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MCE2HDMI

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First post, by dreamblaster

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Hi,
I am making a sturdy ready to use MDA, CGA, EGA and Hercules to HDMI converter.
It will be available here : https://www.serdashop.com/MCE2HDMI
and it is software compatible with Hoglets RGB2toHDMI software (https://github.com/hoglet67/RGBtoHDMI).
My version uses a pi3A+, and everything is integrated in a high quality enclosure.

EDIT : Review by Retro Erik : https://youtu.be/jDC7cryO6Fo?si=QJT_WE-VDh0K6vdm

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I was previously working on a new video converter with FGPA, and a video converter with CM4 module,
(See below original MCE2VGA and CM4 version of MCE2HDMI)

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but both these are still hard to source.
Now it seems PI3A+ was available again, i bought some of these and redesigned to this form factor.
Meanwhile i also made it compatible with RGBtoHDMI , as I think this is the best software option for the project.
I hope you like it !

Last edited by dreamblaster on 2024-03-07, 21:33. Edited 1 time in total.

Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
DreamBlaster X2, S2, S2P, HDD Clicker, ... many projects !
New X2GS SE & X16GS sound card : https://www.serdashop.com/X2GS-SE ,
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Reply 1 of 18, by keropi

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excellent work once again !
I will need some for my workbench and XT setup 😁

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , OrpheusII , Action Rewind , Megacard and 🎶GoldLib soundcard website

Reply 2 of 18, by Pierre32

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Excellent. RGBtoHDMI is absolute magic. It makes sense to wrap a hardware project around it rather than reinvent the wheel, and make it more accessible to the community in the process.

I heartily recommend it: https://forums.overclockers.com.au/posts/19181685/

My EGA 386 on a flat panel:

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Reply 3 of 18, by konc

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Oh no, after all the struggle to find a descent lcd monitor for VGA retro computers, now we have to find one that does HDMI too 😁
Excellent news as usual, this one is definitely on my list!

Last edited by konc on 2023-06-16, 07:22. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 4 of 18, by dreamblaster

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Experimenting with different HDMI to VGA dongles, in combination with MCE2HDMI
--> pretty good results

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Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
DreamBlaster X2, S2, S2P, HDD Clicker, ... many projects !
New X2GS SE & X16GS sound card : https://www.serdashop.com/X2GS-SE ,
Thanks for your support !

Reply 5 of 18, by matze79

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It works great 👍

Tried various Games and Video Cards 😀

https://www.retrokits.de - blog, retro projects, hdd clicker, diy soundcards etc
https://www.retroianer.de - german retro computer board

Reply 6 of 18, by rkurbatov

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Any manual or description?

I need a second monitor for debugging, so I consider buying the MDA ISA adapter, but I need a display adapter to use either VGA or HDMI display.

There are several options but this one looks the only available. 😀

486: ECS UM486 VLB, 256kb cache, i486 DX2/66, 8MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440AGi VLB 1MB, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, FDD 3.5, ZIP 100 ATA
PII: Asus P2B, Pentium II 400MHz, 512MB RAM, Trident 9750 AGP 4MB, Voodoo2 SLI, MonsterSound MX300

Reply 7 of 18, by dreamblaster

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Should work fine with your MDA card.

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Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
DreamBlaster X2, S2, S2P, HDD Clicker, ... many projects !
New X2GS SE & X16GS sound card : https://www.serdashop.com/X2GS-SE ,
Thanks for your support !

Reply 8 of 18, by rkurbatov

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Lol, I am pretty sure it will - just like any stuff I ordered already 😀

I mean buttons - what do they do? Is it possible to choose the color of the monochrome mode and so on?

486: ECS UM486 VLB, 256kb cache, i486 DX2/66, 8MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440AGi VLB 1MB, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, FDD 3.5, ZIP 100 ATA
PII: Asus P2B, Pentium II 400MHz, 512MB RAM, Trident 9750 AGP 4MB, Voodoo2 SLI, MonsterSound MX300

Reply 9 of 18, by Kyber

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I'm looking for a solution to turn the Commodore 128 RGBI-signal (~CGA) into a composite-signal for a CRT-TV. The MCE2HDMI looks amazing and it seems like it might do the trick. (as long as i slap some cheap HDMI2AV converter after it, to do the final step of converting HDMI -> Composite). Thanks for making it! 😀

However, i can't find any manual or documentation on the MCE2HDMI, and I don't just want to just take the chance and buy it. But maybe there is a chance to get a couple of my questions answered here - would be awesome 😀

A few questions:

  • Is there actually a manual or some documentation somewhere?
  • Does it have the "brown-fix" for CGA? (so that it outputs the correct brown color instead of dark-yellow)
  • It should work with the C128's RGBI output, right? (sounds like it does when reading this: https://shadowcircuit.de/viewtopic.php?t=37)
  • What do the buttons do?
  • Can you access the onscreen menu of RGBtoHDMI with the buttons? Or does it have its own onscreen menu? Or is there no onscreen menu?
  • Looks like RGBtoHDMI has some config-files where you can add/change some settings. Do they still exist on the MCE2HDMI? (i.e. can you use/edit the RGBtoHDMI config files on the sdcard? or does MCE2HDMI perhaps have its own config files?)
  • Overscan adjustment: I'm gonna use it with a old 14" CRT TV (not computer monitor). The TV doesn't show the overscan area, so i'm afraid that part of the sides/top/bottom of the image might perhaps be hidden on my TV. Is it possible to scale/move the output-image so that it's entirely within the visible part of the screen? (Maybe this is part of RGBtoHDMI's capabilities?)

Reply 10 of 18, by rkurbatov

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Kyber wrote on 2024-02-18, 14:40:
  • Is there actually a manual or some documentation somewhere?

It's an implementation of another project - RGBtoHDMI - I missed that link in the description initially.

Here is wiki - https://github.com/hoglet67/RGBtoHDMI/wiki

And here is explanation of the buttons functions - https://github.com/hoglet67/RGBtoHDMI/wiki/Quick-Start-Guide

486: ECS UM486 VLB, 256kb cache, i486 DX2/66, 8MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440AGi VLB 1MB, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, FDD 3.5, ZIP 100 ATA
PII: Asus P2B, Pentium II 400MHz, 512MB RAM, Trident 9750 AGP 4MB, Voodoo2 SLI, MonsterSound MX300

Reply 11 of 18, by Kyber

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Thank you for your reply! Very nice info! True, i did not understand from the description that it's a direct implementation of RGBtoHDMI either (i just read it as if it used RGBtoHDMI internally to some extent - but it was unclear how much and how).

So having quickly skimmed through your links, it seems like your links answers most of my questions:

  • There is documentation for the RGBtoHDMI-part of MCE2HDMI. (But no info about the non-RGBtoHDMI-part at all?)
  • The buttons work like they do on RGBtoHDMI.
  • It has the same onscreen menu as RGBtoHDMI.
  • If RGBtoHDMI has config-files on the SD-card, then MCE2HDMI has too.
  • It looks like the picture can be adjusted using the "Geometry Menu" in the onscreen menu, according to: https://github.com/hoglet67/RGBtoHDMI/wiki/Re … e#geometry-menu
  • (And it looks like it is also RGBtoHDMI which contains the feature of changing the palette of monochrome signals between Green / Amber / etc. (A feature i saw that MCE2VGA had, and which i can now see that MCE2HDMI also has, due to RGBtoHDMI))

If anyone here owns an MCE2HDMI, it would be cool if you could confirm my guesses above 😀 I think it will probably help other people too

But still, as i understand it, RGBtoHDMI has nothing to do with the CGA signal, and there must be some additional conversion going on, before the signal is passed on to RGBtoHDMI.
I'm assuming the conversion process for CGA is in two steps: CGA -> RGB -> HDMI, where only the "RGB -> HDMI" step is done by RGBtoHDMI, and the "CGA -> RGB" is done by something else inside the MCE2HDMI.

So my CGA-related questions still remain:

  • Does it have the "brown-fix" for CGA? (so that it outputs the correct brown color instead of dark-yellow)
  • It should work with the C128's RGBI output, right? (sounds like it does when reading this: https://shadowcircuit.de/viewtopic.php?t=37)

So only 2 questions left now! Nice. Hopefully some of you guys know the answer 😀 (one is already kind of half-answered by a single sentence on a random website - but not sure i 100% trust that yet)

By the way, having quickly read some of the documentation, it actually sounds much cooler than i thought it would be *thumbs up*

EDIT: Striked out misinformation (see below)

Last edited by Kyber on 2024-02-18, 22:09. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 12 of 18, by rkurbatov

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Kyber wrote on 2024-02-18, 19:36:

If anyone here owns an MCE2HDMI, it would be cool if you could confirm my guesses above 😀 I think it will probably help other people too

It's on its way to me so if nobody answers earlier I will in two-three weeks.

486: ECS UM486 VLB, 256kb cache, i486 DX2/66, 8MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440AGi VLB 1MB, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, FDD 3.5, ZIP 100 ATA
PII: Asus P2B, Pentium II 400MHz, 512MB RAM, Trident 9750 AGP 4MB, Voodoo2 SLI, MonsterSound MX300

Reply 13 of 18, by Kyber

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Sounds perfect!

Hmm, wait, maybe RGBtoHDMI is truely responsible for the *entire* conversion (including reading the CGA-signal)... On https://github.com/hoglet67/RGBtoHDMI/wiki it says:

"The RGBtoHDMI interface converts the "digital" RGB video signal from vintage computers like the BBC Micro or PC MDA/CGA/EGA to HDMI or DVI compatible with most modern TVs/Monitors"

So maybe MCE2HDMI consists *only* of the RGBtoHDMI implementation? (i.e. everything is done by RGBtoHDMI and there is nothing else in MCE2HDMI)
Is this also how you've understood it?

EDIT:

Looks like it!
Also looks like it uses brown instead of the incorrect dark-yellow.

And I can see RGBtoHDMI works with the Commodore 128's 80 column VDC-chip at for example: https://github.com/hoglet67/RGBtoHDMI/wiki/Su … orted-Computers and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De7ABJyAfzM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmwH9nMRSsU, so that must mean MCE2HDMI does too, so that's perfect.

Reply 14 of 18, by rkurbatov

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Kyber wrote on 2024-02-18, 20:18:

So maybe MCE2HDMI consists *only* of the RGBtoHDMI implementation? (i.e. everything is done by RGBtoHDMI and there is nothing else in MCE2HDMI)
Is this also how you've understood it?

Never dug so deeply 😀 I just needed some solution allowing me to use MDA adaptor for debugging or EGA for one of my 286 builds.

There is much cheaper stuff like GBS-8200 (with addition of Necroware board - it won't work otherwise despite all ads) but it has lots of problems. While this one looks more universal and making things properly, allowing to have the best results.

I ordered both anyway 😀

486: ECS UM486 VLB, 256kb cache, i486 DX2/66, 8MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440AGi VLB 1MB, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, FDD 3.5, ZIP 100 ATA
PII: Asus P2B, Pentium II 400MHz, 512MB RAM, Trident 9750 AGP 4MB, Voodoo2 SLI, MonsterSound MX300

Reply 15 of 18, by Kyber

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Even if you didn't dig so deep, your reply guided me in the right direction, so thank you very much for your reply!

All the other converters/adapters with the word "RGB" i've seen during my googlings, were only be able to read a special "RGB signal" (not CGA/EGA/etc), so for those you would need another converter to convert the actual signal from the computer into this "RGB signal" first, so that's why i was confused. (Like the GBS-8200)

But i can now see that RGBtoHDMI *is* able to read the "real" input-signals (CGA, EGA, etc), not just some mythical "RGB" signal, so that's awesome - you don't need anything else than RGBtoHDMI!
And all the documentation you need is the RGBtoHDMI-documentation, since MCE2HDMI is simply RGBtoHDMI, as i now understand it. (with a 9-pin connector for MDA/CGA/EGA/Hercules)

So the MCE2HDMI looks pretty perfect, i'll order one soon too - thank you again 😀

Reply 16 of 18, by rkurbatov

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Yes, GBS-8200 looks like 15kHz VGA to 31kHz VGA converter only requiring some intermediate DAC (like PAL based solution or even the simplest resistor based thing without brown color hack). But this one is much more sophisticated with pretty solid upscaler, at least from description. 😀 There were so many standards and it should support them all.

Just curious if it can help with that mysterious Targa clone (supposedly) that I bought recently.

486: ECS UM486 VLB, 256kb cache, i486 DX2/66, 8MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440AGi VLB 1MB, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, FDD 3.5, ZIP 100 ATA
PII: Asus P2B, Pentium II 400MHz, 512MB RAM, Trident 9750 AGP 4MB, Voodoo2 SLI, MonsterSound MX300

Reply 17 of 18, by dreamblaster

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MCE2HDMI review by Retro Erik : https://youtu.be/jDC7cryO6Fo?si=QJT_WE-VDh0K6vdm

Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
DreamBlaster X2, S2, S2P, HDD Clicker, ... many projects !
New X2GS SE & X16GS sound card : https://www.serdashop.com/X2GS-SE ,
Thanks for your support !