Hello Chip Dippers How are you? I’m doing okay. I was a little hoarse the other week, but now I’m much more stable (horse neighing) Yeah, well anyway About a year ago, I did a video of how to convert the Commodore 64 from NTSC to PAL There’s a lot of reasons that you would want to do that which I’ll show you in a moment But in the comments of that video I’ve got a lot of people asking how come nobody’s made a switch to do that automatically Well.. yeah.. Turns out there is a reason for that too, which I’ll come to as well I don’t like to blow my own trumpet But, I’ve always been a bit of an inventor and I don’t just mean the Brixty Four Several years ago. I set up a company and a factory and we made these products There’s a tiny chance you might even recognize them if you roll around in the 90s or the naughties By the way, which did you prefer the 90s or the naughties know what the Northeast you know, like North’s in crosshairs Tic-tac-toe, okay, which did you prefer the 90s or the tackies Hey So I decided to put my thinking cap on and I’ve teamed up with Shawn Harrington aka one stage puppy Factory and PCB way Yes, they have very generous sponsor and they’ve been supporting this project for the past year. It’s kind of amazing You know, they not only get retro, but obviously all their boards can be used in computers from 30 years ago The technology hasn’t changed that much This product is called the Vic two squared and now I invite you to sit back and join us as Marty we take Vic to the Future Now before we start the exciting journey of actually creating this product you’re probably wondering why is a switch so necessary anyway So to understand that let’s take a brief history of pal vs. Ntsc his photo. I took of the Earth from the moon So NTSC became predominant in the 50s in North America and some parts of Asia There was another format called C cam which we will get into Here and then powell’s introduced ten years later in the rest of the world Ntsc stood for national television system committee that was less affectionately known as never the same color Oh, yeah, and this was because it was notorious for not broadcasting consistent colors And you may notice that only on u.s. TVs? Do you see a tint knob this was because it was really down to the end-user at home to fix the color Now watch closely as I switch to pal on the same TV You’ll see that the height of those borders grow now Pal stood for a phase alternation line And it was created over a decade after NTSC Primarily to fix the issues with NTSC that meant ahead arguably better color accuracy And there was no need for a tint knob on European TVs Wait, am I not good? Well on this occasion size does matter if we overlay the pal and NTSC images You can see that the power image has a higher resolution and if we calculate out those aspect ratios Including the borders you actually get over 20,000 extra pixels to play with in PAL So, what did this mean what if we searched the c64 scene database database we can see that in the American regions because 128 demos listed that’s cool right until you see that in the other regions that supported pal. There’s over 3400 demos the other reason it is more popular there is due to the different frequencies pal and ntsc run at per frame There are more CPU cycles available to play within power and this combined with more resolution and the demos could be more weight When the demos could be more fun, sorry boys going on here But it affects games too, of course And actually the original reason I decided to convert from NTSC to PAL Was because lady fracked ik bought me the Sam’s journey cartridge for Christmas a couple of years ago I plugged it into my NTSC machine and Well, as I learned later here, the cartridge won’t work on NTSC at all But the other thing is composers like Rob Hubbard, they designed their music to sound like this Not faster like this Now essentially this was happening because of the difference in frequency the American versus the European power supplies and that meant that the NTSC machines were effectively clocked faster with many people feeling that the games actually played better and Then finally there’s the age-old problem, which is generally speaking You can only use a power c64 with a power monitor and NTSC with NTSC Otherwise we get a stretched black-and-white picture person or something We need to fix with a switch because you can already use an upscale ER and that outputs everything in the global standard of HDMI what we need to switch is what’s going on inside the computer not the display So just to recap pal has these benefits but and it’s a big button no offense Ntsc also has a lot of benefits faster clock speed you can use NTSC only programs and also an important point if you grew up in North America The NTSC speed is going to feel more nostalgic and memorable. Even if it wasn’t how the composer intended it So, how do you get the best of both worlds? Well, the obvious answer is by a pal C 64 for PAL software and also buy a second NTSC C64 for NTSC software but not exactly convenient Unless you could figure out some kind of switch that would allow one c64 to be well, too Thank You Yoda now if you’ve seen all of that you might decide you just want to convert to power you don’t need a switch Let’s find you. Just follow the instructions in my ntsc at a power conversion video and Bob’s your uncle, not Bob Ross however, if we do want to be able to switch back and forth, there’s essentially three components that we need to add a switch – There’s the Vic chip itself which provides the graphics output as the timing crystal which controls the frequency and there’s this jumper which tells the motherboard and the rest of the computer to switch into PAL mode instead and It turns out the reason nobody’s done this before it’s because it’s bloody complicated So in steps Shaun Harrington aka one stage and he’s one of my patrons and reached out to ask if I had any projects that I needed help with and so we put our heads together and I invaded his space for almost a year and The first thing that became apparent is there isn’t a lot of space on this Vic area to mount the whole situation we’ll need So Sean sketched out this first prototype idea And it basically uses this daughterboard design A main very flat thin board sits on top of the VIC chip area And then takes everything out through a ribbon cable Where the hard work is done And the theory is pretty simple The daughterboard house is both a PAL VIC II and an NTSC VIC II And the two different crystals And then back on the backpack board is a switch and a connection to that PAL NTSC jumper that we saw earlier And all of that should, in theory, allow us to switch these three items You’ll notice I’m saying ‘in theory’ a lot That’s because we have some doubts that, due to the length of the ribbon cable It may not be able to carry the signal from both VIC chips reliably But we can test that theory And this looks to be working So the next thing we want to do is figure out the actual size of the product to make sure it will fit in the case So for that, let’s just 3D print some mock-ups of the to PCBs This is the longer daughterboard And it also popped out the main backpack board shown here with a banana for scale So come on! Let’s pop the backpack board on top of the VIC area And experiment with where the daughterboard could fit Alright, so definitely some options there So now there’s only one thing for it We’ve got to design the PCB Which as we all know stands for Perifractic’s Cute Buddy Yeah, Sean Harrington made Blockhead Perifractic for me too Because I’m a blockhead! Just kidding.. This is actually me What.. what? Well Perifabric there is also holding a Commodore 64 It’s almost as if he knew this video would happen.. Over a year later.. And speaking of Sean. He’s here with me now Sean.. can you just give us an illustration of how this PCB works? So this is the backpack design. We’ve got 40 pins here that go into the big slot we have three sets of optocouplers that do the switching between the NTSC version of PAL These are our logic chips that let us latch the power supply and the switch Here are the two crystals.. these replace the ones that are on the board and this o And this is the magic! This is a 50 pin ribbon connector that goes to the daughtercard This is how we have more real estate within this space That’s right. And he mentions latching the power supply and the switch This is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome Basically, we have to prevent the user flicking the switch while the machine is on or it will fry both the VIC chips And nobody likes fried chips Well.. almost nobody I think I’m going to get the chips Chips? Oh you mean french fries? So you have to switch the power from the PAL to the NTSC circuit Using the optocouplers or relays while the power is off But how do you power relays with no power? And even worse.. how do you prevent the relays working when there is power? It’s quite a catch-22 or should I say a VIC-II².. … But speaking of catches, a relay will only latch when there is a power differential big enough to trigger the latch In the C64’s case, 5V And we discovered that when the C64 power switch is off.. That required differential does exist between these two poles It still gets power because the mains cable is still connected before the switch But crucially when you turn the machine on That differential equals out And so the reader gets frozen in place It can’t change positions with the power turned on.. Thus protecting your chips So with that conundrum solved, let’s look at how the daughterboard works This actually has the NTSC and the PAL version of the VIC-II² We have two octocouplers here, which they don’t switch all 40 of the pins, they only switch the main pins That 5V and the 12V in The ground and the chip selects Here’s the mounting point for the switch that switches between PAL and NTSC Thank you very much.. Dawn of the shed.. oh.. Sean of the.. uh.. nevermind Well.. anyway.. The next step is to let the software calculate the ideal paths for all the traces And then we send the Gerber files off to PCBWayyy Because as we all know PCB stands for Paths Correct? Brilliant! Now when we’re ready for mass production… hopefully at the end of this video I’ll take you on a full factory tour and show you how the PCB is made But there’s no time for that now because PCB were I’m not gonna do that every time that PCB way got these to us super fast to support this project and they look great in a variety of colors So let’s crack on for the first prototypes together and see if they work And before long we’ve got everything installed and the switch tested in theory, so let’s try it on the Commodore 64 fingers crossed Isn’t that the tune they played the aliens and Close Encounters but either way this is Definitely an interesting effect But probably not something you’d want to buy And we think the most likely culprit is the length of the ribbon cable and some of the traces You know signal and noise interference is notorious for causing these kind of problems So back to PCB way, and they produced us another batch free of charge Where we tried to reduce the length of some of the traces and as the result Yeah, it still doesn’t work so the only thing left to do now really is remove the ribbon cable altogether now We’ve created it that way primarily for using this product in the commodore. 64c which has a much less space above the VIP area where it hits the keyboard and it looks like there’s no way to actually Get this working with the c64. See now, don’t get me wrong We tried really hard to even produced yet another batch with PCB way And in this one we try to shift things a little higher up the board, but still it just wouldn’t fit You also switch the optocouplers out and replace them with regular relays and we did this for a couple of reasons Mainly they produce too much heat However, we can at least support the bread bins, which I think it’s fair to say are more common Now you’re starting to see now why nobody else made this switch? there Having said all that if you are interested in c64 C version fill out the little form in the description Well onwards and upwards, and let’s move forward with what we are able to do And maybe in a future revision, we can start to accommodate these 64C So it was back to the drawing board again And we also engaged in some knowledge sharing with people on the Facebook group Including David Smith Big thanks to him Then off the PCBWay again And we put Puppyfractic in charge of looking out for the delivery Which for some reason was happening in a swimming pool And I’ve got the eighth version of the board here Doesn’t that look lovely?! We’re going to be selling this completely not for profit and only as a kit For a number of reasons but mainly if there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to mass produce these But building the kits are really great learning experience Although .. we can only recommend it if you do know what you’re doing Which is a bit of an oxymoron A bit like me That said do keep an eye on the official forum page, which you’ll find in the description Because I’m sure people are going to come forward and offer to make these kits for you So come on then! Do you want to build this one with me? And then we’ll test it out, see if it works And if you eventually decide to buy this board, then this part of the video can serve as your installation guide So obviously the first thing we have to do is remove the PCB from the case by removing these six screws and his semi removed Earlier, wait, where did it? But then on eBay And you may also have a shield underneath your board. I’ve already desalted mine by removing these solder points and then we just have to very Carefully prise out our existing Vic chip in this case this commodore 64 is set to power So this is a six five six nine, but the six five six seven is the NTSC version You may also have a shield around the Vic chip area again, I already removed mine here by desoldering all of these solder points and I did that in that previous episode and Then here’s the timing crystal. This is essentially what makes the music sound too fast But in this case this machine has a power crystal So the first thing we have to do is remove the crystal and for this I’m gonna use my trusty HECO desoldering gun this thing really makes desoldering bit of a doddle if you’re American quite easy As Always check out the description for the get the tools I used link and in there you can get the D soldering gun and any of the other items that you see in my videos Next up. Let’s remove our jumper if you’re English, don’t take your top off barmy pops. It’s up to you guys And then I’m just gonna make space on the board by flattening down these capacitors just bend them gently out of the way So they take up as a little Headroom as possible and then here’s our lovely board You can see that we’ve marked here very clearly so that you can only use the correct board with the correct type of motherboard, right? now we have two versions of the board which cover three types of motherboards and I think what I’ll do is just throw in both versions with every order so there can’t be any confusion or mix-ups at the ordering Point just make sure you check the assembly number on your motherboard itself that matches the Vic – squared that you install So here’s your kit and just quick disclaimer Some of these parts are going to change slightly by the time you get the product as we continue to perfect it But the instructions will remain basically the same also your board will only be red or blue So first up, let’s take this row of 40 machine pin headers cut them in half So we have a row of 20. This is actually what’s going to plug down into the original c64 Vic 2 socket so Of course, we could have solder all those pins in place and make sure you insert the short pins into the board Now you could use thermal tape. I’m gonna try using mounting putty here just to hold them nice and straight You might be wondering what they’re funky contraption is that’s holding everything. Well, that is the helping hands again Check out the get the tools I use in the description to get yours Let me just get soldiering you seen me do this before right? Okay, nice Just make sure you’ve got the long pins facing outwards and that those solder points have nice little Peaks on them kind of like tents And Then back to our mail machine pins again That means they have lt’s not in these and I’m just gonna snap off three of those for the crystal area It goes in here So this is actually going to fit down into the Commodore 64 motherboard where we took the old crystal out of poor crystal All right, and now we’re gonna take some sharp wire cutters to our male pin headers It sounds painful and chop off four pins out of a row of six just from the middle. You’ll see why in a second And the short end of the pins is gonna push up into these pads and cut out four from the top as well And you only need one of these by the way now then gives you two pins which it can go down into the Commodore 64 motherboard with a pal ntsc switch jumper actually is and then If you don’t have a motherboard assembly number ending in 425 or 466, you’ll need a third single pin Alright Chip Dippers. We’re getting closer! And now it’s time to put our dip sockets into the board Make sure the cutout of the socket matches the cutout illustration on the board Push him in And he’s going to be for our PAL chip with a cutout at the top there And our NTSC chip to match Next up, this guy goes here This is the switch cable header and it’ll connect to our cable that connects to… You guessed it .. our switch Now your header will actually have 8 pins So ignore the fact you only see six here Just make sure there’s a little space between the black plastic and The VIC-II² board This will allow the switch cable to plug in And make sure you insert it on the top of the card with the logo facing up Next is time to install the crystals on the VIC-II² So to start with the PAL crystal And it doesn’t matter which way around you put these pins And it’s nice to just leave a little bit of space between the board and the crystal Same thing with NTSC And it should look a little like this What’s this you may ask well yet we decided that the victor squared should come packed with the lunatics 64 on board Now if you’ve ever seen a Commodore 64 with this vertical banding you may know that it’s basically caused by Unwanted interference coming from the clock signals on the Vic to graphics chip and the limb effect 64 was created in 2011 By e5 frog and it basically cancels out those signals Although it’s never gonna look as good as say emulation, but who wants that anyway? And this is the heart of the operation the Texas Instruments 7 for 1/4 inverter That cancels out or inverts those noisy signals so we’ll install that again as always making sure the notch on the chip matches the notch on the board diagram and the next part of the luma fixes these 47 pico farad capacitors They’re labeled 47 PF are on the board and polarity doesn’t matter so you can put them in either way around Now should point out all of this limb effect stuff is completely optional But he may as well do it as it’s included in the kit And then we’ve got these fancy blue trimmer resistors These are the things are actually going to turn with a small screwdriver to adjust your picture. Make sure you put them in So the screw end matches up with a little circle diagram on the board And then last but by no means least because they’re literally doing all of the work on the board Its are four relays And the reason we’ve got four of these is because we’re switching eight things Essentially, there’s four pins of the Vic chip x’ plus two crystals Plus that jumper and a spare for testing and each relay can switch two things. So two times four is seven a It’s impossible to put these in the wrong way around I think although I probably shouldn’t challenge you Well now give yourselves a pat on the back on my behalf because we finished the mainboard build So just check over everything make sure all the solder joints are nicely tented and none of them are making Connections where they shouldn’t and then we’ll clean up all the flux off the board with alcohol and that antibiotics – stuff static brush So let’s build our cable now you can see that the plug has two sides There’s this rough side and a smooth side So hold the smooth side facing up and locate the end of the cable that has the red wire at the bottom and Then you’re just going to plug that into your Vic to your board again ignore the fact I only have six pins here double-check. The red cable is in the position I’ve shown with the smooth side facing up and then you can actually unplug it from the board if you want Next go to the other end and we’re going to trim off the remaining wires because we don’t need this plug here Put that on Craigslist who seems fine and then just strip down each of these exposing the actual wire And twist each of the wire ends And then wilt in the tips of the wires, so they’re ready to solder on to the actual switch So this cute little guy is our mini grabber and he’s gonna make it or she is gonna make it super simple to hook on to the Commodore 64 power supply line You’ll find a couple of mini grabbers in your kit and they connect to this wire and the one directly next to it Now don’t follow this part of the video guide What you’re seeing me doing here is preparing the end of the mini grabber cable to connect to the 8 bit guy I missed To the 8 pin cable. Don’t connect it to the eight big guy However, you’re not gonna have to do this because we found a much simpler solution, which I’ll show you in a second But just in case you really love soldering or just want to learn a new technique, I’ll show you what we do here This is called a lineman splice What you do is hook both ends of the cable connect the hooks and then twist them together you can then tin over that joint Slide your heat shrink back on to it and simmer for 20 seconds This is the NASA standard for connecting wires and Means that both cables hooks are actually pulling against each other with a solder joint Around them and in my experience, sometimes the joint is actually stronger than the rest of the wire itself So with that done to both mini grabbers, you can see they are effectively now connected to the Vic to board However, we just came up with an even easier way to do this We found these mini grabbers that have the DuPont 2 compatible plug on the end of the cable So what you can do is carefully lift up the little black tab on the 8 pin cable and slide out the metal shield That’s around the end of the wire you can then do the same thing on the mini grabber lift up that black tab slide out its shield around the wire and Take the mini grabbers shield and insert it back into the original eight pin plug Saves a bit of soldiering if that’s what you want All right. Well, we are nearly there. The final major step is to wire up the switch itself so what I’m going to do is again create hooks on the end of these tinned parts of the cables and Those hooks is going to make it super simple to hook into these loops on the bottom of the switch and this switch of course is what we’re going to use to flick between pal and NTSC and Then just heat up the switch like for a couple of seconds and add some solder And it should look a little something like this Keep going with the other cables now I’m not going to depict which colors go where because actually your cable colors might have vary So this diagram is intentionally grayscale. That means just follow the position of the cables Not the color simple right pause video here And when all is said and done should have a finished assembly that looks a little something like this Well now we can insert our card into the Vics Okay it very carefully you can see how those crystal pins line up with a crystal area That’s what we’ve got to do is create a socket for those so go back to your female machine pins Snap off three of them and then you’ll also want to snap of three separate individual pins Nice we’re gonna go in this jumper section here again, depending on your board. You may only need two And when those inserted place the whole assembly back down into the board and play around a bit until those pins Actually go through the holes and poke through the bottom side of the Commodore 64 Motherboard once you have them all in place and lined up you can start soldiering them Once you’ve solved at all five or six machine pins into the c64 You can very carefully remove the Vic two squared and you should see the sockets. Neatly installed on the commodore 64 You can then experiment with very carefully reinserting the Vic two squared into those sockets Then pick up your cable and insert it back into that right angled header on the Vic two squared now grab your mini grabber And we’re going to connect both of these on to the inside of the power switch on the commodore 64 Make sure you connect them the right way round as shown in the diagram again follow the position of the cable not necessarily the colour And I guess the final step is put our big chips back in again Make sure you orient the notch correctly with the notch on the dip socket make sure you steady the other side of the board when you push this down and Put the right chip in the right socket, of course Now one of my chips has already got a heatsink on it But in the kit we’ve thrown in some heat sinks and you should definitely put those on top of your Vic chips to stop them overheating So now let’s turn the power switch off and test our relays Nothing oh wait, I forgot to plug it in. Okay. So now let’s make sure the power is off and test our relays And that satisfying click you hear is actually coming from the four relays not from the switch if we turn the power on The relays failed to click that’s protecting your chips So the only decision we are left to make is where to put the switch now We don’t recommend drilling holes in these classic machines You can run it out of the user port area here But by some stroke of luck in this case actually originally came from a Rey Carlson Repair where he did also install jiffy dust before this machine was kindly donated to me So what the heck? I’ve got a hole there. I’m just gonna stick something in it So just take the nut and washes off the switch Stick the long thing through the hole and screw the nut what? As well make a label Oh pretend you didn’t see that And you may have noticed I had to fit an extension to my cable to get the switch to the other side You won’t need to do that, but we’ll just tidy up our work here anyway Has not ended layout from beta tester Steve McCowan big thanks to him and all the testers including Tim gasps Stefan and everyone else and then it’s time to put the top back on. Not your jumper And let’s transport it to the studio for final testing so satisfying Now earlier this week on my exclusive patreon lens I showed this TV that I picked up my students and thrifting for four dollars I think you’ll agree. It looks pretty sharp Yeah So with a c64 off let’s flick into what I think should be NTSC mode and turn it on All right, we’ve got a pretty decent picture there considering it’s only going through the composite cable I don’t know really the quality of this TV as you may have seen earlier we can type input peak brackets six seven eight and that will return a zero if the machine is NTSC so that confirms NTSC is working Now let’s flick into PAL mode turn the machine on and Yeah, I thought this might happen so what this tells me is either my Vic 2 squared is faulty or this sharp tv because I bought it in America is NTSC only in that case of PAL c64 one work you get a blank screen or a black-and-white picture But what I can do is connect my framemeister xrgb-mini Through to the HDMI of my big-screen TV. If you’ve got a multi region monitor, you won’t need to do that And Yes, look at that beautiful PAL image, then we can just confirm that it is in power mode For some reason on video. It doesn’t look as good as in real life, but here’s a photo which is much more representative to Now the moment of truth back to ntsc again Now you can see the color is a little bit worse here and that’s because that’s what explained Ntsc is never the same color. If you do see some of that vertical banding on your screen Which i’ve amplified here? Remember you can use a small watch screwdriver in those luma fix 64 trim pots and just adjust them until it fades away Again it’s never going to be perfect like emulation, but we don’t want that and if your upscale and you’ve got an upscale Er, you can have some fun with the scanline generator the image looks almost perfect like this So with everything working it’s time to get the product to you and for that we upload the files to China To a little company. I don’t think you’ve heard of them they called PCB way Let’s give you a little factory tour as they make the PCBs is together we go through the keyhole so after the PCB white team member has checked the board and the traces in holes a Metal board is dry cleaned and cut ready for use and then it’s off to the drilling room to drill holes and link the copper traces together and the drill automatically selects the correct drill bit to use next is back into the cleaner and This machine smooths the edges of the board’s one side at a time Now the middle layer of the PCB is none conductive fiberglass. That means the hole has to be electroplated So this conductivity between the copper? And end ending on the order specifications more copper is added in this room dust free of course next a layer of blue light sensitive film is added to the board for That reason all the lights in this room are yellow so they don’t affect the film and it’s the film itself That actually has the printed circuit board diagram on it And then the board is sent through this UV printer which hardens that film This means only the circuit part is hardened and the rest remains soft and can be cleaned off and in this example board you can see how that blue material is the only thing left and that’s because it will actually Resist the etching chemical in the next stage that etches away everything else Next is into the Aoi machine or automatic optical inspection If everything’s okay. It’s back to another yellow room and this machine coats everything in epoxy solder mask and Then our retro recipe gets baked at 87 degrees. Then another sheet of film is placed on top and this machine hardens that ink When you peel it away, you can start to see the solder mask that’s left behind But in our PCB we have a component legend that shows you what to perk wear And these are printed on with an inkjet printer albeit a little bigger than mine Next the board gets electrically tested to make sure all the traces are connected and then it’s time to cut all the individual PCBs out of those large production panels and The team give the PCB is a final manual check over and if everything looks ok, it’s into the vacuum sealer And a bit of bubble wrapping for good measure Okay. So now our PCBs are in the packing room and that means they’re ready to ship to me and then to you and you Can order your Vic 2-squared sold completely not for profit? now Let’s check the links in the description below Huge thanks to everyone that’s helped with this. One-year project. Especially Shaun Harrington There’s no way we could have done this without him And thanks to you for watching and supporting this channel So tell me .. Are you ready to take VIC to the Future? I’ll be back in a week or two Maybe a week or two ago Until then Subscribe below and Cheerio!