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 three lists: 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. This has been described here and tested here. (Not featured in the mainboard list yet.)

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).
Players that come pre-installed with multi-region switches and RGB output (e.g. 3×0 portable and 60x professional and authoring) are not listed.

Mini MMC

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

  • Service manual: Here (use the CDI 220 document).
  • Video encoder: Sony CXA1145P/M.
  • 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 CDI60x players!)
Mini MMC PAL/NTSC
Mini MMC PAL/NTSC
  • PAL/NTSC modification: Probably possible, but needs some additional components or swapping the encoder panels.

    The encoder panels are available as PAL or NTSC versions for consumer players. The 60x professional and authoring players have multi-region encoder panels. I don’t think that they can be swapped with the single region panels.

    Have a look at these two panels to see the differences:
Mono I

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

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: CXA1145P/M.
  • 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/M.
  • 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, 220/60 and FW380i consumer players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9106KPJ (Calvin).
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Possible and documented here.

    Location: Grid square D5 on the component side. A 10 kΩ resistor (1% / 0,1 W) sets the STANDIN! signal.
    3204 to GND = PAL / 3203 to +5V = NTSC.

  • PAL/NTSC modification: Installing a DFO is the next logical step.
Mono IV

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).
  • 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.

Found in all 470 and 490 consumer players:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9107KPJ / BT9108KPJ (Hobbes).
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Pointless, unless you combine it with an RGB and/or a PAL/NTSC modification. See the video encoders section.
Roboco

Found in all top-loading consumer players (450, 550, 5000, 9000, GDI-750 and GDI-1000), as well as in the TV 21TCDI30:

  • Service manual: Here.
  • Video encoder: BT9106KPJ (Calvin).
  • 50/60 Hz modification: Pointless, unless you combine it with an RGB and/or a PAL/NTSC modification. See the video encoders section.

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.
  • 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: Here.
    See also 3DO RGB tutorials and the schematic below for guidance.
  • PAL/NTSC modification: A DFO for the system clock is possible and recommended.

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.

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