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NES Power Entry Module Replacement

A replacement board for the RF module that supports different AV options.

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I've seen lots of well crafted NES modifications. PCB's with a sockets, headers, etc. that attach to the motherboard. One thing always bothered me though: A lot of times these mods get wired to the chassis in a sort of unorganized way. Large holes are drilled, and slots are cut. Whatever switches and connectors we have get mounted with large nuts, screws, even glue. And then wires are strung from the chassis to the board.

Sometimes it feels like there was no forethought into where and how this hardware should be mounted. I want to make a carefully planned, elegant installation. I don't want 1/4" panel mounted toggle switches hanging out the back of my NES. It should look like it belongs there.

This PCB will replace the stock RF modulator box. It will have different connector options for outputting audio and video, as well as a breakout for the channel select switch.

Features:

  • Fits in the stock location
  • Works with the original NES adapter
  • Has connectors and switch for NESRGB to make for a clean install

I plan to support these AV options:

  • composite video with mono audio
  • composite video and "stereo" audio (standard 3 RCA TV connection)
  • RGB + composite using a Retrofixes SNES style multiout connector.  (Requires existing RGB mod) This will be my version.
  • RGB output directly to the Framemeister's 8-pin mini DIN connector. (Requires existing RGB mod)

The first two options require no modification to the chassis. All other versions will require some chassis modification, but it will minimal.

Also, the channel select switch will have a breakout. This can be used as a palette selector switch if using the NESRGB mod.

This PCB is designed specifically with Tim Worthington's NESRGB board in mind. The RGB board is a cheaper option than the Hi-Def NES HDMI modification. Plus, all of my other consoles can output RGB with little modification. Converting everything to RGB and using OSSC as lower cost alternative to the Framemeister is a good option for me.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.86 MB - 09/04/2018 at 21:51

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Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.90 MB - 09/04/2018 at 21:51

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Adobe Portable Document Format - 221.36 kB - 09/13/2017 at 16:24

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  • Rev 2 PCB's Have Been Ordered!

    Matthew09/04/2018 at 21:50 1 comment

    Like I mentioned before, I decided to go with two versions of the board this time. I remember trying to make PCB's in my garage back in college. I was always trying to save as much board space as possible and trying to be as cheap as possible. It's getting so ridiculously cheap to buy PCB's now, that I don't even worry about having to buy twice as many boards. It's only going to cost me about $30 for 20 boards.

    In the meantime, I may try and experiment with the composite output. I noticed some interesting things on the schematic of the RF box. More updates about that later.

    Schematic version 2 will be uploaded shortly.

  • Yes I'm still alive!

    Matthew09/03/2018 at 04:31 0 comments

    It's been about 10 months since I last updated this project. I made the first rev and it worked okay. Incidentally, 10 months ago was about the time my daughter was born. So, needless to say I've been busy. Now that life is slowing back down a little, I'm working on rev 2. I've got the hardware changes done and now I'm just down to finishing up the traces.

    There are now 2 versions of this board! I've given up trying to make the dual footprint work. At first I thought the mini-DIN was too large for the RF output jack, but on closer inspection, it's about the same diameter minus the plastic shroud. I'm going to push the mini-DIN as close to the panel as I can. I may have to do another revision after this, but I'll order this board and try it out.

    Rev 1
    This might just work. May have to shave off some plastic from the cable shroud though.

    More good news! I think I've found a better 3 pole slide switch. I like to use parts that are (relatively) easy to find through first party suppliers like Mouser and Digikey. Part of the difficulty was getting a 3 pole switch that had the same standoff as the old switch, with a long actuator. Dual pole switches, on the other hand, were easier to find with the right dimensions. Just when I had almost given up, I found one. I had actually looked at earlier, but I thought it wouldn't fit. Turns out I was just reading the dimensions on the drawing wrong. The travel length of the switch was messing with me. It's actually fits in the same physical space as the dual pole version. Hooray!

    New, Smaller 3 Pole Switch
    Those horizontal guidelines are approximately where the slot in the back of the NES is.

    If Bob from @retrorgb  is reading this, maybe the "no-cut" version is a possibility after all!

    I should have these boards ordered by the end of the week. I expect to get them in about two weeks. Version A will have the mini-DIN connector and version B will have the RCA jack. Once I get the boards tested, I will update the instructions.

    To Do:

    1. Finish routing traces
    2. Order rev 2 boards
    3. Build and test the composite circuit. I'll make a project log about this later. Turns out the composite input on my 10 year old flat screen broke on me. No wonder I couldn't get it to work!

  • Updates Coming Soon (Hopefully)

    Matthew08/27/2018 at 01:58 0 comments

    I've been really busy this year. You know how it is. Life gets in the way sometimes. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in my project. I'll have to get my butt in gear and finish the next revision. 

    I tried to make it so that I only had one PCB board for all versions, but the combined footprint of mini DIN plus RCA jack seems to be more trouble than it's worth. For the next one, I'll make two versions. One with composite only and one with RGB. I'm also going to look into a two position slide switch rather than the three position. I think if I use the smaller switch, I might be able to make it fit without cutting the plastic. 

  • Working on next rev...

    Matthew09/13/2017 at 16:22 0 comments

    Just a quick update. I finally got my NESRGB board installed and working. The PCB I made works like a charm! The PCB almost fit perfectly. Off by a millimeter here or there. So I will need to make some revisions, but overall I think it went very well. 

    I've already made a few changes to the PCB and pushed it out to GitHub if you would like to look at it. Just keep in mind that it's still a work in progress.

    To Do:

    • Test RCA composite circuit using my other NES
    • Make mounting holes a little bigger - done
    • Move capacitors that are in the way of the heatsink - done
    • Move regulator down just a smidge - done
    • Adjust hole size for motherboard connector? (maybe. I kind of like it loose fitting)
    • Move power connector to try and make it more flush with the back of the NES.
    • Adjust mounting holes of RCA connectors

  • First PCBs Are Back!

    Matthew09/06/2017 at 19:21 0 comments

    So far, it's looks pretty good! I need to make a few adjustments to some hole sizes, and I need to move the board connector over about a millimeter. But other than that, it fits!

    First test fit with RCA jacks

    Also, I didn't give enough clearance around the heatsink for a SMD cap. Whoops!

    Not enough clearance for ceramic cap.

    I'm going to start building my RGB version, first because I simply cannot wait. Then I will test the component version of the PCB.

    I'm going to take my time and play with my RGB NES for awhile. Once I get around to ordering some more PCBs, I'll take the old one out and test fit the new board. I've been taking plenty of pictures during the process. Once I finish rev 2, I'll make some nice step-by-step instructions.

    For now, here's a few pics from today's build:

    RGB version installed with SNES connectorRGB version installed with SNES connector. This is the same PCB with different connectors installed.NES RGB mod with my boardThe connector on my board makes for a very clean install with the NESRGB board.Retrofixes SNES connectorKnocked out the middle piece of plastic and filed it down. The SNES connector sits perfectly in the space where the RCA jacks would be.

  • First PCBs ordered

    Matthew08/29/2017 at 16:21 0 comments

    I realized that the palette selector for the RGB mod is supposed to be a SPDT "On-Off-On" switch. Unfortunately, I cannot find a switch that is the correct height from the PCB (6 mm) and only 15 mm wide. Almost all miniature slide switches these days are 2.5 mm tall. 

    I want to try and use parts that are readily available from Mouser, so I chose a DP3T switch. (Dual pole was actually easier to get than SP3T in the size I needed)

    Because of the width of the switch, this means you will have to widen the slot on the back by about 5 mm if you plan to use it. You have to modify the case anyways if you want to use RGB, so it shouldn't make much of a difference.

    Of course, you don't have to put the switch in at all if you aren't going to use RGB.

  • Rev 1 Gerbers are ready

    Matthew08/25/2017 at 16:11 0 comments

    Well here goes nothing! I printed out a 1-to-1 picture of the board to test fit it. It looks pretty good to my eyes. Time to order a few PCBs and give it a shot.

    I created a GitHub repository and added it to this project. Schematics, BOM, and Gerbers can all be found there.

    Build instructions coming soon!

  • Traces Routed

    Matthew08/21/2017 at 16:30 0 comments

    All traces routed. Almost ready to make a PCB! Good thing too, because my NESRGB kit just arrived in the mail on Saturday. I'm to going to print out a 1:1 outline on paper and see how the mounting holes match up first though.

  • Almost got the connectors figured out

    Matthew08/18/2017 at 21:21 0 comments

    I'm trying to make a PCB that doesn't use slots. A lot of times slots cost extra. It just depends on the board house. It's not easy though. Having holes instead of slots means it's harder to overlap the connectors like I want to do. I think I finally managed to find an RCA jack that will fit in with the mini-DIN connector.

    You have the option of populating either J9 or J5. The mini-DIN had to be pushed back about 3 mm from the edge of the PCB. Hopefully, this won't really be an issue, as you're going to have to widen the hole on the NES to accept the mini-DIN regardless.

    Also, Altium really, really hates having two parts on top of one another.

  • Shameless Plug

    Matthew08/16/2017 at 14:00 0 comments

    I saw that my project was in the trending section on Hackaday this morning. I don't know if that's because people liked it, or just because I updated the project rapidly in one night. Either way awesome!

    I'm going to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug another project that I'm working on: The NES Robot https://hackaday.io/project/26257-nesbot

    Nick has been working hard learning to program an NES in assembly. Freaking assembly guys! That's amazing!


    Every like goes towards getting Nick the motivation (and tea) he needs!

View all 11 project logs

  • 1
    RF Box Removal - Part 1

    Remove the old heatsink,

    then pry off the bottom lid of the RF box with a small flat head screwdriver.

  • 2
    RF Box Removal - Part 2

    Unsolder the five pins on the bottom of the PCB. You must get all of the solder off. I highly recommend a large desoldering pump like the OK Industries DP-100.


    Now flip the board over and remove the solder blobs that connect the top of the box to the mother board. Again, make sure to get it all. I sucked up most of the solder with my desoldering pump. Then, I followed up with some solder wick.

  • 3
    Finished RF Box Removal

    Take a flat head screw driver and slip it between the motherboard and box and gently separate the box from the motherboad. If you didn't get all of the solder off, you may have to heat some of the pins up with a soldering iron while doing this.

View all 3 instructions

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Discussions

Matthew Holder wrote 12/27/2018 at 16:01 point

I'm very interested in this project, would like to use this for RGB modding my NES front loader so I don't have to cut the case up. Just a suggestion, I think it would be great to support stereo audio where the original mono audio is via a 3.5mm phone plug as an alternative on both revisions.

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JJ Rad wrote 12/03/2018 at 03:12 point

Cool!!!  I just saw the update from September.  Did the Rev 2 end up working?

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JJ Rad wrote 07/04/2018 at 23:52 point

I'm very interested in this as well.  Any updates?  I've seen it's been about 10 months since.  

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keith harper wrote 05/11/2018 at 23:28 point

Very interesting project, hope you will be posting an update soon :)

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