The NEC PC-9821 computers output a very unusual resolution that most western monitors struggle with: 640 x 400 @ 24 kHz. I tried at least half a dozen monitors of all types and ages and none of them was able to display a picture at all (except an “out of range” message). Video scalers like the DVDO iScan VP50 Pro don’t recognize the signal either. Some sources claim that the cheap GBS-8220 converter is able to convert the signal – that is only partially true. You can see a stuttering picture that eventually becomes clear when you start the Windows 98 Desktop, but that doesn’t work in DOS.
When my FM TOWNS II Fresh・E suddenly refused to boot from HDD and Towns OS (from CD) didn’t show the HDD anymore, my first thoughts were that the HDD has finally given up. It sounded like an airplane engine lately (and still does). Then I noticed that date/time settings were lost too, so it was probably related to the BIOS battery. To access or replace the battery (3V CR2450) the whole unit needs to be disassembled.
The other day I prepared my Atari Jaguar to build a rotary controller for Tempest 2000. I hadn’t used it in a while and accidently picked the wrong power supply – smoke was rising immediately from the console.
The culprit was easily found, chip U38 (MC34163DW):
Continue reading Atari Jaguar Power/Sound Fix and Rotary Controller
There is always a need for a serial terminal (VT100 compatible) to debug Philips CD-i players and other old units with a serial port. Even though an old laptop with Windows 98 and HyperTerminal works fine, I was looking for something more portable. The Atari Portfolio with Serial Interface add-on is a good choice.
First of all we need to transfer the terminal software to the Portfolio. It is possible via the serial port, but I had to backup some data too from the old memory cards, so I hooked up the Atari Card Drive HPC-301:
Continue reading Serial Terminal on Atari Portfolio
Found two more donor carts for use in a Sega Pico flash cart:
The Lion King: Adventures at Pride Rock and Magic Crayons, both “Assembled in Mexico”.
Continue reading Two Donor Carts for Sega Pico Flash
An unusual SegaSaturn accessory: The 3RADD – A sound enhancer with SRS psychoacoustic technology, read a review on this japanese blog. A scan of the manual.
The effect with audio sources is quite nice, it boosts the sound and positions it around your head. The technology is used in all kinds of devices and software, e.g. the Windows Media Player (SRS WOW).
The imprint on the PCB reveals that this is actually the Game Gizmo 3D (or 3-D) by Calypso Micro Products. This is what a found with the new information:
Continue reading 3RADD – The 3-D Sound For Video Games And PCs
Lucienne’s Quest is the Western release of the JRPG Sword & Sorcery. It has an interesting storyline and very funny dialogues, read a full review at Hardcore Gaming 101.
The game makes heavy use of random enemy encounters. If you want to enjoy the story without being disturbed constantly then there are some cheats to ease the experience. To enable the cheats you’ll need the Game Guru disc with the advanced interface (apply the code IHAVETHEPOWER on the file GameGuru.CFG).
Now that I have an extra backup of my Mega CD save files on the Sega CD Ultra Backup RAM cart I can replace the battery of my the old CD BackUp RAM Cart without worrying about data loss.
It is possible to do an open heart surgery to prevent the memory from being erased and replace the battery while the Mega CD is turned on . I went for that procedure to avoid having to copy all files from one cart to another again.
Continue reading A new battery for the Sega CD BackUp RAM Cart
The second cart from Canada is the Power Base FM, also known as Power Base Mini FM. It is a mod-less attempt on enabling FM sound for selected Master System games on a Mega Drive. This cart is somewhat hard to obtain, it’s sold out in all stores but this one.
On the next pictures you can see why it is called “mini”, its much smaller than the official Sega Power Base Converters. It fits in a regular Mega Drive cart, you have to cut holes in the top for the connector and the front right for the Pause button though. The JTAG connector isn’t necessary and was added just for fun. Sonic is still looking at you because there is no label available – the only one I’ve found is from Stone Age Gamer and kinda ugly.
Continue reading Power Base FM
The cart on the right-hand side is a new backup RAM cart for Mega CD with 8189 blocks of memory. That’s four times as much memory the original Sega Backup RAM Cart has available for storage (2045 blocks). I’ve bought an used Sega cart in 2003 and am glad that the battery is still good – it’s a matter of time until it’ll lose its charge and my save files.
Continue reading Sega CD Ultra Backup RAM