PC Engine CD ROM Mod: Done!

| #hack | #Hard Hackin | #hardware | #pcengine | #rgb |

I spent the greater part of my evening putting together a PC Engine CD (with case) system that I could call my own. I pulled out all the stops, with a white (not yellow!) PC Engine system, the cleanest CD ROM I could find, RGB amp, LED swap and region mod. It turned out great, though there was a brief nightmare when a design change at the 50% mark caused intense grief at the 98% mark… Had to backtrack and add another two inches of wire for the RGB amp….

Lots of pics to show you!

The new, super-cool teal-coloured LED was a bit tricky for two reasons. The old one was a tiny rectangle in a plastic spacer assembly, and the new one was round and tall enough on its own that the spacer wasn’t required. Since the round one wouldn’t fit the rectangular hole, I yanked the LED diffuser from a Mitsumi Floppy Drive I had broken the other day. I used the soldering iron to melt it into place and not only did it fit perfectly, it looks damned cool. Problem was then the tall LED was pressed too tight againsed the diffuser, so I had to use a spacer which meant the LED PCB was wedged against a piece of shielding… Fuckit, push hard and your problems are solved.

The RGB Amp was one I’d made a long time ago and never gotten around to actually installing. Worked great first try (whew!). I tapped the RGB signals from the base of the IFU PCB, based on the data from this page. Sync and Composite Video were tapped from the same place.

Audio was tapped from the same PCB, but from the underside of the connector that runs the signals to the AV port on the opposite end of the IFU. If you tap it from the Expansion Bus connector you’ll not get the CD sound, only PCE sound.

I wired up a region mod as well, connecting these two points (as detailed here) with a piece of lovely white wire.

Cutting plastic to install a DB9 is a chore I absolutely dread, but this one turned out nicely indeed. Wiring the inside was pretty easy, though space got tight when I added the RGB amp PCB only to find all the wires were too short to fit the eject lever on the interface unit…

The final product looks great, works great, and includes a switch to change the sync output (pin four, see here) from composite sync to composite video as required.

[ May 10 2004 ]

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