Modifications for Philips CD-i Players

This is an attempt to collect all known and available modifications for Philips CD-i players in a single article. Consider it a work in progress – I will add new information from time to time. Please give feedback if you find an error or want to add something to this article.

Due to the plethora of different models, versions and revisions of CD-i players that have been sold under the Philips / Magnavox or entirely different brands (OEM), it is virtually impossible to create one big list that contains every player. I chose a different approach with several lists to cover most of the hardware combinations: Available modifications, mainboards, and video encoders.

Available modifications

This is an overview of the available modifications:

  • 50/60 Hz modification: This is done by changing the STAND! / STANDIN! signal to make the player believe that it is from a different region (PAL = 0 and NTSC = 1). It does not really change a PAL player to NTSC or vice versa, but it changes the refresh rate of the video output.
  • PAL/NTSC modification: This is the actual hardware change from PAL to NTSC. Depending on mainboard and video encoder, this can be as easy as installing a DFO or as hard as populating the entire analog video section of the mainboard or encoder panel.
  • RGB modification: This will add an RGB video output to your CD-i player. Useful for all CD-i players from the NTSC regions and the cheaper players from the PAL regions.
  • NVRAM modification: Depending on mainboard and ROM, the 8 KB Timekeeper chip of some players can be upgraded to a 32 KB SRAM chip in a SmartWatch socket.
  • CDM: Information about the CD loading mechanism.
  • Adapters and cables: Aftermarket adapters to connect accessories of other computer or game systems to CD-i players.
  • ROM/Software modifications: Add missing features and customise the player shell.

Mainboards

The focus of this list lies on the 50/60 Hz modification. Players without SCART connector/RGB video output will need additional modifications, as explained in the video encoders section.

Before proceeding, identify the mainboard with the aid of the model and version of your CD-i player. It is important to understand the versioning that Philips uses. The comparision tables and explanations at ICDIA are vital for this understanding.
To support in identifying the mainboard, this list contains the major CD-i player versions as well. CD-i players from the U.S. are only listed if they have a different model number. As a rule of thumb, it is always 17 added to the major version/revision (i.e. /17 /37 /57 /77 /97).

JNMS, Maxi MMC and Mini MMC (prof.)

For the sake of completeness, these are the mainboards of the early professional and authoring players:

  • 181 Multi Media Controller module – the first professional player with JNMS mainboard (together with the 180 CD-i Player module). With the 182 System Expansion module, it became the first authoring player.
  • 601professional player with Maxi MMC mainboard.
  • 602professional player with Maxi or Mini MMC mainboard (to be confirmed).
  • 604professional player with Mini MMC mainboard.
  • 605 and 605Tauthoring players with Mini MMC mainboard.

Not much is known about the first two; the following list is almost exclusively about Mini MMC (prof.):

  • Service manual: Here (use CDI 220/00 service manual); there is some technical documentation as well, also for some of the other players.
  • Video encoder: CXA1145P.
  • NVRAM: 8 KB only.
  • CDM: 9.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Not needed; players come with pre-installed multi-region switches.

Professional and authoring players have multi-region encoder panels.

Philips CDI605T ENCODER panel
Philips CDI605T ENCODER panel

Mini MMC

Found in the 205/00, 220/00 and 910/17 (US) consumer players:

  • Service manual: Here (CDI 220/00) and here (CDI910 Technical Training Manual).
  • Video encoder: CXA1145P.
  • NVRAM: 8 KB only.
  • CDM: 9.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Possible and documented here.

    Move the solder blob in the lower left of the Mini MMC panel to PAL or NTSC for a permanent modification or add a switch. (Do not attempt this modification on professional players!)
Mini MMC PAL/NTSC
Mini MMC PAL/NTSC
  • PAL/NTSC modification: Probably possible, but needs some additional components or swapping the encoder panels.

    Encoder panels are available as PAL or NTSC versions for consumer players.
CDI220/00 Video Encoder PCB (PAL)
CDI220/00 ENCODER panel (PAL)

Mini MMC-based

Found in the 310, 350 and 360 portable players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: CXA1145M.
  • NVRAM: 8 KB only.
  • CDM: 9.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Not needed; players come with pre-installed multi-region switches.

Mono I

Found in the 210/00, 220/20 and 200/17 (US) consumer players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: CXA1145P.
  • NVRAM: 8 KB “SGS-Thomson” only, set by 0 Ω resistor 3201.
    (The service manual reveals two “NOT IMPLEMENTED” resistors 3205 and 3227 for a “Motorola” chip. These match the 32 KB resistors of the Mono II board.)
  • CDM: 9.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Possible and documented here.

    Location: Grid square C6 on the SMD/track side. A 1 kΩ resistor (1% / 0,1 W) sets the STAND! signal.
    3243 to GND = PAL / 3246 to +5V = NTSC.
  • PAL/NTSC modification: Probably possible, but needs some additional components. See the unpopulated area of this CDI220/20 next to the yellow circle:

Mono II

Found in the 210/20, 220/40 and 200/37 (US) consumer players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: CXA1145P.
  • NVRAM: 8 KB “SGS-Thomson”, set by 0 Ω resistor 3201.
    32 KB “DALLAS”, set by 0 Ω resistors 3205 and 3227.
  • CDM: 9.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Possible, but it hasn’t been documented yet. It is basically the same as for Mono I.

    Location: Grid square D2 on the SMD/track side. A 1 kΩ resistor (2% / 0,25 W) sets the STANDIN! signal.
    3243 to GND = PAL / 3246 to +5V = NTSC.

  • PAL/NTSC modification: Probably possible, but needs some additional components, see Mono I.

Mono III

Found in the 210/40 and 220/60 consumer players, as well as in the 21TCDI30 TV:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9106KPJ (Calvin).
  • NVRAM: 8 KB, set by 4,7 kΩ resistor 3241.
    32 KB, set by 0 Ω resistors 3244 and 3246.
  • CDM: 12.4.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Possible and documented here.

    Location: Grid square D2 on the component side. A 10 kΩ resistor (1% / 0,1 W) sets the STANDIN! signal.
    3204 to GND = PAL / 3203 to +5V = NTSC.
Mono III board, grid square D2
Mono III board, grid square D2
  • PAL/NTSC modification: Installing a DFO is the next logical step.

Mono III-based

Found in the FW380i mini system:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9106KPJ (Calvin) / BT9107KPJ (Hobbes).
  • NVRAM: 8 KB only, set by 4,7 kΩ resistor 3241.
  • CDM: 12.1.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Pointless, unless you combine it with an RGB and/or a PAL/NTSC modification. See the video encoders section.

Roboco (Mono III-based)

Found in all top-loading consumer players (450, 550, 5000, 9000, GDI-750 and GDI-1000):

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9106KPJ (Calvin).
  • NVRAM: 8 KB only, set by 4,7 kΩ resistor 3241.
    Upgrade to 32 KB NVRAM.
  • CDM: 12.1T.
    Philips CDM 12.1T Laser Sledge Replacement.
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Pointless, unless you combine it with an RGB and/or a PAL/NTSC modification. See the video encoders section.

    Location: The bird-shaped area in the center of the mainboard, both sides. The information in the service manual about which resistor sets the STANDIN! signal is partially wrong/misleading!

    3204 (component side) or 3290 (track side) to GND (0 Ω) = PAL.
    3203 (component side) to +5V (10 kΩ / 5% / 0,1 W) = NTSC.
  • ROM/Software modifications: See below.

Mono IV (large players)

Found in the 210/60, 220/80 and 740/00 consumer players, as well as in the 615/00, 660/00 and 670/00 professional players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9106KPJ (Calvin) / BT9108KPJ (Hobbes).
  • NVRAM: 8 KB, set by 4,7 kΩ resistor 3241.
    32 KB, set by 0 Ω resistors 3244 and 3270.
  • CDM: 12.1 (also: 12.4 footprint; optional in service manual).
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Possible and documented here.

    Location: Grid square C2 on the component side. A 10 kΩ resistor (5%) sets the STANDIN! signal.
    3290 to GND = PAL / 3203 to +5V = NTSC.
Mono IV board, grid square C2
Mono IV board, grid square C2
  • PAL/NTSC modification: Installing a DFO is the next logical step.
  • ROM/Software modifications: See below.

Mono IV (small players)

Found in all 470 and 490 consumer players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9107KPJ / BT9108KPJ (Hobbes).
  • NVRAM: Same as above.
    Upgrade to 32 KB NVRAM.
  • CDM: 12.1 (also: 12.4 footprint; optional in service manual).
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Pointless, unless you combine it with an RGB and/or a PAL/NTSC modification. See the video encoders section.
  • ROM/Software modifications: See below.

Mono IV (B&O)

Found in the Bang & Olufsen BeoCenter AV5:

  • Service manual: N/A. (Partially featured in the 210/60, 220/80 and 470 service manuals.)
  • Video encoder: BT9107KPJ (Hobbes).
  • NVRAM: 32 KB only. (See above.)
  • CDM: 12.4 (to be confirmed).
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Unneeded, as it already has two crystal oscillators for the system clock (to be confirmed).

Video encoders

Let’s have a look at the prerequisites and additional possibilities for your CD-i player, based on the video encoder family:

Sony CXA1145P/M

  • Datasheet: Here.
  • RGB modification: Here, here and here.
    Professional CD-i players have a DE-9 RGB port. Schematics for a SCART adapter can be found here. If you have a consumer Mini MMC player then you might want to look into this possibility as well.
    Portable CD-i players have a proprietary RGB port. An adapter hasn’t been made yet.
  • PAL/NTSC modification: A DFO for the system clock is possible, but that won’t change the colour subcarrier frequency. Consider adding missing components according to the service manual. NTSC uses many more components than PAL. (i.e. modification of NTSC players is easier than of PAL players.)

Brooktree BT9106 & BT9107 / BT9108 (Calvin & Hobbes)

  • Datasheet: N/A.
  • RGB modification: RGB SCART modification for 470 and 490 – is valid for all Mono IV players without RGB. For Roboco players and/or if SCART is not needed, there are other solutions here and here.
  • PAL/NTSC modification: A DFO for the system clock is possible and recommended.

NVRAM

Moved completey reworked version of the NVRAM section to a new article.

Adapters and cables

Aftermarket adapters to connect accessories of other computer or game systems to CD-i players:

  • With the CD-i Gamepad Adapter by Paul Hackmann you can connect analogue PC joysticks and gamepads to CD-i players. The adapter is not available anymore and the website is long gone, but this capture of the website contains an archive with the specifications of the adapter.
  • With the Arduino-based SNEStoCDi adapter by Laurent Berta you can connect Super Nintendo (SNES) / Super Famicom (SFC) gamepads to CD-i players.
  • This is a fork of the SNEStoCDi project by Larry Erb. It contains layout and code changes for Arduino Nano and ATtiny85.
  • With the Arduino-based PS/2 Mouse to Cdi adapter by Dan Brakeley you can connect PS/2 mice to CD-i players.
  • With the Arduino-based SMDtoCDI adapter by Lauraiss you can connect Sega Mega Drive game pads to CD-i players. This project is closed-source; the adapters are for sale only.
  • With the Arduino CD-i Controller Library by TwBurn you can connect USB controllers, mice and keyboards to CD-i players. Several code examples are available and most of them make use of a USB Host Shield.

Cables and adapters designed by Philips:

ROM/Software modifications

Simple and not so simple modifications that could render your CD-i player useless.
Remedy: Use the original ROM and/or delete the NVRAM to go back to normal.

  • A modification of a ROM file has been attempted here for the first time. Even though the results were not successful, the article will give you an overview of how to patch a file and how to calculate the required checksums.
  • Add the missing Service Shell for CDI660 by patching the DVC ROM. Lots of additional information about modules, headers and checksums.
  • Custom ROM for CDI450 (and 550) to make 32 KB NVRAM upgrades possible.
  • Customise the startup message of CDI660, 670 and even 490 players with the CDI 660/670 Key disc and PIN code 3094.
    This customization is not limited to the aforementioned models and could work on other Mono IV based CD-i players as well – if the ROM supports it.
    Hint: Use a keyboard to enter the text. CDI490 requires a 22ER9208 I/O Port splitter for the keyboard to work.
    If you don’t want to use the key disc, you can simply create a text file with your message on a PC and name it “.keycontrol” (without the quotes). You can even use special characters like “/” that are not possible with the editor of the key disc. Then, place the file in the NVRAM, e.g. by downloading it to /nvr with the CD-i Link program and restart the CD-i player.

Changelog

2020-01-13: Added pictures and schematic of the Bt video encoder.
2020-01-17: Added more details to the 50/60 Hz modifications and links to the service manuals.
2020-01-29: Added the NVRAM section.
2020-02-18: Added the ROM/Software section.
2020-04-24: Added the Adapters and cables section.
2020-08-30: Moved FW380i to Mono III-based and added link to the service manual.
2020-10-01: Added more information to the 32 KB NVRAM section.
2020-10-02: Added RGB modifications for the Bt video encoder.
2020-11-16: Split Mono IV section into three separate sections.
2021-01-08: Added the CD-i Controller Library to the Adapters and cables section.
2021-02-06: Moved the 21TCDI30 TV to Mono III.
2021-08-24: Added GW-48T08-1 and GW-1244-1 to the NVRAM section.
2021-08-29: Added 32 KB NVRAM upgrade to Roboco and NVRAM section.
2021-12-31: Moved completey reworked version of the NVRAM section to a new article.
2022-01-02: Added information about CDM. More ROM modifications. Minor fixes.
2022-01-07: Added professional, authoring and portable player mainboards. Added Roboco 50/60 Hz mod and pictures. Minor fixes.

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