Sunday, October 27, 2013


The biggest Chiptune-Festival  in the south of Germany is back! *taading*

On the 9th of November the Gameboys taking control again in the K4/Nuremberg.
The line-up this year is bigger than ever before and of course we have an "open stage" for everyone.

Our headliner this year is "Gamegirl" Chipzel from Ireland. She is well known in the scene and played all the big festivals around the world. We are also happy to announce that Gampoy is our surprise guest from Austria who is rocking the stage next to MELTED MOON, TriAC, Back to Newc45tle (also responsible for the awesome 8-Bit analogue visuals) plus 9-Heart and irq7.

For further information please visit and the Facebook-page.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

PAL vs. NTSC vs. ME

Well - it's a long story and it started a few moth ago when my chiptune bro 9-heart used a device called VBLANK M1 for making visuals at a gig we booth played. Some day's later I thought that could be a nice toy for my shows as well! Then I remembered my  Sega Game Gear with the broken screen which would give that device a nice housing and if I find a small TFT-display, I may use it for the monitoring of it's visuals.
So I ordered the VBLANK M1 and a I also found a perfect fitting TFT at adafruit.

The Game Gear provides a lot of space

The VBLANK is basically a PCB with a microcontroller and a few passive elements. It has a cinch with video composite output and a jack-socket for the audio-input, which is used to trigger the 8bit-style video effects programmed into the controller. It has two wires for power supply and two LEDs. One is the power-LED and the other is blinking if the audio on the input is loud enough. I planed to put the VBLANK and the TFT into my Game Gear and drill holes for the I/O's into it's housing. When I received the VBLANK and the TFT, the trouble starts. The TFT worked well with my DVD-player, but not with the VBLANK. After asking the VBLANK-developer I found out, that the VBLANK is a NTSC device *umpf*. After that short shock I also found out, that the TFT is compatible to PAL _and_ NTSC. So I asked at adafruit and they confirmed the compatibility to NTSC. They also suggest to return the TFT, but I didn't want to give up that fast and decided to test the VBLANK first with my projector. On my projector it works, but looks a bit strange and not exactly like it should. Btw - this is what my projector shows, when I connect the VBLANK: 15,3 kHz, 60 Hz ,720 x 480i.

I found out that there are some PAL/NTSC converters on the market for cheap so I ordered this one. The converter didn't worked as I expected it *grmpf*. You can just see some stills in an interval of a second. Very unsatisfied but enough for the video-monitoring in the Game Gear. The converter is also small enough to fit into the housing, if everything else is removed. After disassembling the Game Gear, I also noticed that I can reuse the power-supply unit, which provide 6V for the converter and 9V for VBLANK and the TFT. It also has 38V(!) because the original backlight of the Gamegear was a neon-lamp!
Game Gear neon light and a mirror to bundle the light

Because the TFT supports two composite inputs, I added an additional composite to the Geam Gear, so I also can use it to monitor external video-sources. An additional switch can disconnect the VBLANK from the TFT if the output-level maybe make problems some day to drive two video-sinks. You never know...
All in all a dirty hack, but hey: You can use the whole system also battery-powered! =)

Video monitoring of external sources via composite