There are two types of NVRAM+RTC solutions for Philips CD-i players to store user data and settings: 8 KB and 32 KB. They have a built-in battery that powers the non-volatile memory and the real-time clock. These two types are not compatible and thus cannot be replaced with each other (at least, not without hardware and/or ROM modifications).
In this article, you’ll find information about the different NVRAM types and their alternatives. You’ll also find tips for repair and upgrades. If this looks familiar to you then you have probably read parts of it in my Modifications for Philips CD-i Players article before. Since the NVRAM section grew so large, I’ve completely rewritten it and will continue to update it in its own article.
Replacing blown fuses in Philips CD-i players with Mono III and Mono IV mainboards – sounds too simple to write an article about. That’s why I’m going to dig a bit deeper into the topic. An important fuse sits on the mainboard and protects the -5 V rail. I tripped (over) it by accident and was confronted with these weird symptoms that are hard to diagnose:
No video output (well, there is something, but see below)
Service Shell video output with a rolling/flickering image
The disc tray opens on its own (tray loader motor is constantly spinning)
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.
Quizard was a series of quiz games published by TAB-Austria in the ’90s. What makes it special is the fact that it is one of the very few arcade games based on Philips CD-i hardware. The protection of Quizard 1.x and 2.x has been figured out quite a while ago and since then it is emulated in MAME. Quizard 3.x and 4.x, however, refused to run – until now. A first step was done when Team Europe dumped a protection MCU a couple of years ago. Very soon, they will release an MCU board that will turn almost every CD-i player into a Quizard arcade machine. I received a sample last week and just finished assembling and testing it.
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).
Chapter 5 of the Philips CDI 220 service manual (the manual that helped finding the right spots for the 60 Hz modification) deals with the built-in service software:
5 SERVICE SOFTWARE
In the set there are 3 different testsoftware available:
1. FTD-display/keyboard test
2. Low Level test
3. Service Shell
I’m going to cite the instructions for 1. and 3. and add pictures or comments if needed (I’m not going to cover 2. as it requires an extra service pcb and/or terminal). Note: The service manual is valid for the Philips CD-i players CDI 220/20 220/25 220/39 (PAL) and CDI 220/31 220/37 (NTSC). On other players/models the test instructions should be similar if not the same.Continue reading Philips CDI 220 Service Software / Self-Test→
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 switch 1201 in square C6 of the mainboard: