Hi-Def NES - a 1080p HDMI mod kit!

Started by Game-Tech.us, November 15, 2014, 03:08:02 AM

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I talked Kevtris in to making us an HDMI mod kit for the nes consoles since he already had most of it figured out on his FPGA multi system.
This is just the initial announcement of release, more info will be posted as we make it happen.


Not a clone system!
Uses the nintendo's cpu and ppu.
Fully HDMI standards compliant.

No frame buffer so NO LAG between controller and monitor.

using ntsc cpu/ppu 480p, 720p, 1080p
using pal  cpu/ppu 567p, 720p, 1080p
Kit will auto detect which chips it's connected to.
It will also detect if either have failed and flash a trouble code.
Will output only as high a res as the monitor will handle.

Aspect ration will be user adjustable in the menu, seen as horizontal stretch in the menu in the vid.

A few palettes will be included and user selectable in the menu.
Custom palettes can be uploaded to the nesHD using a flash cart etc.

Built in overclocking with option to not have it mess up the sound pitch.

Reconfigurable hot keys to get to menu.

Console reset via controller hot keys.

Updating firmware will be done via an ".nes" file, via flashcart etc, if necessary.

All audio is generated in the kit, so it will be %100 digital and theoretically noise free.
User will be able to control each audio channel from the menu.
You will be able to adjust left and right volume output of each channel independently.
Most expansion audio chips will also be programmed in to the kit and we hope to auto detect which one will be needed for a game that is being played, but may also have the option to turn each on and off.
Currently working: normal nes audio, fds, N106, mmc5, and sunsoft 5B.
VRC7 is still a maybe...
5.1 and 7.1 is also a maybe...
Might also have the ability to turn off certain channels independently.

HQX scaling is also a maybe...

Scanlines will be included, still in progress.

Possibly a built in CopyNES.

Easy instal, desolder the cpu and ppu and cut out a few mounting holes using an included template.

Tested with some known problem carts, multi carts, powerpak, and everdrive.
More testing will be done as we progress.

Kit cost will most likely be under $150 and installation by me under $100, but nothing is set yet.


This is amazing. Just saw the video and was so impressed with the way it looks. Have you guys considered adding a scanline generator for those hard-core retro games?


Copy of Kevin's nesdev post:

I got the HQ2X/3X/4X scaling working now and made an example video of the HQ3X at 720p. I cannot record 1080p unfortunately so I can't capture the 4X one in video.


There's no audio because I needed the room for the scaler. Because space constraints have been hit, I am going to stuff another board with a bigger part that fortunately has the same pinout, hopefully alleviating my space issues.

With this bigger part, I should be able to get VRC7 in there too. (VRC7 is around 1300 LEs, while the HQX scaler is 2230 and the 65C02 core is 1320).


From Kevtris:

I just posted my first update video evar on this project using my new camera.



From Kevtris:

Here's some example scanline tests from the scanline generator I was working on tonight. I have finished scalers 100% and that is done, so I started on the scanline generators.

http://blog.kevtris.org/blogfiles/hdmi/ ... es/latest/

I ran into a problem which I knew I'd have on 1080p (and PAL modes). That is, each NES scanline requires a non-integer number of scanlines on the HDMI display. Namely at 1080p, each NES scanline needs 4.5 HDMI scanlines.

This means that the height of each subsequent NES scanline alternates 4/5/4/5/4/5 HDMI lines.

To counter this (you can see an example of what this type looks like, see below) I came up with a scan line generator that "free runs" in relation to the NES video, instead of trying to "scanline" each NES line on the HDMI display. The results of this method are in the above /latest/ directory.

There's also a scanline generator that is tied to the actual NES scanlines, but it can look bad (especially on PAL) due to the afore-mentioned problem. Those are here:


the filename describes how "Deep" the scanline effect is. 0 = no scanlines at all, FF = maximum.


Latest news from Kevtris:

I have finished the FPGA side pretty much of this project now. In the last few days I have added:

* scanline generators (two kinds- NES locked and free run)

* menu! menu now lets you set up all of the video parameters from the controller.

* MMC5 audio (totally new core)
* VRC6 audio (heavily rewrote)
* FDS audio (totally new core)
* N106 audio (some rewriting)
* sunsoft5B audio (some rewriting)
* VRC7 (some rewriting)

* Audio FIR filter (2 stage)

The audio stuff is ported from the FPGA NES project and have been gone over again to fix bugs, update old code and all that. Some of it was early verilog I had written and it was ugly so it got rewritten.

The FPGA resources are now totally used up:

* logic elements: 98%
* pins: 100%
* PLLs: 100%
* multipliers: 2 left
* blockrams: 100%

This means that the scanline generators are going to have to stay as they are but I think it should be fairly usable. I tried a bunch of "NES locked" scanline generator ideas people mentioned in here and on the IRC channel but they all looked pretty bad and noticeable, unfortunately.

Setting the 1080p mode to 3x scanlines (a "scanline" every 3 HDMI lines) which is higher resolution than the NES and then using one of the scalers looks fairly passable. If you want "real" scanlines, then 720p or 480p modes will need to be used. PAL systems will have to use the free run mode most likely since the scaling on them is non-integer due to hardware restrictions between the PPU frame and the HDMI frame.

All expansion audio is implemented and works now. The VRC7 needs some slight tweaking but seems to be pretty close. At the time I implemented this I didn't know about the ADSR control bit so I will add that.

I have each source separate, and relative volumes of all channels are adjustable against each other. I still need to write a boatload of menu code to allow you to adjust all the parameters though (relative volumes) but the hardware side is all done at least.

Each chip and in some cases sub channels are all individually pannable. This includes the original NES channels (all are pannable individually), VRC6 (individually pannable), MMC5 (same), and the others are pannable as a unit. VRC7 has 2 outputs that can be panned individually left/right, each being a set of 3 channels.

There's a FIR filter to cut out most of the aliasing from the audio and works quite decent. Looped noise sounds pretty decent. There's still a tiny bit of aliasing on very very very high frequency squares but this is unavoidable. The only time I could hear it was when I used a program that let me manually poke the sound registers.

I will release another update video soon outlining some of the new features I added in the last week.


Video of Kevin putting together the 1st prototype board using stencil and solder paste, his vacuum tool, and his reflow oven.


News from Kevtris:

I have put up a video outlining all of the features of the Hi Def NES adapter's video functionality.
I show off the scanlines, stretching, interpolation and scalers.


More info from Kevin:
The hdmi mod does not stop people using the analog audio from the NES- it still is there coming out of the CPU and is unaffected.  If people want to keep using it (and even powerpak expansion audio or cart audio on famicoms) this will still work as normal.

I just recreate (rather than digitizing) the audio so I have it in digital form.  Someone also asked the sample rate.  It's 16 bit, 48KHz since this seems to be the "standard" on HDMI.  I could emit 96KHz 24 bit but then no one could hear the audio.


News from Kevtris:

Well the audio update video has been posted showing off all of the expansion audio capabilities, along with cropping.


Enjoy! (yeah the sunsoft 5B was a lot quieter than it should'a been. that's why there is a gain control!)

Going to work on palettes next and flesh out the rest of the menu next.


Kevtris and I check out the Hi-Def NES on my 19" lcd tv.
We also test the zapper out and talk about what's going on with the project.



This is my first real attempt at putting the pcbs of the Hi-Def NES HDMI kit in to a Nintendo Top Loader.


Kev's best update yet!
From Kev:

Here's the 4th update!

Things added since last time:

* DVI Mode
* Screen is centered
* Pixel masking fixed
* Set the relative audio volumes
* Fixed extraneous pixels
* Hot keys were added
* Overclocking
* Palettes!
* Menu info is now correct
* Fixed the powerpak NSF player

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9gUVcU ... e=youtu.be


A Murder of Crows

How long till this is ready for Prime Time?


Latest update vid from Kevin:

Update #5 has been posted. The brightness on the HDMI output is a bit blown out but this is because of the capture card. I didn't spot it until it was rendered and posted. bleh. Every time I capture something it seems to screw it up in a different way.

Anyways, I show a couple games (Duck Maze, Orb 3D, and Micromachines) which apparently gave the nesRGB fits. Also, the flowing palette demo apparently doesn't work either. All four of these are shown.




Update #6 is now posted.


Looks like I'm about done on the software side. The things left:

* copynes
* updating via cart
* audio register viewer
* PCB redesign to fit in the toploader under the main PCB   


New vid from Kevtris:

Update #8 is now posted. This time I show how I place the parts and reflow solder it in a modified toaster oven.


After a few more minor additions, I think it will be ready for the world.


For those that didn't see it here is the analogue NT running the hi-def kit scrolling through menu options:


Latest update from Kevtris:

Woot, I finally sent the stuff off so the HiDefNES boards are in production! I have also posted the final "pre production" update. I don't know how long it will be until I get boards in hand but I will probably post another update video when that happens.



wow pretty cool

Let me know when these are ready it be something I am interested in.

NES lockout chip disabled + 1080p output is a dream about to become true haha.


Kevin's latest update:
Ooooh yeah. PCBs have arrived!


It won't be long now!


I have already had an email asking if this means it's time to ship their console to me!?!? LOL NO!
I know you all are very excited to get this done, but my request of 'please don't email us and bug us about this until concrete plans are put out there' is still in effect, sorry...
Kevin is close on his end, but he will only have 100 kits and we haven't decided how to sell them just yet. Not to mention they aren't really done yet and I don't have any in my possession yet. Nor do I want a bunch consoles to show up at my house waiting to be modded...


We have the first batch of kits now, but are not planning to sell any just yet so be patient, watch these vids for more info:
First look at kits and lots of talk with Kevtris:
First full instal on US top loader:


Ok the first 6 Hi-Def NES modded US top loaders are up for auction on ebay, just search nes hdmi.
They were a bit late as I had a hell of a time uploading them because ebay wouldn't let me upload them and they weren't specific enough about why so I had to try several times. Turns out you can use the word 'mod' in the title, but if you say kit they think it has bundled accessories and if you are listing in the consoles category and don't have the bundled accs option listed then it won't upload. I was doing this from misterlister or whatever that shitty prog is named now. Then they marked them as duplicates even though I used different pics for top and bottom shots on each auction and some different txt in description. I had to add the 3 numbers of the serial number to the title to get them to release all the auctions as not dupes, FK!!!


This vid is a run through of the menu and some features and some game-play on a 120" 1080p projection setup.


I had a couple issues on the first av fami install, but I think we got it figured out!


Kevin's post from the nesdev thread:

Well, Jason (gametech) came over tonight and we did a bunch of everdrive testing. Turns out his everdrive works fine on my HDMI modified toploader. We ran SMB3, Zelda, Double Dragon, Faxanadu, SMB, SMB2, and a bunch of other games and all of them seem to work fine. Overall I tested NROM, UNROM, MMC1, and MMC3 games.

The only minor issue I had was reset. sometimes I had to mash reset a few times before the menu would come back up. Once (out of 15-20 games run) I had to cycle the power.

This confirms what I said earlier about the ED working back in november. It seemed to work then and still seems to work now.

Turns out his ED is one of the very first made, and as such it has really old firmware on it. Rev 3 firmware.

I also have a "modern" ED that uses the latest firmware. This ED does NOT work on the Hidef nes. The menu sometimes comes up and the graphics are always corrupt- looks like uninitialized VRAM. You can tell the menu is there, but you can't start a game, it just resets. Sometimes it's showing an error screen I think, but you can't read it. I did not get this version to run a game.

So I took the rev 3 firmware off Jason's ED and put it on the "modern" ED, and guess what it worked just as well as his ED did! So whatever change happened between rev 3 and 4 of the ED firmware seems to be the reason. I put the latest version of firmware on Jason's ED and it failed in the same way the "modern" ED failed.

These are good data points on tracking down the problem I think.

I was thinking of making a video showing this happening.

Regarding the HDMI connector fit, I test fitted my toploader with the cable I have here and it worked OK so I thought it was going to be fine. The connector is recessed as far as it is so I could use the same board on the NES and the nt both. I tested so I thought it was OK, but turns out it isn't. Various cables seem to have different "tongue" lengths. I modified one by cutting some of the plastic off with an xacto knife and it only took me about a minute to do this. I was surprised how easy it was actually.

This board would work fine on a front loader I think. the plastic is much thinner on the back so the fit should not be an issue there.

On the next run I will move the connector out on a little PCB "flag" to fix this issue.

Like any other brand new high complexity product, there's going to be some things to fix. There's literally hundreds or even thousands of little things that could go wrong, so it's not unlikely one or two of these things will slip through. I tried to do extremely thorough testing here. This included 20 sets of CPU/PPU's, 4 different NES main boards (front loaders and top loaders), 12 or 13 Hidef NES proto boards I hand stuffed and reflowed, and 10 different monitors. There is also the HDMI Analyzer that I paid quite a lot of money for just specifically so I could debug the HDMI link on this project. Overall I am in fairly deep on this project financially so I hope it will eventually pay off, and that I will make a bit more than minimum wage for the hours I put in and the cash I spent for tools and prototypes. Overall 5 or 6 people were helping me test/debug it (it wasn't just 2 people as someone claimed).

Not a whine or anything, just stating what the facts are. Hope this clears up some of the loose ends people have about the project. I hope to be able to supply as many boards as the modding community can use. There's not going to be any limit. So long as people buy them I will sell them, barring any parts availability issues.


Some of the Analogue NT's have made it out to customers.
Here's a link to one guy's review of it with the Hi-Def kit installed:



There was a vrc7 mapper released for the NES Everdrive. This means Lagrange Point can be played!
I had some trouble getting a couple of the roms to work, english translation worked 2 times and not once since...
The hi-def nes kit shines here as it's the only way to get the expansion audio to work since the kit generates it internally, no need for the exp audio part of the mapper pack to work, which currently does not.
It was also my first attempt at audio capture via line out or headphone jack of the projector and tv, neither work very well.
Can anybody recommend a good hdmi 1080p capture card?


Quote from: blizzzFrom Twitter:
@krikzz  1 minute ago
#EverDrive N8 OS v13. Now compatible with NES HDMI adapter!

Excellent! Thanks for the update, will spread the word!


Kevtris posted an update to the hi-def's firmware, only 30-40 consoles are out there right now so this mostly just applies to them:

Weeeelllll, here it is. I received the everdrive yesterday and loaded V12? firmware onto it (the version before the "fix" for the HDMI adapter). Thinking this was going to be a "worst case" test. It worked perfectly with the games I tested- I tested about 6 or 7 different mappers and all is well. Reset even worked properly. Before, the error messages wouldn't show up properly but they do now (i.e. no SD card).

FDS is working properly now, and so do MMC5 games (i.e. reset works there too, and no need to use a game genie). I sent it out to a couple people and they could apply it properly, though one person has problems.

He was using a powerpak, and his MMC3 file was different than mine- I think he has the savestate mappers. This caused the update to not work. It reported a data corrupt error and refused to flash the firmware. I gave him my mapper 4 file direct off the CF card on my powerpak and then he got it to work properly.

I don't know anything about the save state mapper, but I assume it cannot load 512K PRG ROMs, because it uses some of the RAM for the savestate part? I could be totally wrong but that's just my first guess.

It works on some everdrives, but some people had issues.

Anyways, here is the update:


To use it, load this ROM on a flash cart (or burn EPROMs? hehe), run it and then get into the Hi Def menu, select "save and update", then "update firmware", and follow the on screen prompts. It will check the update for integrity, and then flash it if it passes the check. Cycle power and it will use the new firmware.


You've pasted that URL from another forum or something, it's truncated.


Kevtris posted an update video last night:


Biggest news is the next batch of kits has been ordered!
There is also a small firmware update, v2.25.
This fixes a few games and interpolation.


Hi-Def NES update - kits ready for sale Sunday July 3rd


Pre-oders sale page is live, has been all day and looks to be holding up no problems so far.