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.
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)
For quite some time, I was puzzled why my CDI660 was stuck in a reset loop after I inserted the test/dummy plug into Input 1. I expected it to boot into the Service Shell, like most other CD-i players. My solution so far was to use a 490 system ROM in the 660 whenever I needed the Service Shell (the compatibility and also the error were discovered during this experiment). However, this wasn’t a very practical approach because I had to open up the player and dig out the system ROM from underneath the DVC every time.
When CD-i Emulator with -testplug option showed the same behaviour, CD-i Fan figured out what is causing this error: The Service Shell module sv is missing from the 660/670 system ROM. In this article, I will show you a simple ROM patch to enable the Service Shell for the CDI660.
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.
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.
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.