I know this isn’t exactly anything new, but it’s something that still requires a lot of skill to pull off, and is beyond the scope of what most people would dare attempt – and it’s saved me a good couple of hundred in buying a pre-modded console. Pretty happy with myself on this one.
The NES as standard outputs via RF and Composite and has no capability for RGB output. Obviously that’s not good enough for me, so I decided to look into the NESRGB board by Viletim. At a cost of £70, the board takes the raw image from the PPU in the console and converts it to a high quality RGB (or component) signal. Installation however is not easy. The PPU on the console has to be desoldered, multiple adapters installed depending on the console revision, and a heck of a lot of fine point soldering. I managed it though!
Firstly, I needed a NES. I chose my favourite revision, and got a fantastic condition one with two pads for £60 shipped from Japan – the AV Famicom:
Once the RGB board arrived, I got started. Firstly, I had to desolder the PPU. This is notoriously difficult as the pins are soldered through the mainboard and take a lot of effort and precision to remove all the solder from each point. I used a heated desoldering pump, which uses a vacuum to remove liquid solder. It took about half an hour to be able to free the graphics chip with no resistance:
Once done, I was able to solder in an adapter in it’s place:
Next was to solder contact pins into the adapter board. As I was installing the NESRGB into an AV famicom, adapter boards needed to be used to orientate it correctly to fit:
I then soldered two sets of pins to the other side of the adapter board – this is what the NESRGB board will plug into:
And then soldered another adapter into the NESRGB board itself – this is what the PPU will be placed in:
And then wired up the RGB and sync signals to the AV output at the back:
Lastly, I installed a palette switch at the back of the console. This allows me to choose between three palettes during gameplay. 1. Normal, 2. Improved Colours, 3. Garish Colours: