Intellivision A/V mod - review and guide
Credit to this site *Beeslife* for providing the guide for the composite video mod for an Intellivision console. I've had various email discussions with Oliver Puschatzki who does the commercial version of the mod, which he got his friends Joe Zbiciak and Tim Linder, who is knowledgeable on electronics, to assist him originally in the schematics for the video mod.
Tim Linder has a Wiki page which shows the schematics so others can replicate the work, the wiki is *here* . I tried to replicate the mod a while back and failed, now I have a little more experience, did it and made it work fine.
Basically, from what I understand, the video mod brings the amplification of the video signal right down to a range that's compatible with a normal television.
All you do with the commercial mod is to connect 5v, ground and the video in and audio in to the boards, simple. The item is small, and as you see in the pic, is small and very compact.
The item costs about £40 to buy if you want to (look on his website for details).
The image quality you get is similar to the RF quality, which frankly is fine, the little shadows you get on the characters were how it used to be in the old days, so very "retro" for memories!
If you have a French Intellivision, you can get RGB or composite out as standard, however these units are rare and very expensive - you can buy a normal Intellivision console for about £20-£25 normally, plus this mod £40, so about £60-£65 all in (or about £22-£27 if you make your own mod from the diagram and have the parts); the French console costs well over £100 if you can even find one.
On a personal note, i'd recommend this mod, "it does what it says on the box".
The diagram on the Wiki is this:
I found another diagram on the net for a different composite mod for the console but it doesn't seem to correlate to the board!
So, I have an "official" video mod, and have also got my own one working, as well. Didn't use a PCB to save some money, you don't need a PCB for your own use for this mod really. When wired up, stuck the capacitors onto cardboard to keep the whole thing in place. Doesn't look tidy, but is flat, the whole assembly is lower than the height of the chips nearby, which is the other reason for not using a PCB for my project - I wanted it flat.
The silver pot on the right of the pic above adjusts the brightness/contrast, BTW. You may also notice I have removed the old RF box - it isn't needed, and I don't want any RF boxes in my project as don't want to incorporate shielding on the console boards i'm using on my projects to reduce radio waves. The video/audio mod doesn't need the old RF box, so you can keep or remove yours if you like.
Here is my project so far, working as you see on an old 14" television, seen running off one battery source. The separate video daughter board will be located against the motherboard and the controller board i've made will fill in the gaps; all the spaghetti of wiring will be removed and left with clean wiring - that's the next jobs.
I promised Oliver i'd do a review of his mod, as this is (I am a man of my word). This mod he sells and the schematics gets my approval and i'd recommend it to others; you can make your own version for about £2, or buy a commercial one; up to you. The commercial one is ideal if you aren't good at soldering as there are only 4 solder points you need to do with the commercial mod.
That's a lot of wires... although the composite mod looks good.
Last edited by Jamtex; 07-10-2010 at 09:45 AM.
The loads of wires are because i'm making the Intellivision compatible with my 18 console project system, so need to make each part fairly flat and sharing the same resources. The Intellivision uses 16v, 12v, 5v and -3v; the section on the right are regulators that make all these voltages work via one DC 7.4v battery source. The controller's matrix was worked out and make to work via standard tact buttons, the game cart relocated, AC removed, heatsink (copper plate), RF removed and replaced with composite.
Next job is to make it compact and tidy!
BTW - if you get "ladders" on the composite with this mod, cut the video wire you connect for video in on the RF box from going into the RF, it improves the quality of video.
Last edited by bacteria; 07-10-2010 at 03:21 PM.
although i noticed you've built a joypad for the unit but it only has 4 buttons (so 8 way)... the intelivision was famous for it's 16 way pads and a lot of non arcade games did take advantage of this fact... I'm going to build the mod on tuesday, i will let you know how i get along.
Last edited by Jamtex; 07-10-2010 at 05:50 PM.
Yes, the Intv is famous for it's 16 way d-pad, however in practice it would have been so much better if they just made it 8 way instead - reason being, even in c.1979 when my Father bought an Intellivision and he and I played it a lot, it was always hit and miss to get the right direction of the 16 available, it was quite common for a game character to switch between two or three directions to even move left or right or whatever. For example, in Tron Deadly Discs, when the big robot comes to repair the doors (was it called Regenerator?) it was very hard to get your character in just the right position to kill the robot; 4 way control it is very easy!
Yes, my mod is 4 way, press two you get diagonals however not proper diagonals unfortunately as that would need some IC chips to swap contacts around - you need AND and OR gates, and I don't know how to use them or what is needed - may also be difficult as there are several contacts involved in this - anyone any ideas for OR and AND gates that can handle multiple inputs and outputs? At the moment, for example, if you press up you get up, if you press right you get right, if you press up and right at the same time you don't get NE but NEE compass direction; is fine in practice though, not an issue.
Yes, some games on the Intv may not play so well with this method, however there are many Intv games they are 4 way only or less (eg Space Armada, Night Stalker, Lock'n'Chase, Astrosmash, Poker, Golf, Thunder Castle, Burger Time, Utopia, etc; and others that play absolutely fine with the configuration like Tron Deadly Discs, etc.
The only games I can see would be an issue are Skiing (maybe), Hockey, Triple Action, Space Hawk, Auto Racing, Soccer, Sub Hunt (maybe), Sea Battle (maybe), Space Spartans. I have a couple of these games so can test them (got all the ones mentioned in the previous paragraphs apart from Utopia which I don't want).