you want to still have the image centered and full 640x480 ok, good look pushing the left/right button on the unit for every game/app.

The other way is: get into GWBasic, type color 15,0,3 and adjust the clock and horizontal position on you monitor to show the entire overscan.

You get the image a bit downscaled (but the 640x480 scaler is much, much better) but at least you will be able to run prince of persia multiple times without touching the settings....

Retro Canada
January 31st, 2018, 10:23 PM
here, this is the closest CRT experience you will get with the mce2vga...
43409

njroadfan
February 1st, 2018, 05:37 AM
720x480 ? Never heard of this resolution, there is no VESA or any other standard for that.

Only 720x400 or 768x576.

The standard originates from the D1 video frame size. Some DTV boxes output it (I have an ATSC tuner with VGA output that does 720x480p) along with a handful of game consoles. The HDMI and DVI specs officially support it as well (This is an official resolution for "480p" on TVs and in the ATSC standard). Couldn't hurt to try it on CGA to see if it helps with over scan.

For the curious here is the modeline for 720x480p:

ModeLine "720x480" 27.00 720 736 798 858 480 489 495 525 -HSync -VSync

For standard 640x480 VGA:

ModeLine "640x480" 25.18 640 656 752 800 480 490 492 525 -HSync -VSync

Retro Canada
February 1st, 2018, 05:44 AM
The standard originates from the D1 video frame size. Some DTV boxes output it (I have an ATSC tuner with VGA output that does 720x480p) along with a handful of game consoles. The HDMI and DVI specs officially support it as well (This is an official resolution for "480p" on TVs and in the ATSC standard). Couldn't hurt to try it on CGA to see if it helps with over scan.

For the curious here is the modeline for 720x480p:

ModeLine "720x480" 27.00 720 736 798 858 480 489 495 525 -HSync -VSync

For standard 640x480 VGA:

ModeLine "640x480" 25.18 640 656 752 800 480 490 492 525 -HSync -VSync

This resolution is not present in my monitor service manual and I don't have a 27Mhz clock.

It probably won't be supported by any VGA CRT monitor as well. I am not adding something that is not supported by any VGA monitor.

Trixter
February 1st, 2018, 12:23 PM
here, this is the closest CRT experience you will get with the mce2vga...

That looks good, actually. Border is a little thicker on the top and bottom, but any border is better than no border.


I am not adding something that is not supported by any VGA monitor.

You mean "LCD" monitor. CRT VGA monitors display it fine, as do most analog VGA capture devices. (My interest in this project is not to hook up an LCD, but rather to capture the output of a running computer.)

Retro Canada
February 1st, 2018, 01:25 PM
That looks good, actually. Border is a little thicker on the top and bottom, but any border is better than no border.



You mean "LCD" monitor. CRT VGA monitors display it fine, as do most analog VGA capture devices. (My interest in this project is not to hook up an LCD, but rather to capture the output of a running computer.)

My LCD monitor accepts DVI (including 15Khz inputs), but I am not sure about the others. I will give a try.

njroadfan
February 1st, 2018, 04:45 PM
Most LCDs will accept the 720x480 mode as well. I don't know if CGA needs 720px (or 858px if you include the front/back porch) horizontal sample rate to produce "pixel perfect" results, but this is more of a concern for folks using capture devices then ones that just want to see the video on a modern monitor.

Retro Canada
February 1st, 2018, 08:08 PM
Most LCDs will accept the 720x480 mode as well. I don't know if CGA needs 720px (or 858px if you include the front/back porch) horizontal sample rate to produce "pixel perfect" results, but this is more of a concern for folks using capture devices then ones that just want to see the video on a modern monitor.

Ok, it worked in all monitors and TVs here but there is a catch: in any of them they show a native image. What they do is use the 640x480 and downscale the 720 pixel to it. I'd call it cheating... but anyway my Coby TV had the best quality while the Dell 2001FP the worst. The good thing is larger borders and perfect aspect ratio. Check the images.
You could still (if your monitor allowed) increase the Clock and stretch the image a little bit. Seems to help. On a CRT monitor this will look great.

43422
43423

Retro Canada
February 1st, 2018, 08:09 PM
43425

VileR
February 2nd, 2018, 12:53 AM
here, this is the closest CRT experience you will get with the mce2vga...
43409
If that's 640x480, am I correct in assuming that it's 60Hz as well- i.e. no CGA->VGA frame rate mismatch when doing it this way?

Retro Canada
February 2nd, 2018, 02:06 PM
If that's 640x480, am I correct in assuming that it's 60Hz as well- i.e. no CGA->VGA frame rate mismatch when doing it this way?

I don't know why people care about this. The CGA is tied to NTSC color television (original CGA generates composite video) and therefore it is tied to 59.94Hz.

It will never match. This means that a tear in the image is always possible. But like CGA games were smooth scrolled right ?

Trixter
February 2nd, 2018, 06:33 PM
The exact refresh rate of CGA is actually ~59.92, not 59.94:

262 lines per frame * 76 cycles per line = 19912 cycles
14.31818 MHz crystal / 12 clock divider / 19912 = 59.9227434

There will likely be a (very slow) horizontal tear line going down the screen on an LCD that is expecting/forcing 59.94, but it's not serious.

VileR was not asking about 59.92->60, he was probably thinking that "VGA" meant "70Hz" and so he was confirming that there is no 60->70 "fitting" going on. (Which there isn't, I'm assuming?)


But like CGA games were smooth scrolled right?

A few were, like Bob Winner and Prohibition. And many more (at least 20) used vertical retrace (or an exact 19912 cycles measurement) to time palette changes and sprite movement, such as Agent USA, California Games, and Super Zaxxon.

ibmapc
February 2nd, 2018, 10:03 PM
Try the new push. Unfortunately CGA applications and even the BIOS seems to not cooperate. Have you ever noticed everytime you boot or run Prince of Persia, the left / right margin changes ??? You may not have noticed that in a CRT but in a LCD with no overscan this is really annoying.

I added extra overscan left/right. If you want to still have the image centered and full 640x480 ok, good look pushing the left/right button on the unit for every game/app.

The other way is: get into GWBasic, type color 15,0,3 and adjust the clock and horizontal position on you monitor to show the entire overscan.

You get the image a bit downscaled (but the 640x480 scaler is much, much better) but at least you will be able to run prince of persia multiple times without touching the settings....

The only way I can get a good picture on my LCDs is with the previous push (rev 24) with the hor_active_video adjusted up slightly to 645. All of the later revisions cause "scaling artifacts" similar to those mentioned in my previous post #122 on this page (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?60700-Kits-for-Retro-Canada-s-MDA-EGA-CGA-to-VGA-Converter/page13). Of coarse, with this there are no borders or over scan on the left and right, but the picture looks great with almost perfect aspect ratio.
I also tried your latest push with the experimental 720x480 but my monitor doesn't like that at all.

VileR
February 3rd, 2018, 02:02 AM
There will likely be a (very slow) horizontal tear line going down the screen on an LCD that is expecting/forcing 59.94, but it's not serious.

VileR was not asking about 59.92->60, he was probably thinking that "VGA" meant "70Hz" and so he was confirming that there is no 60->70 "fitting" going on. (Which there isn't, I'm assuming?)
Exactly. I'd rather have the very slight mismatch of 59.92Hz -> 59.94Hz than have everything forced to 400-line VGA's 70Hz (or ~70.086 for the sake of precision).
If that's possible, then I might not *have* to get a dedicated CGA RGBI monitor (in fact a VGA CRT would be easier for me to obtain, and at least some of those could sync to 59.92Hz perfectly IIRC, as opposed to LCDs).

Retro Canada
February 3rd, 2018, 07:56 AM
Exactly. I'd rather have the very slight mismatch of 59.92Hz -> 59.94Hz than have everything forced to 400-line VGA's 70Hz (or ~70.086 for the sake of precision).
If that's possible, then I might not *have* to get a dedicated CGA RGBI monitor (in fact a VGA CRT would be easier for me to obtain, and at least some of those could sync to 59.92Hz perfectly IIRC, as opposed to LCDs).

Well I played many games including commander keen CGA and 8088mph demos in 70hz and I didn't see any issue or artifact or reason to freak out about this...

VileR
February 3rd, 2018, 09:19 AM
Well I played many games including commander keen CGA and 8088mph demos in 70hz and I didn't see any issue or artifact or reason to freak out about this...
Some notice it, some don't care. And nobody's freaking out about anything -- as I understood things, you added a feature which may make your converter more interesting for me, so I'm simply asking for confirmation whether it does what I think it does. ;)

Trixter
February 3rd, 2018, 11:10 AM
I'd like confirmation of this too: Given a ~60Hz input, is the output of your converter 70Hz?

Retro Canada
February 3rd, 2018, 11:19 AM
I'd like confirmation of this too: Given a ~60Hz input, is the output of your converter 70Hz?

For high res EGA yes. It outputs at 640x350@70hz.

CGA and low res EGA currently is 60Hz output: 720x480@60hz, double scan

MDA/Hercules is 720x350@70hz

It uses a framebuffer.

dJOS
February 3rd, 2018, 08:59 PM
G'day Chaps, despite being one of the first to order mine I only got around to building it today ... Anyhoo was pretty straight forward although I did forget to mount the FPGA board into the sockets before soldering them on and had to remove them (thank f'k for vacuum desoldering stations!), then resolder them with the board attached. :D

The Ram chip was a bit of PITA, thankfully liquid flux makes it easier to get right and fix mistakes too! :eek:

Anyway it works fairly well but there are a bunch or artifacts with my Tandy 1000 EX .. so I want to update the FPGA and see if the new modes help. Is there an idiots guide to this? Im more of a build stuff HW guy.

EDIT: because Pics are fun.

https://i.imgur.com/lJCu072l.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/UH0bPWul.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/X7FAJYcl.jpg

Retro Canada
February 3rd, 2018, 09:43 PM
G'day Chaps, despite being one of the first to order mine I only got around to building it today ... Anyhoo was pretty straight forward although I did forget to mount the FPGA board into the sockets before soldering them on and had to remove them (thank f'k for vacuum desoldering stations!), then resolder them with the board attached. :D

The Ram chip was a bit of PITA, thankfully liquid flux makes it easier to get right and fix mistakes too! :eek:

Anyway it works fairly well but there are a bunch or artifacts with my Tandy 1000 EX .. so I want to update the FPGA and see if the new modes help. Is there an idiots guide to this? Im more of a build stuff HW guy.

Update the firmware and just choose the PHASE and play with it. It should be enough to stabilize. I don't have a tandy 1000, they worth millions now...

Plasma
February 3rd, 2018, 10:13 PM
G'day Chaps, despite being one of the first to order mine I only got around to building it today ... Anyhoo was pretty straight forward although I did forget to mount the FPGA board into the sockets before soldering them on and had to remove them (thank f'k for vacuum desoldering stations!), then resolder them with the board attached. :D

The Ram chip was a bit of PITA, thankfully liquid flux makes it easier to get right and fix mistakes too! :eek:

Anyway it works fairly well but there are a bunch or artifacts with my Tandy 1000 EX .. so I want to update the FPGA and see if the new modes help. Is there an idiots guide to this? Im more of a build stuff HW guy.

First try adjusting the phase (reset button) if you haven't already.

You will need Quartus and a USB blaster. You can download Quartus Prime Lite (http://dl.altera.com/?edition=lite) for free after you register.

This (https://www.ebay.com/itm/201004564539) is the cheapest USB blaster that I have found to be fully functional. The Waveshare blaster also works but it's about twice the price. (Using Linux, I was able to get the cheap USB blaster included in the kit to program the FPGA, but not the flash. So you might be able to use it for testing if you leave it powered up.)

The code is here (https://github.com/lfantoniosi/mce2vga/commits/master). Click the commit for the version you want. Then click "Browse files". Then click "Clone or download" and download the zip.

Install and run the Quartus Programmer. Click "Hardware Setup" and select your USB blaster. If it's not detected, install the driver in "quartus\drivers\usb-blaster" (Windows) or change the port permissions (http://www.fpga-dev.com/altera-usb-blaster-with-ubuntu/) (Linux).

Click "Add File" and select the .jic file (in the output_files folder of the code zip), check the program/verify boxes, and then "Start". The power must be on to the FPGA board. If it fails part way, you may need to retry it a few times.

If you are using the cheap USB blaster, select the .sof instead. This will only program the FPGA and not the flash (the config will be lost once you turn it off).

ibmapc
February 3rd, 2018, 10:31 PM
I decided Plasma's instructions were easier to follow than mine. So, I deleted mine.

dJOS
February 3rd, 2018, 10:35 PM
I think dJOS is looking for guidance with updating the firmware. I would suggest buying a decent USB Blaster. I have not had any luck with the one that Plasma supplied with the kits. I just get a BSOD. However, THIS ONE (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Altera-USB-Blaster-Download-Cable-FPGA-CLPD-NIOS-JTAG/182584560883?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649) works well for me. Then download the QUARTUS Programmer software and install it. If you don't plan to make modifications to the firmware, I think you can just get the standalone programming software. Plasma gave some good advise on post #22 of THIS PAGE (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?61656-New-MCE2VGA-firmware-OSD/page3). Of coarse you need to get the firmware from HERE (https://github.com/lfantoniosi/mce2vga). On that page, press the green button that says "Clone or download", you see the message "Use Git or checkout with SVN using the web URL". I use "TortoiseSVN". Make your SVN checkout directory "C:\SRC". Then, after the download finishes, rename "C:\SRC\TRUNK" to C:\SRC\MCE2VGA"

Edit:
Looks like Plasma was posting while I was writing my response. Hope this doesn't confuse the issue for you.

Thanks Mate, I'll try that. :cool:

dJOS
February 3rd, 2018, 10:39 PM
First try adjusting the phase (reset button) if you haven't already.

You will need Quartus and a USB blaster. You can download Quartus Prime Lite (http://dl.altera.com/?edition=lite) for free after you register.

This (https://www.ebay.com/itm/201004564539) is the cheapest USB blaster that I have found to be fully functional. The Waveshare blaster also works but it's about twice the price. (Using Linux, I was able to get the cheap USB blaster included in the kit to program the FPGA, but not the flash. So you might be able to use it for testing if you leave it powered up.)

The code is here (https://github.com/lfantoniosi/mce2vga/commits/master). Click the commit for the version you want. Then click "Browse files". Then click "Clone or download" and download the zip.

Install and run the Quartus Programmer. Click "Hardware Setup" and select your USB blaster. If it's not detected, install the driver in "quartus\drivers\usb-blaster" (Windows) or change the port permissions (http://www.fpga-dev.com/altera-usb-blaster-with-ubuntu/) (Linux).

Click "Add File" and select the .jic file (in the output_files folder of the code zip), check the program/verify boxes, and then "Start". The power must be on to the FPGA board. If it fails part way, you may need to retry it a few times.

If you are using the cheap USB blaster, select the .sof instead. This will only program the FPGA and not the flash (the config will be lost once you turn it off).

There's 2 folders on the DVD you included, one says Quartus II and the other NIOS II - do I need both?

Btw I have an EPROM programmer with the JTAG interface, can I use this instead?

Plasma
February 4th, 2018, 12:12 AM
That DVD came with the waveshare FPGA board so I included it, but it's outdated. I think it has Quartus 11 (17 is current). You probably won't be able to build the code with it, but it might work for just programming. You only need Quartus.

I'm not sure about the JTAG programmer. Possibly?

dJOS
February 4th, 2018, 12:31 AM
That DVD came with the waveshare FPGA board so I included it, but it's outdated. I think it has Quartus 11 (17 is current). You probably won't be able to build the code with it, but it might work for just programming. You only need Quartus.

I'm not sure about the JTAG programmer. Possibly?

Ah oK, yeah it doesnt work with RC's files so I'm trying to get the Lite version atm, however the registration is failing with an internal server error! Argh, I wonder if Intel bricked their own servers with their dodgy Meltdown microde fix! :D

CarlosTex
February 4th, 2018, 03:45 AM
Any plan to reintroduce the composote colors? This would be nice as it would eliminate the need for a separate TV/composite monitor to display composite color mode, which makes some games more enjoyable in an XT class system.

dJOS
February 4th, 2018, 09:57 AM
Any plan to reintroduce the composote colors? This would be nice as it would eliminate the need for a separate TV/composite monitor to display composite color mode, which makes some games more enjoyable in an XT class system.

Get a Tandy 1000 with colour composite output and problem solved.

Retro Canada
February 4th, 2018, 10:03 AM
Get a Tandy 1000 with colour composite output and problem solved.

But they worth thousands now...

Retro Canada
February 4th, 2018, 10:18 AM
Any plan to reintroduce the composote colors? This would be nice as it would eliminate the need for a separate TV/composite monitor to display composite color mode, which makes some games more enjoyable in an XT class system.

maybe when I get time and be extremely bored ? I lack the understanding about NTSC working and it will require me lots of researching and creating a program in another language like C++ or python to test it because it is impossible to research direct on FPGA.

So yeah, I don't know when...

dJOS
February 4th, 2018, 10:25 AM
But they worth thousands now...

Get an EX, they are still affordable- just make sure it has the ram expansion.

Plasma
February 4th, 2018, 10:55 AM
Ah oK, yeah it doesnt work with RC's files so I'm trying to get the Lite version atm, however the registration is failing with an internal server error! Argh, I wonder if Intel bricked their own servers with their dodgy Meltdown microde fix! :D

I uploaded them here: http://www.mediafire.com/?ph75v2widkver

You need the qdz and either the Windows or Linux exe.

dJOS
February 4th, 2018, 11:16 AM
I uploaded them here: http://www.mediafire.com/?ph75v2widkver

You need the qdz and either the Windows or Linux exe.

Cheers!:)

Trixter
February 4th, 2018, 11:44 AM
Any plan to reintroduce the composote colors? This would be nice as it would eliminate the need for a separate TV/composite monitor to display composite color mode, which makes some games more enjoyable in an XT class system.

If you have CGA, you already have a fully functional composite output... (Unless all you have are clones)

dJOS
February 4th, 2018, 12:03 PM
If you have CGA, you already have a fully functional composite output... (Unless all you have are clones)

After our Tandy 1000 EX we had 10 mhz XT clone which didn't have the composite output.

pcdata76
February 5th, 2018, 03:13 AM
That DVD came with the waveshare FPGA board so I included it, but it's outdated. I think it has Quartus 11 (17 is current). You probably won't be able to build the code with it, but it might work for just programming. You only need Quartus.



USB Blaster which I've bought cheap from ebay was not working with the latest version of quartus programmer. It was causing BSOD occasionally and it was impossible to program the flash (even programming the FPGA itself was tricky, It couldn't do it twice, without unplugging and plugging it back). But with old versions of quartus programmer like the one in that CD, it works perfectly without any issue. Just be sure that you've installed (or downgraded if new version was installed before) the old version of the usb blaster driver that is included in old quartus programmer folders after installation.

I'm using the latest version for compiling and old one for programming.

dJOS
February 6th, 2018, 11:52 AM
I uploaded them here: http://www.mediafire.com/?ph75v2widkver

You need the qdz and either the Windows or Linux exe.

Lol, the Quartus software really doesn't like Ubuntu or the cheap USB blaster (recognises it but fails every attempt) and the windows software is 64 so wont install on my ancient MacBook running Windows 7. *facepalm*

The quartus software under linux doesnt recognise my EPROM programmer either. doh!

Plasma
February 6th, 2018, 03:10 PM
Hmm Quartus works fine in Ubuntu for me. With the cheap USB blasters, the activity light is inverted. If you try to program a jic (flash) it will lock up and the activity light will stay off. Then you have to unplug and plug it in to reset it. But I was able to get it to program a sof ok in Ubuntu.

ibmapc
February 6th, 2018, 03:46 PM
Hey, Retro Canada,
I wonder if I could talk you into updating your web page for this project to show the newest features of the fpga code and instruct users of this wonderful device. I'm planning to bring a few of these that I've built and tested to sell in the consignment area of the Vintage Computer Festival Pacific Northwest (http://vcfed.org/wp/festivals/vintage-computer-festival-pacific-northwest/) and would like to direct potential buyers to your web page for info. However, the info there is a little obsolete. I know you're a busy guy, but an update to the info there would be useful to many of us.

Thanks again for this terrific project!!

Greg

dJOS
February 6th, 2018, 05:09 PM
Hmm Quartus works fine in Ubuntu for me. With the cheap USB blasters, the activity light is inverted. If you try to program a jic (flash) it will lock up and the activity light will stay off. Then you have to unplug and plug it in to reset it. But I was able to get it to program a sof ok in Ubuntu.

I found the 32-bit windows programmer only software, so i'll try that and see how it goes.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 12:35 AM
So I found a solution on Windows for those of us with the el cheapo USB Blaster.

1/ Install Quartus II v11 & the drivers (from DVD)
2/ Install Quartus 17 "32-bit windows programmer only software" from the website
3/ run Quartus 17 programmer once, USB blaster likely will detect but not work, so quit Quartus
4/ in device manager, find the Altera USB blaster (it'll prolly have an exclamation mark), "Update the driver" using the driver in the Quartus II v11 folders (just do auto search).
5/ run Quartus 17 programmer and it'll reliably program everything without issues from the JLC file.

I hope this helps folks. :cool:

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 01:05 AM
Update the firmware and just choose the PHASE and play with it. It should be enough to stabilize. I don't have a tandy 1000, they worth millions now...

Ok I got it stabilised using phase (be great if it sticks after power off tho), however the main issue of savage banding of the 225 line TCGA graphics is present no matter which FW I try. My LG even works fine with the 720x480 mode.

Ignore the lower 2/3rd's of the screen, my iPhone X somehow corrects this picture and makes it look amazing when it looks the same as the top section in RL:

>High Res (https://i.imgur.com/H84X7lV.jpg)<
https://i.imgur.com/H84X7lVl.jpg

Notice the vertical banding in the Green's & Oranges:

>High Res (https://i.imgur.com/Q5t9JH6.jpg)<
https://i.imgur.com/Q5t9JH6l.jpg

Now I honestly dont think this is my screen causing artifacts, mainly because I run EGA, MCGA and VGA games thru it all the time without these kinds of issues from my K6, S3 Virge powered PC.

PS, its a 1280x1024 Multi-sync LG LCD. If I get a chance I'll take some more pics from my K6 to show the diff - I suspect it's the TCGA 225 lines causing this.

PSS. The colour quality is rather excellent tho, great pop without being wildly inaccurate. :cool:

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 06:27 AM
Ok I got it stabilised using phase (be great if it sticks after power off tho), however the main issue of savage banding of the 225 line TCGA graphics is present no matter which FW I try. My LG even works fine with the 720x480 mode.

Ignore the lower 2/3rd's of the screen, my iPhone X somehow corrects this picture and makes it look amazing when it looks the same as the top section in RL:

>High Res (https://i.imgur.com/H84X7lV.jpg)<
https://i.imgur.com/H84X7lVl.jpg

Notice the vertical banding in the Green's & Oranges:

>High Res (https://i.imgur.com/Q5t9JH6.jpg)<
https://i.imgur.com/Q5t9JH6l.jpg

Now I honestly dont think this is my screen causing artifacts, mainly because I run EGA, MCGA and VGA games thru it all the time without these kinds of issues from my K6, S3 Virge powered PC.

PS, its a 1280x1024 Multi-sync LG LCD. If I get a chance I'll take some more pics from my K6 to show the diff - I suspect it's the TCGA 225 lines causing this.

PSS. The colour quality is rather excellent tho, great pop without being wildly inaccurate. :cool:

Maybe a video will capture the issue you are experiencing.

As I said, I can't get any affordable Tandy 1000, they are being sold at ebay from >$200 and this is insane. Plus shipping to Canada is a nope.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 06:29 AM
Maybe a video will capture the issue you are experiencing.

As I said, I can't get any affordable Tandy 1000, they are being sold at ebay from >$200 and this is insane. Plus shipping to Canada is a nope.

And what pisses me off is seeing ebayers on bidwar for items due 6 days ahead. They think they must win the bid all the time, not the the very last bid that makes it....

pcdata76
February 7th, 2018, 06:44 AM
So I found a solution on Windows for those of us with the el cheapo USB Blaster.

1/ Install Quartus II v11 & the drivers (from DVD)
2/ Install Quartus 17 "32-bit windows programmer only software" from the website
3/ run Quartus 17 programmer once, USB blaster likely will detect but not work, so quit Quartus
4/ in device manager, find the Altera USB blaster (it'll prolly have an exclamation mark), "Update the driver" using the driver in the Quartus II v11 folders (just do auto search).
5/ run Quartus 17 programmer and it'll reliably program everything without issues from the JLC file.

I hope this helps folks. :cool:

Approved ;) Old driver works reliably together with the latest Quartus 17 programmer. No need to use old version of the programmer.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 08:05 AM
Maybe a video will capture the issue you are experiencing.

As I said, I can't get any affordable Tandy 1000, they are being sold at ebay from >$200 and this is insane. Plus shipping to Canada is a nope.

If you can recompile the FW there are few thing to try (they must be changed in the schematics.dbf)

First, disable the parameter noise_filter in cga_sync_level (change it to '0') if you don't know how to change it just doble click in the floating box and go to parameters tab

Try compiling and testing. IF it does not help try increasing hsync_ticks like doubling it or reduce vsync_ticks by half for example.

BTW: if you now what is the phase for your tandy, just change it in the cga_ctrl_params phase value and you don't need to change it everytime. This will be the new default.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 08:18 AM
Oh, now I see what you mean by banding. forget the things I told you.

Looks like your card is generating them. Not the monitor, not the conversor. Do you have a cga monitor to test it ? For every column the intensity of the colors change. Can you generate 16 color bars on it ?

Are you sure the green and oranges are solid colors on CRT monitors ? This looks like a NTSC artifact exploit to produce more colors. But the white text I can clearly see the banding.

pcdata76
February 7th, 2018, 08:39 AM
I've tested MCE2VGA with the latest version of firmware on my Tandy 1000 TL/2 now, paired the converter with a 19" ADI flatscreen CRT.

At Color TGA mode, picture is totally free from any visible interference/noise, both in 225-line Tandy text mode and 200-line graphics mode. All lines are visible on the screen in both of the modes.

Text mode: https://imgur.com/lJP7bYu, https://imgur.com/YejyLrt
Graphics mode: https://imgur.com/zGOuNyj, https://imgur.com/yPW7UUv
Graphics mode with scanline emulation: https://imgur.com/wDdrPRh

PS- At the scanline emulation mode, is there any way to make the darkened scanlines totally black? I can modify the code myself if you can tell me which setting should I change.

At monochrome Hercules mode, leftmost ~10% part of the screen is slightly artifacting even at the best possible phase setting, but they are not visible either in pictures or videos. Rest of the screen is crystal clear.

Text mode: https://imgur.com/5N9NL0U
Graphics mode: https://imgur.com/b2OEIG8, https://imgur.com/JhtIywM

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 09:26 AM
Good to know. The monochrome might have a slightly different pixel clock than 16Mhz. Is it hercules or mda compatible ? Which settings do you have to use ?




PS- At the scanline emulation mode, is there any way to make the darkened scanlines totally black? I can modify the code myself if you can tell me which setting should I change.



just change the vga_video.vhd:468 to:

if (scanline = '1' and mono = '0' and scale_mode = 1) then

if (vcount(0) = '1') then

red_pixel := (others => '0');
green_pixel := (others => '0');
blue_pixel := (others => '0');

end if;

end if;

pcdata76
February 7th, 2018, 09:54 AM
Good to know. The monochrome might have a slightly different pixel clock than 16Mhz. Is it hercules or mda compatible ? Which settings do you have to use ?



Settings are: SW1: ON, SW2-SW3-SW4 OFF. (should be MDA mode IIRC)

If i turn SW2 on, most part of the screen begins to artifact and phase adjustment does improve nothing, it just shifts the noisy sections to the left/right.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 10:10 AM
Settings are: SW1: ON, SW2-SW3-SW4 OFF. (should be MDA mode IIRC)

If i turn SW2 on, most part of the screen begins to artifact and phase adjustment does improve nothing, it just shifts the noisy sections to the left/right.

Definitely MDA 16.257Mhz but it seems it is a little bit off.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 11:43 AM
Oh, now I see what you mean by banding. forget the things I told you.

Looks like your card is generating them. Not the monitor, not the conversor. Do you have a cga monitor to test it ? For every column the intensity of the colors change. Can you generate 16 color bars on it ?

Are you sure the green and oranges are solid colors on CRT monitors ? This looks like a NTSC artifact exploit to produce more colors. But the white text I can clearly see the banding.

Here's a video I made a little while back on a real CGA CRT (jump to 9:30) - as you will see, the Tandy does a great job and the PQ on the CRT is great:


https://youtu.be/St8Nx7iHA2o

PS, I bought the kit A/ for fun & B/ just in case my 2 CRT's died (I've already replaced the HOT and FBT in 1 of them).

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 12:04 PM
Here's a video I made a little while back on a real CGA CRT (jump to 9:30) - as you will see, the Tandy does a great job and the PQ on the CRT is great:


https://youtu.be/St8Nx7iHA2o

PS, I bought the kit A/ for fun & B/ just in case my 2 CRT's died (I've already replaced the HOT and FBT in 1 of them).

Does an amiga monitor accept CGA ?

Just for testing, try setting the converter to CGA monochrome (sw 1 on) and check in green/amber what does it look like. Again, can you display a colorbar in the converter ?

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 12:05 PM
Does an amiga monitor accept CGA ?

Just for testing, try setting the converter to CGA monochrome (sw 1 on) and check in green/amber what does it look like. Again, can you display a colorbar in the converter ?

Try also in another Tv/monitor. Just for fun maybe...

pcdata76
February 7th, 2018, 12:22 PM
Definitely MDA 16.257Mhz but it seems it is a little bit off.

Is it easy to fine tune for the correct frequency in firmware? Of course by trial and error, since i have no idea how can i get the exact pixel clock.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 01:04 PM
Is it easy to fine tune for the correct frequency in firmware? Of course by trial and error, since i have no idea how can i get the exact pixel clock.

Not so simple because there are other clocks that creates dependency on it.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 01:20 PM
Does an amiga monitor accept CGA ?

Just for testing, try setting the converter to CGA monochrome (sw 1 on) and check in green/amber what does it look like. Again, can you display a colorbar in the converter ?

yep, the 1081 & 1084 series all work with CGA because RGBi is what the Commodore 128 outputs.

The screen didn't like switch 1 on at all.

I've got a couple more LCD's to try so see how I go with those.

ibmapc
February 7th, 2018, 01:24 PM
Not so simple because there are other clocks that creates dependency on it.

Would it be possible to create some more OSD controls to fine tune things like frequency and front and back porches and active video and such. Or would that make things to complex. Maybe just for testing purpose.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 01:39 PM
So I just tried a Viewsonic, same res as the LG (1280x1024), and the problem is the same (using latest 640x480 FW - 720x480 mode produces same result):

Text Mode (https://i.imgur.com/5n135oE.jpg)

SQ3 Scene (https://i.imgur.com/6MSTLxo.jpg)

EDIT:

and same result on a 1024x768 Acer LCD:

SQ3 Scene (https://i.imgur.com/HqDGbyC.jpg)

it looks like a sideways stretch-scaling artifact but 640x480 requires the same 1.6x scale on both axis' to get to 1024x768, so surely the vertical banding must be coming from the converter?

I'd try changing the video mode to native cga 200 lines but I cant find the command.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 01:51 PM
As I said, I can't get any affordable Tandy 1000, they are being sold at ebay from >$200 and this is insane. Plus shipping to Canada is a nope.

grab a cheap 1000 EX - its basically an SX in a compact case:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=tandy+1000+ex&_sop=1

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 02:29 PM
grab a cheap 1000 EX - its basically an SX in a compact case:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=tandy+1000+ex&_sop=1

Do you really think it will end as 50 dollars ? Just check the last ones...

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 02:44 PM
Do you really think it will end as 50 dollars ? Just check the last ones...

My EX was $79.99 USD back in June last year but more recently I've seen standalone EX's go for $82.56 & $76.57 USD.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 03:10 PM
Again, can you display a colorbar in the converter ?

Can you link me to one please, I'm not having any luck finding one.

Trixter
February 7th, 2018, 03:35 PM
https://github.com/MobyGamer/CGACompatibilityTester/releases has several test patterns, including colorbars.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 03:42 PM
https://github.com/MobyGamer/CGACompatibilityTester/releases has several test patterns, including colorbars.

legend, thanks. :cool:

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 03:58 PM
Still on my 1024x768 LCD - here are the colour bars as requested RC:

RGBi bars (https://i.imgur.com/FQFI9ms.jpg)

Vertical bars (https://i.imgur.com/ZLgGzEI.jpg)

Horizontal bars (https://i.imgur.com/im1FIPv.jpg)

text mode colour bars (https://i.imgur.com/uNlTLwj.jpg)

Trixter
February 7th, 2018, 05:16 PM
Based on the test patterns, you've got some sort of horizontal sampling error in anything that uses the green pin. The red, blue, and intensity pins look ok. That should help narrow it down -- build or soldering error, perhaps?

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 05:47 PM
My EX was $79.99 USD back in June last year but more recently I've seen standalone EX's go for $82.56 & $76.57 USD.

sold for 113 that was my last bid. I am not paying more than this...

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 05:52 PM
Based on the test patterns, you've got some sort of horizontal sampling error in anything that uses the green pin. The red, blue, and intensity pins look ok. That should help narrow it down -- build or soldering error, perhaps?

If you can spot any issues with my soldering you've got better eye's than me. Honestly, I cant find any issues so a 2nd pair of eyeballs is welcome.

Top view (https://i.imgur.com/4E1iJYO.jpg)

Side view 1 (https://i.imgur.com/wQxOfXh.jpg)

Side view 2 (https://i.imgur.com/hkMhiVK.jpg) and no the two pins 2nd & 3rd from the right on the ram chip aren't touching, I checked with my DMM and also inspected visually, it's just an illusion caused by the 3rd from the left pin being a touch messy.

btw, I tried a different video cable and got the same result.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 05:53 PM
sold for 113 that was my last bid. I am not paying more than this...

Bugger, fair enough. :(

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 06:52 PM
Bugger, fair enough. :(

I didn't get it. I gave up.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 07:19 PM
Based on the test patterns, you've got some sort of horizontal sampling error in anything that uses the green pin. The red, blue, and intensity pins look ok. That should help narrow it down -- build or soldering error, perhaps?

ok I've tested the cable supplied, and a second one i had lying around - they both checkout, as does the DB9 connector itself.

Using a cable attached to the main board, FPGA removed and the 74 series logic chip removed, I'm getting a consistent .96 - 1.1ohms from each of the colour pins to the socket of the 74 series chip. Same goes for the other pins for H/V Sync, intensity and Grounds. That's the across the entire cable thru to the 74 series socket.

I'm not sure I can check the rest of the signal path too, but that a good start.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 07:42 PM
Based on the test patterns, you've got some sort of horizontal sampling error in anything that uses the green pin. The red, blue, and intensity pins look ok. That should help narrow it down -- build or soldering error, perhaps?

Btw, I think the pics from my small LCD make it look worse than it is, this is a better representation. As you can see, the solid colours across the bottom are basically perfect, it's the shaded colours that are messed up:

High Res Colour Bars (https://i.imgur.com/iJ7HWjD.jpg)

and this is my 1000 EX on my CRT:

CRT Colour Bars (https://i.imgur.com/kZE5iH7.jpg)

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 08:18 PM
ok I've tested the cable supplied, and a second one i had lying around - they both checkout, as does the DB9 connector itself.

Using a cable attached to the main board, FPGA removed and the 74 series logic chip removed, I'm getting a consistent .96 - 1.1ohms from each of the colour pins to the socket of the 74 series chip. Same goes for the other pins for H/V Sync, intensity and Grounds. That's the across the entire cable thru to the 74 series socket.

I'm not sure I can check the rest of the signal path too, but that a good start.

could be a faulty level shifter ? replace the 74x

Plasma
February 7th, 2018, 08:20 PM
If you can spot any issues with my soldering you've got better eye's than me. Honestly, I cant find any issues so a 2nd pair of eyeballs is welcome.

Top view (https://i.imgur.com/4E1iJYO.jpg)

Side view 1 (https://i.imgur.com/wQxOfXh.jpg)

Side view 2 (https://i.imgur.com/hkMhiVK.jpg) and no the two pins 2nd & 3rd from the right on the ram chip aren't touching, I checked with my DMM and also inspected visually, it's just an illusion caused by the 3rd from the left pin being a touch messy.

btw, I tried a different video cable and got the same result.

Did you check all the SRAM pins for shorts?

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 08:22 PM
Did you check all the SRAM pins for shorts?

that might be it :) since it's 16 bit two pixels per word, the second word has green bits stuck it uses a 00rrggbb00rrggbb pattern. BINGO!

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 08:34 PM
could be a faulty level shifter ? replace the 74x

Seems the likely culprit, unfortunately I dont have any of those particular 74 series chips lying around.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 08:37 PM
Seems the likely culprit, unfortunately I dont have any of those particular 74 series chips lying around.

No it is the SRAM, check for short as plasma said. specially for the data pins

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 08:38 PM
Did you check all the SRAM pins for shorts?

Sure did, I even tidied up my 1 ugly pin just to be safe. It doesnt get much better than this! :cool:

https://i.imgur.com/wRNu5f8h.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/T2jQ00th.jpg

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 08:41 PM
No it is the SRAM, check for short as plasma said. specially for the data pins

There's no short, never was:

High res 1 (https://i.imgur.com/T2jQ00t.jpg)

High res 2 (https://i.imgur.com/wRNu5f8.jpg)

EDIT: scratch that, I think I found a miniscule solder bridge that isnt visible in the above pics. I'll fix it after I knock off work and report back. :oops:

Plasma
February 7th, 2018, 08:51 PM
Try flexing the PCB while it is running.

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 08:57 PM
Try flexing the PCB while it is running.

that's kinda hard to do with a stacked arrangement. :D

anyway, as per my edited post, I think I found the culprit.

EDIT: yep it even beeps out! How embarrassing! :oops: :blush:

https://i.imgur.com/HQYT2fHl.jpg

Plasma
February 7th, 2018, 09:11 PM
That's why I asked if you checked them all :P

It actually is possible to flex the PCB, my first SRAM solder attempt looked ok and had no shorts. But I had some bad joints and flexing the PCB would make the colors do weird things.

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 09:14 PM
That's why I asked if you checked them all :P

It actually is possible to flex the PCB, my first SRAM solder attempt looked ok and had no shorts. But I had some bad joints and flexing the PCB would make the colors do weird things.

and you saved me from having to buy an overprices Tandy 1000 :) booyah!

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 09:23 PM
That's why I asked if you checked them all :P

It actually is possible to flex the PCB, my first SRAM solder attempt looked ok and had no shorts. But I had some bad joints and flexing the PCB would make the colors do weird things.

Yeah I thought I had. oh well. :rolleyes:

True, it does flew a little but in this case makes no difference. :cool:

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 09:23 PM
and you saved me from having to buy an overprices Tandy 1000 :) booyah!

Oh c'mon, every PC fanboi should have a Tandy! :D

Retro Canada
February 7th, 2018, 09:33 PM
Oh c'mon, every PC fanboi should have a Tandy! :D

not at these current ebay prices..

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 09:36 PM
not at these current ebay prices..

They are quite mad. :(

dJOS
February 7th, 2018, 11:48 PM
EDIT: yep it even beeps out! How embarrassing! :oops: :blush:

https://i.imgur.com/HQYT2fHl.jpg

so that single, tiny bloody solder bridge was entirely to blame, my converter now works like a champ, thanks for you patience and help chaps, it's much appreciated. :cool:

Any artifacts in the pictures are entirely the LCD's fault now!

https://i.imgur.com/HNl0rjVh.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/2bLwd2zh.jpg

Retro Canada
February 8th, 2018, 05:41 AM
so that single, tiny bloody solder bridge was entirely to blame, my converter now works like a champ, thanks for you patience and help chaps, it's much appreciated. :cool:

Any artifacts in the pictures are entirely the LCD's fault now!

https://i.imgur.com/HNl0rjVh.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/2bLwd2zh.jpg

does the image move from left/right each different game on TGC ? This happens often with CGA games, there is some setting on the CRT that gets completly random I can't explain. If I boot my pc and run princ of persia for example, it will be in different positions. That's why I had to keep large borders.

dJOS
February 8th, 2018, 10:56 AM
does the image move from left/right each different game on TGC ? This happens often with CGA games, there is some setting on the CRT that gets completly random I can't explain. If I boot my pc and run princ of persia for example, it will be in different positions. That's why I had to keep large borders.

yeah, even text modes need to be adjusted for phase and location.

Retro Canada
February 8th, 2018, 11:21 AM
yeah, even text modes need to be adjusted for phase and location.

You can change the FGPA code and leave the phase you need as default. just change the cga_ctrl_param floating box

Retro Canada
February 8th, 2018, 11:46 AM
You can change the FGPA code and leave the phase you need as default. just change the cga_ctrl_param floating box

I should include an eeprom for the next model to store the settings permanently... but i am too lazy now

dJOS
February 8th, 2018, 12:01 PM
I should include an eeprom for the next model to store the settings permanently... but i am too lazy now

There's no way to update the flash live?

Retro Canada
February 8th, 2018, 12:07 PM
Nope.

dJOS
February 8th, 2018, 12:12 PM
Nope.

Bugger.

Retro Canada
February 8th, 2018, 12:26 PM
I have some ideas to detect the phase automatically but it would require a lot of research and a faster PC to compile the FPGA faster. It takes too long to compile :/

Also I need time.

Retro Canada
February 8th, 2018, 12:28 PM
with a differential adaptative control I could watch when the pixel transition gets stable and decide what is the best phase for the current screen

dJOS
February 8th, 2018, 01:00 PM
with a differential adaptative control I could watch when the pixel transition gets stable and decide what is the best phase for the current screen

That would be very cool, I'm happy to play guinea pig now that I have my shit together. :cool:

pcdata76
February 8th, 2018, 09:04 PM
@dJOS

Have you ever checked the video output of your Tandy at MDA mode? Could you obtain artifact free picture? I'm trying to investigate that whether artifacts are existing in all Tandy-1000's due to a slight difference in pixel clock by design or it is particular to my copy.

dJOS
February 8th, 2018, 09:58 PM
@dJOS

Have you ever checked the video output of your Tandy at MDA mode? Could you obtain artifact free picture? I'm trying to investigate that whether artifacts are existing in all Tandy-1000's due to a slight difference in pixel clock by design or it is particular to my copy.

No but I can check tonight - iirc I have a util that shows pixel clocks etc (trixter linked to it a couple of pages back).

dJOS
February 9th, 2018, 02:17 AM
No but I can check tonight - iirc I have a util that shows pixel clocks etc (trixter linked to it a couple of pages back).

So I can't find a way to get MDA mode on my EX, seems to be only on the VGA Tandy's from what I can find.

pcdata76
February 11th, 2018, 10:45 PM
So I can't find a way to get MDA mode on my EX, seems to be only on the VGA Tandy's from what I can find.

I'm not familiar with EX's, but doesn't simultaneous pressing of CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+V toggle the video mode?

dJOS
February 11th, 2018, 11:43 PM
I'm not familiar with EX's, but doesn't simultaneous pressing of CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+V toggle the video mode?

It doesn't do anything on an EX. They do have a mono mode (press F1 at start), but it's just black and white CGA.