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Author Topic: Watchout-American with European hardware! GX4000 through NTSC LCD  (Read 784 times)

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Offline Bludax

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Hello with my first post beyond intro 8)


So here goes...


I have my Amstrad GX4000 which is great and I have the NTSC issue which is not so great. I now have the two products below:


1.
https://www.amazon.com/SCART-SVHS-3xRCA-Female-Adapter/dp/B01H4LTPMG/ref=dp_ob_title_ce


2.
https://www.amazon.com/GANA-Composite-Converter-Adapter-Supporting/dp/B01L8GG6PW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1545201273&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=ghana+mini+rca+to+hdmi


I have a lit green console light on my Amstrad, which I interpreted to be life. I am mentioning this because my experience with euro consoles is very limited and I know there is a possibility that the Amstrad is dead (obviously I hope not!). How trustworthy is a green light on the Amstrad? I have not opened it yet.


I tried product number 1, the SCART/RCA directly to the TV with no success. I was not daunted because I was pretty sure my TV is NTSC only.


The second try was both products together which I thought should work.


Both tries ended with no sound or picture out of the Amstrad. Can I assume that it may be dust or should I try other setups than the one I have? I know Framemeister and so on, but I cannot really swing something like that currently. I want to play games through the console and roll the clock back to experiences I wish I could have had many moons ago. If the video looks a little crappy I do not care. Yay games! Any advice other than "get better" will be appreciated ;D
« Last Edit: 08:48, 19 December 18 by Bludax »

Offline robcfg

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I think that your problem is that those devices just use the composite video signal, but the GX4000 outputs RGB signals.


So you’ll need something to convert RGB to Composite first. Maybe @Bryce can help you there.


Then, you’ll have the PAL vs NTSC problem, but at least you should be able to see something.


Good luck!

Offline Bryce

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You have enough there to get a picture, but you'll need to do some modding to the GX4000. First off, you need to convert the UHF output to Composite. If you can do basic soldering this shouldn't be an issue. Follow the instructions for the Spectrum 48K composite mod which you will find all over the interwebs, such as this one: http://www.retrogamescollector.com/simple-zx-spectrum-composite-mod/
You can then connect the GX4000 via device number 2 (composite to HDMI converter) and you should get a picture, but no sound. If it turns out that the GX4000 works, then come back to me and I'll tell you how to add sound.

Device number 1 probably won't work unless your TV accepts PAL via SCART (unlikely).

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 09:41, 19 December 18 by Bryce »

Offline Bryce

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Double post, I know, but I just realised that you were probably connecting device 1 to the back of the GX4000. The video pin (19) on the SCART output should have a video signal on it. So if you had device 1 connected to the GX4000 SCART (set to "out") and a composite cable (the yellow one) connected to device 2, you should have got a picture. I suspect your GX4000 may be an ex-GX4000.

Bryce.

Offline norecess

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Hi @Bludax ,
I'm living in North America like you (Canada).
I ended buying a real PAL monitor and use it through a 220V->110V converter (for both Amiga 600 + GX-4000).

There is an initial big hit ($$$) but after that, you get the real thing. I don't trust converters and such.


Offline Bludax

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Thanks to robcfg, Bryce and norecess,
All of your help is greatly appreciated!


norecess- I have only this euro console currently but soon I will have more and that is on the to do list.


Bryce and robcfg- Perhaps my GX4000 is alive because I discovered a shipping mixup, instead of the above up scaler/converter I got this:


https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B06W9LQDBB/ref=psdcmw_280341_t2_B0769GMV9Y

I have reordered and early next week I will be able to give it another go. Keep your fingers crossed for my GX4000, it needs to live so I can have some European gaming experiences and share them with others:-)

Offline LambdaMikel

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I'd just get the standard CPC RGB-2-Scart cable and plug it into a RGB to HDMI converter. That takes care of NTSC vs. PAL and what have you. Much cheaper that buying an old CRTC...


This is the best solution you can get:
 

https://www.amazon.com/CiBest-Converter-Adapter-Support-Set-top/dp/B06Y43RVLH/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1545249532&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=scart+hdmi&psc=1


You can check out some of my YouTube videos for the image quality. It is superb and super fast.
« Last Edit: 21:59, 19 December 18 by LambdaMikel »

Offline LambdaMikel

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Hi @Bludax ,
I'm living in North America like you (Canada).
I ended buying a real PAL monitor and use it through a 220V->110V converter (for both Amiga 600 + GX-4000).

There is an initial big hit ($$$) but after that, you get the real thing. I don't trust converters and such.


Hmm, wouldn't recommend doing that. Unless you are in for real retro CRT experience, there is no need to do so. I am using all my 40+ retro computers either with SCART-2-HDMI converter, or a CVBS-2-HDMI converter, and for the ones that are using antenna *yuc* I have a CAT-2-HDMI converter (thank good there are only a handful of machines which I haven't converted to composite at least yet)


A step transformer from 110V - 220V is a major p*** i* t** a** even though I admit that I also own such a monster. But I always fear for my hardware ever time I turn it on.
« Last Edit: 22:50, 19 December 18 by LambdaMikel »

Offline norecess

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I'm a fanatic of pure 50hz / non-scaled / unprocessed / unmodified images. And yes, on real CRT and I completely assume that  8)
@LambdaMikel not a single problem in 10+ years with 220V->110V.

 
« Last Edit: 03:27, 20 December 18 by norecess »

Offline LambdaMikel

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Cool, but it is the other way around, right? From 110 V -> 220 V (US Voltage -> European Voltage). My step transformer is from China, and when I turn it on, the transformer inside produces such a strong magnetic field that it actually physically bends the metal casing inside, and it makes a sound from that... I guess I should have spend a bit more  ::)

Well, it is possible to connect a real CRT to a CPC, with PAL / NTSC, even in America, without step transformer  ;)  I have a real CRT also, a Sony BVM 8045QD Trinitron, and it does composite, component, and RGB. So, that would also be an option, without requiring a step transformer.  I'd call the little 8" Sony BVM Trinitron CRT's the next best thing after a Commodore 1081 / 1084. Well, only 2nd, because the don't flicker as much, so it doesn't fully satisfy your requirements  :P


They are getting expensive and rare too, tough:


https://www.ebay.com/i/183569813592?chn=ps
« Last Edit: 03:59, 20 December 18 by LambdaMikel »

Offline norecess

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@LambdaMikel
Oh, thx for correcting. Yes, 110V->220V (of course).
I also get the same sound when starting up the transformer. It's normal.
You can't connect a NTSC-only (60hz) monitor for use with a CPC ; but yep your Sony monitor support both standards, so you are lucky :)
Anyway! I hope @Bludax will find a way to display picture for his GX-4000.

Offline Bludax

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Thanks Lamdamikel and again norecess.


So I am less likely to do a PAL CRT solution and more likely to do a modern PAL compatible LCD. I would love one of the old CRT's but currently adding to my Trinitron and PM CRT's would make honey do's happen for months ;)  I have discovered 4:3 and some other adjustments can appease me.


The step downs make me a bit nervous as well but only because of bad stories. I still want a PAL CRT but they seem like a luxury to me that may end up costing me several back up consoles (I like one main and one backup-which can be a bit of a fixer upper.)


@Lamdamikel- I wish I had known about the device in your link. Everything I found with that feature set was a 100 up. I am going to get one of those for sure.


I am now waiting for the other Gana to arrive and I will post my results here just to let others know so they can jump to something that works (fingers crossed the GX-4000 is alive).

Offline deepfb

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I understand that regular NTSC, CRT TV sets do not have RGB input. But, is it that hard to find a CRT monitor with such feature in the US? An Amiga display would do the job...

Offline LambdaMikel

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@Lamdamikel- I wish I had known about the device in your link. Everything I found with that feature set was a 100 up. I am going to get one of those for sure.

Good to hear, glad you found it helpful!

Please note that I have never tried connecting directly to the scart output of the GX4000, as I don't own one. But if it is standard RGB scart, then a standard full RGB male-male scart cable can directly plug into the converter, and it should work.
If not, then I'd recommend getting the standard RGB DIN-2-SCART cable for the CPC. If this is the same DIN RGB video output as on the CPCs, and I believe it is, then this should also work. 


Offline Bludax

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@deepfb To put it into perspective the nearest Amiga monitor I could effectively and likely procure would cost me something near $500 USD so 420£ or so.

Offline deepfb

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@deepfb To put it into perspective the nearest Amiga monitor I could effectively and likely procure would cost me something near $500 USD so 420£ or so.


 :o

Offline LambdaMikel

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Yes, some retro computer prices are very high in the US as well.
For example, Amigas... I could probably make a living just be importing old Amiga 500's from Germany, and selling them (refurbished) here on Ebay. Last one I sold got me 260 $. (Ok, also included PSU, new Mouse, and Mem Expansion with RTC, but still!)

Offline Bludax

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Ok so my correct up-scaler arrived and much to my happiness I can say my GX-4000 lives and breathes and gives me great picture and sound, albeit with a little irritating delay, but you know that is ok seeing as how I know it works. Happy Holidays to me :-) and to all my buddies who are about to get to experience this rare bird in the states.

I also have my C4CPC and I must say that I am stunned and Gerald is now one of my heroes. I have now played Space Crusade (I know Commodore 64-but it just seems more right on the Amstrad GX-4000) which was a goal as soon as I knew it existed and several other titles that I just feel privileged to have experienced.

I am also a huge fan of the GX-4000. I know I am not seeing it as well as one could monitor wise, but this thing is still impressive considering its contemporaries in my book. I have heard it get a lot of flack for library mediocrity, but the C4CPC fixes that completely. For me there are no excuses, everyone should have one of these and in my opinion no game console collection can even be considered remotely complete if it does not.

Thanks to everyone for the assistance!

@LamdaMikel- yeah I went looking for an Amiga and wow at the prices. Mostly fixers for 200 and 300. A tested, working was 500+ close enough to me to reach.
« Last Edit: 09:19, 24 December 18 by Bludax »

Offline 00WReX

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I'm jumping in here, and I may have totally missed this...but is your GX4000 a French version or an English version.
The English version has RF out, the French version does not.
SCART output on the French version is RGB only and does not include a composite video signal.
SCART output on the English version includes a composite video signal and can be used with a SCART to composite A/V adapter (like the 1st picture/adapter).

Sorry if already discussed.


Cheers,
Shane
The CPC in Australia...
Awa - CPCWiki

Offline norecess

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@00WReX oh, good to know! I was not aware of those difference models :)
@Bludax That's a story that ends very well then ! I'm super happy for you ;) Yes of course you now have access to the original GX-4000 games, but also all those ports of classic CPC games - and I think this is a fantastic jewel to discover, especially if all of this is new to you! I urgently recommend you looking at Arkanoid, Fruity Frank, Commando, Bomb Jack and the likes - they may not be "top games" as in today standards but there are well representative of the CPC in its hey-days! :DAnd oh, don't miss the excellent Ghost'n'Goblins remake that went out last year (programmed by Xifos) it's THE game I love on the GX ;-)
Just out of curiosity, you are an American native, right? never touched any European products before?

Offline Bryce

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Luckily, no matter what version you have, everything is available inside. So RGB, Composite, RF (not that anyone would want that), can be modded to a port if required.

Bryce.

Offline Bludax

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@norecess
Yep, definitely American but far from new for European products. I have been a longtime fan of Warhammer and RPG/Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I just did not know there was a European console with a Warhammer game on it. :D  When I found out such an animal existed I had to have it! I know it is a little bit of a stretch seeing as how C4CPC makes this possible, but hey it just feels right playing Warhammer on an Amstrad.


@00WReX
That is a good point, but mine is definitely English, it has a somewhat rusty RF.


@Bryce
Thanks for those mod tips!

Offline deepfb

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I hadn't seen this 8-bit Guy video until now. It is a clean and cheap mod...