There are two main 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). There are other types, also 8 KB and 32 KB, but they concern only very few and rare devices. I point them out when necessary.
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.
The second generation professional and authoring CD-i players of the Philips CDI60x series feature a DE-9 RGB port. To improve the video quality of my CDI605T/20 and also to prepare for future experiments, I built a prototype RGB SCART adapter. The needed pinout is documented in the 605 and 605Tuser manuals on ICDIA.
After the first tests were successful, I made this schematic for an adapter with a SCART socket (output) for both RGB video and audio:
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.
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.
The Philips CDI605T/20 is the last professional CD-i player with authoring / development capabilities. As every other CD-i player, it runs on CD-RTOS v1.1, a real-time operating system based on Microware OS-9/68K v2.4. Additionally, it features extended memory, an internal OS-9 shell, a floppy disk drive, SCSI, ethernet, RS-232C and printer ports. When compared to its predecessor CDI605/00, it was upgraded with a tray loading mechanism, a built-in DVC and a newer system ROM v1.3. Even though this player is perfectly fine for playing the whole range of consumer CD-i titles, I got it mainly for experimenting with the titles and the operating system. On the first start, it performed a CRC check and displayed the software version: