When looking for a modification to improve the video size/quality of DVC games on my PAL CD-i player, I’ve found that only two tutorials are covering that kind of modification (here / here and here). The modification enables a PAL player to display full screen video without the black bars on top and bottom. NTSC players benefit from this modification too, as there are PAL exclusive software titles that already have full screen video (e.g. De Zaak van Sam) – without the modification, parts of the screen are cut off.
Unfortunately, the mainboard of my CD-i 220 differs from those used in the tutorials, so I had to get a service manual to figure it out myself. The service manual I found is valid for the Philips CD-i players CDI 220/20 220/25 220/39 (PAL) and CDI 220/31 220/37 (NTSC). It says there is an unimplemented connector 1201 in square C6 of the mainboard:
Next to it are two spots for 1k resistors that set the video output of the CD-i player. Resistor 3246 is for NTSC and 3243 is for PAL. According to the blueprints, the spots are on the bottom side of the mainboard:
Parts and equipment needed for the modification
- a 1kΩ resistor
- a SPDT (single pole, double throw) switch, DPDT is fine too
- a 3-way ribbon cable
- heat shrink tube
- a Torx T8 or T9 screw driver
- solder and a soldering iron
- a sharp knife and rotary tool to cut a hole in the front panel
Philips doesn’t use Philips screws but Torx screws. A T8 or T9 screwdriver is fine to open the case. Note: I didn’t mark all screws in the pictures!
First, remove seven screws to open the outer shell and then six screws to remove the DVC slot. The DVC can stay in the slot.
When the DVC slot is gone, you have access to the mainboard. Next, remove the connector to the power supply PCB (yellow circle). The thing in the red circle is a ghetto repair of the infamous Timekeeper chip. At least it keeps the settings/high scores again, but the clock stops when the player is turned off – I’ll have to look into that sometime.
The yellow circle in the right picture marks the target area (C6).
Next, remove eight screws from the backside and four screws / three connectors from the front panel.
Pay attention when working with the disc drive: First remove two screws and then pull out the tray until two holes align above two more screws. Remove them and carefully lift the disc drive which is attached with three connectors to the mainboard. One connector is a very fragile flex cable.
The mainboard is secured with two screws. Take them out and you can finally have a look underneath it.
This is a close-up of the target area. Remove resistor 3243 (marked with a red X):
Solder the ribbon cable to the spots shown (+5V, * and ground). You can also solder them on the top side of the mainboard – just follow the * point and use any +5V and ground point available.
Now connect the mainboard to PSU, disc drive and front panel to test your modification. When the player is turned off, connect * with a 1k resistor to +5V, then start up a DVC enabled game and check if the black bars are gone. Turn off the player, connect * with the 1k resistor to ground and check if the black bars are there again.
Place the switch
When everything works as expected then disassemble the front panel to find a place for the 50/60 Hz switch. The display PCB is held by seven screws and the input/phones/volume knob PCB by two screws. Be careful when assembling it later. Don’t put screws into the two holes marked with red circles – you could possibly damage the display!
I have marked a place to cut out the hole for the switch on the right picture.
A good place for the switch is behind the small front panel door. As there is limited space, I had to cut off some plastic of the switch until the door would close again. When it fits then solder the 1k resistor to the middle pole, * to the resistor and +5V/ground to poles left and right. Optional: Isolate resistor and cables with heat shrink tube.
Check again if the switch works and then assemble everything.
Done – you can now enjoy full screen DVC games as they were intended to be!