Recently I found a CDI 220/00 with Mini MMC mainboard. It’s a heavy and bulky unit that contains lot of PCBs, wires, screws and metal parts. It’s one of the first consumer CD-i players. Later models have all components on one single mainboard (Mono).
I’ve been struggling with a weak PC-FX laser for quite some time. What kept me from changing the laser or pickup unit was that having to take the PC-FX apart and put it back together later is something you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy. A complete disassembly can be found here. However, getting close to the drive unit is surprisingly easy if you just follow this guide.
First, you need a replacement laser. I chose the complete pickup unit (Hitachi HOP-E1), which was available for about 15€.
Continue reading NEC PC-FX Laser Pickup HOP-E1
While removing the throttle wheel from the stick unit I noticed two small plastic rings connected by a spring jumping away. It took me quite some time to figure out the correct position when assembling the stick. In case you encounter this problem too, this is how the rings have to sit on the throttle wheel:
The next Saturn peripheral on my list is the Sega Mission Stick.
This is the black US model MK-80104:
It has been used before but is still in a very good shape. Unfortunately it smells rather strange. Better take it apart to give it a good cleaning.
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:
If you drop an Xbox 360 controller, don’t let it land on its bumper buttons. The micro-switches break easily on the inside. They might still work, but need more pressure to be triggered. This problem plagues old Sega Saturn gamepads too.
To open Xbox 360 controllers, you need a special Torx security screwdriver with a hole in the tip, size T8H. If you don’t have this rather unusual screwdriver, you can break the tiny pins in the screws and unscrew them with a regular T8 or T9 Torx screwdriver. Seven screws need to be removed (yellow circles). One of them is hidden behind the white sticker with the barcode and not behind the black sticker where I looked for it first (red circle).
The Bandai Datach Joint ROM System is an add-on for the Nintendo Famicom. It plugs right into the cartridge slot and comes with its own small cartridges. The games are enhanced with barcode cards, similar to the Mattel HyperScan.
The retail package with one included game, Dragon Ball Z: Gekitō Tenkaichi Budokai, is rather easy and cheap to obtain.
Additional games are very rare and even rarer and pricier when the corresponding barcode cards are included. I’ve seen some bootlegs of those games on regular Famicom carts
but never tried them so far. Update: Pirate Dragon Ball Z Famicom Cartridge.
In 2006 the Mattel HyperScan was a short lived console with an interesting concept: Enhance a classic videogame with collectible RFID cards. A concept that was picked up in a similar form by the Skylanders games and maybe someday will be used in Nintendo’s new Wii U console.
Playing the games (and scanning cards) can be described as interesting but not as fun. The games seem unfinished and buggy. And then there are the long loading times, a problem already the NeoGeo CD suffered from back in the days.
There were even some first steps with homebrew programs here and here.
In the 80s Sharp made some interesting devices powered by the Nintendo Famicom/NES technology. The less known devices are the Famicom Titler, a video subtitler, and the C1 NES TV/Sharp Nintendo Television, a television set. More common is the Twin Famicom, a console that plays Famicom cartridges and Famicom Disk System Disk Cards (and, with a 72-to-60-pin adaptor, NES cartridges too). This is the black Turbo version AN-505-BK: