Back in November 2022 we took another trip, this time to the capital of Belgium. There you can find the Pixel Museum. Dedicated to the history of video games it shows off the tech from the early 1970s up to contemporary consoles.
RGBtoHDMI for Retro PCs
The OSSC is a great solution to get analog video signals to HDMI capable devices: TVs, PCs or for streaming. For RGB TTL computers, such as the IBM PC with it’s CGA, Hercules/MDA and EGA standards or the Commodore 128 and many other home computers it’s a bit harder to get a nice and crisp HDMI signal. One such solution is the RGBtoHDMI converter. This is an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi, and we take a look at it today with the additional RGB TTL buffer board.
GameBoy Pocket CleanPower Mod
Since the IPS mod in the previous episode the GameBoy Pocket was intermittently resetting. Mostly when playing Super Mario Land 2, but also in some other games. One hint was that the power regulator, which generates all the voltages for the GBP was not providing enough current. There are modern replacements, such as the CleanPower by Retrosix (no affiliation) that supposedly give a better result in this case. So I tried it out and got a CleanPower for our GameBoy Pocket.
Retro Travels: Karlsruhe Retro Games e.V.
We are back on the road, or more clearly: on the train! And this time we visit the German city of Karlsruhe. It is home to the amazing Retrogames e.V. arcade. This arcade is open every Saturday from 15:00 to 22:00 and hosts an amazing number of arcade and flipper machines.
Moreover we stumbled upon a neat little store called the “Nerdzentrale” in downtown Karlsruhe. Come and see what kind of stuff we found and which games we played!
GameBoy Pocket IPS LCD Display Mod
The GameBoy and the GameBoy Pocket were not known for the best LCD screens ever. Rather the opposite is true. The original GameBoy screens were dim, slow and without backlights. But of course we have modern replacements! Let us install this state of the art IPS LCD screen with backlight and see how it fares. As a bonus we give the GameBoy a fancy Zelda themed shell, some new silicone rubber pads and also a set of new buttons.
PC Speed: Atari ST Running MS DOS
The Atari ST was one of multiple home computers of the 1980s that came out with the Motorola 68000 CPU. While very capable indeed it lacked compatibility with the ubiquitous IBM PCs and PC clones of the era. The Atari ST already supported the FAT file system, so you could read and write regular PC floppy disks, but running MS DOS or MS DOS programs was a costly and slow process on the 68k CPU. So a German company by the name of Sack Electronic GmbH invented the PC Speed Emulator. A hardware assisted piece of kit that would solder directly onto the top of the Motorola CPU!
Cool Floppy: 1541 Voltage Regulator Mods
The original Commodore 1541 is known to run quite hot. But we can make it cool! By replacing the 7805 and 7812 voltage regulators with modern replacements. So let’s do this and mod the 1541 Frankenstein to run much cooler!
Refurbishing the C64C
Here is another C64! This time around it’s one of the later C64C, also called the C64-II. It sports a look similar to the C128 and the Amiga, and on the inside it’s also a bit different to my Breadbin C64s. This particular model is pretty dirty, and I hope that it comes with a short board, sporting the SID 8580, because I do not have one of those. And of course I hope that it actually works, because I got it untested! So let’s open it up, clean it and make it shine like when it came out of the factory!
Let’s Code x86 Assembly: 0x07 Text Mode Plasma
In this episode of our tour through the 8086 assembly language, we learn a few new opcodes and concepts CBW makes an appearance, as does the powerful XLAT for looking up values in … look-up tables! We use this to make a text mode plasma like effect. It is a bit simpler compared to what we did in another episode on the VGA card, but this time the executable is tiny, coming in at less than 170 bytes. We talk a bit about how to access screen memory in text mode and how to query the real time clock in the PC.
The C64 UfD Diagnostic Cartridge
There are many diagnostic cartridges for the C64 which can help troubleshoot problems with broken or dead C64s. This new cartridge comes with three special features: it measures the 5V rail, which can cause problems with the machine, it shows the CPU clock, which can be the cause for black screens, if absent, and it can run three different diagnostic ROMs. The C64 Deadtest, C64 Diag and C128 Diag are selectable via a small switch. Let’s assemble this new troubleshooting tool and test it out!