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How Do I Get Started?


TylerBarnes
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Hello,

    So you are interested in getting a PVM? Well here are a few things that will be useful to know in your search.

    First question, and this is 'Where are you planning on buying it from?' This is an important thing to consider because in this day age, just like with games collecting, eBay is not the place anymore for affordability. My suggestion is to join the few main PVM groups on FB, and keep an eye on who is doing the restoring and dealing around there.
    
    For the people really stuck in this hobby, the culture around these units is still that they are not really willing to pay top dollar so easily. So, there are still some decent prices to be had. Also, a plus side to joining the PVM groups is you get educated on what is good, what is rare, how they look and work, and are likely to get a recently restored unit from a restorer and not some attic find thrown on eBay that would need calibrating, or even worse, full capacitor replacements. 


    For FaceBook Groups, this is the one I have had a good time in and is large: https://www.facebook.com/groups/443876159318988/
Steve Nutter is a Mod and does repairs to sell units.
Arty Myers also deals units and has good packaging/prices/transparency

    Another common way people acquire these units is to visit, call, or email schools/college, medical facilities, libraries, and old broadcasting/studio related places and simply ask something to the tune of:

"I know this is random, but I am interested in old electronics and equipment, CRT tube displays in particular, and was asking if your business has any that have been decommissioned or are not being used? I know it is an old technology that doesn't have a use for many current businesses in this day and age, but they have a use for me personally, so if you happen to have any of these units you are not using or are otherwise not needed I ask you to please consider donating or selling one of these old CRT displays to me. 
-Regards" 


   If they let you come see the unit, don't feel obligated to make a decision right then and there either. This isn't craigslist. It was likely in storage and sitting unbothered a long time anyways. Look at the unit take some photos of the front bezel, and the rear inputs and model number sticker. Let them know however interested you are in the unit and tell them you are going to take the photos to research the compatibility of the monitor with your current equipment you plan on using. Most are fine with this for the above reasons. However, you get the occasional person that was going out of there way to even meet with you already. Please be mindful of this person's time, considerations, and courtesy they showed in giving you this meet in the first place. If it feels like that sort of person, I would make your decision then and there.

   The unit you actually get from acquiring it this way is a coin flip. You could have an overworked tube that stayed turned on most it's life, and may have burn in, or other issues that may need a re-capping or calibration magnets to solve. However, on the flip side you could come across a very well maintained unit that was in the care of working professionals that has little to no issues or signs of wear. Most of the time, hospitals will have a mixture of both of these. They are used constantly, but they usually had the money to get them serviced. 

Things to look for if looking at one:

  • That it is actually a PVM. 
    PVMs differ from consumer grade TVs, in that they have no tuner or antenna for picking up television broadcasts. They are also made with much higher grade phosphors, and are constructed using an Aperture grill, versus the Shadow Mask of consumer grade gear. Easy way to tell it's a PVM is it will lack an antenna, will have no channel selection buttons, or have any old school UHF/VHS tuner dials. Another less noticeable, but big sign, is that Aperture grill tubes like PVMs will produce very distinct horizontal scan-lines; This is partly why the look so good. Using the on screen menu will yield an RGB progressive scanned signal to verify the scan lines if you are unable to put a signal through it. Also, generally they will have an adjustment knob on the front labeled "Aperture".
     
  • That it powers on. (duh) 
       Even with no signal you will be able to enter the menu using the front panel. This will verify what the screen displays isn't horribly distorted, or extreme convergence issues. If in person test it out in an outlet, if online ask the seller for photos of it operating. 
     
  • That it supports the video inputs you plan on using. 

    Connectors

       The most common input for these monitors are BNC jacks for video and sync signals and RCA for sound. Or the industry standard S-Video Din-4 connector. You will need to get the correct cable for your console or micro-computer.  S-Video is the easiest barrier to entry if your console supports that. You can also buy a BNC to RCA adapter and plug in normal composite and component cables for those monitors that support those inputs. 

    Formats
       Read the label for the formats on the back. 

    "LINE": 
       The most common is simple a line in. Usually labeled as such with "Line 1", "Line2" ect. Line inputs are usually both Composite and S-Video but are sometimes just composite. Composite will usually be the BNC connector just marked "IN" and "OUT". S-Video using the standard Din4 and sometimes labeled "Y/C". 

    "RGBs/RGBhv": 
       These inputs should be easy to spot and will have separate BNC jacks for each line labeled "R", "G", "B", "EXT Sync" sometimes "H" and "V" for those that support it. 

    "Component" 
       These are usually combined with the RGB and share the same jacks. You would instead select RGB vs Component in the on screen menu. Next to the BNC jacks, they are labeled "R-Y", "Y", "B-Y" correlating to red green and blue in that order. 

    "RGsB" 
       This is the oddball and not many systems you are likely run across us it. It is a flavor of RGB where the sync signal in on the Green line. This is why there is an 's' next to the 'G' making "Gs". Unless you are specifically seeking this, don't worry about it, but know how to spot it. 

    "SDI" 
       This is a more modern format, found on some of the bigger and later broadcast monitors; It is also digital. Some very high end video production and broadcasting gear will use this. Like with RGsB, unless you know you need it, don't worry about it. 


     

Well I'll leave it at that. It is a lot to digest and I prolly left some stuff out, but I can edit that in later. Happy Hunting! 
 

Edited by TylerBarnes
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Administrator · Posted

Goddamn thanks for all the info, seriously! I have a lot to think about! 

Honestly I just wanna have a PVM for the corner in my bedroom so I can play my rgb modded SNES and n64. I think I have some reading to do to figure out which models I can use for that. I have the hdretrovision cable for both of them, as well as I think scart. 

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4 hours ago, Gloves said:

Goddamn thanks for all the info, seriously! I have a lot to think about! 

Honestly I just wanna have a PVM for the corner in my bedroom so I can play my rgb modded SNES and n64. I think I have some reading to do to figure out which models I can use for that. I have the hdretrovision cable for both of them, as well as I think scart. 

Most the cables you will find out there interface to each other with SCART. it's like the Liaison between the formats. So PVM side has a BNC to SCART, this scart being the input, then the consoles all will have their own specific RGB cable you have to hunt down and buy. Most are the console's connector into scart. Although some with go straight to BNC. Many prefer the scart cause you can have a SCART switcher to just plug everything into and select between the consoles you want to play. There are BNC RGB switchers too, but they are usually rack mount broadcast gear. If your cable is RCA but a supported format you can get those very affordable little RCA to BNC adapters. I leave three of them constantly on my setup that runs most my Component stuff. 

This whole site will have some very good info if you wish to dive in more ^_^ 
https://www.retrorgb.com/rgbmonitors.html

As far as models I own and can recommend for a little corner setup, I like my little 14" Sony PVM-1351Q. It is my only 14" that supports Component. Note though, there is a version without the 'Q' in the model number that does not support component.

Edited by TylerBarnes
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@TylerBarnes I also have a pvm-1351q. I am using hdretrovision cables component (snes, genesis and ps1/2). I like the size, I think the screen is actually 13". its only 450 tvl though, I think, and mine might need some tune up. the picture, the color, doesn't seem to be as bright/bold as I would think it should be but I only have composite and consumer crt  to compare it to. the image is crisp though. the genesis puts out series crisp picture through the cables and seeing it on the pvm is sweet. I wouldn't mind thicker scanlines though ( higher tvl right? 600-800). I don't know anyone local who works on them though. "savon pat" he is the man right? but he is all the way in California.

there is also some convergence in the top right corner that the geometry menu (degauss+enter) cant fix. geometry tested with 240 test suite. 

im green to removing the cover to mess with convergence strips and I know there is some serious voltage but its really bugging me. 

anyway sorry this is all over the place and I thought of starting a new topic but didn't know what to call it. 

Edited by skinnygrinny
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For a corner specific issue that the geometry settings don't fix, convergence strips will have to do. they are incredibly finicky and it is pretty nerve racking if you are working on/near an open tube. My suggestion is if you try to add a strip or two, your goal should be to just get it better than it used to be, because very strong distortions are hard to fully fix with strips. Any broad stroke changes you make will introduce other deformations to other parts of the image. 

One compromise is change to overall size of the raster area seen with the vertical and horizontal size control. This will cutoff more picture to the overscan, but hide the deformation more, and as a result give you the slightly thicker scanlines from effectively zooming in.  

Calibrating these things are most the time all about finding that suitable compromise. 

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Hey thanks for the reply. Cutting out the deformation also cuts out text 😕 score or other info in that top corner. I guess I’ll have to grab my balls and go for working on a crt while plugged in. I don’t know if I’m that brave yet. What do you think of the color issue? Capacitors? 
 

pictures are nes via composite. 

B7DA9EDE-F5F3-49C9-BF9B-6C4473967ADD.jpeg

3B72C9BA-0BE8-4C25-9160-A2AC9951BD34.jpeg

Edited by skinnygrinny
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A strong distortion plus a concentration of odd colors all in one area, could also point to needing a stronger degauss. The internal degausser usually does a good job, but if it is weak and also trying to fix an area that was heavily magnetized, it may be enough. There are bigger, and beefier external degaussers, but sometimes it's not worth it unless you know that model you get will do the job, or if your issue is actually due to a degauss issue. 

As far as working on a live CRT. Just know it is incredibly dangerous if you doesn't know what you are doing. Even when the CRT is off, there is a deadly charge inside. I'm by no means an expert, and further education is recommended if you plan on doing anything inside one. Videos are usually ideal. 

If you have the correct geometry adjustments on the scan type you use (normal, underscan, overscan) you can find a compromise using two adjustments that can help cancel each other out slightly to focus in on one area. 

For example what I would do on your case is adjust the U/L Pin and adjust it outwards until the top right corner and top left are symmetrical. (They will not be straight.) This is a global adjustment so you are also affecting the bottom. to counteract this you can use the Low Pin Amp to bring back the lower section to more or less where it was before. (again won't be perfect).

380445496_pinadjust.png.544ca90366169e1ff963a1cdbe019e12.png

It's mostly about making the adjustments you are comfortable making and living with the imperfections for adjustments you are not able to make (re-capping, convergence, purity, etc) So if you would rather live with one really dodgy corner as apposed to fixing it slightly while making the other one slightly worse, than leave it as is. 

Edited by TylerBarnes
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Homebrew Team · Posted

@Gloves I have a Sony 14" model PVM-14M2U.  It has RGB / component (you switch by an input on the front), S-video, and composite inputs.  Picture is good and it works well for me.  You probably gathered from the other information, you might need RCA to BNC adapters for plugging in cables or a scart to BNC adapter.

IMG_20190622_142523.jpg

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