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Need Advice/Info on TG-16 Video Options


Webhead123
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So, here's the deal: I have yet to get my Turbografx away from relying on the RF connection to hook it up to my CRT.

At one point, about 4 years ago, I tried out a scart cable that I got off eBay, which connected through the serial port on the back and I could connect it through my scart-to-yuv adapter. Unfortunately, the cable was a flop. A small handful of games would actually work properly and the video signal was beautiful. However, many games had issues and either refuse to work at all, or had graphical problems (most interestingly, Blazing Lazers would play the intro screen music but would just hang on a black screen and not respond to controller inputs).

So, with the price of a Turbo Booster being what it was (and seems still is), I just went back to the 'ole RF switch.

My question, for those who may have dealt with trying to upgrade the Turbo in this way, what are the best options for trying to upgrade the thing to a better video quality? Spending $200-ish just to get composite AV out of a Turbo Booster seems pretty pointless. Does anyone know if there have been any successful attempts at using a cable and the serial port to get s-video or component/scart out of it? What about console mods? Are there any reasonably priced mods to do the same?

To be clear, I'm trying to swing to scart/component/s-video since I don't have a true RGB monitor. I also want to keep it on my CRT, so I'm not looking at HDMI mods (plus, the Analog Duo will be my go-to solution for that anyway).

Any thoughts, experiences or feedback would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

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I RGB modded my PC Engine, and it looks fantastic. The mod taps the RGB signals from lines going to the pins on the serial port, so I'm assuming the solution is similar to the TG16 cable you speak of, but it also involves a small amplifier board inside the console.
I have no idea what the signal looks like without the amp, but I'd assume the cable you got either has an amp like that built in, or still relies on one installed inside the console.

That said, the issues you're talking about sound weird to me. To my knowledge there's no difference between games, like it's a native output from the console's video chip, so it's not like some games would have an RGB output and others don't. Whatever issue you ran into sounds to me like it might be completely unrelated. I'd be interested at least in seeing what the graphical problems you experienced was. Have you tried connecting both the RF and Scart cables at the same time, to see if the output behaves differently?

I definitely wouldn't settle for composite either way, but if you've been able to put up with RF so far, that's impressive. 🙂 

Here's an article I quickly found on the options nowadays, and I'm assuming the cable you found was the fiddle_se one mentioned? Unfortunately the author hasn't been able to test that one:
https://www.retrorgb.com/tg16.html

Edited by Sumez
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IIRC, you can actually just tap 2-3 pins in the connector on the back of the system to get composite out without having to purchase any additional hardware.  Doing a quick Google search, it appears Hyperkin built a $20 adapter that plugs into the back (much more cleanly than most home wiring jobs would be) that accomplishes the same.  If you're wanting better than RF video but not necessarily wanting to plunk down big bucks for a video upgrade, it seems like composite is well within reach.  With an appropriate upscaler, you could even play it on the modern TV of your choice.  It's not the higher end video that you're specifically talking about, but it's still a decent upgrade for a good price.

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I bought my tg16 with an rgb mod already done. It has a genesis model 2 av port added, and i have a hdretrovision component cable i can use with it. It looks great.

I dont know what the mods entail as i haven't needed to do it myself. The hdrv sega cables are like $80 iirc because they do rgb>component inline. a bit spendy but they are quality. 

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17 minutes ago, Lincoln said:

The hdrv sega cables are like $80 iirc because they do rgb>component inline. a bit spendy but they are quality. 

Depending on your setup it's probably better to have a common solution for this stuff, rather than converting each signal individually. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that if you're playing TG16/PCE games, you probably have a few other consoles lined up that you are regularly playing.

RGB is usually the best native output you can get from most consoles without replacing a bunch of the internal components to get HDMI, so an external converter from RGB to whatever your TV takes will provide you with a single reliable and upgradeable solution, rather than multiple expensive and potentially questionable ones. Retrotink has a RGB->component that reportedly works excellently if you don't have a CRT that takes scart inputs, and of course for HD TVs you can't do much better than an OSSC (though Retrotink also has you covered there, now).

It's probably overkill for most people, but personally I'm using an electronic scart switch (in fact, two identical ones chained together) to hook up multiple RGB outputs to a single upscaler, which means I never have to mess with cables to get stuff working, once it's all set up. That said, SCART is an absolutely awful cable standard and a setup like that creates a lot of potential locations for a weak connection that can be an absolute pain to track down. 😅

Edited by Sumez
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Homebrew Team · Posted

I don't have this and have not researched it, but as an alternative to the booster, you can get this:

https://castlemaniagames.com/collections/insurrection-industries/products/insurrection-industries-spark-plug-turbografx16-pc-engine-rgb-video-adapter

Plugs in the back like the booster, costs $50, and uses the Genesis 2 connector.  You would need a cable, say hd retrovision component for $65.  You would be for in $115.  

There might be better options, but I thought I would throw it out for consideration.

Edit:

Here is the page of the manufacturer's website

https://insurrectionindustries.com/product/spark-plug-rgb/

Edited by Deadeye
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I cannot say enough good things about the Analogue systems I have. I recommend trying to snatch up a Duo when they drop. Plays a bunch of other console games as well:

https://www.analogue.co/duo

I expect those will run dry quick so you can always use modding the console/buying something external as plan B.

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9 hours ago, Sumez said:

That said, the issues you're talking about sound weird to me. To my knowledge there's no difference between games, like it's a native output from the console's video chip, so it's not like some games would have an RGB output and others don't. Whatever issue you ran into sounds to me like it might be completely unrelated. I'd be interested at least in seeing what the graphical problems you experienced was. Have you tried connecting both the RF and Scart cables at the same time, to see if the output behaves differently?

Yes, it was very strange. I hadn't thought to try leaving the RF connected at the same time. I have the unit packed away somewhere and I didn't take any pictures at the time but here's an example of the different behaviors I remember various games gave me when testing it:

Blazing Lazers - Title Screen Music Plays, Game Locks on Blank Screen
Bonk's Adventure - Title Screen Text Garbled/Glitched, Game Locks on Title Screen
Bonk's Revenge - Works Perfectly
Devil's Crush - Works Perfectly
Keith Courage - Locks on Green Screen
Legendary Axe - Works Perfectly

Turbo Everdrive - Locks on Green Screen

The cable was similar in concept to the fiddle_se cable, although the serial connector/amp box was a bit larger. Same idea, though. I hope it isn't an issue with the port on the TG itself.

I may end up trying the "sparkplug" + genesis cable combo, as Deadeye suggests. It would be lovely if that solved my problem.

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Are you using an Everdrive? I've seen similar problems when combining an Everdrive and a region mod, basically the extra circuits from the ED and region mod are pulling too much current out of the console, so your setup might be pulling too much juice out of the console and it's causing the problem, even if you're using original game cards I think your setup might be pulling too much juice out of the console causing this, maybe try a replacement power supply with more amperage?

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18 minutes ago, Abelardo said:

Are you using an Everdrive? I've seen similar problems when combining an Everdrive and a region mod, basically the extra circuits from the ED and region mod are pulling too much current out of the console, so your setup might be pulling too much juice out of the console and it's causing the problem, even if you're using original game cards I think your setup might be pulling too much juice out of the console causing this, maybe try a replacement power supply with more amperage?

I tested it with both original HuCards and with an Everdrive. What's odd is that different HuCards seemed to behave differently (with some examples noted in the post above). The console itself (as far as I know, not being the original owner), is un-modded and is still using the OEM power supply. I pulled the trigger on a "sparkplug" adapter and cable and going to test that out to see if it makes any difference. If this one gives similar issues, then it sounds like it's either an issue with the rear expansion port or could be a power issue. I'm no expert on such things though, so I'll just have to play it by ear.

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Ah yes, the amp driving power from the console sounds like a good explanation for why the games are crashing. If that's the case you'll get the same result no matter what solution you're using.

I'd suggest trying out a different PSU with a higher amperage. As long as the voltage and polarity matches, you'll be fine.

Edited by Sumez
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