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.
50/60 Hz modifications are quite simple hacks that have been figured out for almost all Philips CD-i player types with SCART connector. But what about all the CD-i players that do not have an RGB output, either because of reduced cost or because they have been sold outside of Europe? Technically, they can still be modified, but the foreign mode is pretty useless and results in a black and white picture or no picture at all.
The reason is easily explained: All Philips CD-i players have a main system clock at either 30,0000 MHz (PAL) or 30,2098 MHz (NTSC) and additional clock generators for some components. All newer players (Mono III and up) have a Brooktree video encoder and generate the colour subcarrier frequencies (PAL 4,4336 MHz and NTSC 3,5795 MHz) from the system clock. The older players with a Sony video encoder use one or two additional crystals and some more components for this task.
Some time ago, I noticed that the service manuals of most Mono II – IV boards have notes about 8 and 32 KB NVRAM types, to be set by jumpers and resistors. I never attempted to do that upgrade because most of my CD-i players feature 32 KB NVRAM or have older mainboards that cannot be upgraded. When I mentioned the possibility in this article, CD-i Fan warned me about the consequences: If device driver and descriptor in the ROM don’t support the extra RAM, then the player might not recognize it and lose the real-time clock – or it won’t work at all.
Why would you want to upgrade the NVRAM anyways? For example, the save files of The 7th Guest, Lost Eden and Burn:Cycle already take up a lot of space. Add some more games and settings, and you will soon reach the critical limit of 97-98% where the player refuses to start.
Initially, I was planning to replace the P-ADB connector of my AppleJack controller with an ADB plug (Mini-DIN-4). The remaining P-ADB plug attached to a Mini-DIN-4 socket would then become an ADB adapter dongle. But why would I destroy the cable of my only controller? According to the documentation, which can be found here and here (in a very low resolution, unfortunately), a “Hosiden HGC0492-01-010 or equivalent” connector is needed. And that connector is impossible to find.
To get started, I created a new schematic based on the available documentation:
This is a quick fix for my Apple Power Macintosh 7500/100. It doesn’t have its own article yet and has only been mentioned a coupleoftimes. This article also isn’t about the Power Macintosh itself, but about the graphics accelerator that the previous owner had built in. The Formac ProFormance 3 Plus was advertised as “The Fastest Graphics Accelerator for your Mac” in 1999. This is the best version of ProFormance 3 with 300 MHz pixel frequency and 32 MB SGRAM (PNGA94-5).
The CDI660/00 is one of the last professional CD-i players by Philips. The mainboard, Mono IV, is also used in various consumer players. So far, there are no tutorials for 60 Hz modification. When this topic came up in the community on The world of CD-i, I looked it up in the CDI220/80 service manual (also Mono IV, with plenty of remarks for other player models) and attempted the modification myself. It has been on my to-do list for quite some years now. First, we need full access to mainboard. Remove the marked screw of the DVC plastic holder.
A floppy disk drive for to the Pippin Atmark is nothing new. In fact, an expansion dock called Pippin Atmark Floppy Unit was released back in the days. These units are incredibly rare and I was never able to get ahold of one of them. Apart from an Apple floppy disk drive with 20-pin ribbon cable, these units contained no additional hardware but a simple X-PCI adapter board. It didn’t take long until Japanese enthusiasts tried to replicate these adapters. When I recently rediscovered my Pippin Atmark PA-82001-S, I also looked around for additional hardware. I found this article about an adapter board that had been finally replicated two years ago. This board can still be ordered from OSH Park.
I had already ordered the digital AV interface kit from VideoGamePerfection.com in the beginning of the year and was only waiting for the I/O interface to get started. Last month, it finally arrived. Also on the picture: a home-made kick harness and a RG174 coaxial cable.
Earlier this month, I wrote about my Pippin Atmark PA-82001-S Monitoring Unit. Initially, I didn’t plan to do any modifications to this special Pippin model. But then Keith Kaisershot told me that it is possible to feed a long SCSI cable over the metal lips of the case without doing any permanent modification. He also asked me to verify the checksum of the ROM. In this article, I will add external SCSI to my Pippin and also dump the ROM.
My Philips CDI605T/20 needed repairs before I can fully use it. Some of them was mandatory for operation (TimeKeeper), some of them to make it easier on the ears (fan, optical disc drive tray). I already had experience with a Mini MMC chassis on the very similar consumer player CDI220/00 and knew what awaited me inside (its service manual helped a bit). It is actually possible to perform these repairs without taking the entire case apart (see shortcuts). I took special precautions and made photos of each and every step to be able to put everything back together in the end.
I began with removing the case and the bezels of the extension cards on the rear. Make sure to slide out the lower card first, otherwise its metal plate will grind on the solder side of the upper card.